Today marks a year since the entry into force of the Catalan Law that limits the prices of housing for rent in the so-called stressed areas and the truth is that the result is quite far from the objective that the Generalitat was pursuing with this measure.
According to experts in the sector, what has been achieved with this market intervention is an abrupt reduction of 40% in the supply of flats. This is specified by the Spanish Association of Real Estate Personal Shopper (Aepsi), which points out that “the restrictions of the rental law have caused many owners to choose to sell their homes, since they consider that they can have more benefits than renting them.” “For that reason, the supply is smaller and, therefore, the demand has tightened”, affirms the president of Aepsi, Iñaki Unsain.
To prevent landlords from stopping renting their homes, Aepsi proposes measures such as the implementation of rental incentives via personal income tax, both to landlords and tenants, or affordable housing development projects through public and private agreements.
Another of the effects of this regulation that affects the leases of Barcelona and 60 Catalan municipalities, is that “the signing of contracts has notably decreased, which has led to the market in these areas being even more stressed with a strong demand against an increasingly meager offer “, explains José Ramón Zurdo, general director of the Rental Negotiating Agency (ANA).
Specifically, the official figures offered by Agència de l’Habitatge de Catalunya speak of a 16.6% drop in signatures.
Zurdo: “This Law is a punishment for owners, individuals and companies and harms private and institutional investment”
“Now the intervened areas in Catalonia are, let’s say, privileged areas for a few, and with many people waiting to get a flat, because the offer is less and less,” Zurdo denounces. Thus, the manager considers that the important thing to promote greater and better access to rent, is to take care of and work on the offer.
“The Law that limits prices in Catalonia and its possible transfer to the State Housing Law , with which United Podemos presses, is clearly a punishment to owners, individuals and companies and harms private and institutional investment,” says Zurdo, which concludes that “Catalonia is the mirror where we have to look at ourselves, to understand what would happen if this rule is transferred to the whole of Spain”.
Have the prices dropped?
The objective of this regulation was to achieve a more accessible market and put a stop to the price escalation that had been experienced for some years.
“There has not been a direct effect on the fall in prices, but the decreasing evolution registered since the beginning of 2020 has responded to a natural downward trend after years of previous growth and subsequent stabilization”, explains Ferran Font, director of Studies by Pisos.com, which indicate that “the prices offered by Barcelona owners on Pisos.com have followed the same downward trend for more than a year.”
Thus, it specifies that the double-digit growth rates occurred until the beginning of 2019, being only 5% at the end of 2019 and going to negative territory in 2020. Furthermore, it stands out that in Madrid capital the trend has been practically identical , for what “it is evident that the moderation of the prices of the rent in Barcelona does not respond to a direct impact on the Catalan rent law”, indicates the expert.
In fact, according to Idealista data, rental prices have moved in tandem in both Barcelona and Madrid. Specifically, according to the portal, Barcelona has registered an average rental drop of 8.2%, less than 9.3% in Madrid, where prices are freely agreed between the parties. In addition, in this case, they figure the fall in stock at 42%.