19 September 2016 – Voz Populi
The rebirth of the real estate market will soon have a new, unusual, player in its midst: the Town Hall of Madrid. The capital’s Town Hall is getting ready to fire the starting gun for the construction of the first rental homes that it plans to build during its legislature. For the time being, it will put out to tender the construction of almost 1,000 homes, with an initial investment of more than €60 million.
Social housing was one of the key pillars of Ahora Madrid’s election campaign during the municipal elections to govern the largest town hall in Spain, which were held in 2015. For the first few months, the municipality’s new team focused on getting to know the financial circumstances of the ‘Empresa Municipal de la Vivienda y el Suelo’ (EMVS), which starred in spectacular asset sales during Ana Botella’s reign at the Town Hall, all intended to alleviate the city’s economic difficulties.
The Town Hall’s plans now include constructing 4,000 new social housing homes in Madrid before the end of its legislature. Work will begin on a quarter of them within the next few months, once the ten contracts that the mayoress’ team is currently preparing have been awarded (…).
The Town Hall’s property development activity will be launched once the role of the EMVS to contract and put homes on the market has been activated again, following the restrictions imposed on it in recent years. Previously, the company was in a very delicate financial situation due to the collapse in value of the large volumes of land that it had acquired at the end of the real estate bubble and, therefore, at exorbitant prices.
Those circumstances meant that the company had to divest assets, including packages of homes sold to vulture funds, which generated a lot of controversy, which has now been declared void in the courts and by the investigation committee created to try to determine the legal nature of the operation.
In April 2016, the Town Hall injected €17 million into the EMVS, through a capital increase, an amount that was intended to allow it to continue cancelling its debt but which, at the same time, allowed it to relaunch the public company’s construction activity. The developments are located in the district of Vallecas and in the areas of Rosilla and Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, although the Town Hall’s also plans to construct homes in other areas of the capital too.
This is undoubtedly an unprecedented move and not only in the public sphere, but also in the private. Many real estate companies have cancelled their development plans due to the collapse of the market and the lack of demand, together with the problems generated by the large volume of empty homes in Madrid. The contracts that the Town Hall will put out to tender mean that almost 1,000 new homes will be constructed within two years of them being awarded.
Original story: Voz Populi (by Raúl Pozo)
Translation: Carmel Drake