Does rent allowance increase access to the housing market in Spain?

by Lorraine Williamson
apartment rent allowance

MADRID – Last week, the Spanish government gave the green light for rent allowance to young people for rental contracts of up to €600. Although, whether young people actually get anything out of this is questionable because the averagerent is considerably higher. 

In Barcelona, ​​for example, only 0.6% of all rental apartments have a monthly price of €600 or less. In Madrid, that percentage is 1.4%, in Valencia 4%, and in Seville 13.6%. However, only a very small proportion of Spaniards under 35 can make use of the monthly allowance of €250. 

Rental properties under €600 less than 3% of the supply 

Data on the two main real estate websites Idealista and Fotocasa shows that of the 35,000 rental properties in Barcelona, ​​Madrid, Valencia and Seville, only 897 are offered for a monthly price below €600; that is only 2.6% of the entire rental offer. 

If the housing allowance is granted at a rent limit of €900, the opportunities on the housing market will improve. But in Madrid and Barcelona, it will still be difficult. A 66 square metre house in Madrid cost an average of €964 per month on Idealista and €979 on Fotocasa last December. In Barcelona, the average rents are even higher. Looking at the four largest cities together, 30% of the total rental offer has a monthly price of €900 or less. 

Madrid 

On Idealista and Fotocasa together, there are only 241 apartments in Madrid for under €600. Because this offer can appear on both websites, the actual number is considerably lower. Moreover, the average rent in no neighbourhood in the Spanish capital is €600 or less. If the rent limit is raised to €900, the supply increases from 1.4% to 28%. In 75 neighbourhoods of Madrid, the average rent is below €900. 

Casa Las Dunas Spain

Barcelona 

In Barcelona, ​​the most expensive Spanish city to rent a property, according to data from Idealista and Fotocasa, there are only three districts where the average rent is €900 or lower. In December 2021, a 69 square metre apartment cost an average of €1,063 per month on Idealista and €1,161 on Fotocasa. On both platforms, only 58 advertisements could be found for properties under €600 per month. Just like in Madrid, in no area in Barcelona, the average rent is €600 or lower. The closest is the La Font d’En Fargues district with an average price of €690 per month. 

Unlike Madrid, there are only a few neighbourhoods in Barcelona where you can find a home for €900; that is the case in only 18 of the 58 districts. 

Valencia 

In Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city, an 88 square metre apartment costs on average between €818 and €902 per month. Just like in Barcelona and Madrid, the average rent is well above €600 per month. Only in the neighborhoods of La Llum, Sant Antoni, Rascana and La Raiosa is the average rent close to this amount. If the rent limit for receiving an allowance were to be raised to €900, this would mean a significant improvement for accessibility to the housing market in Valencia: 47% of the total supply on the rental market falls within this price category. 

Seville 

In Seville in December last year, the average rent for a house of 78 square metres was €780 per month. The capital of Andalucia has by far the largest supply of rental properties under €600 of the four largest Spanish cities: that is €386 (14% of the total). But despite the larger offer, Seville does not have a single neighbourhood where an average of €600 or less has to be paid for a rental home. 

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