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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 new method to increase the affordable rental housing stock

15/12/2017 - 12:34

Barcelona City Council and Metropolitan Area are moving forwards with the creation of Metròpolis Habitatge, a part-public, part-private organisation that will build affordable rental houses.

The Barcelona Metropolitan Area will soon have a new tool at its disposal to contribute to the expansion of the public housing stock: Metròpolis Habitatge is the new metropolitan operator, which will enable the number of affordable rental houses to increase by collaborating with public and private institutions.

Metròpolis Habitatge will drive the development of 4,500 affordable publicly-owned flats in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area within a period of 8 to 10 years, which will be priced below the market value, between 400 and 600 euros. All of the housing will be protected. 75% will be rented out at an average of 7 euros per square metre, and the rest may be rented for up to 10 euros per square metre.

Barcelona City Council and Metropolitan Area will own 50% of the new joint enterprise, and the other half will remain in the hands of the private company (or group of companies) that wins the upcoming public bidding process.

This company will be required to have proven experience in housing management and its ability to foster the participation of tenants will be valued, by offering them, for example, the opportunity to become shareholders in the stock.


A non-speculative model

The lack of affordable housing is a problem that cannot be solved by public investment alone. The planned increase in housing stock demands a diversification of the managers and promoters involved. For this reason, a mixed model is being taken forward, which combines public administrations and private companies.

But, at the same time, the city wants to avoid the speculative component that usually accompanies activities relating to necessity goods like housing. The intention is to promote a non-speculative model of investment in the sector: the businesses that take part will have a profit limit of approximately 4% of the investment.

In return, these companies will collaborate in the creation of housing stock which will improve the quality of life of citizens. Any profits that exceed the aforementioned percentage will be reinvested in Metròpolis Habitatge.

Another aim of this model is to facilitate residents’ participation in the community, in addition to promoting values such as sustainability, energy saving, innovation and community participation, among others.


A new solution to an old problem

One of the main objectives of the 2015-2025 Barcelona Right to Housing Plan is to increase the publicly-owned rental pool. Therefore, 80% of more than 8,000 flats built over the next 10 years will be based on this model, with ownership of the land maintained by the public.

At the same time and in line with the best European benchmarks in affordable housing, public-private collaboration is also being stimulated through the creation of this venture, which will add 4,500 flats to the city’s affordable housing stock.

The problem surrounding the lack of publicly-owned rental housing, is not specific to Barcelona, but affects the whole metropolitan area and, therefore, requires combined and coordinated solutions from the administrating bodies. This is why the Metròpolis Habitatge project will be led in conjunction with Barcelona City Council and Metropolitan Area.

To ensure public leadership of the project, the municipal land that is made available will remain in public ownership, as will housing, and allocations will be carried out by the City Council through the Applicants Register. This will guarantee that all initiatives aim to benefit the whole of society.


European benchmarks

Currently, Barcelona is suffering from a deficit caused by years of delays in powerful public housing policies and only has an affordable housing rate of 1.7%, far from the recommended 15%. With this in mind, the municipal government has given itself the objective of increasing housing, opting for publicly-owned rentals.

The public-private operators, upon which the Metròpolis Habitatge model is based, are key elements in the creation of a publicly-owned housing pool in many parts of Europe. Cities such as Vienna, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, and London have substantial public housing stock that benefits from intense public-private collaboration.

According to Housing Europe, 20% of housing in Austria is affordable, 17% in France and 33% in the Netherlands. As laid out in the 2016-2025 Right to Housing Plan, Barcelona wants to position itself amongst the best practices of the European leaders.

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