High property prices in Barcelona push local demand out of city centre

BBVA research spanish home sales forecast up 10% in 2017
Cheaper areas near Barcelona, like Badalona

Barcelona is an international success story as a city to live and do business in and, together with its current positive economic climate, this has made it a popular destination for international investors and for people relocating.

This is an adapted translation of a recent article published by the Spanish daily El Mundo.

This trend has a good side and a bad one, namely the exodus of local residents to the suburbs. A tight housing supply, and rising cost of living, are pushing Barcelona residents to the outskirts and El Maresme district.

Like all big cities, local residents are discovering that the supply of property to buy or rent has reduced on the back of growing demand from foreigners. Prices have risen as a result of the law of supply-demand, and the difference between Spanish and foreign income levels.

“The positive factor of investors injecting capital into the system is another reason behind the increase in property and the cost of living in Barcelona,” says Vicenç Ramón Tur, managing director of the property company RtV Grupo Inmobiliario.

Faced with this scenario, many local residents find themselves forced to move to the outskirts of Barcelona and other areas such as El Maresme, where the supply of property to rent and buy is available at reasonable prices. The standard of living in nearby places such as Alella, Vilassar de Mar, Sant Andreu de Llavaneras, Tiana, Viladecans or Sant Cugat is also higher than in the centre of Barcelona.

The average square metre price for property in El Maresme and the outskirts of Barcelona currently stands at €2,500-3,000, and at €700-850 a month for rentals. In Barcelona itself, property prices are around €3,000-4,500 per square metre, and rentals between €1,000 and €1,500.

“Barcelona’s middle classes are moving away in search of a better standard of living with more reasonable prices than in the centre of the city,” says Ramón. Lower fuel prices, cheaper cars, and good road connections make getting in and out of the city reasonably priced and quick. This situation is similar to that in other big urban centres such as London, Paris, New York and Hong Kong.

RtV Grupo Inmobiliario concludes that Barcelona’s success is bitter-sweet: on the one hand, it allows the city to grow, do business, and create employment, but on the other, it means many locals to look for a better standard of living in areas outside the city.

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