Let’s have a look at some general trends in the real estate market in Barcelona for 2020. This market is very much influenced by foreign investors, so there tends to be more activity and somewhat different prices than surrounding areas that are not much in demand by foreigners.
Rental prices have already reached the top or are already at a level where the potential growth is very low. The prices are far away from the prices of large European cities, but their limit is closely related to salaries (much lower in Barcelona) and these have a limited growth for now.
We still have the problem with Energy Efficiency Certificates not being provided by the owners or showing “in process” perpetually. There needs to be better enforcement from the authorities on this.
While rentals have generally stabilized, the sales market is very active with the highest volume in the last 5 years.
The fastest selling properties tend to be priced in the €400,000 range.
Interestingly, in nearby Sant Cugat, there is a strong demand for plots for family housing construction. In this case, buyers build their own house instead of reform an existing one. In this case, the location of the plot is a key factor.
Another interesting point is that new properties are selling at 26% above the prices of second-hand properties. In many cases the developers are overpromising on the returns that investors will get when they purchase these new properties, so one should be very careful when buying new properties. We’ve also seen on plan properties being sold in various phases, with the first phase being more or less the real market price, and subsequent phases being arbitrarily higher, mostly to show that the development is already appreciating and is hence a great investment.
Also interesting is the fact that a substantial number of properties sold this year were bought on a cash basis without the need for financing, indicating that they were buyers with a significant level of savings.
The most popular buyer profile is that coming from rental, around 40 years old and mostly local.
In Barcelona it costs around 300x the rent price per month to buy a property. Equivalent to 25 years.
The Catalan separatist movement has done a lot of damage to the local real estate market, as it has driven fear into foreign investors and those thinking of moving to Barcelona for the golden visa. In fact, people buying property for the golden visa accounted for 40% of real estate purchases last year, while this year the number is down to 18%. Unfortunately, things don’t look to be improving as there are regular protests and the two sides are as divided as ever. For those of us living here, it is a very sad and frustrating situation, but in general Barcelona still is a fantastic place to live.
The general trend in Spain is a slowdown in sales of property. Read more about the latest stats and reasons for the slowdown on my friend Mark Stucklin’s page.
Thanks to the socialist government now leading Spain, we will be seeing the implementation of rent controls in the regions that choose to adopt them. Madrid will once again be refusing to implement such measures, while the Barcelona will fully embrace them since the mayor Ada Colau always does everything she can to obstruct entrepreneurship and progress in the city.
Good quality affordable housing in Barcelona is hard to find, and with these new measures it will even more so in the years ahead.
Let’s not forget the big issue of illegal occupations here in Catalunya. The Okupa movement is as strong as ever. Basically, whenever you go on a holiday or leave your dwelling, you are at risk of someone moving in and occupying your property. Thanks to the way the judicial system works here, it is almost impossible to get them out. You will most likely have better luck resorting to services like Desokupa or Fueraokupas who have a very good success rate in getting such illegal occupants out. This is but one example of how the Catalan police force and judicial system are intentionally ineffective in preventing crime and injustice. The rise of petty theft in Barcelona to unprecedented levels is one other example.