Blackstone May Cease Investing in Spain if the Rental Legislation Changes

27 February 2019 – Idealista

The senior director of Blackstone’s real estate division, James Seppala, has indicated at a meeting that his firm will continue investing in the Spanish real estate sector, but only provided that the regulatory framework for the rental sector remains stable. The declarations come at a time when the Spanish government is negotiating approval, with support from Podemos in extremis, for a royal decree that seeks to modify the Urban Rental Act (LAU) and to limit rental prices.

At a meeting organised by Bloomberg (…), Seppala added that his firm will continue to back the real estate sector, especially in Madrid, Barcelona and their metropolitan areas, which offer returns of between 6% and 7%. He is convinced that there is no risk of prices overheating in those areas (…).

Original story: Idealista

Translation: Carmel Drake

Rental Prices Soar & Are Now Equivalent To The Minimum Wage

2 August 2017 – El Economista

Renting a holiday home for short periods of time has become fashionable. According to data from Exceltur, the association that represents 23 of the largest companies in the tourist sector, the stock of homes available for tourist use amounted to 1.7 million at the end of last year. In other words, there is currently one tourist home for every two regulated beds. This new business, which has always existed – but which is now experiencing a boom – is being criticised in the market at the moment, since holiday homes are being blamed for the rise in residential rental prices.

According to the real estate portal Idealista, “the rise in rental prices has nothing to do with the supply of accommodation for tourists given that that is static and there is a lot of rotation in the traditional rental market”. Moreover, Idealista adds another reason to distinguish the rise in traditional rental prices from the supply of holiday homes, since “the greatest increases in rents have been registered in those neighbourhoods that are least attractive to tourists”.

Therefore, for Fernando Encinar, the co-founder and Head of Research at Idealista, “the rise in rental prices is being driven, exclusively, by the improvement in employment”. Joseba Cortázar, PR Manager Iberia at HomeAway, shares this view: “There is really no evidence to suggest that tourist homes are driving up rental prices. Prices are rising in line with the evolution of the economy”.


On the other hand, Gerard Marcet, founding partner at Laborde Marcet, says that “it is inevitable that tourist housing will have an inflationary effect on the rental sector in Spain if it is not properly regulated. If we do not take effective measures, it is almost impossible to control what each individual does in his or her home and whether or not he or she pays tax on the accommodation services he or she offers outside of the regulatory framework.

For this reason, rental prices are rising at double-digit rates in Spain’s major cities. In Barcelona, Madrid and San Sebastián, it is no longer possible to rent a property for less than €650-€700, which is basically the minimum wage”.


Which solutions can be introduced to regulate this market? Joseba Cortázar says that “we need public-private collaboration between the platforms and associations in the sector to better understand the phenomenon and arrive at a consensus in terms of legal regulation, but we should not demonise the sector. We have to establish an ethical code of conduct for the various platforms to adopt”.

In this sense, Gerard Marcet thinks that “on the one hand, we need to approve unique, ambitious and effective regulation to put an end to this irregular practice and that the only thing that it does is to encourage a price war and the rise of the underground economy. On the other hand, we need to grow the stock of public housing to increase the supply of homes available for rent and, whereby, deflate prices in the market, allowing people access to homes at reasonable prices, given the salaries in Spain. Finally, in cities such as Barcelona, the government should unblock the situation that the hotel sector has been immersed in since the hotel moratorium was approved”.

Original story: El Economista (by Luzmelia Torres)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Pimco Urges ECB To Buy Spanish Securitisation Products

14 October 2015 – Expansión

The US investment management company is proposing the creation of a new supra-national entity to acquire securitisation products.

Anniversaries are often a good time to take stock and a year has now passed since the European Central Bank (ECB) announced the launch of its plan to buy securitisation products in the market. The effective acquisitions began in November and so far amount to €13,105 million. Has the effort made by the ECB to support this program been worth it? According to Pimco, the global fixed income giant, the answer is a resounding no.

And not only because the amount acquired so far represents only a tenth of the bond purchase program to date and less than 4% of the public assets, or because the acquisitions have centred on those countries that need the least help in their securitisations markets (Central Europe). All of those factors counts towards to the overall assessment, but Pimco thinks that there is much more to it.

For starters, the US investment management company considers that it is neither the appetite of investors, nor the price that is strangling the issuance of securitisations. The banks have limited liquidity needs at the moment and they can obtain the financing they do need through other simpler instruments, such as bonds or by appealing to the ECB. It is the regulation and the impossibility of freeing up capital with the sale of securitisation products to investors that is causing this issuer drought in Europe. “The banks that need relief for capital requirements are not receiving it under the current regulatory and economic framework for securitisation products”, explains Pimco, in a report published by the company that specialises in this field.

To that it adds the design of the ECB’s plan itself. There is general criticism that the supervisor is being excessively cautious with its purchases: the slowness with which it is analysing each possible purchase and the fear it is showing when it comes to buying assets that may generate problems, have been the commonplace. And the US management company is joining the ever-growing list of critics of the program. They say that purchases are being concentrated in the wrong countries, as well as in the wrong sectors and tranches of the securitisation products, because that is not where the banks need help. Pimco believes that the ECB should focus on buying the most risky tranches of debt issues, because that would help lower prices and free up capital for the banks.

Moreover, the ECB should not only buy the tranches with the highest risk, it should also do so in those countries in which, until now, it has barely made a mark. Pimco points to the periphery of Europe, “where the prices of loans are still high and access to credit is scare”. And by way of example, it cites Spain, the rate of growth in terms of loans is low and the margins being charged on those loans are high. (…)

If power needs to be granted to the European Investment Fund to do make these purchases or a new supra-national entity needs to be created to assume the first losses from the securitisation products acquired, then Pimco insists that that is exactly the action that should be taken.

And all of this would be for the greater good. “If carried out correctly, we think that the European securitisations market could help to cure the continent’s economy, stimulating credit and access to it, especially in the peripheral regions”, concludes the investment management company.

Original story: Expansión (by Inés Abril)

Translation: Carmel Drake