Social Housing is in Very Short Supply in Málaga

17 March 2019 – Diario Sur

Social housing is in very short supply in Málaga. More than 27,000 families are registered on the waiting list for VPO properties, to purchase or rent, of whom 18,723 have been waiting for at least five years. 4,768 new families were added to the register last year alone. But only two out of every 100 families ever receive the good news that they have been selected to be awarded a home. Over the last few years, just 345 homes have been handed over.

Why are VPO homes not being constructed? There are several reasons, but one of the main ones is the lack of funding from the State and the Junta de Andalucía for public and private property developers. The most recent housing plans have focused on subsidising rental payments and undertaking renovation work rather than on the construction of new homes.

The Town Hall of Málaga has projects in the pipeline for the construction of 1,001 public housing units on land to the west of the extension of the Teatinos campus. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is willing to finance half of those homes, worth around €120 million, but the cost of that loan alone would have to be passed on to tenants in the form of rentals of €255 per month, which when combined with the cost of the financing the remaining 50% would not be affordable. Seven out of ten people waiting for a VPO home for rent earn less than €537 per month.

77% of applicants for a VPO home would prefer to rent, given that the option of buying is becoming increasingly less affordable. 72% of the applicants are aged under 35 years old. Public housing policies all but disappeared during the crisis and rents have risen significantly since then, hence the rise in the number of applicants on the register. In fact, the real demand for VPO homes is much higher as many families do not even bother to register given the limited chances they have of being awarded a property.

Across the province, according to data from the local council, 8,457 people are registered on the waiting list for a VPO home, with 1,613 in Torremolinos, 1,365 in Marbella and 1,359 in Estepona. Nevertheless, just 247 families have been awarded a home in any of the Málagan municipalities over the last seven years.

Original story: Diario Sur (by Jesús Hinojosa)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Carmena’s New Housing Plan: Rezoning in Exchange for Subsidised Housing

8 February 2019

The Madrid City Council is offering to rezone an industrial plot as land to residential in exchange for “30%, 50% or 70%” use as social housing.

Madrid is now following in Ada Colau’s footsteps, asking for investments in social housing from private developers. The Madrid City Council will offer to rezone an industrial site on the condition that part of it is converted into subsidised housing (VPO). José Manuel Calvo, the Councillor for Sustainable Urban Development, announced the decision in an interview with EjePrime. The initiative is a reflection of the Madrid City Council’s desire to invest in social housing.

Since the public stock of homes began falling in 2010, the government in Madrid has been unable to return to the levels seen before the crisis. When Manuela Carmena arrived at City Hall, the municipality had less than 6,000 public housing units. The mayor committed to adding another 4,000, half of which has been achieved four months before the end of her term.

The City Council of Madrid is now offering to work with private developers to increase the public stock of housing during the next government mandate. The idea is to rezone industrial lands so that developers can build homes, a percentage of which would have to be allocated to subsidised housing.

Carmena’s government requires any plots of land for subsidised housing to be independent

“I can tell developers that I will rezone the land as residential and then ask for 30%, 50% or 70% [for subsidised housing],” says Mr Calvo. While the exact figures have yet to be determined, the City Council believes that the developers’ investments must be “profitable” while the “municipality wants to receive the greatest possible number of homes.”

Carmena also insists that any plots used for subsidised homes be independent to avoid the Ada Colau’s situation in Barcelona. Ms Colau wants to oblige developers to set aside 30% for social housing buy her “proposal has run into legal difficulties because the homes are owned ‘proindiviso’,” meaning that the City Council jointly runs the residential associations with the developers.

In such cases, “as an administration, maybe you need the housing for needy families and the community can deny it,” says Calvo. “The proposal in Barcelona does not work,” he concludes.

The councillor is suggesting an alternative to Ada Colau’s proposal

Colau’s proposal was approved in a plenary session of the Barcelona City Council last September, with favourable votes by all political parties except the Ciudadanos (Citizens) who abstained, and the PP, which voted against. According to the municipality’s forecasts, the monthly rent for social housing of about 80 square meters should be 512 euros or €136,000 to buy. Taking into account that 1,114 apartments are built each year, the City is planning on 334 new homes per year.

The City Council’s proposal was not well received by developers, who met that same week in a commission to study the measure. The Catalan Association of Developers (APCE) questioned the legality of the proposal and warned that it could mean an end to new developments.

Original Story: EjePrime – Marta Casado Pla

Translation: Richard Turner

Barcelona’s Town Hall to Review 22@’s Urban Transformation Plan to Include More Public Housing

25 June 2018 – Eje Prime

The 22@ district is getting ready to make slight modifications to its construction plan. The techie zone of Barcelona may have more public housing than planned if the interests of the current municipal government get the go ahead. It wants to alleviate part of the crisis that there is in the city with respect to accommodation by providing more public housing. In total, seventy hectares are being built in this sought-after hub of the Catalan capital, which has urbanised fifteen kilometres of streets space and has gone from having 33,800 workers to 93,000.

Much of the reconstruction of the former industrial area of El Poblenou has been directed at the office market and public services. Corporate and government towers, modern spaces for startups and the giant Amazon and Catalan Universities all now live alongside each other in harmony in this enclave, whose reconversion plan began 18 years ago.

Now (…), Mayor Colau is planning to build more housing in 22@. Of the 4,000 flats that were projected to be built in this district, not even half have been actually constructed, according to El País.

Promoting more public homes is a point on which both the social and residents associations that are participating in the process, the Repensem el 22@ platform promoted by the Town Hall and the Wider Committee of experts all agree on. From the conclusions drawn from the two documents, the modifications that Colau will undertake in the urban plan just need to be defined.

Currently, the urban development plan for 22@ contemplates that 90% of the land that was being developed in the area would be allocated for economic activity and that the remaining 10% would be used for the construction of Officially Protected Housing (VPO). The parties involved in the process are clear that this percentage must increase.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake