An aid that only reaches 1.7%: the young rent bonus will hardly work in large cities

The Council of Ministers approved yesterday the youth rental bonus, an aid for renting homes aimed at people under 35 years of age, endowed with up to €250 for people who earn less than €24,318 per year. This plan has a budget of 200 million euros and the Government has estimated that it will reach some 70,000 young people.

The Spanish Executive has announced this measure as the solution to the problem of access to housing for the young population, but the truth is that the bonus will have a limited scope (it will barely reach 1.7% of emancipated young people in our country), does not solve the difficulties to rent in particularly stressed cities -such as Madrid or Barcelona- and it could be counterproductive, since introducing more money into the market would inflate the already inflated rental prices.

Limitation of the amount, main stumbling block. The document that regulates this subsidy establishes that the maximum rental amount to receive this aid is €600, although in some cases that amount may be increased to €900. Figures, especially the first one, for which it is practically impossible to find a decent home in cities like Barcelona, ​​Madrid or Valencia. In fact, the real estate portal Fotocasa informs that the supply of flats below €600 per month in Madrid is barely 1.4% of the total, while in Barcelona it is 0.8% of the total.

If that amount is raised to €900, the percentage of available homes in Madrid is 29% of the total, and in Barcelona 18%.

Madrid and Barcelona, ​​very expensive. Xataka has contrasted these data with those of the real estate portal Idealista, through a search on its website for the currently available offer. In the city of Madrid, of the more than 8,000 homes available for rent, only 120 of them cost less than €600 per month. In addition, the vast majority of them are studios -in which the bedroom, kitchen and living room/living room are in the same and only room-, between 25 and 50 square meters, on the outskirts and located on the ground floor or upper floors without lift.

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In the city of Barcelona, ​​of the around 6,000 homes that are currently available for rent, only 600 are priced below €600, and the vast majority suffer from the same as those found in Madrid for that figure: they are small, with little light or difficult access and located on the outskirts. If we raise the limit to €900, in Madrid we find 2,204 homes for rent of the more than 8,000 offered, and in Barcelona 1,000 of the around 6,000 available.

The €900, keys. As we can see, although the measure is a bit fair, if the limitation reaches €900 of the rental amount, young people from cities like Madrid or Barcelona will have many more options. The rule establishes that the limit is €600 and that it will be extended in certain cases, provided that the autonomous community considers it appropriate.

Therefore, the final decision remains in the hands of the regional governments, which have not yet ruled on the matter. The reality, today, is that the limit for the entire State that sets the standard is €600. It should be noted that the Government has decided to establish the limit of the amount of eligible rent at €600 because it understands that if young people pay more it is because their economic circumstances allow it and, therefore, they are not considered vulnerable in relation to the lease. .

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Rent a room, slightly better. In the case of room rental, the maximum eligible amount is €300, an amount for which in Madrid you can find 324 options out of a total of 2,300, and in Barcelona 122 of the 2,000 available, according to the Idealista search engine. Fotocasa, for its part, points out that the offer of rooms in Madrid for less than €300 is 24% of the total, and only 8% in Barcelona.

However, the Government has also planned an extension in this section by the autonomous communities: if they consider it appropriate, up to €450. By establishing this limit, rental prospects improve a lot, since in Madrid there are 1,435 rooms available for less than €450 of the 2,300 total, and in Barcelona 1,100 of the 2,000 available. Thus, both in the case of the rental of a complete dwelling and of rooms, the extension of the eligible amount will be essential so that the measure can have some effectiveness in the cities where there are greater problems as a result of the high rental price.

Most young people, without help. Beyond the fact that the maximum eligible amount is not fully adjusted to the reality of the Spanish real estate market, several voices have also pointed out that the measure will hardly reach the population that needs it. Thus, the Spanish Youth Council points out that the subsidy will only reach 1.7% of emancipated young people, a percentage that drops to 0.7% if we count all those under 35 years of age.

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This body estimates that the measure will reach some 50,000 young people (the Government calculates, for its part, that it will reach 70,000) of the 2.8 million people between 16 and 34 years of age in Spain.

Further inflate the rental price. On the other hand, the unions have criticized this aid because they consider that it does not solve the real problem, the difficulty of accessing rental housing at an affordable price, due to its limited scope and because it will contribute to inflating prices. Thus, they consider that the aid will end up in the pockets of the tenants, instead of assuming savings for young people.

“The maximum rent is limited to €600 (or €900 if the communities so agree), which will mean that the available rents, especially in the areas with the greatest demand for housing, accumulate within those limits, requiring an undeclared surcharge” , points out Workers Commissions in a note. The General Union of Workers (UGT) is expressed in similar terms: “The price limits to access the subsidy stimulate the market to rise”

Both unions consider that, if prices are finally inflated more as a result of this aid, the measure will not only be counterproductive for the people it intends to help, but also for the entire population, because it will contribute to raising the cost of all available housing for rent. However, given the limited scope of this measure, it is unlikely that it will end up raising prices in the real estate market as a whole.

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