Barcelona’s Town Hall Declares the Whole City an Area of First Refusal for Land & Property Purchases

2 October 2018 – Inmodiario

The plenary session of the Town Hall of Barcelona has approved two pioneering measures to defend its citizens’ right to housing: firstly, it will apply protected status to 30% of new developments and major renovations; and secondly, it will declare the whole city as an area of first refusal, with the objective of ensuring that the Town Hall will be able to acquire buildings and plots of land on a preferential basis.

Both measures have received support from Barcelona’s municipal groups En Comú, El Grup Municipal Demòcrata, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, El Partido de los Socialistas de Cataluña, La CIP – Capgirem Barcelona and the two councillors not assigned to a party, Gerard Ardanuy and Juanjo Puigcorbé, who have voted in favour of the measure. The Partido Popular de Cataluña voted against it. Ciudadanos voted in favour of declaring the entire municipality an area of first refusal but abstained from the vote to apply protected status to 30% of new projects.

The 30% reservation will represent an expansion of the public housing stock, especially in central neighbourhoods that suffer the most from real estate speculation and gentrification, and where the lack of available plots makes the construction of social housing extremely difficult. It is estimated that with the new regulation more than 50% of the new affordable homes will be located in those neighbourhoods.

Right of first refusal

That measure is accompanied by the declaration of the entire city as an area of first refusal, to enable the Town Hall to acquire plots and buildings on a preferential basis – which would include those 30% of protected homes – to expand the stock of public housing distributed across all districts.

The initiative, which involves the private sector, will affect both new buildings and major renovation projects exceeding 600 m2. Therefore, private property developers will be co-responsible when it comes to ensuring the right to citizens of a decent and adequate home.

It is expected that with the 30% reservation, around 330 homes will be incorporated into the stock of affordable housing each year, a figure that will help counter the abusive increases in rental prices (…).

The protected homes will operate under a general framework and it is calculated that 75% of Barcelona’s citizens will be able to access them. The affordable price of homes, which La Generalitat would determine, would currently be €512/month for an 80 m2 rental home and €136,400 in the case of a home purchase.

Social claim

These new regulations have been born out of the claim from entities that defend the right to a decent home and which have given a voice to the demand from citizens to put a stop to the real estate speculation that is forcing residents out of their neighbourhoods (…).

Original story: Inmodiario 

Translation: Carmel Drake