The fixed costs of owning a second home in Barcelona

Barcelona beaches Sant Marti Poble Nou
Barcelona’s beaches are just one of the city’s attractions to second-home owners

Maintaining a second home in the Catalan capital typically cost more than 2,000 Euros a year, but rental income from holiday lettings can usually be relied on to cover fixed costs.

What are the fixed costs of keeping a flat in Barcelona? On average around 200 Euros per month, or 2,400 Euros per year, according to a new study by Alquiler Seguro, a letting agency specialising in landlord protection, based on their own figures.

Barcelona is one of the most expensive cities in Spain to live in, but Alquiler Seguro say that the fixed costs of ownership would be broadly similar in other Spanish cities of more than 250,000 inhabitants.

Fixed costs of property in Barcelona

Like anywhere in the world, owning a home in Barcelona implies certain fixed costs – the price you pay for the privilege of owning a property. Fixed costs include municipal taxes, community fees, insurance, and utility contracts. These costs have to be paid whether or not the property is occupied during the year.

Fixed costs vary by property size and municipality, and generally speaking, the bigger the property, the higher the fixed costs. Some municipalities charge higher rates than others, even within a city like Barcelona.

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This is how the annual fixed costs for a typical flat of 80m2 in Barcelona break down, according to Alquiler Seguro:

Community fees

barcelona apartment for sale
Designer flat in Barcelona
Community fees of €75/month, to which you might also have to add heating and water bills for communal areas of up to €1,000/month to be shared between owners.

Note that in recent years, there has been a problem all over Spain, including Barcelona, with owners not paying their community fees, which drives up the cost for those who continue to pay.

Local property rates / taxes – IBI (Impuesto de bienes inmuebles) in Barcelona

Municipal property taxes in Barcelona are calculated using a rate of between 0.4pc and 1.1pc of the cadastral value, with an average of around €500/year.

Home insurance

The minimum insurance for an home starts at around €200/year say Alquiler Seguro. Tourist rental insurance is likely to be considerably higher, including civil responsibility.

Utility contracts

Even if you never use a property you need to pay annual fixed costs to keep the water, gas and electricity connected, just in case. Utility contracts can add up to around €500/year.

Property maintenance costs

Alquiler Seguro estimate that maintenance costs add up to around €250/year for the average property, not including repairs to communal areas that come along from time to time.

Talking about repairs to communal areas, I have before me an invoice for €12,000 for fixing the lift in this beautiful old building, which the community will have to pay between us this month. Earlier this year we had to fix a leak in the basement that almost brought the house down. Last year the building had to be rewired. In my experience, lovely old buildings in Barcelona, known as finca regia, generate a regular stream of hefty maintenance bills for community areas, which you have little choice but to pay. I guess that’s the cost of living in beautiful, if slightly shabby surroundings.

Mortgage costs

If you have a mortgage on a second home in Barcelona, that could easily be another €600-€700 a month, at least.

Cover your fixed costs with tourist lettings?

barceloneta beach property for sale
A view of Barceloneta from the swanky new Hotel W
Owners of second-homes in Barcelona have the option of tourist lettings to help cover fixed costs (depending on the availability of licences in some areas).

Barcelona enjoys some of the best year-round rental demand, high-season occupancy-rates, and rental prices in all of Spain.

“Rental income of 100 to 150 Euros per night, net of agency fees, are achievable in the high season for a nice apartment in the city centre,” says Quintus Snapper of the rental bookings site “Occupancy in the high season can be 90%, which means between 2,000 and 5,000 Euros per month rental income, depending on quality and location.” That’s more than enough to pay the fixed costs of owning a second-home in Barcelona.

So there you have it. A second home in Barcelona could easily cost you 2,400 Euros or more per year to own, but you might be able to cover those cost with short-term rentals if you need to. That said, tourist rental laws in Spain have just changed, and you now need to register with the local government to engage in tourist rentals in Catalonia, so be sure to do your research before you buy property for sale in Barcelona.

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