Azora: Spain Needs to Build 2 Million Rental Homes in 15 Years

12 January 2019 – El Economista

The rental market is gaining more and more followers in Spain and is now the way of life chosen by 20% of the population. That means that the market has doubled in size over the last 15 years, according to data from Eurostat. Nevertheless, its growth is running into many obstacles along the way, given that the increase in demand has not been accompanied by a rise in supply at the same rate, which has led to the saturation of certain markets, such as Madrid and Barcelona, where several neighbourhoods have experienced price increases of up to 18%, making them even more expensive now than they were during the boom period.

Faced with that situation, the major players in the market and the real estate experts assure that the construction of homes dedicated to rental and the policies to incentivise owners to place their homes on the rental market are two of the most important ways to provide agility to a mechanism that is oxidised right now.

“Rental is a sector with enormous social importance, on which more than 10 million tenants and more than 4 million small Spanish savers and institutional investors depend, who use the rental market as a way of supplementing their income and pensions”, explains Azora in a comprehensive report about the rental market.

In its study, the manager says that the rental housing deficit amounts to another 2 million homes, which will have to be built over the next 15 years to satisfy the increasingly growing demand. “Ensuring legal certainty and a contractual equilibrium is basic for attracting around €300 billion in private and institutional savings necessary to finance this new stock of homes. It is an investment equivalent to 30% of GDP over 15 years or 2% of GDP every year”, says the report.

For Azora, which is one of the largest managers of rental housing in Spain, the construction of these homes is fundamental if we are to avoid “structural imbalances between supply and demand, and it is vital to guarantee access to housing through the rental formula for millions of Spanish families, especially the youngest in society and most vulnerable families”. In this way, according to the Ministry of Development and Eurostat, rental has become the solution for accessing housing for 75% of young people in Spain aged under 29 (compared with 40% in 2007) and for 40% of families with a household income of less than 60% of the national average.

The major challenges

According to comments made by Azora in its report, the three most important challenges facing the sector are, on the one hand, “establishing a public social housing policy to resolve the situation of highly vulnerable people and those at risk of social exclusion”.

In Spain, social housing accounts for just 1.5% of the total, compared with the EU average of 15% (…).

Another challenge is “the creation of a rental stock at affordable prices, below market rates, for families with the lowest incomes and young people” (…).

Finally, the need to increase supply by at least another 30% over the next 15 years. “The problem today and in the future in the private housing market is not the increase in prices (which are still 15.5% below their 2007 peaks, according to data from the Ministry of Development), but rather the complete lack of available stock for rental compared with the sharp growth in demand”, says Azora (…).

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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