Barcelona is hot. Everybody knows the city, has been visiting the Catalan capital lately, has friends who have been there once or twice or who plan to travel to BCN soon. A “must do”. I have been living and working in this beautiful city since 1.995. Every time I travel abroad, and when people ask me where I live, there is a big smile on their face when I mention Barcelona.
Reason nº 1: Barcelona is a fantastic city to live
Chosen by many expats to be one of the best places to live. The Barcelona offers a great variety. The exceptional location, literary on the seaside, with spectacular white, sandy beaches offers a unique combination between the comfort of a big city and a holiday like atmosphere. From the city centre it´s only a 10-minute bus drive to the beach. Great Food & Drinks, with local and many international top restaurants. Daily menus for 12,50 euros, or even less. Far cheaper than the major European cities. Several international schools in – and around the city, like The French School, The British School, The American School where students are taught in various languages. Or study a Master or MBA at one of the top Business Schools of the world, ESADE. Barcelona offers a good social security system, with many excellent hospitals.
Reason nº2: Great city to work or to start a business
I read lately, that Barcelona is one of the Top 5 SMART CITIES in the world! Followed by New York, London, Nice and Singapore this is a great achievement. The Public Transport, environmental issues, support for electric cars and buses, excellent high speed internet were the main reasons. Barcelona is the city for start-ups (there is a great support from the local government), fashion & design, important trade shows, like World Mobile, Salón Nautica, Alimentaria (food) etc. You´ll find the charm of a Southern European city, combined with the business focus of the Catalan society, very international (18% of the population is from abroad). Setting up a new business is still not an easy job, but things are improving and the municipality is introducing a so called “express set-up” for new enterprises, simplifying the whole process. To mention that it isn´t a punishment to work here, seems obvious. In January, when it is cold and grey in Northern Europe, in Barcelona people are doing business on one of the terraces of the city, enjoying the Mediterranean climate.
Reason nº 3: Barcelona and its beautiful climate
I am pleased to inform, that the average temperature, on a yearly base is 15,3 degrees Celsius. In August, it could be hot, with temperatures between 23 and 30 degrees, and the coldest month is January, with an average temperature of 8ºC. Consider that is will be approximately 10 degrees hotter than Northern Europe, which, especially in the grey winter period, is a huge and pleasant difference! The average all year sea temperature is 17,1 degrees.
Reason nº 4: Excellent infra-structure
Barcelona is well connected with the world. From the international airport, el Prat, only 16kms from the centre, there are many daily flights to Europe, the Middle East, USA and the Far East. Low costs carriers like Vueling, Transavia, Easyjet, German Wings and Ryanair will take you, within two hours, to the major cities of Europe. There is a good railway system, connecting the rest of Spain and the famous Ave (TGV or fast train) takes you to Paris within 5 hours, or in 2 hours 40 minutes to Madrid. There exists an extensive underground network and the local buses, all air conditioned, take you around the city and are very cheap. If you are a bit sportive… take the BCN Bicing (cycling)card, and go for a ride. Since 2019 they also have an electric version!
Reason nº 5: Attractive city for others to visit you!
Business wise the city is attractive, and offers a positive image to anyone who comes to visit you. Fresh, modern, innovative, stylish; the place to be!
Reason nº 6: Traditional and International
Spain is famous for its traditions and Barcelona is no exception. There are many things to visit as you could expect in a major city. Theatres, cinemas, museums (Picasso, Miró), local markets, a wide scale of restaurants etc. Barcelona´s old town (casco antiguo) takes you back to the Middle Ages or go for some tapas to the Barceloneta quarter, right on the beach. The city offers an international, multi-cultural atmosphere.
Reason nº 7: Excellent rental market for a positive return on investment
As an investor you always look at the so called Return on Investment(ROI). You like to know what kind of return you could expect. There is a huge demand on rental properties. Many locals decide to rent instead of buying a property and there is a continuous demand for student´s apartments, either close to the Universities or downtown. There are simply not enough properties available so this could be interesting. The tourist use of the apartments is also interesting, with a huge return on investment. This is a delicate issue these days, as the government is considering to allow only professionals to deal with this activity. At this moment, the tourist licenses are on hold, so the minimum period is one month.
Reason nº8: The right moment to invest
The 2008 financial crisis seems to be over. We have left behind most of the troubles; the market has been cleaned up. Since the second half of 2017, the Spanish banks are “back in business” allowing first- and second homeowners to finance their purchase. With the extremely low interest rates, this is becoming very attractive. Foreign investments funds are searching all over Spain, but specifically in the major cities for residential buildings. Prices are still low, in comparison with other European cities. According to the Global Price Guide, the average cost per m2, in the major Spanish cities is 4.409 euros, far away from prices in similar situations in The Netherlands (€6.609), Switzerland (€11.476), Russia (€11866), UK (€25.575) or Monaco (€44.522). Prices are expected to increase further, yes, there is a clear tendency upwards, with the demand exceeding the property offer, in most central areas. Spain is a safe country, so your investment will also be safe. No political unstable situation, no religion fights. Moreover, Spain is a full member of the EU, which makes things a lot easier. If you are convinced, don´t hesitate to contact me for a full support!
Paul van den Hout / real estate coach (Aicat: 4261)