Visocan presents two projects to make more social housing available as quickly as possible

  • Canarian Weekly
  • 29-05-2024
  • Business
  • Photo Credit: Visocan
Visocan presents two projects to make more social housing available as quickly as possible

Visocan, the public housing company of the Canary Islands Government responsible for promoting protected housing throughout the archipelago, has announced the incorporation of ‘surface rights’ into its strategy to increase the supply of protected housing. Established in October 1977, it currently manages 6,221 homes with affordable rent addressing the social housing needs of the Canarian population.

Last week, Visocan launched a new "turnkey" tender on the Public Procurement Platform, in which they proposed to complete unfinished construction projects and turn them into affordable social housing. Now, Visocan is pioneering a new model in the Canary Islands that involves ‘leasing’ land to private entities to build and manage this type of property.

The announcement was made by Visocan’s CEO, Agustín Fernández, at the "Projecting Canary Islands" conference held in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The Minister of Housing for the Canary Islands Government, and President of Visocan’s Board of Directors, Pablo Rodríguez, emphasised that the government is promoting the use of surface rights to increase the supply of housing to tackle the housing emergency in the islands.

“Our goal is to develop as many initiatives as possible to increase the supply of public housing stock for present and future generations,” Rodríguez said. He clarified that ‘surface rights’ would allow the government, through Visocan, to provide land to private constructors for a specified period to build homes exclusively for social housing with affordable rent. This mechanism, proven in regions like Catalonia, Madrid, and Valencia, offers stability and security to tenants and constructors.

He added that these areas have proved that the model prioritises sustainability, energy efficiency, and innovation, while also generating employment and economic activity, with rents up to 40% below market rates.

Surface rights will allow Visocan to lease its land to private companies for up to 75 years to construct and manage protected rental housing. This approach increases the stock of affordable homes without the need for public sector external financing, as the private sector undertakes the investment in construction and management. Upon the lease's expiration, the land and properties revert to public ownership.

Fernández concluded by saying, “We aim to launch an initial project to introduce 560 affordable rental homes to the market.”