News summary: Week 20, 2023

A summary of the main Spanish property news stories in the week gone by.

  • The number of flats in Barcelona with a tourist rental licence has decreased by 25% in a year to 14,188, according to data published by the National Statistics Institute. The policy pursued by the current city administration of reducing tourist rentals appears to be working, at least according to the official statistics. Unlicenced rentals are another matter.
  • The ECB is nearing the end of interest rate hikes, say two influential officials from the European central banking world, the Presidents of the Bundesbank and the Bank of Greece, both members of the ECB’s governing council. Though base rates currently at 3.75% might need to increase more to bring inflation under control, we are in the final straight of that journey, say the officials, suggesting that the period of monetary tightening is drawing to a close.
  • Only 60% of Spanish municipalities in sun-drenched Spain offer a rebate on local rates to homeowners who generate their own electricity from renewable sources, according to a study by solar energy company Otovo. That means 40% of Spanish municipalities do not encourage homeowners to use green energy sources despite ‘Net Zero’ being an EU objective.
  • Barcelona efforts to make the city-centre greener are fueling gentrification and rising housing costs, says the property portal Idealista. Pedestrianising Eixample streets like Consell de Cent and Girona has led to owners and landlords increasing asking prices by 10% in those areas relative to areas that haven’t benefited from ‘green’ investment.
  • The Grand Hyatt hotel brand has opened the doors to its first luxry hotel in Spain in the La Manga Club in Murcia, which is also a residential golf resort.
  • The European real estate boom is over, claims a new report from European ratings agency Scope Ratings. Rising interest rates, high inflation, and economic uncertainty have placed home ownership out of reach for most Europeans, argues the report written by Mathias Pleissner. “After years of bonanza, the party is over for owners, borrowers and lenders alike,” he writes.
  • The housing bill going through parliament, and soon to make it onto the statute books, will lead to greater legal insecurity, a shrinking stock of rental homes, higher rental prices, and leave owners defenceless against squatters, the Spanish College of Estate Agents (COAPI) has warned.
  • Podemos – the hard-left junior partner in Spain’s governing coalition – will propose a new law to prosecute anti-squatter outfits that claim to get squatters out faster and/or cheaper than going down the judicial route. “We are going to register a law to criminally prosecute this trash (gentuza) that profits from persecuting the vulnerable,” said Podemos Minister of Social Rights Ione Belarra about squatter-eviction companies, quoted in the Spanish press.