Barcelona declares itself 'tense housing market' zone

City mayor Jaume Collboni signs decree as council's goal is placing housing access on agenda

A for rent sign in Barcelona's Sant Antoni neighborhood
A for rent sign in Barcelona's Sant Antoni neighborhood / Lluis Sibils
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

June 29, 2023 06:30 PM

June 29, 2023 06:34 PM

Barcelona is now officially declared a 'tense housing market' area, as the city council, Jaume Collboni, signed a decree on Thursday. The signature is the first step for "immediately" implementing the new Spanish housing bill passed in Congress in May and seeing caps on rent increases.

The move comes after the Catalan government had already started the first processes for the law to come into force. Recently, the executive more than doubled the number of towns they officially declare to be in a 'tense housing zone,' from 60 to 140.

The city's new mayor signed the decree as he believes that the housing access is a "first social problem," and the city council will "step up to create more households and continue to reduce prices," he said to media outlets as his goal is to place housing access on the agenda.

"Housing will be a cross-sectional project of this council. We are determined to win this battle, and we'll do so acting from all areas," he said.


The Catalan government had detected reasons such as the cost of rent or mortgage plus basic expenses exceeding 30% of average income or that the rental or purchase price of housing has seen cumulative growth of at least three percentage points higher than the cumulative growth of inflation in the past five years, to declare 140 areas as 'tense housing zones.'

Collboni said that the city complies with three of them, as the cost of rent and expenses is 36%, and 43% to pay the mortgage and the expenses, according to the Spanish National Institute, and Incasòl, the Catalan Government's subsidiary that manages public land throughout Catalonia.

Only in Barcelona, on average, residents pay up to €1,087 per month for a rented flat, according to the latest data updated by Incasòl, which shows data for the first quarter of this year. 

The latest figures imply an increase of €10 euros compared to the average price at the end of 2022

This figure has not stopped growing ever since 2020, although the upward trend has been followed for many more years previously. A rented apartment cost an average of €387 in 2000 and €776 in 2010. 

Meanwhile, real estate agents believe there will be a price drop and the number of houses sold in the near future because of the high inflation seen in previous months and the European Central Bank (ECB) policy of increasing the interest rates.

Check out our podcast, published in June 2021, on soaring rents in Barcelona for an in-depth report on the underlying crisis: