11 June 2018 – Diario Sur
Do you live in Málaga for less than €700/month? Then, hold on tight to your home as if it were a treasure. These days, people who are coming to the end of their rental contracts or who are experiencing life changes that are forcing them to find homes in the city – whether it be a move for work, a separation or an emancipation from the family home – are coming up against a harsh reality: the high cost of rent, which has gotten worse to the extent that, today, homes coming onto the market have an average monthly rent of more than €1,000 in half of the neighbourhoods in the provincial capital. That is according to statistics based on the active adverts on the real estate portfolio Idealista, which calculates that rental prices increased by 13.2% over the last year, one of the highest rises recorded in all of Spain’s large cities. Over the last five years, the cumulative increase amounts to 38% and the price per square metre now amounts to €9.80, the highest of all of the Andalucían capitals.
The sharp rise in prices is the consequence of a significant imbalance between supply – which has decreased by 36% in three years, judging by the adverts on Idealista – and demand for rentals, which has increased by more than 120% over the same period. “What is happening in Málaga is what happened previously in Madrid and Barcelona: a genuine shortage of rental housing, especially in the Centre and Teatinos districts, which are the most sought-after areas”, says Carlos Rueda, spokesman for Idealista in the south of Spain, who knows real estate agents in those neighbourhoods who have waiting lists with more than 100 people on them.
Since Málaga has come late to this trend, its prices are now rising rapidly, whilst prices in the country’s two largest capitals are starting to enter a stabilisation phase, according to the Head of Research at Pisos.com, Ferrán Font. “In Barcelona and Madrid, there are areas where prices have stopped rising because price increases cannot be infinite in the rental market”, he added.
But in Málaga, that ceiling has not yet been reached. Inmaculada Vegas, Partner of the real estate agency specialising in rentals Rentacasa, summarises the situation as follows: “The supply has decreased significantly; almost no homes come onto the market. And those that do come on are very expensive. Many owners can’t help themselves: they see that their neighbour has let his home for €800 and so they raise their asking price to €900…the problem is that they find people to pay those prices”, she explains.
The perception of rising prices is even greater in the case of rentals governed by the old Urban Leasing Law, which are being updated now after five years. They are contracts that were signed at the height of the crisis (2013) and now they are being renewed in a radically different scenario. “In those cases, prices may rise by €300 or €400 overnight”, explains Carlos Rueda (…).
For Vegas, much of the blame for what is happening lies with tourist rentals: “Over the last two years, we have seen continuously how long-term rentals are being taken off the long-term rental market to be let by the day or by the week, above all in the Centre, but increasingly in the east of the city as well”, she says.
Rueda does not agree that the influence of holiday rentals has been that great. In his opinion, “since the crisis, Málaga has seen a huge explosion in demand for rental properties, not only from those who cannot afford to buy but also from those who want to live in rental homes” (…).
Original story: Diario Sur (by Nuria Triguero)
Translation: Carmel Drake