Barcelona: No rental tension zone?

Barcelona: No rental tension zone?

In a recent study conducted by the real estate portal Idealista, it was revealed that Barcelona, along with 17 other Catalan localities, does not meet the criteria to be considered a non-stressed rental area.

This analysis was based on a number of factors, including rental prices published by the Ministry of Housing, household income reported by the National Statistics Institute (INE) and an estimate of energy consumption provided by the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC).

According to a study by the portal Idealista, the rate of effort required in Barcelona for families to rent a home is 27%, that is, three points below the limit established for an area to be classified as a stressed area.

Under current legislation, an area is considered stressed if the average rent burden, added to basic expenses and supplies, exceeds 30% of the average household income, or if the purchase or rental price has increased more than three points above the regional Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the last five years.

Non-stressed rental area?

However, discrepancies arise when other data are examined. According to Idealista, the rental vacancy rate in Barcelona has surpassed the 30% limit by far, reaching 47.5% at the end of 2023.

In addition, rental prices increased by 28.6% in the last five years, and the CPI in Catalonia reached 15.74%, exceeding the required threshold. This raises questions about the accuracy of the criteria used to determine real estate market stress in the region.

Among the Catalan municipalities that do not meet the criteria to be considered stressed areas are Figueres, Valls, Lloret de Mar, Tortosa, Ripoll, Cambrils, Guissona and Balaguer, among others.

This situation is evidence of the complexity and lack of consensus in the evaluation of the real estate market situation in different regions.

Controversy in the real estate sector

The declaration of stressed areas by the Generalitat de Catalunya, backed by a rental price index that considers a variety of variables, has generated controversy in the real estate sector.

This index is updated annually and affects contracts signed on or after March 16. Although it does not establish an explicit penalty regime, it allows consumers to report non-compliance to the Agència Catalana del Consum.

The question of whether Barcelona and other Catalan localities should be considered rental hotspots continues to be debated.

The different data sets and criteria used to assess this situation underscore the complexity of the housing market and the need for a careful and balanced approach to address housing and rental challenges in the region.