Insight into the Spanish property market, guides to help you make informed decisions, and a directory of real estate professionals and home service providers from a source you can trust.
This is a website for buyers, owners, and sellers of property in Spain, offering reliable information and resources to help you get things done with confidence. It is run by Mark Stücklin, author of the Spanish Property Doctor Column in The Sunday Times (2005-2008), and the book ‘Need to Know: Buying Property in Spain’ published by Collins.
When you buy or sell property in Spain the sums of money are large, perhaps one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. The high transaction costs you will face like taxes and commissions only make the decision more important to get right. And when you own property in Spain you face a host of extra challenges to manage, and costs to control. Unfortunately, the Spanish property market is opaque and full of pitfalls, and notoriously unprofessional. Buying and selling property in Spain is not a decision to be taken lightly, and you may find it much easier to buy than sell if you don’t take care. In this market it is crucial to do your own research, and don’t rely exclusively on people who are trying to sell you something – let’s just say they might not have your best interests at heart. Spanish Property Insight is the only independent source of information and analysis of the Spanish property market. Don’t even think about buying or selling property in Spain without subscribing to Spanish Property Insight.
A report just published reveals that housing starts collapsed in Barcelona in the first quarter of the year in response to a social housing quota of 30% on new developments imposed by Mayoress Ada Colau, who claimed it would lead to more than 300 affordable new homes in the city each year.
In the first quarter of the year there were 271 housing starts in Barcelona province, 63% less than the same time last year, when there were 730, according to a report from the Association of Promoters of Catalonia (Asociación de Promotores de Cataluña – Apce).
The decline in housing starts in Barcelona province explains why the number of homes started in Catalonia as a region was down 5.4% in Q1, whilst housing starts were up 23% in Spain as a whole.
The figures also show that housing starts in Barcelona city fell from 24% of the province total in Q1 2018 to 10% today, showing that the biggest decline has taken place in Barcelona city.
Why are housing starts plummeting in Barcelona whilst rising in the rest of Spain? Because at the start of the year leftie Mayoress Ada Colau managed to impose a social housing quota of 30% on all new developments and full renovation projects i the city with a surface area of 600m2 or more, forcing private developers to dedicate 30% of the project to affordable housing. In the Barcelona market today, that makes all such projects unviable.
The figures for Q1 don’t even tell the full story. They include projects that obtained licences before Colau’s social housing quota came into force at the start of the year. I suspect that not a single developer has requested a licence for a project that complies with the social housing quota since it came into force. I’ve been asking around and nobody knows of one. That suggests that housing starts in Barcelona will be close to zero when the Q2 figures come out, or at least close to zero for projects that comply with the 30% social housing quota.
When she first got her quota approved by the municipal government she boasted it would lead to between 300 and 400 affordable new homes a year, and urged other cities to copy her “change of paradigm” by forcing private developers to finance and provide social housing. As I argued at the time, “you don’t need a degree in economics to see that Colau’s social housing quota will reduce house building and the supply of new homes in the city.”
But it looks like Colau’s social housing quota has caused new home building in Barcelona to collapse, not just decline, and I fear worse news is to come. Not only will she fail to deliver anything close to 300 affordable new homes a year she promised, she will reduce the supply of new homes for everyone, and drive up the price of housing even further.
Housing affordability is one of Ada Colau’s signature issues, yet everything she does simply restricts the supply of housing in Barcelona, and drives up the cost. Though it makes property in the city more valuable, and boosts investment returns for owners, it’s bad news for the city as a whole.
Everything you need to know about property in Spain
Login or Register to read articles without any adverts in the text.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.