Rent controls predictably reduce the number of properties available for rent, which will in turn drive up prices.

According to a study by idealista, the real estate marketplace in southern Europe, the supply of rental housing in Spain has decreased by 28% in the last four years, comparing the stock data from the first quarter of 2019 to the same period in 2023.

During these four years, Cuenca experienced the highest reduction in supply, falling by 59%. Barcelona followed, where more than half of the supply has been reduced (-51%) during this legislature. The next cities with the largest reductions in stock were Pontevedra (-48%), Valencia (-45%), Madrid (-44%), Ceuta (-41%), Ciudad Real and Guadalajara (-39% in both cases).

After Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia, the most demanded markets had a significant reduction in supply, such as San Sebastián (-35%), followed by Alicante (-33%), Málaga (-33%), Sevilla (-28%), and Bilbao (-24%).

Rent control policies whuch have been instigated as a solution to address the housing affordability crisis. However, they have been criticized for not effectively solving the issue and, in some cases, even exacerbating it. Rent control can discourage new construction and reduce the incentive for landlords to maintain or improve their properties, ultimately leading to a decrease in the supply of rental housing. This reduction in supply can result in higher rents and longer waitlists for available housing. Additionally, rent control policies can negatively affect the quality of rental housing by creating a disincentive for landlords to invest in maintenance and upgrades. As a result, alternative solutions such as increasing the supply of affordable housing, increasing subsidies for low-income households, and promoting new construction should be explored.