New project to promote the ecological transition of the Spanish real estate sector

New project to promote the ecological transition of the Spanish real estate sector

ASOCIMI, the Spanish Association of Listed Companies for Investment in the Real Estate Market (SOCIMI), has launched a new project to manage for its associates the request and processing of aid from European funds for energy rehabilitation and efficiency. This pioneering initiative, aimed at Spanish SOCIMIs, is developed in collaboration with José Luis Suárez, professor at IESE; Gloval, a leading firm of comprehensive real estate valuation, engineering and consulting services; and the law firm act DA Lawyers.

Currently, the renovation of the building stock is one of the key priorities, both for Spain and for Europe. For this reason, the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR) promoted by the Spanish Government to channel the European funds from the NGEU3 places special emphasis on the plan for housing rehabilitation and urban regeneration. Specifically, the objective of this plan is to achieve the rehabilitation of 500,000 homes between 2021 and 2023, an ambitious but very positive goal for the real estate sector.

In the housing sector, as has happened with the automobile in the last six years, an important strategic change is taking place. For the most part, the residential stock in Spain is inefficient from the energy point of view and requires a thorough update to meet the objectives that Spain has committed to. In this scenario, ASOCIMI, led by José Luis Suárez, professor at IESE; Gloval and Act DA Lawyers will work to ensure that the real estate sector, where SOCIMIs are playing a fundamental role in the professionalization and transparency of investment and management, improve the quality of the assets they manage.

The association, through the creation of a technical management office, will act in coordination for the request for national and European aid available and the management of financial instruments that allow the greatest possible absorption of European funds for ASOCIMI members. In the same way, it will negotiate on behalf of its associates a financial instrument with the European Investment Bank that allows co-financing the actions subsidized with public funds, while facilitating a standardized service for the application, processing and justification of the grants awarded. To do this, it proposes a phased action so that its associates can be incorporated gradually, according to the specific needs of their investments during the years 2021-2026.

New challenges in the real estate sector: sustainability and compliance with European regulations

In a meeting organized today by ASOCIMI, it was highlighted that housing pollutes, and it is a reality that must be taken into account. As a consequence, there will be tax credits for those who make good use of energy and, on the contrary, an increase in taxes for those who pollute the most. In this new context, as Antonio Mochón, member of ASOCIMI has pointed out, “sustainability, energy efficiency, accessibility and the green tax are fundamental aspects that have come to stay, and are supported by a significant amount of money that comes from European funds ”.

For his part, José Luis Suárez, IESE professor, explained that “an innovative procedure has been designed that provides the advantages of acting on large blocks of buildings and the benefits of standardizing processes. The combination of both will allow the efficient use of European funds, with beneficial effects for the companies that use them and for the country in general, since it will mean a greater absorption of European aid, an adaptation of the building stock and the creation of employment in the rehabilitation tasks to be undertaken”. According to him, "the REIT sector, given its relevance, will contribute to the Government in meeting the objectives agreed with the European Commission in the framework of NextGenerationEU".

The expert in European funds, Paloma Fra, has highlighted that “we are in a unique moment of European financing for the rehabilitation of buildings. Europe and Spain commit to saving 55% of greenhouse gases by 2030, and the building sector contributes to 40% of the country's energy consumption. The European maxim is that the polluter pays ”. Bearing this premise in mind, “we will work in collaboration with the European Investment Bank / ICO to obtain instruments that allow complementing the co-financing of the NextgenerationEU and ERDF grants”. In this way, he pointed out that "ASOCIMI associates will benefit from the negotiation and joint management of a mix of grants, public financial instruments and tax deductions in order to have a large percentage of the building park updated in 2026". According to the expert, "benefits for SOCIMIs will be the revaluation of assets; a lower rate for green taxes by improving the building's energy certificate by at least one letter; the reduction of operating costs due to energy consumption; the greater ecological responsibility of its assets and an attractive position for investors due to the sustainability of its assets ”.

It should be noted that, as Begoña Cabeza, director of Gloval Engineering, has indicated, “success in asset management and the promotion of transformation projects requires knowledge and specialization, for which it is necessary to consider each property in a unique and personalized way”.

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