Carmena Approves Los Berrocales, the Largest Housing Development in the South of Madrid

24 January 2019 – El Confidencial

The Government Board chaired by Manuela Carmena will give an important boost to the urban development area of Los Berrocales on Thursday. It is the largest in the city and the first to receive the green light of the sites that comprise the project known as the Developments of the Southeast (Los Desarrollos del Sureste). The Town Hall of Madrid and the Compensation Board for the area have finally agreed the initial text for the urban planning agreement for the management of the buildable land, which will see the construction of 22,000 homes on the largest land bank in the south of the city. 50% of the homes, around 11,000, will be dedicated to social housing.

The General Plan for the city of Madrid obliges the parties involved to sign an urban planning agreement for the management of this area. The Administration and the urban planning entity are signing the commitments assumed by both for the development of the area. According to comments made to this newspaper, the agreement reflects the obligation of the Compensation Board to urbanise the land (which spans 8,305,812 m2 in total) over the course of six phases, during which the planned buildings will be constructed and the services implemented. The project will run until 2034. Moreover, the agreed texts establish the criteria to ensure the equitable distribution of profits and charges between all of the owners (…).

The total buildability amounts to 3.3 million m2, of which 2,247,121 m2 will be dedicated to residential use. 50% of that will be for private housing, 31% for price-controlled housing and 19% for social housing (that latter two percentages correspond to 11,000 homes). The rest will be dedicated to industrial, tertiary, office and commercial use.

In terms of facilities, more than 2 million m2 will be converted into green space, 1.9 million m2 will be used for public facilities and services, 1.7 million m2 for infrastructure and 228,830 m2 will be used for social integration homes.

The agreement reached with the Compensation Board represents a victory for the municipal Government and specifically, for the Sustainable Urban Development department, led by José Manuel Calvo, five months before the end of the current legislature (…).

Following the green light from the Governing Board, the text of the agreement must be submitted for public consultation – a comment period – and afterwards, it will go to the municipal plenary. From that moment, the urban planning entity will be able to start work on the execution of the project.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Paloma Esteban)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Carmena Invites Ministry of Development to Reactivate Operación Campamento with 11,500 Homes

25 September 2018 – El Confidencial

The mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, announced today that she has invited the Ministry of Development to reactivate Operación Campamento, originally proposed in 2005, to be built on disused military land in the south-west of the capital, with the construction of 11,150 homes instead of the 22,100 units projected by the PP initially. This is one of the last remaining urban development projects in Madrid, together with the developments in the southeast of the city and Operación Chamartín, which received initial approval from the Town Hall of Madrid last week.

In April 2015, the Ministry of Defence – the owner of the plots – announced their sale through an online public auction on Addmeet, but in the end, the operation was left hanging. Then, as El Confidencial reported, the asking price for the plots – through the public auction process – amounted to between €200 million and €250 million.

Now, three years later, and with the urbanisation process underway for Madrid Nuevo Norte (MNN) – the new name for Operación Chamartín – Carmena seems to be willing to place enough land on the market to try to put a stop to the sharp rise in prices, both in the purchase and rental markets, that the capital has experienced over the last two years and which has also led Carmena herself to propose to the central Government a moratorium or an automatic extension of the rental contracts that are due to terminate before the Urban Lease Law (LAU) is reformed.

Manuela Carmena made this announcement during her opening speech in the debate over the state of the city, in which she vindicated the Government’s actions in urban planning and its willingness to put a stop to the inequality that exists between the north and the south of the city (…).

As already happened with MNN, where the total buildability was reduced by 21% – from 3.37 million m2 in the previous plan to 2.66 million m2 in the current plan – along with the number of homes – from 18,500 to 10,510, mostly social housing properties – the operation will not go ahead at any price and, according to Carmena’s comments, the total buildability would also be reduced in this new Operación Campamento and the construction of public housing would be strengthened.

Operación Campamento in numbers

Designed on plots of land owned by the state, the Town Hall wants to build 11,150 homes, of which 40% will be private – 4,150 -, 37% will be social housing properties with limited prices – 3,800 – , and 23% will be social housing properties, of which 1,100 will be rental homes.

So-called Operación Campamento was launched in 2005 with the signing of an agreement between the then Minister of Defence, José Bono, and Minister for Housing, María Antonia Trujillo, and the then mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, for the construction of two phases of up to 22,100 homes on this disused military site to the west of the Spanish capital. Even though today, around half of the homes should have already been built, not a single brick has been laid.

Despite the strategic location of the plots, the reality is that only the Chinese businessman Wang Jianlin, owner of the Wanda group, publically announced his intention to undertake the €3 billion investment on them. That offer never came to fruition because the auction never went ahead (…).

Operación Campamento is one of the most important residential developments in Madrid capital after Operación Chamartín. It spans 1.5 million m2 – with more than 1 million m2 of buildable space – on which offices, hotels, shopping centres, private and public housing, as well as sports facilities and schools could be built. Moreover, the operation would include placing part of the highway to Extremadura (the A-5) underground as well as the construction of a transport interchange at the Aviación Española metro station, where a parking lot is planned for around 2,000 vehicles.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E.S.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Aquila Capital Builds a New 1,300-Home Neighbourhood in Valencia for €350M

19 September 2018 – Valencia Plaza

In case anyone was in any doubt about the exponential growth being experienced in the real estate sector in the city of Valencia, Tuesday saw the announcement of the largest residential project launched in the city to date since the crisis. And the most interesting aspect: it is not one of the long-term investment projects. The new neighbourhood is a PAI (an integrated development plan), which has already been approved and the first homes are expected to be delivered in the Autumn of 2021.

The initiative comes from the property developer AQ Acentor, which belongs to the German investment fund manager Aquila Capital. The firm is going to build a development containing 1,300 homes and 75,000 m2 of tertiary space. “This operation, which exceeds €350 million, will see the creation of the largest residential urban planning development by a single developer in the country in the last decade”, said the company.

The chosen land is the PAI Fuente San Luis, an area that property developers have turned their backs on for years given its complex location, between the V-30 and V-31 motorways and the Nueva Fe train station – right next to the railway tracks that back onto the hospital – but which the resurgent recovery of the sector and the scarcity of land in the city have offered a new opportunity (…).

The space has a staggering 232,000 m2 of residential buildability, of which 130,000 m2 will be used by AQ Acentor to build 9 developments in total (4 social housing blocks and 5 private residential blocks), according to a statement issued by the firm. In total, 544 homes will be built for social housing purposes, according to the company.

15-storey towers

When asked about the project by Valencia Plaza, sources at the company explained that their plans imitate “the successful model of the Engineers Residential Park in Madrid”, another major project promoted by the brand after it acquired a significant portfolio of land from the public company Sepes. All of the buildings will have 15 floors and two of them will form part of a combined complex of 360 homes (180 plus 180, with a private garden area). The rest will be towers, of the same height, containing more than 100 homes each, located around a freely accessible green area.

Moreover, “the complex will have an enormous plot, measuring 79,000 m2, of very versatile tertiary land, which will be dedicated to various uses (commercial, hotel, social…)”, according to AQ Acentor, which explains that it has “several proposals on the table in this regard”. “No decisions have been taken yet, but the complex could be of interest for the creation of a hotel designed to serve people visiting the hospital, for the development of new offices…there is a lot of space, the idea is to achieve an attractive mix”, they say.

The area has 308,000 m2 of public space for green areas, as well as for educational, cultural and sports facilities, which will be completed with a large urban park measuring 33,000 m2. The company owns most of the plots, acquired formally from the firms Analyst and Proalival last July, but the Town Hall of Valencia also owns land in the area (in fact, it is the second largest owner). The rest of the plots belong, for the most part, to the former owners of the allotments on the site (…).

Original story: Valencia Plaza (by Dani Valero)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Dragados is Asking for c. €180M for 88,000 m2 Buildable Plot in Tetuán (Madrid)

6 August 2018 – El Confidencial

A new and powerful land operation is taking shape in the centre of the Spanish capital. The star is Dragados, one of the heavyweights in the construction sector in Spain. The subsidiary of ACS has been trying to sell several plots, which together span a buildable surface area of just over 80,000 m2, on Paseo de la Dirección in the Tetuán district in the north of Madrid and just 2 km from the Cuatro Torres, for almost a year. And this area has just received the green light from the Town Hall of Madrid, which approved a Partial Plan on Tuesday that will undoubtedly favour land transactions since it means the urban planning risk has disappeared.

According to the sources consulted, the plots have been on the market for a year, but the high price expectations of Dragados – which amount to around €180 million – have prevented the sale from being closed, until now. Large property developers, investment funds and family offices have all expressed their interest. The construction company is being advised by Colliers International, which declined to comment on the deal.

On the table is a real gem, given that the plots are all finalist, in other words, ready to be built on. Such assets are in very short supply inside the M-30. Specifically, the site comprises two plots for the construction of private housing and two other plots for the construction of social housing properties (VPPL) and mixed-use assets (offices and tertiary).

For the former, which have a buildability of around 40,000 m2, Dragados is asking for around €2,500/m2 (…), in other words, around €100 million, which would make it one of the largest land operations in the capital in recent months. “That price would mean selling the future homes at prices of around €5,000/m2, which is way above current market prices in the area”, say the same sources. House prices in the area amount to around €2,400/m2 – €3,000/m2, depending on the types of homes.

For the plots to be used for social housing and offices – which also have a buildability of approximately 40,000 0m2 – the vendor’s price expectations amount to around €80 million. Despite the boom in the capital, these figures exceed the prices that the potentially interested parties are willing to pay.

Ten years in the making

With the approval this Tuesday from the Town Hall of the new planning order for the area, it seems that finally, and after more than a decade, work is going to begin on this ambitious urban remodelling project. It will involve the construction of around 2,000 new homes, most of which will be protected in some way (VPPB and VPPL), including two rehousing buildings and several 25-storey towers. To put that into context, the Cuatro Torres have between 45 and 58 floors (…).

Historically, Paseo de la Dirección has been a downtrodden area in the north of Madrid with numerous substandard homes that would benefit greatly from the definitive launch of Madrid Nuevo Norte – formerly Operación Chamartín – just 2km away. What’s more, the site is very close to the capital’s financial district par excellence, Azca, as well as to Plaza Castilla, the hub for much of Madrid’s land transport network (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz & R. Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Valencia’s Town Hall Unveils Special Plan for El Cabanyal with 850 New Homes & 1,000 Parking Spaces

11 July 2018 – Inmodiario

The draft of the Special Plan for El Cabanyal-Canyamelar (PEC) involves 850 homes in total: 650 for social housing and private use and 200 more for public use. That is according to the Councillor for Sustainable Urban Development at the Town Hall of Valencia, Vicent Sarrià, who has held a meeting with residents of the neighbourhood to inform them about the progress of the PEC working document.

60% of the 650 homes will be allocated to social housing and the remaining 40% will be for private use. Moreover, the plan will include another 200 public homes to be allocated to the elderly (over 65 years) and young people (under 35 years), amongst other cohorts, on a rental basis.

In terms of the parking lots, the PEC is planning to build high-rise car parks for neighbours right across the area. The forecast being considered at the moment, according to the councillor, involve approximately 1,000 parking spaces in total.

Another question dealt with at the meeting was the distribution of the new buildings with respect to Doctor Lluch Park. Vicent Sarrià indicated that the building “will be located on adjacent plots, and so the entire surface area of the current gardens will be respected”.

The councillor highlighted that the document envisages “the remodelling of the entire garden area and that the walls will be replaced by slopes, which will improve accessibility”. In this way, he added, the plans reflect the requests made by people who actually live in the area.

Finally, Sarrià made reference to the forecasts for the end of Avenida de Blasco Ibáñez which, he revealed, involve turning the roundabout that is home to Cabanyal station “into a more accessible green area, connected by public transport”.

The document is still being drafted and the team responsible is expected to submit it in September so that the Town Hall can proceed with its publication.

In terms of the forecast investments, within the framework of Plan Cabanyal, the intention is to spend €13 million on the renovation of homes; another €18 million on the re-urbanisation of the streets, sewers and other installations; and €30 million on the development plan, co-financed by funds from the EU. In total, the project will see more than €60 million of public and private funds spent on the reinvigoration of this maritime neighbourhood of Valencia.

Original story: Inmodiario 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ministry of Development: House Prices Rose By 2.7% In Q3

23 November 2017 – ABC

The average price of private housing rose to €1,540/m2 during the third quarter of the year, up by 2.7% compared to the same period in 2016 and by 0.7% compared to the second quarter, according to data from the Ministry of Development.

This is the tenth consecutive quarter of annual house price increases in nominal terms. The increase of 2.7% is the highest since the start of the recovery. In real terms, after discounting inflation, private house prices rose by 1% in YoY terms in the third quarter. Prices have recovered by 5.8% since the minimums recorded during the third quarter of 2014.

Nevertheless, the average price in Q3 was still 26.7% below the maximum peaks reached during the first quarter of 2008.

House prices recorded twenty-six consecutive quarters of decreases in YoY terms from the end of 2008. In real terms, current prices are still 35.5% lower than the peaks of 2008.

The average price of social housing properties amounted to €1,130.80/m2 during the third quarter, up by 2% compared to the same period in 2016.

In QoQ terms, social housing prices fell by 0.3% compared to the second quarter.

Original story: ABC 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ministry Of Development: The Housing Market Moved €36,390M In H1

10 October 2017 – El Mundo

The private housing market in Spain moved €36,390 million during the first half of 2017, which represents an increase of 21% compared to the same period in 2016, when the figure amounted to €30,020 million, according to data published by the Ministry of Development.

In this way, the monetary value of transactions involving private homes in Spain is maintaining the upwards trend seen over the last three years. In 2016, the figure amounted to €60,837 million, which represented the highest level since 2010, but which was still well below that peak (€80,782 million).

The more than €36,000 million that was moved in the residential real estate sector during the first half of 2017 corresponds to 254,816 transactions involving private homes that were bought and sold between January and June, up by 18% in YoY terms. Specifically, second-hand homes moved €32,477.4 million (up by 22%), whilst the volume moved by new build sales was much lower, at €3,912.5 million (+15.2%).

Madrid was the autonomous region that recorded the highest volume of private home transactions between January and June, at €7,803 million. It was followed by Cataluña (€7,451.9 million), Andalucía (€5,849.1 million) and the Community of Valencia (€3,976.4 million). Next in the ranking came the Balearic Islands (€1,988 million), País Vasco (€1,845.7 million), the Canary Islands (€1,662.1 million), Castilla y León (€1,040 million), Galicia (€902.5 million), Castilla-La Mancha (€780 million), Murcia (€702.3 million) and Aragón (€680.2 million).

Meanwhile, the regions where the housing sector moved the least money during H1 2017 were Asturias (€435.9 million), Cantabria (€372.9 million), Navarra (€369.9 million), Extremadura (€266.5 million), La Rioja (€172.9 million) and Ceuta and Melilla (€89.6 million between the two).

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Carmel Drake

Social Housing Tenants Can No Longer Buy Their Homes In Madrid

22 June 2017 – El Confidencial

The Community of Madrid will abolish the framework that allows tenants of social housing properties to be granted an option to buy their homes. In other words, those who wish to access a subsidised home may now only do so on a rental basis or as owners, but they may not rent and then subsequently purchase the home that they have lived in as tenants, in a change to the legislation applicable until now. That is according to the draft bill that will be presented today in the plenary session of the Assembly of Madrid and which will grant tenants greater guarantees in the event that their homes are transferred or sold to a third party.

According to José María García Gómez, Director General of Housing and Renovations at the Community of Madrid, this decision is motivated by “the change in the cycle that the housing market in Spain has experienced, which means that in some areas of Madrid, the price of private housing is less than the price of social housing. Nowadays, this option is not as attractive, it is a system that has been made obsolete and which goes against the real estate cycle, hence the decision to eliminate it”, he added.

In fact, according to data from the Community of Madrid, “only 10%-15% of those who choose to rent with the option to buy end up exercising that right. In some cases, this happens because the tenants are unable to obtain financing, but in other cases, it is because they prefer to continue to rent”, he said. “The majority are renewing their rental contracts, whilst others have left their homes”.

According to sources at the Community of Madrid, the new measure will enter into force once it has been published in the Community of Madrid’s Official Gazette – the plenary session will be held today, where the measure is expected to be approved – but the same sources clarify that it will not affect those developments or plots of land that have already been granted that classification.

No more sales of subsidised homes to vulture funds

The new rules will also include two changes that are intended to protect tenants. To understand them, it is necessary to explain that although some subsidised homes are owned by the town halls and regional governments, others are owned privately (…).

When homes are owned by the Community of Madrid, they may not be sold to third parties other than the tenants or their successors. However, according to José María García Gómez, “the intention of the government led by Cristina Cifuentes (pictured above) is that not a single social housing property be sold. Nevertheless, in the event that a decision is taken to sell, then the tenants would have the right of first refusal. In other words, they would have preference over any other buyer”, he explained. “The idea is to avoid selling off public assets”.

By contrast, in the case of homes that have been constructed by private developers, the new law establishes a preferential acquisition right for legal entities with “a recognised commitment to the management of subsidised housing for social purposes, with the obligation for the new owner to abide by the conditions, terms and maximum rents established, subrogating the rights and obligations (…)”.

These measures will prevent these subsidised homes from ending up in the hands of the so-called “vulture funds”, for example, like has happened in the past (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Andalucían Gov’t Will Invest €21M In 1,226 Homes In Cádiz

26 April 2017 – Inmodiario

The Junta de Andalucía has committed to investing €21.1 million in the city of Cádiz to build 1,226 social housing properties. Some of the construction work is already underway in the two Urban Regeneration and Renovation Areas (ARRU) that have been declared in Cádiz, in the historical city centre and the La Paz neighbourhood. €6.6 million is being invested there in the refurbishment of properties and buildings containing 1,057 homes.

In the presence of the mayor of Cáidz, José María González, the Councillor for Housing and Development, Felipe López, reiterated the commitment announced at the end of last year by the Ministry of Development, to continue allocating resources to housing in the city of Cádiz. Other projects are also now being resumed there, such as the second phase of Matadero and the seventh phase of Cerro del Moro. Those two initiatives will allow for the development of 169 new homes, with an estimated investment of around €14.5 million.

During the meeting, Felipe López highlighted that the decision, taken by the Ministry to resume the development of social housing in Cádiz capital, has been made possible thanks to the reactivation of residential land sales in the province. Specifically, between December 2016 and March 2017, the Agency for Housing and Refurbishments in Andalucía (AVRA) awarded two plots for private housing in Costa Ballena (Chipiona).

At the end of last year, the Ministry of Housing and Development announced the boost for projects in high demand in the city, as well as the second phase of Matadero, which is going to be executed in two phases. During the first phase, 60 rental homes will be constructed; the detailed plans for that project have already been submitted to the Town Hall for approval.

Once the first phase has been completed, the remaining 42 homes will be built, also under a lease framework. Matadero’s second phase will have an estimated cost of €5.7 million and construction work is expected to begin during the first quarter 2018.

Moreover, AVRA has resumed work to accelerate the execution of the seventh phase of the comprehensive refurbishment of Cerro del Moro. Currently, the Ministry is accelerating the signing of deeds in order to take ownership of the 47 properties that will have to be demolished to free up the land on which the 67 new homes that form part of the seventh phase of this development will be constructed.

The Junta proposes carrying out the demolition of the three buildings during the first quarter 2018, and continuing with the construction work thereafter. The estimated investment for the seventh phase, including the costs of acquiring the homes, demolishing them and building the new properties, is €8.8 million. The two initiatives, Matadero Sur and the seventh phase of Cerro del Moro, should take a year and a half to complete. (…).

Original story: Inmodiario

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ministry Of Development: House Prices Rose By 1.5% In 2016

24 February 2017 – ABC

The average price of private (unsubsidised) housing amounted to €1,512/m2 in the fourth quarter of 2016, representing a YoY increase of 1.5%. As such, the indicator recorded seven consecutive months of rises, according to data published yesterday by the Ministry of Development.

According to the same source, prices rose by 0.8% in Q4 compared to the third quarter of 2016.

Nevertheless, house prices are still well below their peaks of the first quarter of 2008 (-28% lower). On the other hand, prices have now recorded a cumulative increase of 3.4% since their minimum values, recorded in the third quarter of 2014.

In real terms (excluding inflation), between October and December last year, house prices in Spain rose by 0.5% with respect to the same quarter in 2015 (to record nine consecutive quarters of increases), according to the Ministry of Development, which added that we are now seeing a slowdown in the growth rate in real terms due to an increase in CPI.

In the case of new homes (those aged less than five years old), prices rose by 1.5%, to an average of €1,764.2/m2. The price of houses aged more than five years old also rose, by the same percentage, to an average price of €1,503.6/m2.

Meanwhile, house prices rose in nine of Spain’s autonomous regions led by Madrid (4.8%), Cataluña (4.4%) and the Canary Islands (3.8%). The most significant decreases were recorded in Navarra (2.8%), Murcia (2.6%), Castilla y León (1.5%) and Asturias (1.3%).

In towns with more than 25,000 inhabitants, the highest absolute house prices were recorded in San Sebastián (€3,059.8/m2), Barcelona (€2,822.1/m2), Sant Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona) (€2,779.2/m2), Ibiza (€2,772.4/m2), Getxo (Vizcaya) (€2,681.9/m2), Santa Eulalia del Río (Ibiza) (€2,640.7/m2) and Madrid (€2,628.6/m2).

In smaller towns, the most expensive homes were sold in Ontinyent (Valencia) (€522.7/m2), Elda (Alicante) (€540.6/m2), Alcoy (Alicante) (€552/m2), Jumilla (Murcia) (€552.9/m2), Villena (Alicante) (€560.4/m2) and Novelda (Alicante)(€573.8/m2).

Finally, the average price of social housing amounted to €1,124.30/m2 during the fourth quarter of 2016, representing a rise of 2.6% with respect to the same period in the previous year.

Original story: ABC

Translation: Carmel Drake