Ministry of Development Will Report Variations in Rental Prices Every Quarter

29 January 2018 – Eje Prime

The Government is taking an interest in the rental market. The Ministry of Development is planning to report on the evolution of rental housing each quarter with new statistics reflecting different data and aspects of the market.

The report will be compiled by the Ministry’s Observatory for Housing and Land, which will analyse the situation in the market, which is currently booming in Spain. The increase in prices in this segment in certain cities, such as Madrid and Barcelona, is coming close to setting new records, driven by the increasingly high demand for these types of assets. In 2017 alone, residential rental prices rose by 8.9% across the country, led by Cataluña, where rental house prices increased by more than 10%.

The team that is going to launch this new quarterly report is already working to compile the first edition, gathering information and forecasts on the rental market from the main bodies and public institutions, as well as from companies in the private sector.

Similarly, the Ministry of Development is going to publish research that will reveal citizens’ perceptions of rental housing in order to, according to the public body, “identify the main problems and barriers facing the segment”.

Currently, the Government of Spain has the Housing Plan for 2018-2021 on the table, pending approval by the Council of Ministers. With that, young people aged under 35 years will receive financial assistance of up to 50% to cover the cost of renting their homes, taking into account the salary level of the claimant and provided the cost of the rental contract does not exceed €900 per month.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Junta Accelerates Paperwork For Puerto De Málaga Hotel-Skyscraper

16 October 2017 – El Confidencial

Clear path ahead. The Qatari owners behind the hotel-skyscraper in the Puerto de Málaga, also known as Torre del Puerto, had feared that the environmental impact statement of the hotel complex land would not be shortened (to four months) and would be extended to take 18 months. But, in the end, the Qataris have got their own way. The Junta has accelerated the processing of the paperwork to allow the project to go ahead. The tower will be 135m tall and the project will cost at least €100 million.

Pleas from Málaga’s College of Architects and the Ecologists in Action group against the height (of the tower) have fallen on deaf ears. A delegation from the Ministry of the Environment and Territorial Organisation is driving the abbreviated environmental procedure for the Dique de Levante platform, where the Torre del Puerto de Málaga is going to be built. In its definitive report, it concludes that the modification to the special plan for the Puerto for the construction “does not have any effect on the environment”.

“This is good news. It was one of the possibilities that was being considered and we were defending it, but we will need to process the paperwork for the environment and the tower”, explained José Seguí, author of the project, in declarations to El Confidencial. Seguí admitted that a non-simplified environmental impact statement “would have muddied the waters”, although in the event of an extended version “we would have tried to process as quickly as possible”.

In addition to the environmental impact statement and the possibility of including a casino, which is still up in the air, the Special Plan for the port now needs to be changed to modify the use as a public space. The Port Authority of Málaga, chaired by Paulino Plata, former Minister for Agriculture, Culture and Tourism at the Junta (…) defends the application of the reduced environmental procedure, which will have to be resolved before the end of the year. In a visit to Málaga, the Minister for Development, Íñigo de la Serna, announced that the Government would approve the tower. The Council of Ministers is the body responsible for definitively authorising the project.

In the midst of this process, Abdullah al Darwish, from the company Andalusian Hospitality II (on behalf of the Al Bidda group, which is behind the project), made his intentions clear in an interview with ‘El Sur’ newspaper: “We cannot wait forever, the time has come to take decisions. We have to move forward. For us, it would be perfect if everything could be ready within one year”.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Agustín Rivera)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ministry Of Defence Puts Former ‘Hospital Del Aire’ Land Up For Auction

4 October 2017 – Eje Prime

The plot of land (…) is located in the Arturo Soria neighbourhood of Madrid, one of the most expensive areas of the capital (…). 

The Ministry of Defence is looking to shed weight. The government department has received authorisation from the Council of Ministers to put up for auction the land on which the former Hospital del Aire used to be located. The block is in disuse and has been vacant since 2011 when the old hospital building was demolished.

The asking price for the ownership of the land has been set at €25.1 million, for a plot spanning 28,341 m2. The former hospital has been included in the Ministry of Defence’s portfolio of buildings since 1945, when the former Ministry of Air acquired it, through a normal purchase and sale transaction.

In 2010, the Ministry of Defence managed to reach a pre-agreement with the Fundación Universidad Empresa to sell the building, but just six months later, the protocol that had been signed in that regard expired.

The express authorisation of the Council of Ministers to launch the auction was mandatory in this case, given that the sales value of the site exceeds €20 million.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

New Housing Plan Will Include Aid For Renters & Evicted Families

14 December 2016 – El Mundo

On Tuesday 13 December, the Minister for Development, Íñigo de la Serna (pictured above), said that the future Housing Plan 2018-2021, which his department is currently working on, will seek to continue to support rental housing through a specific program of aid, and will add other assistance for families evicted from their habitual residences.

De la Serna emphasised that the draft plan includes financing for a program of aid for families evicted from their habitual residences that find themselves in vulnerable situations, through the constitution of social funds for rental housing.

Similarly, he expressed his intention for the new housing plan to continue to offer support for rental housing thanks to a specific program.

The Ministry of Development has already started the process to approve this new housing plan and to this end, it has invited the Autonomous Regions to a conference, which will be held on Thursday 15 December, where some of the overarching premises are expected to be discussed.

The Minister for Development recalled that last Friday, the Council of Ministers approved an extension of the Housing Plan 2013-2016 to ensure that its beneficiaries will not lose their aid from 1 January 2017 onwards.

In terms of the sale of social housing to vulture funds, De la Serna reminded the Podemos party Senator María Pilar Garrido that the Government will not carry out any sale in this sense because the duties in terms of housing are assumed by the Autonomous Regions.

“We have to comply with the law and not encroach on the regional duties that are not our responsibility”, he added.

He also said that the State can only influence the regulation of economic planning, specifically, the definition of safeguarding actions and the regulation of financing structures through the contribution of state resources.

Based on this, he explained that the Government approves the state housing plans, which are then managed through agreements with the different autonomous regions.

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Carmel Drake

New Tax Rules Increase IBI Charge In 11 Provincial Capitals From 2017

5 December 2016 – Expansión

Property owners in some of Spain’s largest cities will start the new year with a tax blow. The Royal Decree that was approved by the Council of Ministers on Friday and published in the BOE on Saturday contains…a measure that will significantly increase the Tax on Real Estate Assets (IBI) in hundreds of towns, including in eleven provincial capitals, specifically: Valencia, Alicante, Badajoz, Cádiz, Córdoba, Teruel, Granada, Jaén, Huelva, Tarragona and Huesca.

This tax will accrue from 1 January 2017 and will depend on the cadastral values, given that they form the taxable base for the IBI calculation. The Tax Authorities have approved updates to these values in 2,452 towns, i.e. in almost one third of the towns in Spain.

The Town Halls set the cadastral values on the basis of value proposals performed by the Catastro. However, all of the property values (homes, garages, premises, offices, hotels, etc) affected by proposals made prior to 2004 will be revised upwards, with coefficients ranging from 1.03 to 1.08, according to the Royal Decree from the Tax Authorities.

For example, in Córdoba, whose valuations were last reviewed in 1995, the update will be 1.06. Thus, if a home had a cadastral value of €100,000 in 2016, it will have a cadastral value of €106,000 in 2017. The IBI payments will increase without the need to raise the tax rate. In Valencia, whose valuations were last reviewed in 1998, the coefficient will be 1.04.

Most of the towns that requested the review, which seeks to reflect property values to 50% of their market price, did so to increase their coefficients and, ultimately, to increase the IBI raised without changing the tax rate . Many of the affected towns have not reviewed their values since the real estate boom, or even earlier. In fact, numerous town halls have not updated their valuations since the 1980s.

The valuations last performed between 2005 and 2011 will be updated with a coefficient of less than one, of between 0.87 and 0.92. They include four provincial capitals: Almería, Santander, Lleida and Ávila.

The reason for the measure

(…) For the avoidance of doubt, the Royal Decree explains that the measure “is necessary given that it contributes to strengthening municipal financing, tax consolidation and budgetary stability for local entities”. In other words, it is a necessary measure to balance the deficit. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ministry of Development Invests €870M In Housing Plan For 2017

23 November 2016 – Expansión

Yesterday, the Minister for Development, Íñigo de la Serna, announced in the Senate that the State Plan for Housing and Refurbishment 2013-2016, which is due to expire at the end of this year, will be extended for another year. The Government is finalising a Royal Decree to avoid “the subsidies for housing being suspended from 1 January”, said De la Serna. Thanks to this extension, which the Council of Ministers will approve over the coming weeks, the number of families receiving subsidies of up to €200 to pay their rent will increase to 100,000.

The ministry was unable to provide details about how many recipients currently benefit from the Plan, but the initial objective was to cover the needs of 200,000 families. So far, it has not managed to help even half that number, but that is the aim for next year.

The commitment to subsidise rental payments instead of awarding social housing was very well received by all social agents, as well as by the opposition party. Through the State Plan, the Ministry of Development pays for between 33% and 40% of the monthly rent of households with incomes of less than €22,365 per annum who rent homes for less than €600/month.

During the Government control session in the Senate, the Minister revealed that this one-year extension will allow the Ministry of Development to allocate more than €321 million to rental and refurbishment projects in 2017. Moreover, almost €90 million will be contributed by the regional governments in the form of co-financing and €458 million will be provided through induced private investment, taking the total investment to almost €870 million.

“The extension of the term will not only help lots of families pay their rent, but also will continue to incentivise participation in the private sector and create business opportunities, which will result in the generation of employment and, therefore, also in new resources for the State”, said the Minister. In fact, next year, “35,000 homes will be refurbished or renovated”, which will create 13,000 jobs, said De la Serna.

In parallel, more than 70,000 families will continue to receive help with their mortgage payments to acquire social housing properties in 2017. Another €150 million will be allocated to that cause.

The Minister also announced that the Sectoral Housing Conference will be convened on 15 December with all of the autonomous communities, to start to prepare a State Plan for the period 2018-2021. De la Serna said that this will be “the fruit of consensus and dialogue” not only with the autonomous governments, but also with agents, associations and other players in the sector. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake