Spain wants to help millions of young adults living with their parents rent their homes when the housing market collapsed a decade ago.
Rising rental costs are set to become a key campaign issue as Spain prepares for regional elections on May 28 and general elections later in the year.
According to the Observatory of Liberation, only 16% of young people in Spain live independently, compared to an average of 32% in Europe, reports RTE.
The government today approved a plan to make up to 50,000 self-contained apartments occupied by Spanish bad bank Sareb available at affordable rents.
It agreed last week with allies in Parliament on a bill that would introduce a rent cap of 3% per year in areas with sharply rising rents.
“Young people and the not-so-young can’t pay for their rented apartments. We think it’s a measure that will work and it’s not the only one that we’re putting on the table,” Housing Minister Raquel Sanchez said of the plan to repurpose toxic assets held by Sareb, reports RTE.
High rents are a particular problem in the Balearic and Canary Islands and the Mediterranean coast, where short-term rentals for tourists and foreign buyers affect supply.
According to apartment-hunting website Idealista.com, rents in Malaga are up 20.4% as availability fell 27% year-on-year in the first quarter.
Antonio Garamendi, president of Spanish employers’ union CEOE, said the housing law’s “ppopulist and interventionist” measures would not solve rising rent prices, but would “provoke the opposite of what is intended”, reports RTE.
Sareb was formed in 2012 to acquire €50 billion in assets and other toxic assets from former savings banks that collapsed after the real estate bubble burst.
Although the government has announced that up to 50,000 apartments will be made available, only about 9,000 are actually almost ready for occupancy.
In addition, it has identified 112 lots on which to build 10,000 new homes initially, with plans to add 5,000 more in the future.
According to Sareb, the 14,000 houses that are already occupied could also be included in the social rental program, reports RTE.
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