The average rental price in Barcelona stood at 1,077 euros in the fourth quarter of last year, according to data published on Tuesday by the Generalitat’s Housing Secretariat and based on the deposits that are deposited in the Incasòl. This is a new historical record and a figure that equates what a rent in the city is worth with the minimum wage, which is 1,080 euros. Only three euros less. In the city, there are six districts where the rent exceeds one thousand euros, and in three districts (Eixample, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi and Les Corts) it exceeds the minimum wage.

In Catalonia, the average rent for the fourth quarter of 2022 reached 815 euros. By provinces, the averages are 892 euros in Barcelona, ​​626 in Girona (694 in the capital), 474 in Lleida (537 in the capital) and 562 in Tarragona (637 in the capital). In large cities such as L’Hospitalet, the cost of rent closed with 779 euros and in Badalona, ​​with 839. In the fourth quarter, the rent exceeded one thousand euros in 17 Catalan towns: the two where it is most expensive are Cabrils (1,583 ) and Sant Vicenç de Montalt (1542).

These figures, at all-time highs, correspond to the fourth quarter, when the Catalan rent containment law was no longer in force, after being annulled, in its key articles, by the Constitutional Court in March and April of last year. And they arrive when the processing of the Housing Law, which is expected to regulate the rental price in one way or another, seems stuck again in Congress, five years after the commitment of President Pedro Sánchez to approve it. A delay that has caused reproaches by the mayor Ada Colau, both the president and the minister Nadia Calvo. And also the clamor of the entities that fight for the right to housing, such as the Tenants Union or the PAH, which demand the regulation of rents.

The publication of the prices also coincides with the electoral campaign of the municipal elections, when the politicians (candidates or in power) have entered into a who gives more when it comes to promising to increase the public rental housing stock. On Friday, President Pere Aragonès announced 10,000 new public rentals in just three years. And on Sunday, the ERC candidate for mayor of Barcelona, ​​Ernest Maragall, raised the bet to 20,000 in four years.

The figures on the increase in rents collected by the Catalan administration gain relevance if they are married to other recent studies on issues such as the percentage, every time greater, that the people of Barcelona allocate to pay the rent; the gap between the rise in rental prices and that of family income; or the avalanche of requests for help to pay for housing. Some aid, by the way, which in the case of the youth voucher of 250 euros from the Government or the Housing Agency of the Generalitat set a maximum rental price of 900 euros, so that in Barcelona it is difficult to comply with it. The state Youth Bond fell short and of almost 40,000 requests there was only a budget for almost 10,000. It was then that the Generalitat took out its own aid: it had 28,000 applications and could only attend to 13,400, but it has expanded the budget to attend to all those that were resolved favorably.

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The rise in rents also has an impact on the entities that serve vulnerable groups or the homeless, because if the increase makes it difficult for the majority of families to access housing, for these social organizations to obtain housing on the free market for their users is directly impossible. A phenomenon that can put an end to reintegration programs, where housing paid for by entities or the administration is offered for a finite period, with the idea that people can train and have a job, and where emancipation is the final step.

Last week the Barcelona Metropolitan Area published the study Salary Update of Metropolitan Reference 2022 and showed that the minimum wage for a person and their family to live with dignity in the capital or the 36 surrounding municipalities stood at 1,447.49 euros last year, an increase of 102 euros compared to 2021. The study, Prepared by the technical teams of the Daleph and KSNET consultancies based on data from 2022, it takes into account the cost of housing, transportation, education, clothing and other family expenses. Since 2016, the year this study began, the reference salary has increased by 38%, from 1,048.87 euros the first year, to the current 1,447 euros. The study quantified 34% of what households allocate to housing payments, which rises to 46% if household expenses are added. Percentages that exceed the rule that establishes that spending on housing should not exceed one third of income.

Regarding the gap between the rise in rents and that in family income, last year, a study published by the Barcelona Metropolitan Housing Observatory and the DESC Observatory indicated that the price of monthly rents rose in the two past decades three times the income. Between 2000 and 2020, the rental price in the Catalan capital rose 136.3%, while disposable family income only rose 43.5%. In Catalonia the increase in rents was 101.6%, compared to family income, only 33.6%. With these figures, the president of the OHB, Carme Trilla, linked the rental price with the increase in poverty: “Housing is the main cause of vulnerability, because it is the main expense of families.” The increase also has a greater impact on the poorest families, because the proportion of their income that they allocate to housing is greater: while on average, the Catalans allocate 38% of their salary to pay for housing, those who enter less than a thousand euros allocate 54%.

The last barometer of the City Council, from the end of last year, placed housing as the third concern of the people of Barcelona (after insecurity and cleanliness). And although 41% of the residents consulted considered that the city’s economy would improve this year, 49.5% declared that their family economy had worsened and 43% believed that the labor market situation was worse than in 2021.

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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