Re: Re: Prediction of house sales in coming years


This is from street observations and nothing more: There are now more Chinese businesses than non-Chinese businesses in the Fort Pienc neighborhood bordered by San Joan, Vilanova-Ali Bei, Sardenya and Grand Via, about 14 square blocks. So much so that I’d call it Chinatown. And this happened post-crisis.

As this was one of my target neighborhoods for buying a place, I am very familiar with it. 6 years ago, it was not like this. I remember seeing maybe 5 Chinese businesses and remember quite well how odd it seemed to see a Chinese family renovating a flat on a Sunday.

There are a few businesses that are focused upon only Chinese. What’s different about this neighborhood is that there are no closed businesses. No empty streets. Another interesting albeit subjective observation is that the Chinese seem to want to integrate with Spanish society.

Of course, the Chinese immigrants are not only located in this neighborhood – they can be found all over Barcelona. And they come from different parts of China – I’m sure that the fruit-vegetable stand near my place is owned and operated by people from the Shan Dong province. People there are known for being out-going, very friendly and having great senses of humor.

Now it is true that among immigrant groups, the Chinese stand-out because of their appearance and their alphabet, so it’s easy to be mistaken about the percent of all immigrants who are Chinese. But I still believe that Chinese immigration is much higher than the official counts.

I read someplace that last year, 20% of all Spain’s immigrants located in Barcelona, a city with just 3.4% of Spain’s total population. [ERROR: 20% of all Spain’s immigrants locate in Catalunya, a region with 16% of Spain’s total population. Sorry about the error.] Given the aging of Spain’s population, this bodes well for Barcelona and Catalunya assuming this influx is properly managed. Having visited a government refugee center here in Barcelona, I was impressed at the compassion displayed by the civil servants. Hopefully there is adequate planning in schools, infrastructure, etc.

All to say that I think the housing market in Barcelona will rebound long before other parts of the country, and it already may be rebounding.

That said, I should note that an atico I looked at 2 years ago in this Fort Pienc neighborhood is still for sale, now asking 320k, which is down from 400k. It was a great flat with a big terrace but it had a tragically small and barely usable kitchen, with a large support column right in the middle of it.