Fueled by Global Investors, Home Prices Go Nuts in Barcelona

“You could sell ten flats in a day” to Chinese investors on real estate excursions.

A few blocks from where I live in the solidly middle class (but gentrifying) Eixample Dreta district of Barcelona, a newly renovated modernist building is about to be inaugurated. Outside the building is a huge billboard displaying some of the lavish charms offered by the refurbished apartments inside, including Jacuzzis, spacious roof terraces, a swimming pool, and an elegantly attired concierge. The images are headed with cheesy aspirational slogans like “Art, Prestige, Life” and “A Dream to Live In.”

Not a single word of the ad is in Catalan or Spanish, the two official local languages. Everything is in English.

These properties are not meant for local people — that’s not where the money is. The money is in the international market, whose insatiable demand for real estate in this increasingly popular global city has propelled property prices to bubblicious levels.

In the last 12 months in Barcelona, the median home price (half are higher and half are lower) has soared 21.7%, to €3,094 per square meter (ca. $350 per square foot), with double-digit increases across all of the city’s districts, according to data compiled by the property appraiser Tinsa. The biggest movements were seen in the city’s old town, which is ground zero for the city’s tourist industry. There the median price have skyrocketed 35% in just one year

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