Affordable housing in Spain—for centuries, the question of what makes a contemporary metropolis tick has been a difficult one. A city’s success can only be sustained if low-income residents have access to the social infrastructure they need to thrive. Spanish towns have a long history of socially oriented architecture, reflected in their housing developments. Regardless of where you live in the country, from the capital city of Madrid to the North African enclave of Ceuta, Spain’s stance toward public housing is very clear: good architecture is not just for the wealthy; it is for everyone.
As the population grows, so does the number of migrants and political asylum applicants, making the task of accommodating both groups a difficult one. There is more need for affordable housing in Spain. As a result of these limitations, architects are compelled to develop cutting-edge fabrication techniques, passive systems, and solar insulation. Thermal comfort and energy conservation are critical considerations in a country where the summer heat and the winter cold may be brutal.
A common thread runs across all of the concepts in this collection: the investigation of coherent public and private spaces in crowded urban areas, suburban fringes, and along the ocean. To ensure that inhabitants may live in harmony with each other, the architects of these projects have methodically planned out how residents can share the common areas of their building but still escape to the privacy of their apartment with minimal disruption from the outside world. These buildings serve as role models for social inclusion more than just homes.
Affordable Housing in Spain: The Crisis
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, Spain’s housing shortage has been a significant issue. Rents have increased dramatically, and there are fewer options for housing in some areas due to these developments. The main reason for this is that many people do not feel comfortable living in crowded cities. Therefore they have tried to leave and buy or rent a property somewhere else.
Since 2020, Spaniards have had difficulty locating cheap housing in a country where the poverty rate is 21%. El Pais estimates that 7% of Spanish families live in extreme poverty, which brings the total to 21%.
Rental prices have risen by an average of 50% in the last five years, underscoring the need for more affordable housing in Spain. Between 2014 and 2017, prices in Madrid and Barcelona rose by more than 60%, and Spain’s average wage rose by 1.6 percent in comparison. Because of this, many people are having difficulty affording and maintaining their current levels of rented accommodation. Spain’s housing crisis has been exacerbated by the impact of private equity firms on rental pricing.
Spanish law prohibited evictions during the pandemic because of stagnant salaries and rising rents. Despite this, evictions persisted in Ciutat Mediriana. Spain’s housing crisis left a large number of people unable to find a place to live that was within their means.
Affordable Housing in Spain
An aid package aimed at the most disadvantaged will be implemented, as will monetary incentives for those working to make cheap rental homes available to young people.
People under 35 who earn three times less than the Multiplier for the Public Income Index (Iprem) of €24,318 are eligible for the “Bono Joven de Alquiler” of €250 per month, which is used to determine economic aids, allowances, and unemployment benefits.
It is planned that Spain’s transport ministry will sign collaboration agreements with the 17 regions and condition state funding on their co-financing of measures in particular percentages to simplify the implementation of the housing plan. This will make affordable housing in Spain a reality in 2022.
“Extreme vulnerability” and “vulnerable groups” will receive up to 100 percent of their rent subsidies under the new housing plan, which is in line with the previous one, begun under the 2013-2016 state plan.
While the highest monthly rent ceiling remains at €600 (up to €900), the new proposal increases subsidies from 40% to 50% for households earning less than the Irem.
Young adults under 35 with salaries three, four, or five times below the Iprem can receive financial assistance to rent or buy a home in communities with less than 10,000 residents, as well as specific steps to boost the public rental stock.
In addition, subsidies are established for property owners that support models such as temporary housing, cohousing, and intergenerational housing.
Affordable Housing in Spain: Controlling Rent
The Treasury Ministry’s Maria Jesus Montero announced that Spain would restrict rental pricing in places where demand for housing exceeds supply. This is the latest twist in a long-running internal quarrel between Unidas Podemos and the Socialists coalition members.
It’s a “comprehensive regulatory package,” Montero told reporters on Tuesday, which includes measures to combat “exploitative rental costs,” among other things.
The left-wing coalition government in Spain prioritized affordable housing, but the economic crisis created by the coronavirus outbreak has hindered its goals from achieving this goal. Podemos, a radical socialist party, seeks price caps for all goods and services.
According to the OECD, Spain’s share of social housing is less than 2%, placing it significantly behind European peers like the United Kingdom, France, and Italy, where subsidized housing accounts for 17%, 14%, and 4% of each country’s total housing stock, respectively. As Montero explained, “the debate centers on what tool will best allow us to ensure judicial security and respect citizen’s rights, both the right to housing as a social function and the right to private property.”
This decision has been criticized by landlord associations throughout the country, who say it discourages investors and ordinary landlords from renting out their properties, resulting in a decrease in the available rental stock.
As the transportation minister put it on Monday, “We think it’s more successful in encouraging than impose, and we’re working on numerous measures of getting more homes onto the market at affordable rates… like tax incentives,” he said. Controlling rent positively impacts the economy since it allows for both public and private sector investment to coexist. Renting a home in Spain is extremely difficult because of the country’s current housing crisis, and as a result, other areas of the economy lag behind and gradually deteriorate.
Rent control assists those with lower incomes to remain in their homes for a more extended amount of time and with greater security. Rent prices must not rise to the point of burdening renters; else, landlords can count on their properties being fully occupied. Rent control keeps individuals in their homes and lowers poverty rates by reducing evictions and homelessness.
With the help of lower taxation for landlords, the Spanish government proposed a plan that would curb rent increases. An increase in localized enterprises or landlords’ ability to combat the PEFs and stimulate the economy is possible due to this bill.
The PEFs in Spain pushed rental prices out of the reach of many people. As a result, Spain’s housing problem has spiraled out of hand. This bill could reduce homelessness and poverty. Localized diversification of industry and investment could enhance the economy and allow Spanish citizens the opportunity to locate new residences.
The Solution: Affordable Housing in Spain
The Catalan Parliament has recently approved the Decree-Law 17/2019 on urgent measures to promote access to housing, which uses its exclusive competence on housing to address Catalonia’s housing crisis. Law 24/2015 on the Housing Emergency, enacted in 2015, has been reaffirmed, redefined, and broadened to guarantee access to housing for those facing housing exclusion who reside in “large-scale real estate holders.”
When it comes to finding decent and suitable housing, many people experience tremendous difficulties. This is why the Decree-Law refers to these measures as “urgent” and “urgent” in the Decree-Law.
As a result, the definition of “large-scale real estate holdings” in the new law includes natural persons who have previously owned at least 15 residential properties. Renters who have outlived their leases or whose living arrangements aren’t covered by formal contracts will now have the additional responsibility of receiving social housing from “large-scale real estate holders,” as well.
In an Autonomous Community where the share of public housing is only 1.5 percent, this is an innovative proposal to address the serious issue of housing access and loss in an Autonomous Community trying to offer solutions to individuals and families who are losing their homes and facing housing exclusion.
For the first time, a “large-scale real estate holding” has been defined and responsibilities imposed on a key player in today’s global housing crisis: the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) owned by wealthy individuals who profit off the plight of the poor.