A model of one of the projects for social housing, in Blida (Algeria).
Luis Ayllón. Madrid
The bursting of the housing market bubble in Spain had led to many building companies to look for markets outside of our country. One of the closest destinations where most of the companies are going is Algeria, whose Government has offered the Spanish construction companies to build 200,000 houses of official protection.
The plan of the Algerian authorities, explained a month ago by the minister for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García-Margallo, during his visit to Algiers, has to solve some problems to go at cruising speed, but, for the moment, it seems that it is attracting Spanish building companies, which have given it all to make themselves visible in Baltimec, the main fair of the field, celebrated in Algeria. Some of those companies already have projects for the construction of groups of social houses in different parts of the country.
127 companies from different parts of Spain have been directly represented at the fair and another 82 have been indirectly represented, breaking the records of Spanish presence in response to the Algeria’s demand for the construction of houses and for other urban projects.
In fact, Spain is the most represented country and, according to statements made to Efe by the director of ARVA Consulting, Alicia Romero, in charge of the organization of the Spanish pavilion, this is because, on one hand, Algeria is, at the moment, the most important market in development regarding construction; and on the other hand, because the credit card’s security, to pay, makes it also very appealing.
Companies are waiting for the building plan of 200,000 social houses
Algeria’s request to Spain, which was initially made two years ago so that it took care of the construction of 50,000 houses, having risen to 200,000, reflects the high value of the building companies from our country.
Leaders of several autonomous communities, such as Asturias, Aragon, Castile-La Mancha, Valencia or Murcia, have travelled during the last months to Algeria to test the possibilities opening to the building companies of their region. The building plan of social houses is not working at the rhythm expected, because there are some problems, which should be solved during the visit that the Algerian minister for Housing and Urban Development, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, has planned to make to Spain this May.
It seems that the difficulties are focusing on the sale price of the official protection houses, since it is not profitable for the companies. A possible solution would be for the construction companies to take charge of the urbanization of new residential areas, which would allow them to have bigger benefit margins.
In any case, experts indicate that it is necessary not to pretend immediate results and to take into account that Algeria is a complex market where important procedures are long and where a high level of bureaucracy still persists.
Political relations between Madrid and Algiers are going through a good time, as it is reflected on the fact that the president, Abdelaziz Buteflika, who is making less and less public appearances, decided to receive García-Margallo in a meeting that was not in the minister’s visit agenda. This harmony can favour the performance of the Spanish companies. At the end of this year, a celebration of the High Level Conference between the two governments will take place.