Foreign Buyers Dominate Barcelona Luxury Market

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While the influence of international home buyers in Spain has been well documented, it’s a different story in Barcelona.

In the Catalan capital, 90 percent of homes sold above a million euros by estate agency Coldwell Banker are purchased by foreign buyers, the agency reports. And that’s not a simple statistical quirk of the recent market – it’s been that way for three years, the firm reports.

The role of international buyers is certainly not news, but it’s still shocking to see the extent that international buyers are dominating Barcelona’s high-end market.

The over-€1 million segment accounts for about 150 sales a year, Coldwell Banker says. And there are currently about 400 properties on the market in that price range.

In recent years, eastern European, North American and Asian buyers have joined the traditional mix of UK, French, German and Nordic buyers, the agency says. Foreign buyers are attracted to Barcelona for the lifestyle and the low prices, which are typically 25 to 40 percent below peak level, El Economista notes.

Analysis

Barcelona offers many desirable attributes for international investors shopping for a purchase in a major city. Beyond the tourist-brochure aspects, prices remain depressed and there is little competition from domestic buyers with the economy struggling and financing scarce.

Foreign buyers typically pay in cash, which makes them an attractive target for sellers. Far from subsiding, this trend is likely to continue as the market recovers and international investors move to secure deals before prices rise.

CORRECTION 27/10/2014
This article has been corrected to clarify that it refers solely to sales by Coldwell Banker, and is not necessarily true of the wider market.

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