A luxury lifestyle is more affordable in Spain than almost anywhere else in the world, finds new report

barcelona luxury property

Barcelona

A new report from the Swiss private bank Julius Bär reveals that Spain, represented by Barcelona, is one of the cheapest destinations in the world for luxury goods and services.

In the ‘Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report 2020’ just published by Julius Bär, they rank 28 leading cities with international appeal by the cost of a basket of luxury goods and services, and place Barcelona in 24th place out of 28, with Mumbai in india in 28th place offering the cheapest luxury lifestyle.

The most expensive city in the world for buying a basket of luxury goods and services, including high-end property, top range cars, premium drinks, business class flights, high fashion, legal fees, and cosmetic surgery is Hong Kong, followed by Shanghai, Tokyo, New York, and Singapore, so four of the top five were cities in Asia.

Paris is the most expensive city in the world for eating out, and friends who have been there recently confirm that the price of going out for dinner is insane, even if the food isn’t up to much.

The bottom five, where luxury lifestyles are the cheapest, are Mumbai in India, Johannesburg in South Africa, Frankfurt in Germany, Barcelona in Spain, and Moscow in Russia.

Madrid is not in the ranking, perhaps because it didn’t meet the criteria for inclusion, or perhaps because they only listed the first 28. I don’t know.

“The inaugural edition of Julius Baer’s Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report showcases the trends in high-end consumption around the world, which are of relevance to our clients,” explains Rajesh Manwani for Bank Julius Bär.

Luxury real estate

barcelona luxury property market

Barcelona. Photo credit https://twitter.com/alfons_pc

The price of some items in the luxury basket like cars or fashion accessories must be relatively easy to compare, as they are the same or similar in all locations, but real estate is a different story. The quantity and quality of ultra high-end homes in cities like London, New York, and Paris, are in a different league to most other cities in the ranking. The metric they use – the price per square meter – doesn’t capture this difference very well.

In Barcelona, for example, though you can find some really smart homes, I can think of only one new development (Francesc Macià 10) in the whole city that comes close to the ultra-high end quality offered by dozens of projects in London, New York, and Paris.

Everyone likes luxury (though I get the sense there is a bit of a backlash on the way, especially amongst the generations Y & Z), but not everyone can afford the lifestyle. Looking at the cheapest cities on the list Barcelona has little competition in terms of overall attractiveness now that Istanbul is being dragged towards religious conformity by Erdogan. Mumbai is unbearably polluted, Johannesburg dangerous and corrupt, Frankfurt dull and boring, and Moscow has a climate that roughed up Napoleon and Hitler’s armies.

Anyone looking around the world for a relatively affordable luxury lifestyle in a safe, clean city with a great climate, tons of culture, seriously good leisure resources, and excellent schools and healthcare, will struggle to find a better option than Barcelona.

Julius Bär’s Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report 2020 ranking in full

1= most expensive

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Shanghai, China
  3. Tokyo, Japan
  4. New York, U.S.
  5. Singapore
  6. Los Angeles, U.S.
  7. London, U.K.
  8. Taipei, Taiwan
  9. Zurich, Switzerland
  10. Monaco
  11. Bangkok, Thailand
  12. Paris, France
  13. Miami, U.S.
  14. Vienna, Austria
  15. Sydney, Australia
  16. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  17. Dubai, UAE
  18. Mexico City, Mexico
  19. Milan, Italy
  20. Manila, Philippines
  21. Vancouver, Canada
  22. Jakarta, Indonesia
  23. Moscow, Russia
  24. Barcelona, Spain
  25. Istanbul, Turkey
  26. Frankfurt, Germany
  27. Johannesburg, South Africa
  28. Mumbai, India

About Mark Stücklin

Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based Spanish property market analyst, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008).

Leave a Reply