Caledonian to Enter the Affordable Housing Sector with a 400-Unit Project in Madrid

The property developer, which normally focuses on high-end housing, is completing its entry into affordable development, with a 400-home project in Madrid, which will reflect its pioneering designs in innovation.

The Madrilenian property developer Caledonian, led by Enrique López Granados, is known for promoting ‘boutique’ style housing: high-end developments, focusing on both design and execution, and the application of energy efficiency and home automation techniques.

After developing hundreds of homes in areas with high purchasing power, such as Aravaca and Somosaguas in the northwest of Madrid, and Finca Cortesín, in Malaga, the real estate company has decided to expand its business with some more affordable housing.

Social Housing is in Very Short Supply in Málaga

17 March 2019 – Diario Sur

Social housing is in very short supply in Málaga. More than 27,000 families are registered on the waiting list for VPO properties, to purchase or rent, of whom 18,723 have been waiting for at least five years. 4,768 new families were added to the register last year alone. But only two out of every 100 families ever receive the good news that they have been selected to be awarded a home. Over the last few years, just 345 homes have been handed over.

Why are VPO homes not being constructed? There are several reasons, but one of the main ones is the lack of funding from the State and the Junta de Andalucía for public and private property developers. The most recent housing plans have focused on subsidising rental payments and undertaking renovation work rather than on the construction of new homes.

The Town Hall of Málaga has projects in the pipeline for the construction of 1,001 public housing units on land to the west of the extension of the Teatinos campus. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is willing to finance half of those homes, worth around €120 million, but the cost of that loan alone would have to be passed on to tenants in the form of rentals of €255 per month, which when combined with the cost of the financing the remaining 50% would not be affordable. Seven out of ten people waiting for a VPO home for rent earn less than €537 per month.

77% of applicants for a VPO home would prefer to rent, given that the option of buying is becoming increasingly less affordable. 72% of the applicants are aged under 35 years old. Public housing policies all but disappeared during the crisis and rents have risen significantly since then, hence the rise in the number of applicants on the register. In fact, the real demand for VPO homes is much higher as many families do not even bother to register given the limited chances they have of being awarded a property.

Across the province, according to data from the local council, 8,457 people are registered on the waiting list for a VPO home, with 1,613 in Torremolinos, 1,365 in Marbella and 1,359 in Estepona. Nevertheless, just 247 families have been awarded a home in any of the Málagan municipalities over the last seven years.

Original story: Diario Sur (by Jesús Hinojosa)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Azora: Spain Needs to Build 2 Million Rental Homes in 15 Years

12 January 2019 – El Economista

The rental market is gaining more and more followers in Spain and is now the way of life chosen by 20% of the population. That means that the market has doubled in size over the last 15 years, according to data from Eurostat. Nevertheless, its growth is running into many obstacles along the way, given that the increase in demand has not been accompanied by a rise in supply at the same rate, which has led to the saturation of certain markets, such as Madrid and Barcelona, where several neighbourhoods have experienced price increases of up to 18%, making them even more expensive now than they were during the boom period.

Faced with that situation, the major players in the market and the real estate experts assure that the construction of homes dedicated to rental and the policies to incentivise owners to place their homes on the rental market are two of the most important ways to provide agility to a mechanism that is oxidised right now.

“Rental is a sector with enormous social importance, on which more than 10 million tenants and more than 4 million small Spanish savers and institutional investors depend, who use the rental market as a way of supplementing their income and pensions”, explains Azora in a comprehensive report about the rental market.

In its study, the manager says that the rental housing deficit amounts to another 2 million homes, which will have to be built over the next 15 years to satisfy the increasingly growing demand. “Ensuring legal certainty and a contractual equilibrium is basic for attracting around €300 billion in private and institutional savings necessary to finance this new stock of homes. It is an investment equivalent to 30% of GDP over 15 years or 2% of GDP every year”, says the report.

For Azora, which is one of the largest managers of rental housing in Spain, the construction of these homes is fundamental if we are to avoid “structural imbalances between supply and demand, and it is vital to guarantee access to housing through the rental formula for millions of Spanish families, especially the youngest in society and most vulnerable families”. In this way, according to the Ministry of Development and Eurostat, rental has become the solution for accessing housing for 75% of young people in Spain aged under 29 (compared with 40% in 2007) and for 40% of families with a household income of less than 60% of the national average.

The major challenges

According to comments made by Azora in its report, the three most important challenges facing the sector are, on the one hand, “establishing a public social housing policy to resolve the situation of highly vulnerable people and those at risk of social exclusion”.

In Spain, social housing accounts for just 1.5% of the total, compared with the EU average of 15% (…).

Another challenge is “the creation of a rental stock at affordable prices, below market rates, for families with the lowest incomes and young people” (…).

Finally, the need to increase supply by at least another 30% over the next 15 years. “The problem today and in the future in the private housing market is not the increase in prices (which are still 15.5% below their 2007 peaks, according to data from the Ministry of Development), but rather the complete lack of available stock for rental compared with the sharp growth in demand”, says Azora (…).

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Who is the Largest Residential Property Developer in Madrid

29 November 2018 – El Confidencial

With 12 developments underway comprising 758 homes with some type of protection, the Municipal Housing and Land Company (‘La Empresa Municipal de la Vivienda y Suelo’ or EMVS) is the most active property developer in the city of Madrid. Of the more than 350 residential projects under construction in the capital at the moment, the public initiative (by the Town Hall of Madrid), together with the promotion of cooperative homes or units with some kind of protection, has significant weight in Madrid, given that more than 16% of new build projects underway and 22% of the units under construction are public initiative developments (EMVS) or cooperative promotions.

That is according to data from the consultancy firm CBRE, which has compiled a study to analyse real estate activity in the Spanish capital, using satellites, taking into account both new build projects that require cranes for their completion as well as comprehensive renovation projects that do not need cranes or scaffolding. On the basis of the data obtained, the property developers who are currently carrying out those projects in the 21 districts of Madrid have been identified, be they new build projects, renovations, private homes or social housing units, excluding any homes being marketed on which construction work has not started yet.

The study establishes a ranking with the top 25 residential property developers in the capital on the basis of the number of projects underway and the number of units under construction. That ranking is led by the EMVS both by number of developments as well as by number of homes. Its developments are concentrated in the Pau de Vallecas (8 projects comprising 475 units), Latina (one development comprising 87 homes), Arganzuela (one development comprising 85 units), Villa de Vallecas (one development comprising 72 homes) and Carabanchel (one development comprising 25 homes).

Despite the strong development activity of the EMVS, the reality is that it is the private property developers who lead the activity overall, given that they account for three quarters (78%) of the new home units under construction in the city of Madrid. In fact, there are 12 private property developers with three or more projects under construction, which account for more than a third (34%) of the homes under construction.

Pryconsa and Inmoglacier, the most powerful

The second position in the ranking by number of developments is held by Pryconsa. The company chaired by Marco Colomer currently has seven projects underway, comprising 500 homes (…).

By number of units under construction, the second place in the ranking is held by Inmoglacier, with 748 homes under construction, distributed across just five developments, all of which are concentrated in Parque Ingenieros in Villaverde (…), all with some kind of protection and constructed on land acquired from Sepes more than three years ago. The company chaired by Ignacio Moreno (…) is one of the most active property developers in the capital and is focused towards a segment of the population capable of acquiring a home at affordable prices.

“At first glance, the sector appears to be vey fragmented. The 351 residential projects underway in Madrid are split between 241 companies or cooperatives. However, many property developers assign a separate legal entity to each promotion (…) and so it is not always easy to identify the large groups (and commercial brands) behind each project”, explains Samuel Población, National Residential Director at CBRE speaking to El Confidencial (…).

By area, the main national property developers are committed to constructing large projects in new areas, such as Arroyo del Fresno (Amenabar and Grupo Pinilla), Valdebebas, Parque de Ingenieros and El Cañaveral, where the projects with the largest number of units are concentrated. Companies such as Grupo Ibosa (…) and Vía Celere, along with the newcomer Brosh, complete the ranking (…).

International firms stick to the rich neighbourhoods

In terms of the property developers with a more international profile, by contrast, they are continuing with a strategy focused on the renovation of homes inside the city, in the most sought-after neighbourhoods. Venezuelan property developers have been particularly active, including Gran Roque (…), which has a dozen residential projects underway comprising more than 100 homes in some of the most sought-after areas of Madrid (…).

Also, Grosvenor (from the UK) and Darya Homes or Dazia Capital (France) are concentrating their activity exclusively in the districts of Centro, Chamberí and Salamanca. Those three developers – include Gran Roque – are currently managing 10 residential remodelling projects, which are characterised by the limited number of units (14 on average) and a clear vocation towards the high- and very high-end segments of the market.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Government Wants to Prohibit the Sale of Public Housing to Vulture Funds

12 September 2018 – El Mundo

The Government wants to give a new impetus to the housing policy in Spain and has placed social housing at the centre of its strategy. In this context, the President of the Executive, Pedro Sánchez (pictured below), has announced to the Congress of Deputies, that the new law he is preparing will configure social housing as a public service to ensure access to it for all citizens and moreover, to put a stop to the sale of public homes to the so-called venture funds.

During his speech at the control session of the Government, Sánchez announced that the State Attorney will appear in court regarding a criminal case into the investigation of the sale of 5,000 public rental homes undertaken by PP governments in the Community of Madrid and the Town Hall of the Spanish capital to private equity funds in 2012 and 2013.

The Institute of Housing in Madrid (Ivima), of the regional Government of Madrid, sold 2,935 public rental homes in 2013, whilst the Town Hall of Madrid, through the Municipal Housing and Land Company (EMVS), sold 1,860 homes of the same kind in 2012, according to Efe.

“We are not going to stop until the administrations that are behind this intolerable abuse, which has affected so many people of limited means, assume their political and economic responsibilities”, said the President.

The demands of Iglesias

Sánchez responded in that way to the Secretary-General of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, who has also called for other measures to put a stop to the rise in residential sale and rental prices in Spain, including, “ending the privileges afforded to Socimis, the commercial companies that operate in the real estate market and which are taxed at 0%”.

The leader of Podemos also requested that “large owners and venture funds, who own more than ten homes” be forced “to put those properties on the market”, and he proposed that “it is fundamental that the Town Halls be given authority to declare certain urban areas as “stressed markets” so that rental prices there can be regulated”.

Original story: El Mundo (by María Hernández)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s New Gov’t to Promote Construction of 20,000 Affordable Homes for Rent

12 July 2018 – El País

The Ministry of Development is preparing an ambitious range of measures to increase the supply of rental homes, put a stop to escalating prices and facilitate access to housing for young people and low-income families. Its proposals include a plan to build 20,000 rental homes, which will be allocated at controlled prices in cities where prices have soared, according to sources speaking to El País. Moreover, the Ministry wants to extend the duration of rental contracts from three to five years, limit damage deposits and stimulate the supply of rental housing with tax incentives and the moderation of rents.

More funding, regulatory changes and a tax reform are the three components of a broad plan through which the Ministry of Development says it wants to give a social twist to the housing policies and whose main lines will be announced in Congress today by their owner, José Luis Ábalos. The objective is to avoid a new housing price bubble from destabilising the economy once again, according to government sources, and, in particular,  to help families with limited resources and young people.

The package includes urgent measures aimed at alleviating the increase in rental prices, which have soared by up to 50% in large cities over the last four years due to the emergence of tourist apartments and the reactivation of the real estate market. The Government is going to launch an inter-ministerial working group tasked with developing a set of urgent policies for housing and rent.

Amongst the initiatives that the Ministry of Development is going to implement is a plan to build 20,000 affordable rental homes over the next four to six years. The State will promote the construction of these 20,000, mostly public, homes (although this has not been finalised and all of the possible formulae are going to be considered because the most important thing is for the homes to be built quickly). The homes will be destined for rent or transfer of use, for an indefinite period, with a limited rent or price, in cities with accredited demand and where rental prices are higher.

Palma de Mallorca, Las Palmas, Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Málaga, San Sebastián and Sevilla are the cities that have experienced the largest increases in rental prices over the last four years, which have risen by up to 50% on the islands, according to data from Idealista.

Last year in Spain, work was completed on 48,853 private homes and 4,938 social housing properties, according to data from the Ministry of Development. At the height of the real estate bubble, in 2007, almost 650,000 homes were being constructed per year.

The plan will be carried out in collaboration with autonomous communities and town halls, which will be asked to identify and facilitate the most appropriate plots of land on which these housing developments can be built. The State will involve SEPES, the public land entity, in this program and will contribute its own momentum and financial support. The ICO will also play a role in the design of the policies (…).

Original story: El País (by Elsa García de Blas)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Town Hall of Sevilla Grants Plot to Insur in Exchange for 63 Homes, 3 Retail Premises & €3.5M

6 July 2018 – Inmodiario

The Town Hall of Sevilla, through Emvisesa, and the company Inmobiliaria del Sur (Insur) have formalised an operation to exchange a plot of land on c/Ramón Carande included within the strategy to urgently expand the public housing stock and approved by the Town hall with a final value of €11.2 million, excluding the investment that the company will make to develop the land acquired.

In this way, and following a public tender, the city is exchanging a plot of land worth €7 million on which it will build up to 68 homes, for 63 constructed and completed homes, plus three commercial premises, a plot of land for 135 flats and €3.5 million.

“This is an innovative project of a social nature, which we launched with the backing of the Town Hall at the start of the mandate and which is now a reality. It is a good agreement for the city, which allows us to respond to an urgent need: to expand the public housing stock immediately”, explained the Mayor of Sevilla, who participated in the event at which the exchange agreement was signed together with the Delegate for Social Well-being and Employment, Juan Manuel Flores; the Delegate for Urban Living, Tourism and Culture, Antonio Muñoz; the Manager of Emvisesa, Felipe Castro; and the President and CEO of Inmobiliaria del Sur, Ricardo and Francisco Pumar.

Upon signing the agreement, the company handed over the 63 completed homes to the Town Hall. They are ready for the tenants to move into and 51 of them are located in the same block, on Avenida de Andalucía. They have a total appraisal value of €6.5 million.

The local government, through Emvisesa, is already working to formalise the change in rating from sale to rental and to complete their award (to their new tenants) as soon as possible with the following split: 70% will be allocated to young people recorded in the claimants register and the remaining 30% will be social housing properties based on criteria established by Social Well-being.

Similarly, three commercial premises are being incorporated into the town hall’s portfolio, which will be marketed as part of the municipal employment programs. A plot of land in Valdezorras is also being incorporated, where 135 more affordable homes may be built, which will be executed by Emvisesa.

Finally, Emvisesa will also receive €1.2 million from this operation, which will be used to purchase empty Emvisesa homes that have a total budget of €1.5 million and which already has 25 homes appraised and valid for acquisition. The remaining €2.3 million will be used for renovation projects, such as the new inter-generational housing block on c/García Ramos.

Original story: Inmodiario 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Madrid’s Town Hall Faces Compensation Payments of €1.6bn For Suspending Developments in SE of the Capital

16 May 2018 – El Confidencial

The suspension of the developments in the south-east of Madrid could cost the capital’s Town Hall as much as €1.6 billion, in other words, 34% of its annual budget. That is the calculation that two independent experts have performed on the basis of the execution of the Master Plan for the New Development Strategy for the Southeast of Madrid, which has led to the ‘de facto’ paralysis of all of the areas in the south of Madrid: Los Berrocales, Valdecarros, Los Cerros and Ahijones, the last large block of buildable land to the south of capital, which was destined to bring thousands of homes onto the market at affordable prices.

The report, compiled by Federico García Erviti and Gerardo Roger Fernández Fernández, experts in urban planning valuations, estimates that the indemnity payments for the Compensation Boards of Valdecarros, Berrocales and Los Cerros will amount to €1.58 billion. The Master Plan itself, compiled by the Town Hall, mentions possible compensation payments but does not quantify them.

According to this document, the number of homes will be reduced by two thirds – from 105,000 to 38,708 – ; also, the total surface area will be cut and several other modifications will be made to the plans.

Specifically, according to the report from these experts, we will be talking about a payment of more than €640 million for the Compensation Board of Los Berrocales, another €755 million for Valdecarros, whilst, in the case of Los Cerros, the indemnity payment will amount to €182 million. To all of these figures, possible additional compensation payments to each one of the owners – around one thousand – will have to be made, who may also file claims with the Town Hall of Madrid, for example, for the taxes paid over the last few years for buildable plots, whose classification is now going to change on the basis of this Master Plan.

“The Master Plan does not have any legal validity to make a modification such as the one required”, said Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, Chairman of the Association of Property Developers of Madrid (Asprima), who considers that “during periods of real estate activity, such as the one the sector is experiencing at the moment, the effects of these measures and the damage for the city as a whole are irreparable, given that they have paralysed the only block of buildable land with these characteristics, where homes could be built for the lower and middle classes in the capital, driving those who want to buy a home at an affordable price out of Madrid”. Moreover, he considers that “the Master Plan will lead to significant increases in the price of land, whilst the legal uncertainty will scare off investors” (…).

The (Compensation) Boards filed an appeal against the Master Plan, as well as the legality of it, with the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJM), because they consider that “a pseudo planning instrument has effectively been approved. A town hall cannot approve an urban planning instrument”, and they have requested the precautionary suspension of it. The TSJM has admitted the appeal for processing but has not ruled on the matter for the time being.

Since the arrival of the new Government in Cibeles, “developments have slowed down and there have even been written requests for their agreements to be adapted to the Master Plan”, claim sources from Asprima.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Aedas Homes Unveils its Plans for Hacienda del Rosario (Sevilla)

8 January 2018 – ABC Sevilla

A new neighbourhood with more than 1,000 homes for families aged between 30 and 45 at affordable prices. That is the project that is now being built in Hacienda del Rosario, right opposite the Decathlon store and next to the Parsi Industrial Estate. The aim is to develop the city’s urban planning project and recover the demographic indices last seen a decade ago.

The Aedas Homes group is going to build 1,046 two-, three- and four-bedroom homes in seven 10-storey towers over a surface area of 93,000 m2, of which 73,000 m2 will comprise green space. And the Town Hall is going to build another 218 social housing properties on an adjacent plot, owned by the Urban Planning Department, which Emvisesa has already started to process. That means that by the start of 2019, Sevilla will have a new district with more than 2,000 homes, including not only these projects but also the one in Santa Bárbara.

On Monday, the mayor, Juan Espadas, visited the site where Aedas – which is also responsible for the Cisneo Alto project and the new Ramón y Cajal urbanisations – is starting work on land that it purchased in 2016 from Gabriel Rojas in the East of the city. Specifically, the plots are located between the A-92 and the shopping centre that houses the aforementioned Decathlon store. The access roads have already been built and the Town Hall has granted the relevant licences for the construction of the residential areas, which will include a park measuring seven hectares, a social club and common areas with a swimming pool and padel courts.

For Espadas, “this project is not simply a housing development, but rather the creation of a new neighbourhood in Sevilla, which means that we are at the beginning of the post-crisis and we have left behind the black hole in the construction sector”. The area of expansion is destined for “established families who want a more comfortable environment at a good price”, explains the mayor. The regional director of Aedas, Diego Chacón, highlight that these homes will cost between €120,000 and €150,000, and will be financed by Banco Santander and constructed by San José. The first tower, which will have 142 homes, will be handed over within a year. And from then, the area will come to life continuously in search of a clear objective that the major himself has admitted: “The registration of citizens (‘empadronamiento’) in the city will be activated again”.

Original story: ABC Sevilla (by Alberto García Reyes)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Work Begins on the First 142 Homes in Hacienda del Rosario (Sevilla)

8 January 2018 – Emvisesa

Today, the mayor of Sevilla, Juan Espadas, together with the representative for Urban Habitats, Culture and Tourism, Antonio Muñoz, the representative for the Este-Alcosa-Torreblanca District, Adela Castaño and the manager of Emvisesa, Felipe Castro, have visited the new housing development in Jardines de Hacienda del Rosario (Sevilla), where the first 142 homes are now being built on a site where more than 2,000 new homes are planned. In total, the urban development planned in the PGOU affects more than 460,000 m2 of space including residential land, open spaces, green areas and other facilities.

“This development shows that the large projects planned in the PGOU are being unblocked and that the housing sector is reactivating, which should contribute to the city through new developments and renovations to generate opportunities, especially for young people, to reduce unemployment and to increase the population registered in Sevilla. It must always be done in a sustainable and balanced way”, said the mayor of Sevilla, who highlighted that the model also includes a mix of private and subsidised homes, like in the case of Hacienda del Rosario. Of the 2,000 homes planned there, 824 will be social housing properties.

The urban development has been initiated by Aedas Homes, with the first of seven private residential buildings, inside a residential complex with more than 33,000 m2 of open space, including garden areas, a social club and children’s play areas. In total, 142 of the 1,000 homes planned are being constructed and the idea is that these first properties will be handed over at the beginning of 2019.

This same urban development is one of those included in the strategy to urgently expand the public stock of homes designed by Emvisesa with the aim of building 1,000 social housing properties over the next few years. To this end, the paperwork has been started by the Urban Planning Department to grant Evisesa the first plot in Hacienda del Rosario so that it can build 218 subsidised homes there on the plot measuring 9,044 m2.

Juan Espadas has confirmed that Emvisesa’s Board of Directors has already given the green light to the provision by the Urban Planning Department of a plot for the construction of a first set of 218 homes at affordable prices, to be constructed and promoted by Emvisesa. Therefore, there will be a harmonious development of affordable and private housing, like has been seen in other neighbourhoods in the city.

“Many projects are being unblocked, which reflects the economic reactivation that is being achieved in the city”, explains the mayor of Sevilla. In fact, the volume of building permits granted in 2017 exceeded €230 million, almost double the volume granted in the previous year. Moreover, more than 1,000 housing licences were granted, equivalent to the sum of all of those granted in the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

In this sense, the mayor highlighted the importance of the definitive approval at the recent Plenary of the modification to the Ordinance Regulating Construction Work and Activity (OROA) issued by the Town Hall of Sevilla to streamline the procedures and facilitate the opening of new projects in the city, as well as the process that is entering its final phase to unify the services of Urban Planning and the Environment.

Original story: Emvisesa

Translation: Carmel Drake