The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez and the First Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, during a plenary session in the Congress of Deputies, on April 19, 2023, in Madrid.
The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez and the First Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, during a plenary session in the Congress of Deputies, on April 19, 2023, in Madrid.Eduardo Parra (Europa Press)

The Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, announced this Wednesday in the Congress of Deputies the start-up of 43,000 new homes for social rental. “I want to announce that, in addition to the mobilization of 50,000 Sareb homes, we are going to finance the promotion of another 43,000 new homes for rent at affordable prices,” explained Sánchez during his appearance in Parliament to explain the consequences of the war in Ukraine, the High Level Meeting with Morocco and the last European Council. In total, he highlighted, there will be 93,000 social homes.

During his speech, the Chief Executive pointed out that these homes will be both newly built and improved through rehabilitation actions. All will be financed through a new ICO line of 4,000 million euros from the addendum of European funds. They will be able to access the credits “public and private developers and the homes must be used for social or affordable rental for at least 50 years,” state government sources. Also, said Sánchez, they will have to comply with the principles of energy efficiency. Beyond the general lines, these sources add, the financial part of the line of guarantees remains to be detailed and what will be the channels of collaboration between the ICO and the autonomous communities and local entities.

The Government has spent years announcing different housing measures. Regarding the expansion of the park for affordable rentals, the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda began to speak in 2021 of a plan to increase the rental market at reduced prices by 100,000 houses. In this case, the Executive was counting on mobilizing homes of large owners, building new properties in collaboration with Sepes and resorting to part of the apartments of the Asset Management Company for Bank Restructuring (Sareb), known as the bad bank. After many months, the plan is progressing slowly and still not showing great results.

The new announcement, at least for the moment, does not specify where or when these new 43,000 homes will be built. Nor does it make it clear who will be able to access the ICO guarantees or what the conditions will be for it.

the sareb

The plan to mobilize the 50,000 Sareb properties foresees offering the sale of 21,000 homes already identified to the interested Administrations (town councils and autonomous communities. Of this number, 9,000 are houses that are currently on sale through the real estate providers of this public company (Aliseda, Anticipa and Hipogés).

The second leg consists of mobilizing 14,000 homes that are already inhabited, but most of which have irregular leases (some due to squatting) for vulnerable families. Of that number, with 2,000 progress has already been made in regularizing the rental contracts and another 7,000 are under study. In this case, these tenants can only allocate a maximum of 30% of their income to pay the rent.

Finally, another 15,000 houses They will come in the coming years from the construction of new housing in public-private collaboration. To this end, the PwC consultancy is currently identifying the available land for Sareb. In this case, interested investors or developers will build buildings on these plots ceded by the bad bank and they will allocate them to rents that are affordable or below market price.

However, several voices in the real estate sector doubt the effectiveness of this plan. According to data published this Wednesday by Idealista, two thirds of the homes owned by Sareb are located in municipalities with low or very low rental demand. Specifically, according to the portal, 3% of the homes on the bad bank’s website are in municipalities with very low demand, while 60% are in areas with low demand. 27% of the offer of this body is located in relatively coveted areas and only 10% are in areas that could be considered as stressed.

fifth pillar

Sánchez argued in Congress that in Spain a million households allocate 50% of their salaries to paying rent, that two million people would like to buy a house but cannot and that the increase in rental prices in recent years has made housing inaccessible for many young people. He also recalled the little weight that the public real estate stock has in the country (some 300,000 houses that represent 3% of the total) compared to the community average (9%). Faced with this situation, “we are going to make access to housing a right and not a problem, because there is nothing more constitutional than the new housing law and make housing the fifth pillar of the welfare state,” he summarized.

Sánchez also warned the autonomous communities of the PP that, like Madrid, threaten not to apply the legislation that the Executive is promoting in terms of housing. “The laws that this democratic Parliament approves are complied with. The housing law will be complied with in each and every one of the territories”, he said in reference to the regional and local governments that have assured that they will not apply the regulations once the text agreed between the Government, ERC and Bildu is approved in The congress.

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