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3rd Real Estate Dialogues Session: "Housing: Strategies in Times of Crisis"

February 19 OF 2009 from 09:30 AM to 11:00 AM

At the 3rd session of its Real Estate Dialogues series, the ESADE Alumni Real Estate Club invited experts to analyse the current situation in the housing sector and discuss alternative measures that can be applied in their respective areas of expertise as solutions to the sector’s troubles.

Salvador Grané, President of the ESADE Real Estate Club, opened the session with some preliminary remarks. Joan García, Vice President of the Club and moderator of the discussion, then took the floor to put the day’s topic - ‘Housing: Strategies in Times of Crisis’ - into context. The first speaker was Concha Osácar, Managing Partner of Azora. Ms. Osácar began by providing some background to Lazora, a project based on subsidised rental housing.

She explained that the project was born in 2003 when Azora was looking for a formula that would ‘bring together the investment and real estate sectors’. The company settled on a clear choice: long-term subsidised rental housing. Ms. Osácar went on to explain that Lazora has institutional shareholders, mainly savings banks. She noted that the project follows a ‘collaboration model’ in which the developer offers a turnkey development and Azora buys it and rents it out. She made a point of highlighting the novelty of this approach. Ms. Osácar also pointed out some ‘operational difficulties’ involved in carrying out projects of this sort at the national level. She mentioned some regulatory issues that are continually undergoing modifications and are inconsistent from one autonomous community to the next.

The next speaker was Pere Macias, a member of the Spanish Parliament with Convergencia i Unió (CiU) and President and Spokesman of the Parliamentary Housing Committee. Mr. Macias began by presenting an overview of the current housing situation: the downturn in sales, the stock accumulated, the decisions made by residents, the accumulation of real estate assets on the part of financial institutions, and the attitude of the development companies. He then declared that ‘the housing plan is a good plan’, but added that it was far from ideal, given the current situation. In his view, government policies should be oriented towards selling the accumulated stock, ‘because otherwise it will be hard for the sector to get moving and start producing again in the medium term’. He also said that the ‘public acquisition of stocks’ and private acquisitions on the part of management companies could be good ideas. As for subsidised rental housing, Mr. Macias expressed the view that ‘legislative reform and an attractive tax framework must be approved’ in order to give these units a much-needed boost at this time. He added that the construction sector should also be given ‘a major boost for the activities of renovation and remodelling’.

The last speaker was Juan Blasco, Deputy Minister for Housing and Land of the Community of Madrid’s Ministry of the Environment, Housing and Regional Planning. Mr. Blasco began his talk by briefly discussing the causes behind the crisis , highlighting the problem created by the housing overstock and the asking prices of the units currently for sale, which prevent them from being sold in a normal fashion. He explained that there are currently prospective buyers representing a ‘captive demand’ that cannot buy housing units due to the lack of financing and the high asking prices. Mr. Blasco also touched on other topics, such as the availability of land, the Government of Madrid’s plans to alleviate the situation, and subsidised rental units with option to purchase. He insisted that ‘financing must be restarted’ in order to reactivate the sector, and that ‘trust in legal safeguards must be recovered’ in order to provide support for financial transactions. Towards the end of his remarks, he mentioned a few of the future actions planned by the Government of Madrid. After Mr. Blasco’s talk, the moderator took questions from the audience.





At an upcoming Dialogue Session hosted by the ESADE Alumni Real Estate Club, we will analyse the current situation in the housing sector and discuss future strategies for times of crisis.

Welcome and presentation:

Salvador Grané (PMD 98), president of ESADE Alumni Real Estate Club and Managing Director of SOLVIA GESTION INMOBILIARIA

Joan García (Lic&MBA 1992), vice president of  ESADE Alumni Real Estate Club and  Managing Partner of IREA

Round table with:

Concha Osácar, president of AZORA.

Juan Blasco Martínez Oña, Deputy Minister for Housing and Land of the Community of Madrid.

Pere Macias Arau, president and Spokesman of the Housing Committee of the Spanish Congress of Deputies. 

After the session, participants are invited to stay for breakfast.