29 September 2015 – Expansión
The financial sector is continuing to make grand gestures towards society’s most underprivileged groups. Barely a week after the banks decided to add 4,000 homes to the Social Housing Fund (‘Fondo Social de Viviendas’ or FSV) taking the total number of homes to 10,000, Sareb is considering increasing its social housing stock by 1,000 to 3,000.
According to sources consulted, this possible increase comes at a time when almost all of the 2,000 homes that were initially allocated to the stock have been assigned.
Before the summer, Sareb had transferred just over 1,000 homes to Cataluña, Aragón, Galicia and País Vasco. But since then, negotiations with other autonomous regions, such as the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands and Castilla y León, have accelerated and an agreement is now close to being signed. Sareb is also holding talks with Castilla-La Mancha, Madrid, Cantabria and Comunidad Valenciana.
In addition to granting homes to autonomous regions for social purposes, the company led by Jaime Echegoyen (pictured above) is beginning conversations with several town halls, such as those in Madrid and Barcelona, to offer up homes in cases of emergency. The homes in question could be used by the town halls in the event that, for example, a building collapses or refugees arrive.
Help for entrepreneurs
Sareb has recently added a new initiative to its existing portfolio, with the aim of helping entrepreneurs. The company intends to implement a plan to offer cheap rents on retail premises and offices for new entrepreneurs. The plan would involve spaces being granted to certain corporate projects, with the tenants being required to cover the maintenance costs of the properties only. Sareb currently holds 3,500 retail outlets and offices on its balance sheet.
The drive from the banks to support social initiatives comes at a time when the rise of political parties such as Podemos is calling into question the banks’ activities, with measures such as the tax on empty homes introduced in Cataluña.
Besides its social initiatives, Sareb is also currently focusing on completing the migration of its assets from their former managers – entities that transferred homes and loans – to the new administrators: the platforms of Haya Real Estate, Altamira, Solvia and Servihabitat. This situation has caused a slowdown in house sales through the retail channel, but Sareb may offset that through the sale of large portfolios to funds before the end of the year.
Original story: Expansión (by J. Zuloaga)
Translation: Carmel Drake