America’s Cup win for Barcelona will boost foreign sales and mid-term rentals in the next few years

Barcelona has won the race to host the 37th America’s Cup in 2024, which will bring hordes of people with good budgets to the Catalan capital over the next two years, all of them needing somewhere to stay.

In a major coup for the Catalan capital, Barcelona has been chosen as the host venue for the 37th America’s Cup in September and October 2024. The America’s Cup is one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events with global proportions. Winning the race to host the regatta is a triumph for Barcelona.

Emirates Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron chose Barcelona after what they call a “long and competitive venue selection process.” America’s Cup defender team’s CEO Grant Dalton says that “Barcelona really is one of the most recognised cities in the world, so to have the ability to host the most recognised sailing event in the world is hugely exciting.”

Dalton goes on to say that hosting the event in a “significant city such as Barcelona will allow us to propel the growth trajectory on the global sporting stage…. racing within a few hundred metres of the Barcelona beach, waterfront, and race village fan engagement zones it will be nothing less than spectacular.”

The America’s Cup statement points out that, with its “mixture of history and modernity, Barcelona is one of the most iconic and attractive cities in the world, and will become the first venue in the world to host both an Olympic Games and an America’s Cup event.”

Winning the race to become the host venue for the 37th America’s Cup is obviously good news for Barcelona. It will create jobs and boost the city’s international reputation, which has been tarnished in recent years by political conflict.

Mid-term / extended stay rentals will see a surge in demand, and property for sale in the best areas of Barcelona should see a boost in demand from foreign buyers, as such a prestigious international sporting event as the America’s Cup helps repair Barcelona’s reputation as a property investment destination.

America’s Cup racing in Barcelona’s world

Mid-term / extended stay rentals in Barcelona

I expect the mid-term / extended stay rental market will get the biggest boost from hosting the America’s Cup in Barcelona.

The yacht race takes years to plan and organise, and two months to host. The race is a battle between billionaires and mega-brands, and there is a huge amount of money involved. The teams, and all their support staff, will need somewhere to live for months, if not years before the event. I expect that hundreds, if not thousands of people working on the event will need accommodation in the city for weeks or months at a time between now and the end of 2024. Some will stay in hotels, but many will prefer to find a mid-term or extended stay rental property that feels more personal than a hotel.

The regatta itself lasts two months and will bring tens of thousands of well-healed race-going tourists to Barcelona in September and October 2024. Hotels will be full, but once again many visitors spending longer than a few nights in the city will look for extended stay rentals.

Mid-term / extended stay rentals last between a month and a year and have three big advantages. 1) they are legal, unlike tourist rentals (less than a month), which are illegal in Barcelona without a licence, 2) You avoid all the problems like rent controls of the long-term rental market, and 3) Rental rates are much higher than long-term rentals and income is much better if occupancy rates are high, which you would expect with an event like the America’s Cup going on.

America's Cup in Barcelona port
©️ 2022 AC37 Event Ltd.

Foreign demand for property in Barcelona

Barcelona was the darling of foreign property investors between 2010 and 2018, so much so that foreign buyers came to dominate the market in certain upmarket segments and areas of the city like new developments in the Eixample Dreta. However, political conflict including riots and hard left groups targeting upmarket assets cooled foreign investor interest in the city starting in 2018, and Covid hit the foreign market hard in 2020. Agents report that foreign demand is still now significantly lower than it was before 2018.

But an event like the America’s Cup, with an estimated audience of almost a billion views worldwide, and an upmarket profile that attracts primary sponsors like the luxury Italian fashion brand Prada, is bound to help boost Barcelona international standing and repair some of the damage done to Barcelona’s reputation with property investors.

“Big events like the America’s Cup definitely have a positive impact on confidence, and it will nudge buyers towards Barcelona” says Mike Williams, from Barcelona-based real-estate agency Urbane. “It will nudge those planning to buy into action, nudge those thinking of buying to get serious, nudge those considering other places to look harder at Barcelona, and nudge those who never thought about buying property in Barcelona before to start considering it.”

So, the 37th America’s Cup in Barcelona in September and October 2024 looks like it could boost foreign demand for property investments in the city, but will certainly lead to a surge in demand for mid-term / extended stay rentals over the next two years.

Unfortunately, the city’s rental market is in terrible shape after years of misguided political interference, and I expect the America’s Cup will make the problem more obvious. As I will explain another day, the long-term rental market is already collapsing, and the America’s Cup is bound to accelerate that collapse as more owners turn towards mid-term / extended stay rentals. As a result there will be even less choice for those who need a long-term rental home in Barcelona. As always, there will be winners and losers. Sign up for my news bulletin to be kept informed of winning strategies.

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