2 June 2015 – El Mundo
At a conference organised by the College of Civil Engineers before the local elections, Manuela Carmena, who will become the mayoress of the capital provided Esperanza Aguirre does not stand in her way, ruled out Operación Chamartín as a significant objective: “I do not think that we need 17,500 homes, we will talk about that again in 2017 or 2018, but not now”.
Her comments are interesting because just a few days later, professor José Luis Suárez, of IESE, has claimed that, during 2015 and 2016, demand for new housing in the metropolitan area of Madrid will reach 14,000 units and in 2017 alone, it will reach 13,000. Suárez is one of the foremost experts in the Spanish real estate market and during the annual symposium of the Center for International Finance (CIF), he presented the preliminary results of a study about the evolution of demand for new homes in Spain until 2028.
Suárez and his team of researchers are building a model to allow them to predict the demand for new homes in nine large Spanish urban areas. The model is driven by several factors, including the reduction in the number of people per household; financing; the rate of obsolescence of homes in use; the demand for replacement; the acquisition of second homes; employment; investment in housing; the preference for new housing; renovations; the declining population; the over-stock of housing; and rentals.
Although Spain’s “demographic winter” may lead us to expect a decrease in the number of homes, as well as in their average size, the calculations performed by Suárez for the Madrid area show that demand for new homes will reach 20,000 units in 2019. This quantity would mean demand returning to the levels last seen in 2009-2010, years when the trend lines between the purchase of new homes and the supply of new homes intersected. At the height of the bubble, in 2006, more than 40,000 new homes were sold in Madrid and during that same year, more than 60,000 units were constructed.
In fact, the excess stock of housing in Madrid is practically non-existent now. There is still excess supply in Spain, but not in places where demand is high.
Urban planning is one of the areas that the local politicians enjoy the most and where Carmena is undertaking a detailed program. She is committed to renovating and supporting operations in deprived neighbourhoods, such as the so called Operación Campamento, which is sponsored by Chinese capital. Although critics accuse the plans of being neoliberal since they serve individual interests, the fact is that urban planning is anti-liberal by definition and is fertile territory for commercialism.
Original story: El Mundo (by John Müller)
Translation: Carmel Drake