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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.​

A group of women in front of a building facade

The Barcelona City Council's commitment to guaranteeing the right to housing for all citizens and thus combatting the current housing emergency involves the implementation of three key mechanisms to expand the public housing stock: construction, purchase, and acquisition.

High-quality, affordable public housing

Quality public housing below market price

Through its Municipal Institute of Housing and Renovation, Barcelona City Council is maintaining its commitment to promoting a high-quality, affordable Public Housing Stock below market prices.

The public housing stock aims to ensure that no household is left without a home in situations of social emergency, while promoting quality housing below market prices to ensure access to decent housing. However, the Barcelona City Council cannot immediately build all the housing needed to meet current demand. Therefore, different mechanisms are combined to provide the public housing stock with more housing, beyond new construction.

In total, the public housing stock managed by the municipality exceeds 11,500 units in 2023, a clear increase compared to the 7,500 recorded in 2015. This expansion is achieved through the combination of three mechanisms: construction, purchase, and acquisition, and a municipal contribution of around 1 billion euros in expenses and investments.


Barcelona is a leader in the promotion of public housing throughout the country, largely thanks to the City Council's commitment to new construction, which allows people of all ages in all districts of the city to be offered a home. From people over 65 to young people, all groups in need of housing have the opportunity to enjoy newly constructed flats.

Additionally, new housing developments are created using different typologies such as industrialised construction, APROP accommodations, and cooperative housing, among others. Another criterion applied in construction is to achieve maximum energy efficiency possible while using techniques that represent architectural innovation and serve as a reference for other cities, earning international recognition.

Barcelona is a city with urban residential land that is becoming exhausted, which limits its ability to expand the affordable and social housing stock. Therefore, in light of this scenario of limited land and high demand for housing, efforts are being made to increase the reserves of public protection housing. This is where the most well-known measure, commonly referred to as the 30% rule, comes into play. This measure aims to protect 30% of the residential space generated in new housing developments and major renovations for affordable housing.


In addition to expanding the public housing stock itself, the municipality's purchasing policy prevents these homes from falling into the hands of vulture funds or actors who speculate with them, while also rehabilitating buildings and improving living conditions. The purchase of existing homes and buildings is an agile mechanism for generating more public rental housing and is essential to meeting the urban solidarity objective, which states that 15% of primary residences should be social or affordable housing.

Between 2015 and 2022, the Barcelona City Council has invested nearly 150 million euros in the acquisition of over 40 buildings, representing almost a thousand homes. Specifically, these are 43 buildings that add up to 938 homes.

The City Council has also purchased 234 individual homes and incorporated a total of 181 homes through use transfer agreements. These transactions add up to a total of 1,353 homes in the public housing stock.


Another strategy applied by the municipality is the acquisition of homes for social rental. This is done through different channels and includes homes mobilized through the Rental Housing Exchange, the current agreement with the Hàbitat3 Foundation, and the Tourist Use Housing (HUT) program. In total, as of August 2022, there are up to 1,747 contracts, with the districts of Nou Barris (354), Sant Martí (292), Sants-Montjuïc (254), and Horta-Guinardó (228) being the most prominent in the city.

Of the different channels used for acquisition, the Rental Housing Exchange provides the most homes, with 1,233, followed by the agreement with Hàbitat3, with 423 (through the 'Pisos buits' and 'Primer la Llar' programs) and the Tourist Use Housing program (91).

Map of the new public-housing promotions in Barcelona

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  • Persons affected by urban planning

    Type of housing promoted by the IMHAB targeting those people or households affected by urban redevelopments or reorganisation in the city. The properties tend to have a surface area of 65 to 85 square metres and can be acquired on a rental or purchase basis at the same prices as social housing properties.

  • Renting

    Refers to all properties being rented, promoted by the IMHAB, that target those people or households that need to be adjudicated a home which satisfies their housing needs. To access any of these adjudications, applicants must be registered with the Barcelona Register of Applicants for Social Housing.

  • Leasehold

    As part of this category, the successful applicant acquires the property for a period of 75 years at a value that is well beneath the market price. On average, these types of property measure 60 square metres and are built in compliance with sustainability criteria. To access any of these adjudications, applicants must be registered with the Barcelona Register of Applicants for Social Housing.

  • Co-housing

    This involves plots of public land allocated to a specific type of cooperative, housing cooperatives, where a group of people organise themselves to promote housing on a plot of land handed over to them by the City Council at an affordable price and by public competition, although it will always remain under public ownership.

  • Social developers and cooperatives

    These are plots of public land allocated to foundations and non-profit organisations that rent out dwellings at affordable prices. They are a collaborative mechanism, but with the novelty that the plots of land will now be awarded through public competition.

  • Aprop housing

    The Provisional Local Housing programme (APROP) is a new model of quick and sustainable housing construction, which offers a temporary response to residents that are excluded or at risk of exclusion, in areas close to their original neighbourhoods. They are prefabricated mobile modules that guarantee quality standards, are distributed throughout the city and take into account diverse resident profiles.


  • Land reserved

    The City Council is allocating a plot of land for housing in a process now underway for holding the project’s relevant invitations to tender, awarding and construction.

  • In process

    From when the plot of land is put out to public tender, for choosing the companies and professionals that will be commissioned with the project and its building work, to when the successful tenderers are announced and the building project can then go ahead.

  • Under construction

    This includes both the implementation of the project through the work and building process and the relevant dwelling award process.

  • Completed

    The dwellings have been built and handed over to the successful applicants.

Do you want to know more about the Public Housing Stock?

These dropdown menus show the types and main characteristics of the dwellings in Barcelona's public housing stock.

What is the Public Housing Stock?

Barcelona's Municipal Institute of Housing and Renovation administers over 7,000 rental homes throughout the city, allocated to ensure the right to housing for all the city's residents.

Everyone who applies for one of these dwellings, either for renting or any of the other available modalities, must be on the Barcelona Social Housing (HPO) Applicants Register.

Barcelona City Council is actively working to increase its public housing stock with new buildings and properties distributed throughout the city, together with new tenancy regimes such as cohousing.

There are various types of accommodation on offer, in order to satisfy the varying housing needs of different parts of the city:

  1. Renting and rented housing: The Municipal Institute of Housing and Renovation has over 7,000 rental homes, designated for improving housing conditions in the city. This rented accommodation is divided into two main types:
    1. For senior citizens: For people over the age of 65, offering all the services that elderly people need
    2. Social rentals: Rented accommodation, aimed at all those people who are in need of housing.
  2. Building leases: aimed at facilitating access to social-housing accommodation. The grantee acquires the ownership of the dwelling for a long period of time, but the land remains the property of the Administration.
  3. People affected by urban planning: rented or owned housing for people affected by, or forced to move because of, new urban-planning developments.
  4. Direct adjudication by the promoter: these dwellings, supplied by the promoter, have also been included with the aim of increasing the public housing stock.

Rented accommodation for senior citizens

Senior citizens are one of the most vulnerable social groups in our society. They often have fewer economic resources, live in inadequate housing and have special needs and requirements.

The aim is to offer senior citizens a safe, adapted, comfortable home that is integrated into the city. They also have to be provided with any services and care that they may need: 24-hours-a-day specialised service, direct, personal care at the centre, and telecare that provides them with self-sufficiency.

Requirements for applying for this type of housing:

  • Applicants must be on the Barcelona Social Housing (HPO) Applicants Register.
  • They must be 65 years old or over.
  • They may not be the owner of any dwelling
  • They must have a certain amount of self-sufficiency.
  • Their income must be below an amount that is 2.5 times the Public Indicator of Multiple Effect Income (IPREM).

The housing needs, family and personal circumstances and any current residence accessibility problems will also be taken into account.

Social rentals

The Municipal Institute of Housing and Renovation promotes rented social housing for all those people or dwelling units that need the adjudication of a home which satisfies their housing needs.

In order to qualify for one of these adjudications, you must be on the Barcelona Social Housing (HPO) Applicants Register and comply with the established requirements.


In this category, the person who is adjudicated the dwelling acquires ownership for a period of 75 years, at a price well below market value, but the land remains the property of the Administration.

The housing in leasing promotions usually have an average usable surface area of 60 m², and they are built using sustainable construction methods that the Municipal Institute of Housing and Renovation applies in all of its housing promotions.

In order to qualify for one of these adjudications, you must be on the Barcelona Social Housing (HPO) Applicants Register and comply with the established requirements.

People affected by urban planning

This type of housing promoted by the Municipal Institute of Housing and Renovation is aimed at those people or dwelling units affected by urban redevelopments or reorganisation aimed at improving the city of Barcelona.

The homes are built using sustainable construction criteria and usually have a usable surface area of between 65 and 85 m². The dwellings may be rented or purchased, at the same prices as for social-housing accommodation. However, in order to qualify for one of these adjudications, you must be on the Barcelona Social Housing (HPO) Applicants Register and comply with the established requirements.

Direct adjudication by the promoter

Another option for all those people who need access to housing at below-market prices, and who are registered on the Barcelona Social Housing (HPO) Applicants Register, is to go straight to the promoters. The properties commercialised by these private operators come from housing that has become vacant after the adjudication processes carried out by the Housing Consortium. The homes are transferred to the promoters, and they are then responsible for their commercialisation and adjudication. But in order to qualify for any of these homes, the requirements are to be on the register, along with any other requirements established by the promoters.

You can find more information and consult the promotions carried out through Barcelona's Municipal Institute of Housing and Renovation.