Leaving home: mission impossible?
Public aid grows to allow people under 35 to buy a house.
All data and studies seem to suggest that younger people have difficulty accessing housing. High prices, low wages, difficulty saving … But not everything is negative in this panorama. The administrations have long been starting up a series of aid programmes that are intended to help people get their first house.
That said, it will depend on where you live, since the problem of getting a flat in our country is especially complicated in large cities like Barcelona and Madrid. In these urban centres the price of housing has risen in recent years, and especially renting, which is the most accessible option for young people.
“53% of young people between 25 and 35 years old want to own a home”
According to the latest data from the Active Population Survey, the average salary of Spaniards between 25 and 34 years in 2016 was 1,543.90 euros per month, while those under 24 earn a monthly average of 1029.3 euros.
Maybe they are not the best figures for the twenty-somethings (well, some already in their thirties) to be able to be emancipated, but most have a firm will to do it. A report from Sociedad de Tasación highlights that 53% of people between 25 and 35 years old want to own a home.
With the aim of facilitating young people’s access to their first home (as well as helping other groups with difficulties), the government approved the Housing Plan on 9 March, which allowed some 15 million Spaniards of between 25 and 35 years old to benefit from this package of government measures.
The improvement of this new Housing plan over previous policies is significant, since it has an aid fund of 1,443 million euros, which is 62.5% up on similar funds activated in the past.
These can also be complemented with others from the autonomous communities: 350 million for 2018. In the coming years there will be progressive increases: 357 million for 2019, 364 million for 2020 and 370 million for 2021.
Buying and renting
The plan stipulates providing various amounts as an incentive for both buying and renting. In the case of those under 35 who want to buy a home, the subsidy can be up to 10,800 euros. This figure cannot be more than 20% of the total value of the apartment or house. Another condition is that the price of the dwelling is less than 100,000 euros.
These subsidies are specially designed to cover costs derived from a purchase transaction such as taxes, notary fees and other types of fees. These are compulsory procedures, the cost of which discourages many from embarking on the purchase of a house.
Better in the country
The measure is especially focused for those towns of fewer than 5,000 inhabitants in order to avoid the depopulation of rural areas. Ultimately, the plan implies a change of direction in the government’s housing policy, since buying had not been encouraged in the last five years.
For rental they do take into account the big cities with very high prices. The aid in this case can be up to 50% of the rent for contracts not exceeding 600 euros per month. In the case of cities with high rents such as Madrid or Barcelona, if the rental agreement reaches 900 euros, the subsidy will be up to 30%. These subsidies may be received for a period of three years.
These rental support measures are financed 80% by the Ministry of Public Works, while the rest will be provided by the corresponding autonomous community.
The requirements that the youngsters must fulfil contemplate various aspects:
- Being under 35.
- Buying or renting a house for habitual use.
- Income not exceeding 22,550.77 euros per year for both purchase and rental, that is, less than:– Three times the Multiple Effect Public Income Indicator (IPREM) in general.– Four times the IPREM if a large family or people with disabilities.
– Five times the IPREM for special large families and people with specific disabilities.
- Maximum monthly rental of €600 (€900 for certain areas defined by the autonomous communities).
- In purchases, the house must have a price of under €100,000.
The amount can go up to four times the IPREM for large families and people with disabilities, and up to five for those families that include a person with a higher degree of disability.
How to apply for the aid?
The Housing Plan 2018-2021 is an initiative of the Ministry of Development. Although the help is processed through the agencies that manage housing policies in each autonomous community, such as the Agencia de Vivienda y Rehabilitación de Andalucía, the Agencia de Vivienda Social de la Comunidad de Madrid or the Agència de l’Habitatge de Catalunya, among others.
Regarding the documentation to be submitted, these entities usually request a responsible income statement as a basic element to be eligible for this type of aid. Likewise, the councils also have organisations where they inform about the available aids and give guidelines on the procedures, especially in the case of renting.
The option of Council Housing
Another alternative for young people is to go for Council Housing. In this case, these are programmes of municipalities and autonomous communities through public companies, which classify flats and houses. Their value is below the market price and can be both buying and renting, and each administration can top it up with other incentives, such as subsidies to put down a deposit, for instance.
“The criteria for accessing Council Housing or the Government Housing Plan are similar”
It is convenient to keep in mind a series of limitations if you go for Council Housing (VPO), especially if buying. The status of “council housing” is maintained for a period of years fixed by the administration. It must be used as the regular home and cannot be disposed of freely for sale.
Who is eligible for council housing? The criteria are similar to those seen in the Government’s Housing Plan, although they are set by the autonomous governments in question. The scale used will also be the Multiple Effect Public Income Indicator (IPREM), usually with a scale similar to the one already mentioned. Other factors can also be considered (the municipality where it is, the ages of the applicants, whether they are a large family …) to complete the weighting.
On this last point, some autonomous communities, such as Andalusia and Madrid, are more flexible and set a maximum sale price, if the owner wants to sell it. In any case, once the period set by the administration has been exceeded (usually 10 years), the house can be sold freely.
By Miguel Jordán