Second report by the Metropolitan Housing Observatory

The O-HB, a key instrument for citizens and administrations on housing matters, has published its second annual report with data from 2017 and 2018 on the needs of people and homes, housing stock, building and renovation, the market and problems accessing and remaining in housing.

04/07/2019 18:21 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

The Barcelona Metropolitan Housing Observatory (O-HB) was set up in 2017 as a joint initiative between Barcelona City Council, Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB), Barcelona Provincial Council and the Government of Catalonia. The aim is a supramunicipal instrument for analysing and checking housing data and evaluating public policies in the metropolitan area.

The O-HB has produced a snapshot of housing based on statistical information for its second annual report ‘Housing in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area 2018’. The following data comes from the report:

Difficulties in accessing housing

Owning or renting a home is increasingly beyond the possibilities of citizens, even in the metropolitan area. In the case of rental housing, a household with an income of 2.5 times the interprofessional minimum salary, in other words 2,146 euros a month net, can only access rental housing (spending less than 30% of their income) in 5 or the 36 municipalities in the metropolitan area: Badia del Vallès, Montcada i Reixac, Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Ripollet and Castellbisbal.

Fewer homes and fewer empty homes than the census indicated

The figures obtained from the 2011 population and housing census were higher than the real numbers. Specifically, in the city of Barcelona, the difference detected was of 811.106 homes in 2011 and 774.190 in 2018. In the case of the metropolitan area, the census reflected 1,501,756 homes, while the team from the observatory noted only 1,432,530 in 2018.

In terms of empty homes in Barcelona, the census indicated there were 88,259 (10,88% of the total stock), while the studies conducted by the City Council in the city’s 73 neighbourhoods in 2017 and 2018 found that percentage to be 1,22% (10,052 homes).

More people renting

The percentage of people living in rented housing in the city rose from 30.1% in 2011 to 35% in 2017. In the metropolitan area the number rose from 16,1% to 20% in the same period.

Housing in private hands

Of the 74,190 homes counted in the city, 512,178 belong to taxpayers who own 1.5 properties on average. Some 97,1% of owners in the city of Barcelona are private individuals and property communities, who own 84.6% of the housing stock, with an average of 1.3 homes per taxpayer.

Corporate entities account for 2.6% of the total number of taxpayers and 10.7% of homes, with an average of 6.1 homes per taxpayer.

Regaining residential buildings

Building licences in Barcelona rose from 1,474 homes in 2013 to 3,020 in 2018, a rise of 104%. In the rest of the metropolitan area, a total of 4,916 homes were created in 2018, representing an increase of 834% compared to the lowest point, in 2013.

Higher sales prices

Prices for new-build homes in the metropolitan area rose by 4.6% since the lowest point, in 2014, representing a rise of 21.5%. In terms of prices per square metre of floor space, that means a rise from 2,526 euros per metre to 3,068 euros. In Barcelona’s case, the increase was sharper (41.7%), rising from 3,116 euros to 4,416 euros per square metre.

The rise in the second-hand housing market was also 4.6% compared to the lowest point, in 2013. In Barcelona’s case the average home costs 3,984 euros per square metre.

Rise in average rental costs

According to data from contracts registered with the Catalan Land Institute (INCASOL), the average price of rents has reached 929,6 euros a month in Barcelona. In the metropolitan area the average price is 860,5 euros a month. The evolution of prices has been slightly more moderate in the last year, varying by 6%, compared to the figure of 9.5% recorded in 2017.


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