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Spanish cities clean up in global expat rankings

El Cabañal District, Valencia, property
Town houses in Valencia City’s Cabanyal district

A global survey of more than 15,000 expats from 173 countries by the InterNations expat network delivers a big vote of confidence in Spanish cities.

Valencia city was in first place, followed by the Valencian region’s second city Alicante, so the top two spots went to just one of Spain’s autonomous regions. 

The capital of the Costa del Sol Malaga was in 6th place, and Madrid in 9th place, out of 57 cities around the world. So Spain took 40% of the top ten cities in the world.

In subcategories Valencia city was also in first place for leisure and climate, though no Spanish city was top ranking in the housing category. Dublin was the worst-ranked city in the world for housing.

“Valencia has a really ideal combination of being a city with all the elements of urban life,” says music industry executive Derek Chandruang, 38, an American expat in Valencia quoted by Bloomberg. “Even though it’s a more medium-sized, manageable city with proximity to beaches.”

“I can confirm that expat interest in Valencia is booming,” says Conor Wilde, head of Found Valencia, a full-service property company. “Whether renting or buying you get so much housing for your money compared to other places, which makes Valencia irresistible to expats who can choose where they want to live considering all the other factors that make the city so attractive like safety, climate, the health service, culture, cuisine, and miles and miles of beaches.”

The survey suggests that expats are shunning the world’s major metropolises like London, Paris, and Hong Kong in favour of smaller cities, in particular Spanish cities. London & co. were dragged down by “concerns about health care, safety, work-life balance, and the affordability of housing,” reports an article in Bloomberg.

“Expats in big cities like New York, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, or London struggle to find affordable housing and are generally dissatisfied with their financial situation,” said Malte Zeeck, the founder and co-chief executive officer of InterNations. “Expats in these cities are often dissatisfied with their work-life balance, too.”

The Portugese capital Lisbon also did well, in third place behind Alicante, meaning the Iberian peninsular took five out of the top ten cities.

SPI Member Comments

One thought on “Spanish cities clean up in global expat rankings

  • Harrah! for VLC! Thoroughly well deserved. Now, please can I see it borne out by a rush to buy my flat!

    “Expat interest in Valencia is booming,”, says the man. Being in the business he’s in and where he in it, he would say that, wouldn’t he? In normal times, I’d believe it.

    Obviously things have been extremely difficult this year for the property business. .My agents, the VLC branch of an international chain, report that ‘expat’ numbers are down at floor level. “We are seeing no foreigners and the Spanish are very nervous”. Very few of the viewers of my flat have been non-Spanish. Even the rental dept is having a hard time. My flat is for sale or rent, which ever nails a deal first.

    But “booming”? I’ll believe it when I see it.

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