THERE are 3.5 million empty houses in Spain, a figure only surpassed by Greece, Mexico and Malta, according to figures released recently. This represents around 14% of the total housing across the country with much of the empty properties in the hands of banks and other major financial institutions. However there are also other reasons for the glut such as unwanted property after the death of an occupier, unresolved wills and people simply moving on without selling the property. In Sweden, by contrast, only 1% of houses are unoccupied. As a general rule warmer countries tend to have more empty property, mainly due to the more fluid nature of their markets regarding tourism and immigration.