The 30% VPO reserve will only create 52 subsidized homes in Barcelona

Officially protected housing continues to be a pending issue for Barcelona City Council.

23 November 2022 Wednesday 21:38
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The 30% VPO reserve will only create 52 subsidized homes in Barcelona

Officially protected housing continues to be a pending issue for Barcelona City Council. In fact, the controversial measure that requires 30% of new promotions to be reserved for public housing has proven ineffective, according to the report "Housing and its economic and social importance" presented last Friday by Foment del Treball and the Association of Promoters of Catalonia (APCE). In fact, during the presentation of the study, Josep Sánchez Llibre, president of Foment del Treball, denounced the "resounding failure" of the measures implemented by the Ada Colau City Council, especially those that refer to subsidized housing, and claimed " fewer regulations, and more proportionate and reasoned”.

And it is that, according to data from the Servei de Concessió de Llicències de l'Ajuntament de Barcelona, ​​since the approval of said measure at the end of 2018, only 11 work licenses have been granted that incorporate its 30% VPO reserve, which is translates into only 52 homes. A derisory figure compared to the more than 334 newly created apartments per year that this measure should generate according to a statement issued by the City Council in 2018.

These data show that this measure "does not work and is paralyzing the construction of new homes in the city, as well as large renovations," the report says. And it is that the 30% reserve measure for officially protected housing not only affects new developments, but also rehabilitations from 600 m2 of built-up roof.

The study also indicates that the 30% measure is being adopted in other municipalities (Mataró, Terrassa, Ripollet, etc.), where the consequences of a stoppage in developer-construction activity can have even worse effects on the housing stock and on the generation of wealth and employment in these localities.

With respect to this measure, Xavier Vilajoana, president of the Association of Promoters of Catalonia (APCE), highlighted that until July of this year only one license had been requested with the reservation of 30% of VPO, which would mean 6 subsidized homes. “It is evident that the measure has not had the expected results. From the PACE we present a series of conditions to this rule, but we were not listened to. Despite this, we continue to offer our collaboration to the City Council to try to solve this situation”.

In this sense, construction has been the third sector that has contributed to the economic boost of Catalonia. Thus, according to the report, its weight in Catalan GDP stands at 4.6% and the sector achieved a 5% reduction in unemployment in Catalonia in 2021. At the fiscal level, during the first half of this year the Generalitat de Catalunya has collected 1,479 million euros for the Property Transfer Tax and Documented Legal Acts, 11.4% more than in the same period of 2021. "20% of the total price of a home are taxes collected by the administrations," recalled Xavier Vilajoana.

Some figures that contrast with the "insufficient" budget allocation that is allocated to housing in public policies. Both at the state, regional and local level, these endowments are still insufficient to expand the housing stock, especially affordable and social.

The public spending of the State planned for this 2022 amounts to 3,300 million euros, with an annual increase of 12.3% compared to the previous year. However, if this ends up being the allocated item, it would only represent 0.7% of the total budget items, an insufficient amount to cover social housing needs, and more after six consecutive years being the lowest item of all those contemplated in the budgets. In fact, Spain allocates only 0.4�l of GDP to housing policies. A percentage that, at a European level, is below that of France, Germany, Italy, the Nordic countries, or even Eastern countries, such as Croatia and Hungary, among others.

The report emphasizes the need for a firm commitment to protected housing on the part of all administrations. And it is that, according to data from Mitma (Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda of Spain), in Catalonia in 2021 a total of 1,529 finished subsidized homes were built, of which 60.5% were built by the private sector . That is, 925 privately promoted social housing and 604 publicly promoted. In 2022, the provisional rating data up to the month of June in Catalonia show a decrease in the number of subsidized homes, with 792 homes started compared to the total number of homes started (8,005).

Given these figures, the report prepared by the APCE and Foment del Treball concludes that “public-private collaboration is a truly effective tool to promote the expansion of the housing stock in Catalonia. But this collaboration must be built on solid and lasting foundations over time, both legal and budgetary”.

In fact, during the presentation of the report, the president of the PACE emphasized "the willingness of the construction developer sector to establish bridges of dialogue and collaboration with the public administrations to promote the housing stock in Catalonia" and regretted that from the administrations and the political parties "think more about the next elections than about the next generations in terms of housing."

The report "Housing and its economic and social importance" also reviews the regulatory changes suffered by the developer and construction sector in Catalonia in recent years, and concludes that the interventionist policies of the administrations, especially in the rental market , have generated a counterproductive effect on the housing supply in our country, and are trying to extend to the whole of the State.

This fact causes legal insecurity in the field of housing to continue to worsen and the construction of housing in Catalonia is paralyzed. Other problems that significantly slow down the construction of new developments are the lack of agility of the administrations in the generation of new buildable land and the granting of building permits and other permits, with periods ranging from 12 to 18 or 24 months. delay, depending on the municipality.

The report also includes the unique opportunity that Next Generation funds represent to renovate the housing stock that has become old and that it is necessary to adapt to current regulations on energy efficiency. These programs for the rehabilitation of buildings and homes are mainly aimed at homeowners' associations, which represent 80% of home ownership in Spain.

In this sense, the report highlights program 6 within the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, aimed at promoting the promotion of new affordable rental housing on public land, as well as the open call by the Generalitat de Catalunya for the promotion of works new affordable rental housing on private land. "This is a path that administrations need to continue once the end of 2026 in order to solve the problem of lack of affordable and social housing," the report concludes.



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