Spanish President Pedro Sánchez has managed to stitch together a slender parliamentary majority to stay in power with his hard-left coalition partners in a government that will continue to pursue the same policies on the housing front.
Pedro Sánchez has cemented his reputation as the Houdini of Spanish politics by sewing together a parliamentary majority with 179 votes in favour, and 171 against, and was sworn in as Spanish President this week at the head of a coalition between his Socialist party and the extreme-left Sumar grouping now led by Yolanda Díaz.
Sánchez displayed an impressive lack of principles in pursuit of power, doing a deal with Catalan nationalist parties that he said was unconstitutional before it suited him to do it.
His new government will depend on what looks like a volatile majority of, on the one hand, radical regional parties whose main objective is to break away from Spain, and on the other, infighting factions of the hard-left. He may spend most of his next term as President herding cats.
During his last government Sánchez ceded control of housing policy to the hard left, resulting in a Housing Law that has crushed the rental market and reduced incentives to invest in housing development that Spain badly needs. I presume his next government will do more of the same.
Raquel Sánchez (no relation), the Minister in charge of the MITMA department that includes housing, suggested last week that priorities will be clamping down on holiday rentals and mid-term rentals that owners use to avoid long-term rentals, which penalise landlords under the new Housing Law.
National measures like the ‘temporary’ Solidarity Tax and new Housing law (which the opposition was going to axe if it won) will stay in place, but most housing rules in Spain are devolved or implemented by regional governments, a majority of which are now in the hands of the opposition (including Andalusia, the Valencian region, the Balearics, and Madrid) so some areas are less at risk than others. In many ways the new government will make no difference at all, especially to holiday-home owners who live abroad.
Catalonia – the only region that plans to implement the Housing Law in full – will be the guinea pig for this government’s new regulations like “strained housing markets” and rent controls, whilst most other regions like Madrid and Andalusia will try to avoid them. So how much real impact the new government has will depend upon the region.