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Housing Glossary

You will find information here on all topics relating to housing in Barcelona


Accrued interest

The interest applied as a penalisation when the debtor does not comply with repayment obligations. The amount must be established in the contract.

Active supermortgage

This allows the client to choose their loan's benchmark index (MIBOR at three months, six months or a year) so that payment can benefit from lower interest rates sooner.

Adaptable instalment

Characteristic of UCI superloans that allow the borrower to not pay one instalment a year for the first three years if there are problems due to holidays, extraordinary expenses, etc.

Advanced cancellation fee

A commission arising from the financial risk involved in the advanced cancellation of an operation. The applied commission compensates the financial institution for its financial losses.


Direct state aid for paying the deposit on a property.

Affordable housing

Group of social housing or dwellings from social renovation projects that are sold or rented at below-market prices.

Affordable rent

The cost of renting these dwellings is below market prices after being included in operations concerning the rented flat pool, social renovation or social housing promotions.


Payment made to repay a loan.

Amortisation period

The duration of the loan. The contract establishes the date of the first and last payments. The longer the period, the lower the payments are, but the higher the interest. You therefore pay more in the end. The monthly instalment should not exceed 35% of your net income.


Estate agent. A qualified professional who acts as an intermediary between the two interested parties to facilitate the signing of a real estate contract, which can be a rental agreement, a sales agreement or another similar contract. They usually charge a percentage of the sales price as compensation or commission.


A citizen who makes a registration application to the Barcelona Social Housing Applicants Registry, and who represents the other members of the dwelling unit included in the application.


Annual Equivalent Rate. Effective annual cost of the mortgage in terms of interest, commissions and the repayment period. To compare loans, it is not enough to just look at the lowest APR, you also have to compare the conditions, the repayment period and the distribution of instalment payments.

Arbitri municipal de plusvàlua

Former denomination of the capital gains tax on landed property.


The value of a dwelling certified by a specialised assessment company, in accordance with the mortgage market law. This certificate not only indicates the real value of the property, it also serves as a reference for obtaining the necessary financing.


Document in which the owner authorises the tenant to carry out building work in the dwelling's interior.

Close glossary

Housing offices only offer face-to-face assistance by prior appointment, so check out the “Housing calls you” service here to receive the most appropriate personalised assistance. If you also need assistance in energy rights, book an appointment with an energy-advice point (PAE) by clicking here. On the other hand, if you reside in an IMHAB public dwelling you can consult our contact, management and processing channels here.​

Accelerating the construction of public housing

Industrialised construction enables the construction process to be accelerated, expanded the public housing stock quickly and sustainably.

Faster, more ecological and efficient construction

Barcelona’s Municipal Institute of Housing and Renovation (IMHAB) is committed to industrialised housing to boost growth of the public housing stock in Barcelona. This construction system had already been used for the APROP provisional properties, built from recycled containers, and will now also be used to build permanent housing.

Fabricated and assembled housing allows the execution times of works to be reduced and is more sustainable, as it can be built from reused materials. In the specifications published for the new tenders for industrialised housing, architectural quality, reduction of building times, energy consumption and CO2 emissions associated with the manufacturing of materials comprise 85% of the weight of the score when choosing the companies to develop these projects.

What is industrialised housing?

Industrialised construction is a building system that uses the most innovative techniques and processes and in which the structural components are fabricated in a workshop, transported to the final location and assembled there. This kind of construction allows design and production processes to be automated. It is an incipient system here but very widespread in countries in the north of Europe. 

Industrialised construction has several advantages:

  • It is faster: a standardised design and automated production is used and this means the work can be done in less time. Construction times at the final location of the building are also reduced, and the pieces arrive ready for assembly. This also reduces inconvenience for neighbours caused by the works.
  • It is cheaper: all the automated processes involved in industrialisation of the construction lower the cost.
  • It is safer: a large part of the construction process is done in workshops, spaces that are better prepared and, therefore, safer, for the people involved in the construction process.
  • It is more ecological: as most of the work is done in the workshop it allows the energy consumption of the construction process to be reduced, less waste is generated and part of the waste produced is reused. Reused materials can also be used, such as, for example, maritime transport containers that have been used in the APROP properties.

Public housing

Barcelona City Council began its commitment to industrialised construction with the APROP properties. Now this construction system is also used for the permanent public housing.

Works will also be launched for the construction of two new public housing buildings for rent at the Casernes de Sant Andreu. In total, these two new projects will provide new homes for nearly 340 people.. The buildings will be located at C/ Víctor Colomer, 6-12 and C/ Fernando Pessoa, 53-57.

In addition, projects have already been awarded to build 212 four-storey plots in the Sant Martí district. The plots are the following:

  • Carrer de Pallars, 477
  • Carrer del Marroc, 180
  • Carrer de Binèfar, 22
  • Passatge d’Arriassa, s/n

With this tender it aims to boost an innovative, cheap, quick and ecological construction technique. In conventional housing construction works, development times are 53 months, however, with the industrialised system they will done in a maximum of 37 months.

APROP properties

IMHAB used industrialised construction for the first time in the APROP provisional properties. Built with reused maritime transport containers, they aim to be a quick and innovative solution to deal with the housing emergency in Barcelona. The pilot test was inaugurated in Ciutat Vella in December 2019 and there are currently two more under construction at El Parc i Llacuna del Poblenou and La Bordeta.

APROP Ciutat Vella

The APROP properties in Ciutat Vella were the first built by IMHAB and worked as a pilot test. The building was built in a year and a half, while for traditional housing the process can last between 6 and 7 years. There are twelve properties in APROP in Ciutat Vella: four have two bedrooms and 60 m2 surface area and the other eight have one bedroom and 30 m2.

El Parc i la Llacuna del Poblenou

The second building of APROP properties will be built on Carrer Bolívia 33-41. It will have 42 properties, of which 35 will have two bedrooms and the rest one. Therefore, it will house 110 people. Of these buildings, half will be provisional accommodation for family units in a housing emergency and the other half will be for young people. The works will last 26 weeks and the building will be finished before the end of 2021.

La Bordeta

This is the first development of APROP properties in which a competition was held to find an innovative architectural proposal now the project is consolidated. The APROP building at La Bordeta will have forty properties, 24 with two bedrooms and a surface area of 56 m2 and 16 with one bedroom and an area of 44 m2. All the properties will have a 9 m2 terrace. Half of the properties will be allocated to family units referred by the Emergency Board and the other half for single-parent families. It will also have a system of galleries surrounding the building offering an image that moves away from the closed container and work as access passages to the properties, terraces and common spaces and for interaction between the residents.

The definitive project is due to be ready in the autumn and then the works will be put up for tender, probably during the second quarter of 2022.

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