Spain offers a monthly bonus of € 250 to those under 35 to help them steal from the nest
Spain’s prime minister has said he wants to introduce a monthly bonus of € 250 to persuade young people to stop living with their parents.
Pedro Sánchez unveiled a program to help young people rent their own accommodation, a trend that has declined since the 2008 financial crash that caused stubbornly high youth unemployment.
The average age of Spaniards leaving their parents’ home is 30, four years older than the EU average and considerably above the UK average of 24.6 years. The age at which the average Briton leaves home has also increased in recent years.
“We must reduce the intolerably high age of leaving home among young people,” Sánchez said on Tuesday as he announced his left-wing government’s intention to reform the country’s housing sector, including with rent ceilings.
The ‘youth voucher’ should be available to people between the ages of 18 and 35 who earn less than € 23,725 (£ 21,200) per year for a two-year period, and Mr Sánchez said particularly vulnerable families could get up to 40 percent of their rent covered by direct aid.
The project received a mixed reception. The unions called for more “radical changes” to improve wages and ensure greater stability. María Criado, a young doctor in Valladolid, said: “We don’t want good ones; we want decent wages according to the responsibilities we assume and the demands of our work.
The average price to rent a house in Spain is just under € 700, but even a small one or two bedroom apartment in Madrid or Barcelona costs around € 800.
The cost is lower than in the UK, where the average rental of a house is over £ 1,000, but the average salary for Spaniards aged 25-34 is 1,850 euros and more than half of the jobs offered to people under 30 are temporary.
Unemployment under 25 in Spain is currently around 33 per cent, compared to 12.9 per cent in the UK.
In the UK, around 50% of 23-year-olds lived at home in 2017, up from around 35% a decade earlier.
Other elements of the reform proposed by Mr Sanchez include rent ceilings in high demand areas, where prices have driven up property speculation and tourist rentals.
According to the plan agreed to by Mr Sánchez’s Socialist Party and his far-left junior coalition partner, Podemos, owners of more than 10 properties in their name will see a cap on the rents they can charge based on the area, while small landlords be encouraged to reduce rents through tax breaks.
Unoccupied properties will become subject to higher municipal rates.
Podemos insisted action be taken against the high rents and delayed Cabinet approval of the 2022 finance bill until an agreement on housing reform is reached.
“The only way to prevent homeowners from raising prices is to cap,” said Ione Belarra, leader of Podemos and Minister of Social Rights, adding that she did not expect the announcement by Sánchez of ‘a rental voucher.