Basque Government Invested €50.1 Million in New Social Housing Rental Units

6 January 2020 The Basque Government acquired a total of 506 flats over the past year for use in public housing. The regional government acquired the properties using public funds, budgetary surpluses and the Sustainable Financial Investments financial instrument used by Spanish local authorities. The properties are now under management by the Basque public company Alokabide.

The government invested a total of 50.1 million euros in the acquisitions. Specifically, the government acquired 70 VPO flats in the neighbourhood of Donostiarra in Morlans (€4.9 million), 32 VPOs in Santurtzi (€4.5 million), an advance on 84 social housing units in Ortuella (€2.4 million), 52 VPOs in Sestao (€7.6 million), 26 VPOs in Mungia and 52 VPOs in Amorebieta (€9.5 million), nine free homes owned by SAREB in several locations (742,000 euros), 36 VPOs in Legutio (€3.8 million), three homes in Bermeo (345,635 euros), 91 social housing units in the neighbourhood of Iturribarri in Getxo (€8.2 million) and 51 VPOs in the neighbourhood of Zerrajera in Arrasate (€7.8 million).

El Gobierno Vasco adquirió un total de 506 pisos durante el año pasado para uso como viviendas públicas. El gobierno regional adquirió las propiedades utilizando fondos públicos, excedentes presupuestarios y el instrumento financiero de inversiones financieras sostenibles utilizado por las autoridades locales españolas. Las propiedades están ahora bajo la gestión de la empresa pública vasca Alokabide.

El gobierno invirtió un total de 50,1 millones de euros en las adquisiciones. Específicamente, el gobierno adquirió 70 pisos VPO en el barrio de Donostiarra en Morlans (€ 4.9 millones), 32 VPO en Santurtzi (€ 4.5 millones), un anticipo de 84 unidades de vivienda social en Ortuella (€ 2.4 millones), 52 VPO en Sestao (7,6 millones de euros), 26 VPO en Mungia y 52 VPO en Amorebieta (9,5 millones de euros), nueve viviendas gratuitas propiedad de SAREB en varias ubicaciones (742.000 euros), 36 VPO en Legutio (3,8 millones de euros), tres viviendas en Bermeo ( 345.635 euros), 91 unidades de vivienda social en el barrio de Iturribarri en Getxo (8,2 millones de euros) y 51 VPO en el barrio de Zerrajera en Arrasate (7,8 millones de euros).

Original Story: La Vanguardia – P. R. D.

Translation/Summary: Richard D. Turner

Catalonia’s Regional Government Boosts Social Housing

4 January 2020 The Catalonian regional government approved a decree at the end of 2019 that will oblige people and companies which own more than fifteen properties to offer social housing to groups considered vulnerable. Those groups may include families in eviction proceedings and people who have illegally occupied properties for at least six months since the decree’s approval.

The government will also extend compulsory social rental contracts from three to five or seven years, depending on whether a person or a company owns the property. Additionally, the government will implement a measure whereby buildings with unfinished works will be considered unoccupied after a specific period and liable to coercive fines and the possibility of expropriation.

La Generalitat de Cataluña aprobó un decreto a fines de 2019 que obligará a las personas y empresas que poseen más de quince propiedades a ofrecer viviendas sociales a grupos considerados vulnerables. Esos grupos pueden incluir familias en procesos de desalojo y personas que han ocupado propiedades ilegalmente durante al menos seis meses desde la aprobación del decreto.

El gobierno también extenderá los contratos obligatorios de alquiler social de tres a cinco o siete años, dependiendo de si la propriedad es de una persona o una empresa. Además, la Generalitat implementará una medida por la cual los edificios con obras inacabadas se considerarán desocupadas después de un período específico y susceptibles de multas coercitivas y la posibilidad de expropiación.

Original Story: El Confidencial

Translation/Summary: Richard D. Turner

Madrid to Avoid Price Controls on Rental Flats

4 January 2020 José María García, the Community of Madrid’s General Director for Housing and Rehabilitation, explained to idealista/news in an interview that the government of Madrid will not intervene in the market to place limits on rental prices in the region. Such measures have generally proven counter-productive in other European cities. The government has instead opted to concentrate on increasing the supply of rental housing to combat the recent price inflation.

A regional plan, called the Plan Live in Madrid, will use publicly owned land for the development of affordable rental homes. At the same time, the government intends to invest in urban renewal to take advantage of existing, though possibly degraded, properties. Young buyers, under the age of 35, will also receive deductions on interest payments on mortgages.

The Spanish government has already identified sufficient land to build approximately 15,000 homes and expects to find enough for at least another 10,000.  The land is spread out around Madrid, in areas such as San Sebastián de los Reyes, Alcobendas, Getafe, Alcalá de Henares and Tres Cantos.

José María García, Director General de Vivienda y Rehabilitación de la Comunidad de Madrid, ha explicado a idealista/news en una entrevista que el gobierno de Madrid no intervendrá en el mercado de alquiler para poner límites a los precios en la región de Madrid. Dichas medidas generalmente han producidas resultados contraproducentes en otras ciudades europeas. En cambio, el gobierno ha optado por concentrarse en aumentar la oferta de viviendas de alquiler para combatir la reciente inflación de precios.

Un plan regional, llamado Plan Live en Madrid, utilizará terrenos de propiedad pública para el desarrollo de viviendas de alquiler asequibles. Al mismo tiempo, el gobierno tiene la intención de invertir en la renovación urbana para aprovechar las propiedades existentes, aunque posiblemente degradadas. Los compradores jóvenes, menores de 35 años, también recibirán deducciones en los pagos de intereses sobre hipotecas.

El gobierno español ya ha identificado suficientes terrenos para construir aproximadamente 15,000 hogares y espera encontrar suficientes para al menos otros 10,000. El terreno se extiende por Madrid, en zonas como San Sebastián de los Reyes, Alcobendas, Getafe, Alcalá de Henares y Tres Cantos.

Original Story: Idealista – P. Martinez-Almeida & Luis Manzano

Translation/Summary: Richard D. Turner

European Court of Justice Rules Against France in Airbnb Case

3 January 2020 The European Court of Justice has ruled that Airbnb cannot be considered a real estate agency. Therefore, the firm may not be governed under the corresponding regulations. The court determined that the platform should be treated as a data services company since it does not set any rental prices.

The Court added that Airbnb’s activity fell within the scope of the 2000 Directive on e-commerce and ruled that France, which had originally filed the petition, may not require the firm to obtain licensing as a real estate agency.

El Tribunal de Justicia de la Unión Europea ha sentenciado que Airbnb no puede ser considerado una inmobiliaria y, por lo tanto, no puede ser regido según las regulaciones correspondientes. El tribunal determinó que debe tratar la plataforma como una empresa de servicios de datos, ya que no establece ningún precio de alquiler.

El Tribunal agregó que la actividad de Airbnb estaba dentro del alcance de la Directiva 2000 sobre comercio electrónico y dictaminó que Francia, que originalmente había presentado la petición, no puede exigir a la empresa que obtenga una licencia como inmobiliaria.

Original Story: Preferente.com

Translation/Summary: Richard D. Turner

Residential Mortgages Begin to Level Out After Mortgage Law

3 January 2020 Spain’s banks issued a total of 29,691 residential mortgages in October, a fall of 2.1% compared to the same month of 2018, according to data published by the country’s National Statistics Institute (INE). Issuance, therefore, fell for the third straight month, though the reduction was limited to the two previous months. The value of the average mortgage rose by 1.1% to 129,237 euros.

The average interest rate on residential mortgages stood at 2.50% (5.0% lower than in October 2018), with an average term of 24 years. Variable-rate mortgages accounted for 54.7% of the total, while fixed-rate mortgages made up the rest.

The mortgage law of last year hit the market and experts believe that the issuance is beginning to return to “normal” levels.

En español

Los bancos españoles emitieron un total de 29.691 hipotecas residenciales en octubre, una caída del 2,1% en comparación con el mismo mes de 2018, según datos publicados por el Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE). Las emisiones cayeron por el tercer mes consecutivo, aunque la reducción se limitó comparado a los dos meses anteriores. El valor de la hipoteca media aumentó un 1,1% a 129.237 euros.

La tasa de interés promedio de las hipotecas residenciales se ubicó en 2.50% (5.0% menor que en octubre de 2018), con un plazo medio de 24 años. Las hipotecas a tasa variable representaron el 54.7% del total, mientras que las hipotecas a tasa fija constituyeron el resto.

La ley de hipotecas del año pasado sacudió el mercado en 2019. Ahora los expertos creen que la emisión está comenzando a volver a los niveles “normales”.

Original Story: El Boletin – E.B.

Translation/Summary: Richard D. Turner

Spain’s Government to Overhaul Regulations Governing Socimis

3 January 2020 The two parties in Spain’s governing coalition, PSOE and Unidas Podemos, have reached an agreement to overhaul the legal and tax frameworks that regulate socimis in the country. The principal effect will be to implement a 15% tax on retained earnings.

The government will also seek to implement measures to contain what it sees as abusive increases in rental prices in specific areas of the country. Spain’s autonomous regions and municipalities will henceforth have the power to impose ceilings on price increases based on an objective methodology, which will be determined at a later date.

The two parties also agreed to establish a legal framework to create a database of vacant housing and major property holders. Local governments will be able to use the information to induce such holders to put their properties on the rental market to relieve demand pressure.

Los dos partidos en la coalición gobernante de España, PSOE y Unidas Podemos, han llegado a un acuerdo para revisar el régimen jurídico y fiscal que regula a los socimis en el país. El efecto principal será implementar un impuesto del 15% sobre los beneficios no distribuidos.

El gobierno también buscará implementar medidas para contener lo que ve como aumentos abusivos en los precios de alquiler en áreas específicas del país. Las regiones autónomos y municipios de España tendrán en adelante el poder de imponer límites a los aumentos de precios basados en una metodología objetiva, que se determinará en una fecha posterior.

Las dos partes también acordaron establecer un régimen legal para crear una base de datos de viviendas vacantes y los principales propietarios en el país. Los gobiernos locales podrán utilizar la información para inducir a dichos titulares a poner sus propiedades en el mercado de alquiler para aliviar la presión de la demanda.

Original Story: Eje Prime

Translation/Summary: Richard D. Turner

Madrid Budgets €21 Million to Buy Land for Public Use

3 December 2019 – The political parties PP and Cs’ new budget for the Madrid City Council’s includes €21 million to acquire new land for additional housing and other public needs. The budget increases the Municipal Housing and Land Company’s budget by 16.19% to 180 million euros.

These new lands would consist of new facilities around the airport, a new residence for senior citizens in Puente de Valleca. The municipal company would also acquire land in Campo de las Naciones to add to the Metropolitan Forest.

Original Story: La Vanguardia

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Spain’s Ministry of Development Looks to Acquire Land from Sareb

25 November 2019 – Spain’s Ministry of Development (Ministerio de Fomento) is looking to create a partnership with the bad bank Sareb to help it achieve its goals under the Plan 20,000 housing policy. The government hopes to build 20,000 affordable rental homes to alleviate a lack of residential housing on the market and is considering buying land for the new developments from Sareb.

Original Story: El Economista – Alba Brualla & Rubén Esteller

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Domo to Give Up Socimi Status After Change in Spanish Rental Law

21 November 2019 – Domo will exit the socimi tax regime and, along with it, its business of developing rental housing due to changes in Spanish regulations. The country approved a law this year where rental agreements would be extended from three to five years, and up to seven years in cases where the owner is a corporate entity.

The firm argued that the change in the law would negatively affect its operations, as its strategy included selling the properties it built within four to six years. Domo added that the new regulations would impact its financing arrangements and decrease its potential profitability.

Nevertheless, Domo expects to maintain its listing on the MAB.

Original Story: La Vanguardia

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Podemos Pushes Increased Social Housing in Pact with PSOE

18 November 2019 – Podemos, the left-wing populist political party led by the political scientist Pablo Iglesias, signed a pre-agreement with the PSOE to create a governing coalition. The accord includes topics that the party, which was created in 2014, has espoused throughout its short life. One of the ten points included in the platform is a constitutional right to housing. Iglesias added that his party had not agreed to enter into a coalition with the centre-left PSOE because they were unable to agree on the subject beforehand.

Podemos is now looking to create a right to housing as a basis of the country’s constitution, with legal guarantees. Some of the proposed measures would directly affect the rental market, with indefinite rental contracts, with transparent grounds for justified termination and automatic extensions where the tenant is especially vulnerable and the landlord a large property owner. The party also supports increasing the stock of social housing by 50,000 flats per year through the compulsory transfer of empty homes held by funds, banks and Sareb, for example, for use in the rental market.

The announcement led to share declines for some of the largest Spanish socimis, including Merlin and Colonial.

Original Story: El Confidencial – Ruth Ugalde

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner