MADRID – The first micro homes have been inaugurated in Madrid. Tenants pay 800 euros per month for 25 square meters on an industrial estate. Furthermore, the micro homes are part of a large building with 874 apartments.
This complex on the Rivas industrial estate belongs to the American fund Greystar. It is located one hour by public transport from the centre of the Spanish capital. Of the 847 homes, 500 are studios with a single room and barely 25 usable square metres. However, all come with a private bathroom and kitchenette. Furthermore, since there is not enough space for everything, they are equipped with a two-seater dining table, and a television. They also have a cupboard and a bed that folds out of the wall covering the sofa and coffee table.
Higher-located studios are more expensive
According to Epe.es, the company asks for a minimum of €788 per month for this type of room with a minimum stay of ten months. This price is for a micro home on the ground floor. However, this does not get much daylight although it does have a small terrace. The higher the apartment is, the higher the price. Therefore, a studio on the third floor is more expensive than one on the ground floor.
The other two apartments on offer have one and two bedrooms, measuring 37.5 and 50.5 square metres respectively. The prices of these start at €956 and €1,029 per month. The brand under which the investment fund rents them out is called BeCasa.
Proximity to the centre of Madrid
The advertising brochures emphasise that the micro-homes are twenty minutes from the centre of Madrid and two minutes from the nearest metro station, Rivas Futura. However, critical journalists note that those twenty minutes, depending on the time of day and the state of the traffic, are more like thirty to forty minutes by car.
In addition, the metro station is about an eight-minute walk along a path that runs between the road and a field. From there, the ride to the centre takes at least fifty minutes with one transfer. BeCasa is indeed a ten-minute walk from a large shopping centre.
Flexibility and affordability
Greystar’s director in Spain, Juan Acosta, emphasised the “flexibility” and “affordability” of this type of accommodation. With flexibility, the company refers to the duration of the contract – it can be days or months, the cheaper the more months are contracted – and the type of property (small or very small).
Regarding affordability, he says: “We have made a big effort to ensure that the rates are within reach of as many tenants as possible”. He also states the convenience of online contracting and the included common areas. “The best parts of the building are dedicated to the community,” Acosta said. There is a swimming pool, gym, yoga room, roof terrace, laundry, a “social club” (large room) and even a “pet spa” (pet spa: a bathtub to wash the dog).
In the same neighbourhood much larger apartments for the same price
A quick search on real estate portals reveals that much larger apartments are rented in Rivas for prices comparable to BeCasa: €900 per month for a duplex of 124 square metres, €845 for a two-bedroom apartment of 79 square metres, etc. But those are not “flexible” nor do they have as many areas dedicated to “community”.
Living like a student
The concept of BeCasa resembles that of a student residence: long corridors, hundreds of mini-flats and large communal areas. The company is finalising the opening of two other similar macro buildings, albeit more expensive: one in San Sebastián de Los Reyes and another in Valdebebas, both in Madrid.
Clever trick based on an aparthotel license
Surrounded by two large empty lots and overlooking the road, the Leroy Merlin and a Bricomart, the giant Greystar building has a trick. It is built on tertiary land. That is, land on which offices, shops or hotels should be built. Consequently, the land is not intended for housing, and is therefore, sold up to 30% cheaper than residential land.
However, Greystar is not the only company in Spain that has realised they can build on tertiary land with an aparthotel permit. So not only do they pay less for it, but they can also build smaller apartments (the rules are not the same) and they circumvent the Urban Leasing Act, so they can increase the rent as much as they want at the end of the contract. In the case of normal homes, the increase is currently limited to 2% per year and is usually linked to the CPI.
This project will also avoid future housing law if passed. It is considering price caps for “large holders” (owners with more than ten rental apartments).
For young people and single people after a divorce
On December 12, the first tenants will move into their BeCasa homes. According to company sources, there are already 114 apartments reserved. These sources confirm the profile of the tenants is very diverse. Some young people want to become independent, and divorced people and elderly people whose children live in the municipality. Guardia Civil agents stationed in Rivas will also be living there. Furthermore, an entire floor is reserved to serve as a hotel.
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