25 Apr French Investment in Barcelona
The effect of the financial crisis on Spain’s housing prices has been well-publicised: a 30% drop between 2008 and 2013 left the market confused and permanently altered. While this was widely considered to fall under the category of “bad news”, it did bring one benefit: increased popularity of Spanish housing among foreigners (aided by the Golden Visa). This article will examine French investment in particular, which has its own specific characteristics.
French interest in Barcelona can hardly come as a surprise: the average price per square metre in central Paris, for example, is €9422.55, compared to €3824.00 in central Barcelona (although in prime areas this rises to €5500). For many potential investors, Paris has left the realm of possibility and become an aspiration for the distant future. However, at a third of the price – and easily reached from France – Barcelona offers an excellent alternative. The Casamona blog is full of reasons why Barcelona is a great place to live so a summary in this article seems a little futile, but it is also worth pointing out that many surveys and studies agree.
Furthermore, house prices have risen consistently in Barcelona since July 2015, which has encouraged foreign investors – especially as the cost of living in the city has decreased over the same period. While predicting any property market involves a certain amount of guesswork, the trend in Barcelona is undeniably positive, and the fact that this growth has continued for over a year gives the optimism real weight.
According to Barcelona-based real estate agent Artur Stabinski, “the star product is a 100- to 120-square-metre apartment, two or three bedrooms, two bathrooms, priced between €500,000 to €800,000. That’s the highest number of enquiries right now.”
In the case of French investment, an interesting peculiarity is that French buyers are most prone to investing in family residences in the outskirts of Barcelona, where prices fell 40% between 2008 and 2013. In a country with a sizeable upper-middle class, Barcelona is seen as an excellent destination for a holiday home that will not break the bank. This has also contributed to the rise in Barcelona property prices: foreign families, accustomed to paying more per square metre, see even Barcelona’s more expensive areas as good value for money.
Additionally, there are 908 French firms in Catalonia, making it second only to Germany in terms of business presence in the region. The significance of this figure is highlighted by the fact that 64% of French business in Spain is in Catalonia. Naturally, the presence of so many French companies makes it a desirable location for French businesspeople to have a place to stay.
French investment in Barcelona is, without doubt, a key part of the city’s property market: for both business and leisure, it has a number of obvious benefits. In fact, such is the importance of the French in Barcelona that the Catalonian government has an office in Paris specifically devoted to catering to French businesses in the area. The current level of investment is clearly seen as mutually beneficial, and it would be a wise time to take advantage of this amicable relationship.