The Spanish Government has approved a plan on Tuesday to allocate 50,000 Sareb-owned homes for affordable rentals. Out of the total, 35,000 homes have already been identified, while 15,000 more will be constructed. This move aims to provide accessible housing options for people in need, particularly in light of the ongoing housing crisis in the country. The government hopes that this initiative will aid in reducing the number of people experiencing housing instability and homelessness. The plan is set to take effect immediately, with the government working towards the timely identification and construction of the remaining homes.
The Spanish President wants to tackle the rental housing problem in Spain. The Council of Ministers has given the go-ahead to the plan announced by Pedro Sánchez to allocate 50,000 affordable rental homes. The announcement was made at the closure of the PSOE Municipal Convention held this weekend in Valencia.
After reaching an agreement, the Socialist leader wants to go “beyond” and has mobilised thousands of homes for young people and families. Experts warn that most of these homes are not in the main cities, where rent has risen the most. They criticise that the measure would not allow the problem to be reduced in the cities with the most expensive rents.
“It is clear that access to housing is one of the main concerns of citizens, especially for young people and the most vulnerable groups,”said the Minister of Economic Affairs, in the press conference after the Council of Ministers. “The public housing stock is essential to be able to respond to this challenge,” she adds. In Spain, there is a public housing stock of around 300,000 homes, 3% of the total, compared to the European average of 9%, She explained. “Today, I have informed the Council of Ministers about the Sareb plan to mobilise up to 50,000 affordable rental homes.”
According to sources, the Government will offer municipalities and autonomous communities 21,000 homes, in addition to another 14,000 already inhabited. They will also promote the construction of up to 15,000 public housing units on available Sareb land. Minister Nadia Calviño explained what the plan for the 50,000 homes intended for social or affordable rentals consists of. “To take advantage of these assets, a plan has been put in place with three axes,” said Minister Calviño.
Firstly, the strategy to mobilize the 21,000 homes, 9,000 of which are already available for sale, and 12,000 pending completion or habitability, “through the articulation of sales agreements to autonomous communities or municipalities for social or affordable rent.”
To date, Sareb has already reached sales agreements with the Valencian Community -to mobilize around 500 homes-, Galicia -42 homes-, and negotiations are being finalized with the Madrid City Council -for another 42 homes- and the municipalities of the metropolitan area of Barcelona to give “social use to 80 homes.” In addition, they indicate that “operations are being negotiated” with the Community of Madrid, the Junta de Castilla y León, the Torre la Vega City Council, and the Generalitat de Cataluña.
Another point being worked on in this plan, according to Minister Calviño at the press conference after the Council of Ministers, is sales or temporary assignment agreements for social use of homes, “both for administrations and non-profit entities, paying special attention to areas at risk of depopulation.”
The strategy contemplates a proactive management of the 14,000 already inhabited homes. She recalled that since January, a social rental and support program has been underway for vulnerable families living in 9,000 of these homes.
The third and final axis is the launch of a “land transfer project through a public-private collaboration scheme.” Sareb has urbanizable land on which to build 15,000 affordable rental homes. They add that Sareb land will also be allocated for other social purposes: the construction of hospitals, schools, parking lots, among others. Madrid, Andalusia, Castilla y León, Galicia, and Murcia express their discontent with the announcement by the President of the Government that will be approved
week by the Council of Ministers. They argue that the plan is insufficient to solve the rental housing problem in Spain, as most of the homes are not located in the main cities where the problem is most acute.
In response, Minister Calviño emphasized that the plan is just one of many measures the government is taking to address the housing crisis. She pointed out that the government has already passed a new Housing Law that strengthens the protection of tenants and imposes stricter regulations on landlords.
The government has also allocated €1.5 billion in the 2021 budget to promote affordable rental housing, and has set a target of building 20,000 social housing units per year. The plan to mobilize 50,000 affordable rental homes through Sareb is just one of the government’s efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing and make renting more accessible for young people and vulnerable groups.
The rental housing problem in Spain has been a long-standing issue, and it is encouraging to see the government taking steps to address it. While there may be criticisms of the plan, it is a positive step in the right direction towards creating a more equitable and accessible rental housing market in Spain.