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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.​

Barcelona bids farewell to ISHF as an international reference in housing

12/06/2023 - 08:23

Housing. For three days, the Catalan capital has been a meeting point for proposals, reflections, and diverse initiatives related to social housing, with the participation of nearly 2,000 attendees from around the world.

The fourth edition of the International Social Housing Festival (ISHF) has come to a close after three intense days of debate and analysis at the Palau de Congressos in Barcelona, with over sixty activities led by speakers of great global prestige and with the confirmation that the Catalan capital has become an international reference in the defense and promotion of housing.

“We have shown that, in the face of the enormous challenges ahead of us, there are many people around the world willing to confront them. And we have done so in Barcelona, which is an example and has been the best possible host”, said Ben Madsen, the President of Housing Europe, minutes before closing the fourth edition of Europe’s most important social housing congress.

The third and final day of the festival featured three presentations that once again filled the auditorium. The first one, titled ‘Understanding and regulating the private housing market’, delved into rental control and how it can be improved and expanded to help the thousands of tenants who suffer from abusive practices or are simply unable to access housing due to high market prices.

The debate, moderated by economics professor Jordi Jofre, featured the opinion of the acting councilor for housing and renovation of the Barcelona City Council, Lucía Martín; the lawyer from ICAB, Cristina Vallejo; the head of housing and cities research at IDRA, Jaime Palomera; and the head of the Liaison Office of the International Union of Tenants (IUT) in the European Union, Barbara Steenbergen. The latter has pointed out that “Barcelona is doing things very well, providing solutions to real problems. But, like in many other cities in Europe, we are late”.

Architecture as an essential tool for improvement

Precisely, the Catalan city will be an international protagonist in 2026 as the World Capital of Architecture. The importance and connection that this discipline has with housing have been discussed in the second plenary session titled ‘The transformative power of architecture: Barcelona 2026 UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture’. Moderated by the director of the Mies Van der Rohe Foundation, Anna Ramos, the presentation explored the different aspects of architecture.

Barcelona has become a laboratory for urban fabric, where housing plays a fundamental role”, highlighted Xavier Matilla, the chief architect of the city council. Alongside him were Ivet Gasol, the co-founder partner of Cierto Estudio; Josep Bohigas, the general manager of Barcelona Regional; Sandra Bestraten, the president of COAC in the Barcelona region; Maria Buhigas, the urban architect at Urban-Facts; and Paul Karakusevic, the founding partner of Karakusevic Carson Architects.

They all agreed on the importance of analyzing cities from within the housing units themselves, and all the elements that come into play in an architectural project, although, as Buhigas warned, “data shows that worldwide, planning in housing construction is not the norm, but rather the exception.”

The experience on the other side of the ocean

To address the final session of the edition, the ISHF has traveled thousands of kilometers to discuss ‘Emerging housing initiatives in the Americas.’ And to do so, the first to take the floor was Adrianne Todman, the deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development of the United States of America, who assured taking note of all the progress Europe is making in terms of housing and explained the projects driven by the U.S. government across the country.

Next, five representatives from Latin America have offered a perspective on the state of housing in their countries, with significant challenges ahead but also with knowledge and enthusiasm to overcome them. They have been Alejandro Echeverri, the co-founder of URBAM from Colombia; Ana Falú, a doctor professor at the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba in Argentina; Elizabeth Añaños, the vice minister of housing and urbanism in Peru; Gervasio Muñoz, the president of the Federación de Inquilinos Nacional in Argentina; and Carlos Araya, the head of the Housing Policy Division at the Ministry of Housing in Chile. All of this is under the moderation of Zaida Muxí, a professor of urbanism at ETSAB-UPC.

It was a globally significant presentation, precisely what the fourth edition of the ISHF has been. To conclude, Barcelona has passed the baton to Dublin, the city that will host the next edition of the congress in 2025.