COVID triggers Madrid's millennial exodus

Spanish millennials are giving up on the city in search of greener, and cheaper, pastures amid lockdown.

Thirty-one-year old Ines Alcolea ditched Madrid life in October, unable to face the prospect of more restrictions in her small city flat.

She swapped it instead for a village near the much quieter medieval town of Toledo, where she pays half the rent and enjoys outside space.

"We had to measure what would make us happy and that is not easy. But at least by starting to identify the things I didn't want in my life we managed to make a decision that in other circumstances we wouldn't consider and that was to move out of the city and into a town."

Younger Spaniards are particularly vulnerable to economic upheaval.

Squeezed by years of rising rent and high unemployment, they buy their first house ten years later on average than other Europeans.

The past year has proved the tipping point for many, who were already struggling with a tense real estate market.

According to data from property portal Idealista, the availability of rooms in flatshares spiked 203% in Madrid between March and October.

It's providing a boom for construction companies, which are reporting increased demand for houses in more rural towns.