The PSPV Proposes a Housing Plan to Mobilise 4,500 Rental Homes in Valencia

23 February 2019 – Valencia Plaza

The socialist candidate for the Mayor of Valencia, Sandra Gómez (pictured below, left), has proposed a comprehensive housing plan for the city that would mobilise 4,500 homes, through new social housing units (VPO) and empty homes enabled for rental (…).

In a recent speech, the candidate for mayor explained that the plan to mobilise 4,500 homes includes empty homes. “Thanks to the Generalitat’s courage, we are going to have a map with which to operate to identify the large owners of homes, those who own more than ten empty properties”. With this, the socialists propose “an increase in the IBI charge for those empty homes that are not included in the rental market”.

In addition, to achieve the objective of this plan, they will demand “the maximum possible social housing in the city’s new developments, as we are already doing with developments such as Benimaclet, where 30% of the new builds will be VPO” (…).

And, as a third axis, Gómez has proposed that the administration “acts to promote the park of affordable housing that the city of Valencia currently lacks”. She recalled that there are initiatives such as the 300 public homes, being promoted by Aumsa and “the more than 1,000 that are going to be promoted by mobilising land from SEPE, as agreed with the Government of Spain this week. Nevertheless, the Town Hall has to do more” (…).

Original story: Valencia Plaza 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Helena Beunza, General Secretary for Housing: “The Government Is Not Looking at Limiting Rental Prices”

9 August 2018

Helena Beunza has just arrived from the Valencian government to her new position as the General Secretary for Housing within the Ministry of Public Works. Like many other people who come to Madrid, she had to look for a flat. The PSOE-affiliated minister, responsible for housing policy in Spain, decided to rent.

An idealista/news exclusive interview with the new General Secretary for Housing at the Ministry of Public Works. We went deeper into the measures previously announced by the Minister José Luis Ábalos regarding rental policy, an increasingly important market for the sector and the Spanish government; the current state of Spain’s stock of housing, especially empty houses; the articulation of urban planning and the future of social housing in the country.

The current government wants to reformulate its housing policies to align them with the current state of the rental housing market. Ever more Spanish households are opting to rent, whether it is by need or conviction, and the sector requires better regulation.

The minister José Luis Ábalos already announced in the Congress of Deputies that the current government intends to upend the residential rental market with three big sets of reforms:

On the one hand, the government intends to amend the Urban Rental Act (LAU), which was signed into law in 2013 under the government of the PP. “In this amendment, we would return once again to a model of five-year contracts and three-year extensions. We would also revisit the regulations for security deposits,” Helena Beunza summarised. “On the other hand, we will establish a generalised understanding of the holiday home and tourist rental sector, so that the relevant authorities can then define the corresponding legal regimes in each Regional Community,” she said.

Action plan for 20,000 subsidised rental homes

The Minister of Development also announced the Spanish government’s initiative to allocate 20,000 subsidised homes to the rental market for young people and low-income families in those areas where the rental price has skyrocketed.

“It is a very ambitious project that not only covers legislation but the management on the part of the State at a fundamental level, in coordination with the Regional Communities and the city councils,” the general secretary noted. “Obviously, this measure alone will not solve the problem. These 20,000 homes, which will involve both new construction and renovations, are not enough, but it is a way to begin working with town councils and the CCAA (Regional Communities) for the creation of a public stock of rental housing that can be managed both publicly and through public-private partnerships,” Ms Beunza clarified.

The third group of measures that are important to highlight are the those aimed at improving the transparency of the Spanish real estate market. We know that greater access is needed, for everyone, to data and added information not just regarding the housing market, but also that for land.

Regarding taxes, we will work with the IRPF and with the IBI

To coordinate all these measures, the Ministry of Development will participate in an interministerial working group to define the legislative and tax policies that will be implemented in the housing sector. “It’s too early to talk about concrete measures. Those measures are expected to emerge from the discussions held within the interministerial working group. Regarding taxes, we will work with the IRPF and with the IBI, but the Ministry of Finance will have a leading role regarding the formulation of the tax measures that we would eventually adopt.”

Minister Ábalos stated that improvements to the tax regime associated with housing, which will go back to offering tax deductions (IRPF) and incentives to encourage property owners to place their homes on the rental market. Although it will be his colleague, María Jesús Montero, at Treasury, who will decide upon and implement any measures.

Any measures that would impact the Real Estate Tax (IBI) would have to be included in the Revised Text of the Local Authority Regulation Act, and the town councils would have to decide on their application.

The government also announced that it has ruled out any artificial limits on rental market prices. “We must differentiate between limiting rental prices from the limitation of prices that are set as a mere reference. This government has no plans to consider these issues,” says the general secretary for housing at the Ministry of Public Works.

Another one of the measures that were discarded, and the secretary states that was not even discussed, is the calculation of the IRPF (income tax for individuals) accounting for rental income.

Expand legal protections for rentals

The government does not want to limit its work to tax matters, but also intends to look at improving the legal protections within the rental sector so that the small owners can have guarantees and adequate compensation for placing their home on the rental market.

“We have to work on legal protections for both landlords and tenants, for both parties,” says Helena Beunza. “We need policies that treat housing as what it is, a fundamental right. We would have liked that the existing current speedy eviction law contained additional measures to take into account families that are occupying a home because they needed housing since we need to differentiate that occupancy from other types of occupancies.”

Secretary Beunza believes that a great deal of work will be needed to coordinate the various administrations to find a housing solution for families at risk of social exclusion. “Families need to be evaluated, and there needs to be coordination with social services so that we can help the people that want to enter the system, and who can meet the necessary conditions to sign contracts for public housing.”

From tourist rentals to empty homes

Real estate experts and regular citizens have their opinions as to the cause of the increase in rental prices. Blame is usually given to the growth in tourist apartments, the high number of empty homes and the socimis investments in the residential market. The general secretary analysed each point.

“There is a multiplicity of causes that have come together at a given moment and that have given rise to the situation in which we find ourselves now. It is too simplistic to state that tourist rentals have been the sole determinant in the increase in rents. While that could have been the primary factor in some places, but it is a very specific impact in very specific areas. The same thing holds for the increases in rental prices. We cannot speak of similar increases throughout Spain, but there have been huge variations in the increases, depending on the regions and cities involved, “the minister added.

Certain regions have already created registries of both empty homes and people seeking homes. “Yes, it is true that there are a lot of empty homes in Spain. One empty home is already too much. However, the first thing we need to understand is exactly how much empty housing there is in Spain and then we can work together with the CCAA. We need to improve data and transparency,” Ms Beunza stated.

How VPO (subsidised housing) fits into the housing stock

The Government of Pedro Sánchez has had little room for manoeuvre since taking office but has also found that many policies and items were already approved, starting with the General Budgets for 2018.

Regarding housing, the previous Minister of Public Works, Íñigo de la Serna, presented the general guidelines of the State Housing Plan for the period 2018-2021 last March. “It is not our plan, but we understood after listening to the CCAA that the priority was to sign the agreements so that the CCAA could begin to act on and process their files, mainly for calls for rental subsidies, which is he most urgent matter,” Secretary Beunza said.

The general secretary did criticise, however, is the current social housing plan (VPO), which the minister stated the PSOE would begin work on right away. “One of the issues that this Government has detected is the need to rethink the concept of official social housing. Moreover, we must take a look at all those lands which are already qualified in our country to be used in the VPO. In the current state housing plan, the word VPO does not appear.”

Land cannot again become a subject of speculation in this country

She also emphasised policies regarding land ready for development (finalist land). “We must coordinate our land policies with our housing policies because both the rental and sales markets need them to be aligned. Spain has land that is ready for development. That land is not necessarily where the developers want to build, but there is land in both Madrid and Barcelona. Another consideration is the price of that land. That is something we must consider because we can’t allow a repeat of what happened in our country before. Land cannot become a subject of speculation in this country again,” she argued.

Speaking of land, one of the biggest dilemmas facing the construction and real estate sectors also came up: the state of urban planning in Spain. “We must try to make the Spanish urban planning system more flexible and simplified. The State, although it is not directly responsible, has a clear will to define a path to accompany the CCAA (autonomous regions) in this process. We cannot take eight or 10 years to approve a general plan, simply because the economic and social reality of a particular city is not the same when a plan is approved as when it began to be written.”

The sector has been denouncing the amount of litigation in the construction industry for some time. “The problem is not just the litigation, but also but also the cascading annulments of planning instruments. It has generated a serious problem in our country since, when a general plan is annulled due to formal or material defects, the rest of the planning instruments also become null and void,” the general secretary explained.

The ministry intends to build upon the work of the previous Executive to articulate legislation that will increase legal protections and simplify urban planning.

The general secretary for housing still sees a lot of work ahead before a true state-level housing policy is defined. “There is so much to do regarding housing policies that we need to start at the beginning, and the foundations of housing policy at a state level in Spain do not yet exist,” the Secretary concluded.

Original Story: Idealista – David Marrero & Luis Manzano

Translation: Richard Turner


Operación Mesena: Santander & Metrovacesa Prepare to Fight the Residents

24 November 2017 – Voz Pópuli

BBVA and Operación Chamartín have some competition on their hands in the form of Operación Mesena. Banco Santander and Metrovacesa are working on two simultaneous real estate operations, which could completely change the neighbourhood of Hortaleza in Madrid, located in the northeast of the city. If the plans go ahead, the entities will star in one of the largest real estate development in the Spanish capital, alongside Chamartín and the Calderón.

The operation revolves around the former Ciudad Banesto and the adjoining plots of land (Colonia Banesto), which have been used as housing for employees and sports facilities for half a century. On the one hand, Metrovacesa – in which Santander holds a 70% stake and which is the owner of La Colonia – has launched a plan for all of the residents to leave their homes.

On the other hand, Santander is working to move the staff that it currently has working at Banesto’s former offices to Popular’s new headquarters. Once that plan has been fulfilled, the entities intend to reclassify the land from offices and sports facilities to urban use. The Town Hall of Manuela Carmena will play a key role. In the past, the Town Hall approved two operations by Banesto-Santander to build some houses and a development of luxury apartments.

Sources consulted at Metrovacesa and Santander note that the two projects are still up in the air and that they are independent of each other. Even so, they will happen at the same time and will be located next to each other. Moreover, the bank controls the real estate company, given that it holds 70% of the share capital, and BBVA also holds a stake, of almost 30%.

The operation has entered controversial territory given that the homes in the former Colonia Banesto are subsidised housing properties (VPO), which were granted to employees of the group who are now retired. Of the 160 families who originally resided there, just 39 remain. Most of them are retired and aged between 70 and 80 years.

In the last few days, those residents have received a letter from Metrovacesa Suelo y Promoción, notifying them of “the termination of their lease contracts and granting them a period, until 31 January 2018, to hand over their homes”, according to the letter to which this newspaper has had access.

The real estate company wants to negotiate with the residents who still live in Colonia Banesto one by one, to find them a suitable exit. The current tenants are not going to make it easy for the entities; they are now seeking advice through the Federation of Neighbourhood Associations and several law firms.

In this way, several dozen former employees of Banesto and mayor Carmena are preparing to deal with what could become one of the largest real estate fights since the outbreak of the crisis. After the planning phase, come the negotiations.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bilbao To Build 13,000 New Homes In Growth Areas

16 October 2017 – El Correo

Bilbao is fine-tuning where the city is going to grow in the future. The next General Urban Development Plan (PGOU), the instrument that will regulate the city’s development over the next thirty years, is reserving land on which 13,000 new homes are going to be built, in some of the most prominent areas of the city.

Specifically, it confirms the construction of 8,500 homes in Zorrozaurre, Punta Zorroza – a project that has not been defined yet – and Bolueta, where a lack of demand has forced the local government to convert a residential tower that was already designed in the plans into VPO (social housing) properties. The remaining 4,500 homes are planned for Elorrieta, Olabeaga, the Irala area –spread across industrial units still pending reclassification – and the “lid” of the Abando underground station.

The preview of the PGOU, which was unveiled to the public on Friday by decision of the local PNV-PSE Government, considers that the figure of 13,000 homes has “the capacity to support a similar number of inhabitants” to the number living in the city today – 342,481 residents, according to the latest report from Eustat. The population, which has been ageing and in progressive decline for the last decade, represents one of Bilbao’s future challenges.

Another challenge facing the next PGOU is the balance of social housing and the rate of growth that respects the environment, especially in the case of mobility. In this sense, the urban planning rules include several operations to eliminate obstacles, which have been requested repeatedly by citizens: the Rekalde section of the motorway viaduct – a project that also depends on the Diputación – and the placing underground of roads in the neighbourhoods of Zorroza and Olabeaga. The latter neighbourhood has opted to “exclusively” develop residential when the goods line disappears.

Original story: El Correo (by José Mari Reviriego)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Balearic Islands Will Force “Large Landholders” to Give up Their Empty Houses


This measure will not affect owners who have these homes as part of their assets, unless they are active entrepreneurs in the residential real estate market

The government of the Balearic Islands approved an executive order this Friday, modifying its previous executive order on tourist rental accommodations in the Balearic Islands. The intent is to regulate and order the business of renting tourist apartments in the archipelago, an area which has been highly successful in recent years.

One of the main changes is that the regional executive will, by law, oblige the “large holders” of housing – companies, not individuals – to cede them if they have been vacant for two years to relieve existing difficulty of access to social housing, the minister of the Territory, Energy and Mobility informed today.

The law considers that “large holders” are natural and legal entities who, directly or indirectly through corporations, actively participate in the market and who own, rent or have beneficial ownership of ten or more houses. They will be required to develop an economic activity for the dwellings, that is, mere possession will not be enough.

The order will not affect owners who have such housing as part of their holdings, but only active entrepreneurs in the housing market. The law provides for an inspection body, both to detect empty dwellings and irregular uses of public housing and other violations.

The minister stressed that the Balearic Islands Consultative Council has endorsed one of the main measures included in the law: the obligatory temporary reassignment of those properties held by the “large holders.”

The affected entities will receive adequate financial compensation, which also establishes the obligation of the “large holders” to register empty houses in the Register of Unoccupied Homes, where failure to comply will expose the holders to a fine of 3,000 to 30,000 euros.

The law will “protect” citizens so that they can access rentals or continue in their homes in conditions of “dignity”, with essential services.

It also aims to boost social rentals, increasing the supply of public housing for social rental, and to implement controls to avoid fraud in the use of this type of housing. In addition, universal housing accompanying services, free of charge, was created for all citizens.

In addition, it is very possible that in the Balearic capital, legal holiday rentals of primary residences will be limited to a maximum of 2 months, following the example of Amsterdam, while the rentals may be completely banned on the island of Ibiza.

Intended for habitual residence

The function of the housing accompanying service, which will be under the purview of the Balearic Institute of Housing (IBAVI), will be to guide citizens in situations where there is a risk of loss of housing – because they cannot pay rent or the mortgage – and to assist them with any information that they may require in during a purchase, rental or financing of a home, while also helping individuals understand their rights as consumers.

On the other hand, in order to guarantee sufficient social housing (VPOs) in the Balearic Islands, all new developments will be classified as VPOs, where they will not be able to be sold above an established price. This measure will not affect current VPOs.

Finally, the executive order details the conditions of use of official social housing, which has to be used as primary residences.

Official social housing cannot be rented, except in certain specific cases, such as change of address for work, health, family, cases of gender violence, terrorism and other situations that are justified and authorized by the regional administration.

Original Story: ABC / EFE – Palma

Translation: Richard Turner

Quabit Invests €14M In Housing Development In Guadalajara

7 September 2016 – Valencia Plaza

Quabit Inmobiliaria has launched a new housing development in Guadalajara, where it will construct 116 social housing flats, involving an investment of €14 million, according to the company.

The company led by Félix Abánades is launching the construction of this new residential project, which will be partly financed by CaixaBank, having already sold 70% of the homes.

With this complex in Guadalajara, Quabit has now launched five residential developments since last year, as it resumes its house development operations as part of its new strategic plan to return to growth after overcoming several years of clean ups.

The new ‘Aguas Vivas’ development in Guadalajara, located five minutes from the city, according to the company, will involve the construction of 116 social housing properties (VPO). The homes will have between two and four bedrooms and will be surrounded by green spaces, a swimming pool and a childrens’ playground. The homes are expected to be ready by the first quarter of 2018.

This residential project comes after Quabit’s launch of four others under the framework of its new strategy, which has seen it also purchase land in Boadilla del Monte (Madrid) and Guadalajara.

The other four developments where the real estate company is current constructing are: a complex of luxury family homes in Boadilla del Monte; another complex, of terraced houses, in Guadalajara; a housing project in Sant Feliú de Llobregat (Barcelona) and a complex on the ‘Casares Green’ golf course in Estepona (Málaga).

According to its strategic plan for 2020, Quabit plans to complete the construction of more than 3,000 new homes before the end of the decade, and expects to generate turnover of €950 million.

Original story: Valencia Plaza

Translation: Carmel Drake

Operación Calderón: More Social Housing But No Skyscrapers

4 July 2016 – Expansión

The buildability ratio has been reduced by 16% / The new proposals reflect a lower buildability ratio, with an average building height of eight storeys, and a larger transfer of land to the town hall, which will be dedicated in tis entirety to social housing.

Operación Calderón is back on the public agenda once again. The Town Hall of Madrid, together with the owners of the land – Atlético de Madrid football club and the beer company Mahou San Miguel – have agreed new plans for the site, which include reducing the buildability ratio by 16%, decreasing the average height of the buildings, and transferring more land to the Town Hall, which will be used for the construction of social housing. The plan must be presented to the Town Hall before it is approved.

“We have managed to launch a project that has gone through a difficult period, thanks to a better system of working. This has included listening, collaboration and the capacity to yield and seek the common good”, said the mayoress of Madrid, Manuela Carmena.

According to the new proposal, the total buildability area has been decreased from 175,000 sqm to 147,000 sqm, i.e. 16.15% less, and the average height of the buildings has been reduced from 20 storeys to eight.

Of the total buildability, around 129,000 sqm will be dedicated to homes. The representative of the Town Hall of Madrid’s Sustainable Urban Development department, José Manuel Calvo, explained that all of the 10% of the land transferred to the Town Hall will be reserved for social housing, which will allow it to “carry out the social housing policies supported by the city’s Government”.

The new plans also increase the size of the green spaces from 54,600 sqm to 79,900 sqm, and of the new facilities from 10,00 sqm to 12,800 sqm. The Town Hall has explained that the plans reflect “most” of the demands made by the neighbourhood associations of Arganzuela and will be subjected to a process of “public consultation for citizens and entities to offer their suggestions”.


In terms of placing the M-30 underground, the Town Hall will bear the cost of the integration of this stretch by offering “alternative solutions with much lower costs”. The Town Hall plans to cover part of the motorway, which would cost between €50 million and €60 million, compared with the projected cost of €140 million or €150 million associated with the previous plans.

The presentation of the agreement – which had initially been planed for 22 June, but which was postponed until after the elections – was attended by the President of Atlético de Madrid, Enrique Cerezo and the Director of Mahou San Miguel’s land business unit, Paloma Boceta. Cerezo said that next season will be Atlético’s last playing at the Calderón, before the club moves to La Peineta. “We have been working on this project for ten years. I hope that we will be able to close the deal some time soon, so as to to enjoy our new stadium and so that Madrid can benefit from a wonderful area in the centre of the city”, he added.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Loss Of €195M Expected On Imperial Plaza Sale

26 January 2016 – El Confidencial

The Imperial Plaza shopping centre on the outskirts of Zaragoza has been put up for sale, in what may be Spain’s most disastrous real estate operation to date. The asking price has been set at €35 million, significantly lower than the €230 million that it cost to construct the property, which will mean a loss of €195 million. The failure of Imperial Plaza proves that, despite the economic recovery, the property hangover is still affecting the majority of the Spanish market. It is also proof that senseless urban planning can ruin any investment project.

The developer of this shopping centre is the company Procom Desarrollo Comercial de Zaragoza, which is now controlled by the Dutch bank SNS. According to the “Heraldo de Aragón”, Deloitte has been appointed to handle the sale of the asset. The exit plan involves converting the property into a giant “outlet” centre, but that will require additional investment (€23 million), which would mean even lower proceeds from the final sale.

To put the scale of this tragedy into context, it is worth remembering that Procom and Eroski bought the land from the Town Hall of Zaragoza in 2004 for €67 million. Now, 14 years later, the completed centre is being put on the market for half of that figure. In other words, a total disaster.

Imperial Plaza is a failure that comes at the end of a long string of other failures. First, there was the failure of Arco Sur, a new residential neighbourhood in Zaragoza, half of which was going to be VPO (social) housing. 21,000 homes were going to be constructed in total, but only 2,000 were actually built, according to real estate sources. And without Arco Sur, there was no need for a super shopping centre for its residents, such as the one proposed for Imperial Plaza.

The project was also wrecked by urban planning – Imperial Plaza was awarded more than 132,000 m2 of leasable surface area in 2005, when the Town Hall of Zaragoza freed up retail land, a year after it had sold the plots for Imperial Plaza. But that liberalisation of land also benefitted other projects and so Puerto Venecia was constructed. The authorisation of Europe’s largest shopping centre in Spain’s fifth largest city (by population) did not seem to ring any alarm bells with anyone, and especially not with the socialist mayor Juan Alberto Belloch, who governed the city for 12 years. But someone was going to have to pay the price: specifically, the owners of Imperial Plaza. Plaza was big, yes, but Puerto Venecia was built to measure 206,000 m2. (…).

Store closures

As soon as Puerto Venecia opened, the companies that had opened stores in Imperial Plaza with such great enthusiasm started to close their doors. Zara was one of the first to leave, but it was not the only one. The departure of Primark to Puerto Venecia was devastating. Sport Zone, Amichi, Women’s Secret, Massimo Dutti, Merkamueble, Nautalia, Sunglass Hut, Kaymo and Movistar all left too. The last firm to flee was FNAC, which, of course, left Imperial Plaza to move to Puerto Venecia. A shopping centre has never fizzled out so quickly. (…).

Collateral damage

The crisis at Imperial Plaza will have collateral damage beyond its sale at a loss. The Town Hall of Zaragoza is currently stalling Pikolin, one of the largest industrial companies in the autonomous region, regarding its project to create a large “outlet” centre in its former mattress factory, according to real estate sources. If Imperial Plaza wants to reinvent itself as a major discount centre, it will face serious problems, especially if it is up against an identical project in a city that has just 664,000 inhabitants.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Marcos Lamelas)

Translation: Carmel Drake

‘InmoGlacier’ & ‘Aquila Capital’ Awarded VPO Plots In Villaverde

2 July 2015 – El Mundo

The company InmoGlacier and the investment fund Aquila Capital (under the joint venture Plainfield Spain S.L. created for this purpose) will lead the major VPO (social housing) transaction in Villaverde. The State Public Business Land Company (la ‘Sociedad Estatal Pública Empresarial del Suelo’ or Sepes), which reports into the Ministry of Development, has awarded the large package of land – nine plots with space for around 1,200 VPO homes – to these two firms, after Sepes put out to tender the area in the former Central Park of the Engineers for development (…).

In the end, the land has been awarded in exchange for a cash payment of €44.93 million (excluding tax), i.e. €600,00 above the tender starting price, which was set at €44.31 million. This major operation demonstrates the renewed interest in residential development in the south of the capital.

The nine plots sold by Sepes occupy a total area of 52,500 m2 of land and 120,425 m2 of buildable space for the construction of more then 800 VPO homes for sale and a further 400 VPO homes for rent “with the same characteristics and build level as those for sale”.

The heads of InmoGlacier and Aquila, who have released information about the project, describe it as “the most ambitious project in Madrid, due to its size; and the most innovative and social, due to its concept”. “The numbers and magnitude of this investment are unmatched by any other urban development in Madrid”, says the sources.

According to InmoGlacier and Aquila Capital, the future housing developments will be completed in nine blocks – three for rent – and will have swimming pools, gyms, sports areas, padel courts and extensive green and recreational areas, as well as shops and a range of equipment and services, including a nursery and supermarkets, which will trade with different operators. (…).

The project will involve investment of almost €200 million, for the construction of buildings with garages and storage rooms, as well as the design of the common areas, sports facilities and shops.

InmoGlacier and Aquila plan to begin construction work at the beginning of 2016 and to complete it in the spring of 2017. In October of this year, they expect to open an information point occupying a space of more than 300 m2 on the site itself, where people will be able to find out more information about the housing project and its facilities. “This project will be an example for the sector”, say its developers.

Original story: El Mundo (by Jorge Salido Cobo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Blackstone Finalises MAB Listing Of Its VPOs In Spain

3 June 2015 – Expansión

Almost 3,000 VPOs / The US fund is completing the final steps for the IPO of its Spanish subsidiary Fidere Patriomonio on MAB. It will do so through a small private placement, advised by Renta 4 and Clifford Chance.

The social housing that Blackstone owns in Spain will be listed on the stock exchange within the next few weeks. The US fund is working on the debut of its subsidiary, the Socimi Fidere Patrimonio, on the Alternative Stock Exchange (Mercado Alternativo Bursátil or MAB); the subsidiary  purchased almost 3,000 social housing properties (VPO) during the crisis.

The US investor has engaged Renta 4 as its advisor and Clifford Chance as its legal advisor for its market debut. The operation, which is still pending approval by several authorities, will replicate the model used by Uro Property, the Socimi that owns a third of Santander’s branch network in Spain.

Thus, Fidere Patrimonio will float by listing – through a private placement – the minimum amount of capital required by law, i.e. around €2 million. The Socimi will list on the MAB with the goal of not losing the tax relief afforded to this kind of company, including exemptions for the payment of Corporation Tax.


As part of the listing process, Fidere has: appointed Iberclear as the accounting entity; created a website for investors; and amended its bylaws.

According to Blackstone, the MAB listing will be completed before the summer. Fidere’s market debut comes at a time when the local and regional election results are threatening to change the rules of the game with respect to the public sale of social housing.

In fact, Blackstone purchased the majority of its 3,000 VPO homes from the Municipal Company for Land and Housing (Empresa Municipal de Vivienda y Suelo or EMVS). The US fund paid €125.5 million for 18 residential developments in July 2013, which included 1,860 homes in total. The developments are located in the Madrilenian neighbourhoods of Carabanchel, Centro, Villa de Vallecas and Villaverde.

Subsequently, the fund complemented Fidere’s portfolio with other transactions. In November 2013, it purchased another 420 VPO homes from FCC for just over €30 million.

Two months later, the US fund won the auction to buy 600 VPO homes from Sareb, for which it paid almost €50 million. Most of the homes came from Catalunya Banc and Bankia, and were located in Madrid, Barcelona and Guadalajara.

In August 2014, Blackstone closed its final major purchase of VPO homes. The fund acquired 26 of Bankia’s real estate development companies, which included 3,000 homes in different stages of development: completed, under construction and in the initial phase. Initially, only one of the 26 companies has been included in Fidere.

Fidere’s board is led by two of Blackstone’s executives, Francois Bossy Jean – Chairman – and Diego San José – Director of the RE business at the fund – , together with an executive from the consultancy firm Magic Real Estate, Miguel Oñate.

Plans for growth

Beyond the listing on MAB, Blackstone is planning to continue to acquire rental housing so that Fidere can become one of the key players in this market in Spain. Once it is listed on the stock exchange, new investors will be able to enter through capital increases and the sale of shares.

With its stock market debut, Fidere will become the eighth Socimi to list on the stock market since the regulations changed at the end of 2013.

Original story: Expansión (by J. Zuloagar and R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake