Growth of ‘micro-flats’ in Madrid and Barcelona
According to an article in El Pais this weekend, ‘micro-flats’ measuring just 10 square metres have started to proliferate in the property markets in both Madrid and Barcelona. The asking prices for these tiny flats is around 90,000 euros and are even smaller than the ‘mini-flats’ which measure 30 square metres and were proposed by the Minister for Housing, María Antonia Trujillo, a year ago as a means of creating affordable housing for first-time property buyers in Spain.
Many of these micro flats are ground floor premises, built originally to be sold as a shop or business premises, often with just one very small rectangular window and without the all-important cédula de habitabilidad which is gives the right to use the building for living purposes rather than for business.
An economist quoted in the article describes ‘micro-flats’ as hovels or caves or storerooms.
José Luis Gallego, an expert in housing for the Catalan government, claims in the article that the problem of the rising number of tiny flats is exacerbated by the fact that the banks are quite happy to concede up to 100% mortgages for this kind of property. That is, the banks concede credits for properties without the proper legal paperwork granting living rights.
According to Gallego there are hundreds of such flats in Spain’s 2 major cities. He said that by law, to be called a flat the property needs to be at least 20 square metres. However, because the majority are not officially recorded as flats they are not subject to any sanctions and cannot be pursued in the civil courts.
A glance at internet property pages in Spain shows that this is not just a problem in Barcelona and Madrid but that micro-flats are starting to appear on sale in other Spanish cities too.