The State Plan 2013-2016 has been published, which signifies an important rupture with the traditional housing policies in Spain, obliged by the market situation and the restriction on available resources.
Therefore any support on the acquisition of a new property, such as an agreed financing, support for the first down payment or a subsidized mortgage, disappears entirely.
The other new aspect is the possibility of disqualifying the new subsidized homes in the next three years, once six months have passed from the final qualification, which means it will be possible to convert any new subsidized homes into free ones.
This regulation intends to end with the disadvantage suffered by the new subsidized homes, once the aid on the down payments or the subsidizing had finished and once the difference in prices with the free homes has been reduced or has even disappeared. This measure, which seems reasonable and adequate in the current situation, should be complemented with a temporary liberalization of the reserves of subsidized land that would mean modifying the regulation on the compulsory minimum reserves established by the Land Bill and the urban regulations of the autonomous regions.
Once any aid to the acquisition of new homes has been eliminated, the main regulation is based on the aid on rentals, refurbishing and the maintenance of the subsidizing of loans agreed in the previous housing plans, something which, in the current situation of mortgage difficulty, seems totally indispensable. The public encouragement of rentals, the program of support of the Building Assessment Report and the program of encouragement of sustainable cities will have a much more limited effect.
The housing plans need to be conceived as interim tools with a clear social intention. This is materialized in the published Royal Decree, mainly in the subsidies on previous plans and the aid on rentals for the most needed families.
The other way of materializing the social aspect, which should preside over the norm, is the development of the construction sector. Nowadays there is no better policy than the one that promotes the employment and that should be reflected in the regulation as well.
Knowing that to stimulate the offer of subsidized housing in a market with an enormous stock of free properties is extremely complicated, and that the price of these is dangerously nearing the prices of subsidized homes, it is compulsory to concentrate on refurbishments. The personalized regulation of the refurbishments is one of the strengths of the Royal Decree that has been recently published.
Historically regulations have concentrated more on urban regeneration and renovation operations that affected whole blocks or areas, which from the economic point of view, turned out to be sterile in view of the enormous amount of resources needed and the technical complications derived from the dimension of the projects.
The current plan regulates in detail the aid for building renovations, which is a wise move. Nevertheless, for it to have a positive effect, it is necessary to develop an effective line of financing, as most of the financing agreements signed under the previous plans have turned useless once the financial restrictions occur, like it is currently happening. Right now, implementing a correct financing scheme is even more important than the actual aid or subsidy itself.
A line of credit of 1000 million Euros from the Official Credit Institute has been announced which will be included in the line for businesses and entrepreneurs. This amount would seem insufficient, but it is also true that it could be increased if it starts working. The problem arises when channeling it through banks and with the complex financing of neighborhood associations.
The situation of the employment in this sector should make it worth to look for methods to finance these associations with reasonable percentages and timescales, as the established interest rates are correct.
I consider that the success or failure of this plan will depend on its capacity to create jobs, being the existence of a correct financing a necessary requirement.