Far from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona’s coast, nestled in the Conserolla Hills, life slows down. Here, we discover Pedralbes, a neighbourhood characterised by exclusivity and extravagance and home to celebrities such as Shakira and David Villa. It plays host to fine arts, Palau Pedralbes and the exquisite Monestir de Pedralbes, built completely from pure white stone. The monastery was founded in the 14th century by King James II and his wife, Queen Elisenda de Montcada, and is still home to the nuns of the Order of Poor Clares. Pedralbes expanded in the 20th century when an influx of wealth transformed the neighbourhood into a landscape of opulent housing, gated communities, private pools and lavish gardens. Now, enveloped by grand, affluent property, the majesty of such architecture and history merely blends into its surroundings.
Barceloneta, The New Pedralbes?
However, despite the grandeur and luxury of Pedralbes, studies are now revealing that the cost of renting an apartment in Barceloneta is exceeding that of Pedralbes. Statistics from 2015 show that, per square metre, the rental price was 16.44€ in Barceloneta and 14,15€ in Pedralbes, whilst the city average was 11,09€. In fact, currently, rental prices in Barcelona are the highest in all of Spain.
Barceloneta is one of the four districts that makes up the Ciutat Vella of Barcelona. It lies on the Mediterranean coast and used to be home to fishermen, tailors and traders. Still to this day, entering into the narrow, dark back streets where the buildings are packed closely together, you could imagine humble workers, and women gossiping from balcony to balcony. However, today, given Barceloneta’s unique location, it is driven by commercial business, the influx of tourism and short-term rentals for a transient population of students, tourists and business travellers, all boosting the price of living next to the sea. Of course, investment in Barceloneta is the perfect opportunity for property savvy investors looking to make some money when apartments are sold, often within minutes, to those who are desperate to live next to the beach, so much so that quality sometimes doesn’t matter.
In addition, the Spanish housing market is well on its way to recovery with house prices in Barcelona rising by 2.6% in the first quarter of 2016 and by 8% in Ciutat Vella over the last year. This trend appears to be set to continue, especially when Barcelona is in the eye of foreign investors.
After all, can we really be surprised that rental prices are higher in Barceloneta than in Pedralbes? Let’s be honest, Barceloneta is the epitome of perfection; beautiful sandy beaches, incredible restaurants, bars and entertainment all within a close proximity. So, if you’re on a tight budget, maybe you could be Shakira’s new neighbour!