Is it worth renting an apartment in Catalonia with the new law? The expert's opinion

The year 2023 closes with 38,683 housing rental contracts signed in Barcelona, ​​its lowest since 2011.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
02 April 2024 Tuesday 10:52
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Is it worth renting an apartment in Catalonia with the new law? The expert's opinion

The year 2023 closes with 38,683 housing rental contracts signed in Barcelona, ​​its lowest since 2011. In 2024, the downward trend could continue due to the housing law. Even so, the average price has set a new record (€16.1/m² compared to €14.5/m² in 2022, according to Incasòl) and experts recommend not to be alarmed: it is still worth renting an apartment, despite of everything.

Between 2022 and 2018, an average of 51,000 annual housing rental contracts were signed in Barcelona. The lowest point was in 2020 with the pandemic, with 40,416 contracts.

Last year, 2023, with the approval of the housing law and the first restrictive measures, the market in Barcelona closed with 38,683 signed contracts, its lowest since 2011, and the same fortune is predicted for 2024.

The first reaction on the part of the owners will be to withdraw their homes from the market, predicts the commercial director of Housfy Alquiler, Jordi Marcer.

Above all, those more conservative landlords will wait, in the short term, to ensure that it is safe to continue renting, or to recalibrate their passive income forecasts.

At the same time, investment in housing—buying an apartment to rent it—would be diminished in stressed areas. “The investor will have to refine the purchase price a lot so that the numbers are profitable,” recalls Marcer. In addition, "he must make sure if that home has been rented in the previous five years and at what price, since he must respect it."

Could this relax buying and selling prices?

Time will tell. Marcer responds that it is still advisable—"of course!"—to rent an apartment despite the new regulations. “If you have an unused home, you either sell it or rent it,” says Marcer, and being the owner of a closed home is a drama in which all actors lose.

This lack of short-term supply has caused the rental price to continue rising and reach maximums in 2023. In Barcelona, ​​for example, it closed the year at €16.1/m², which would correspond to about €1,136.4 on average. for an apartment of about 70 m².

The measures of the housing law that will be applied to the stressed areas are mainly intended to freeze rents and avoid increases, so large current reductions in prices should not be expected. Only in very specific cases—some contracts with large holders that must be renewed—will there be reductions in the rental price.

It would not be logical to think that renting will not give good returns from now on, a variable that in any case will resist and remain stable, as in the last year.

It could happen, however, that municipalities that are not currently listed as stressed see their prices increase, due to the shortage of supply in the stressed areas and the increase in demand in municipalities where the specific regulation is not yet applied.

The problem exists and must be addressed. "The purchasing power of Spaniards has only suffered compared to the rest of Europe in recent years," comments Marcer from Housfy Rental, due to "excessive inflation and insufficient wage increases."

Demand is high and supply is very low. If everything goes as expected, supply and demand will distance themselves even more. "We hope that it will be a matter of time before owners understand and adapt to the new reality," concludes Marcer.