Buying real estate in Spain?

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Buying a property in Barcelona: a complete guide

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Yes, the analysis of Barcelona's property market is included in our pack

Considering buying a nice property in Barcelona? You're not alone!

Many people fantasize about Barcelona's artistic heritage and lively atmosphere, wishing to own an elegant apartment or a chic loft.

Is it worth investing there, though? Are property prices increasing in Barcelona? How much does it cost? Is it better to buy in Eixample or Barri Gòtic? What are the property taxes? What rental yields should I expect?

We know the answers.

The Investropa team has done their homework on this market. As a matter of fact, we have condensed all our findings in a pack. Get it now.

In the lines below, we'll share useful information and some practical tips.

How is the real estate market in Barcelona?

How is the property market performing? Let's rely on data and figures to find out.

Types of properties

In Barcelona, there are various types of properties available for sale, catering to diverse preferences and needs.

These property types include apartments, which are common in the city center and offer convenience and urban living. Additionally, you can find charming townhouses and traditional houses, especially in the city's older neighborhoods, providing a unique and historical atmosphere.

For those seeking more space and tranquility, there are suburban villas and houses in the outskirts.

Moreover, Barcelona offers modern and stylish penthouses with stunning city views, ideal for those looking for luxury living.

Whether you're interested in contemporary apartments or classic houses, Barcelona's real estate market has something to offer for everyone's taste and budget.

Buying or renting?

(In case you want it for yourself, not for rental purposes)

Whether you've already made Barcelona your home or are contemplating it for the future, you might be wondering about the advantages of buying a property versus renting in this Spanish city.

Obviously, it's better to buy if you are looking to build equity and have a long-term investment in a property in Barcelona.

To make a good decision, look at the property price-to-rent ratio. It's like a measure of how much rental income you'll need to afford the property at its current value.

According to Numbeo, the property price-to-rent ratio in Barcelona is around 22.47, which is around the world average.

To put it simply, it usually takes an average of 22 years of rental payments to buy a property in Barcelona.

Property prices in Barcelona

On average, according to the last data from Ministerio de Fomento, purchasing a property in Barcelona would cost you around $5,500 per square meter.

Naturally, prices are quite spread out. An apartment in Eixample might have a different price per square meter than a penthouse in Barceloneta. We actually give you a more detailed breakdown in our pack for buying property in Barcelona and in Spain.

To put things in perspective, it is 3.5 times less than the property prices in the center of New York.

Also, housing prices in Barcelona are 50% cheaper than in the French Riviera.

The most expensive neighbourhoods in Barcelona are probably Sarrià-Sant Gervasi and Gràcia, while the cheapest are likely to be Nou Barris and Sant Andreu.

Barcelona Property Price per Square Meter


First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that Spain offers, today, a lot of stability to investors. The last Fragile State Index that has been reported for this place is 44.4.

It is something to have in mind when wondering whether it's a good investment to buy a property in Barcelona.

Also, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Spain's economy is expected to soar by 8.4% in the coming 5 years, resulting in an average GDP growth rate of 1.7%.

If you intend to invest in real estate in Barcelona it's a good thing because a growing economy (usually) leads to higher incomes for citizens, enabling them to invest in real estate, which boosts demand and prices for properties.

Also, in Spain, the average GDP per capita has changed by -1.1% over the last 5 years. It's a bit concerning.

Looking for more updated data? We've done a big-picture study to find out if it's a good idea to purchase property in Spain right now.

Buying property in Barcelona

Buying real estate in Barcelona can be difficult due to the lack of reliable and up-to-date information, making it the most challenging part of the process. That's why we have created the pack to buy property in Barcelona and in Spain.

Buying process

Within our pack, we've covered the entire buying process extensively. This includes a detailed breakdown of prices and yields based on the area, advice on negotiating prices, and information about obtaining a mortgage.

Now, we're providing you with a simplified version.

This is the step-by-step process to purchase a property in Barcelona:

  1. Determine budget and property preferences in the city or desired neighborhood.
  2. Engage a local real estate agent familiar with Barcelona's market.
  3. Review available properties, considering factors like proximity to public transportation and amenities.
  4. Conduct property inspections, considering local building regulations.
  5. Hire a lawyer experienced in Spanish real estate for due diligence and to review specific documents like the nota simple (property registry extract).
  6. Negotiate the purchase price and terms, including the arras contract (earnest money agreement).
  7. Sign a reservation contract and pay a deposit, typically 10% of the property price.
  8. Perform property surveys and checks, ensuring compliance with local zoning laws and permits.
  9. Sign the private purchase contract (contrato de arras) and pay a deposit (usually 10% more).
  10. Complete necessary paperwork, obtain a Spanish NIE (foreigner's identification number), and secure a mortgage if needed.
  11. Transfer the remaining payment and applicable taxes, like the Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales (Property Transfer Tax).
  12. Finalize the transaction at the notary, receive the property keys, and register the property in the Registro de la Propiedad (Property Registry) as the new owner.

Also, if you're not from the country, you might want to check our article on how to buy property as a foreigner in Spain.

Make a profitable investment in Barcelona

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buying property in Barcelona

Where to find a property

You may begin your property search in Barcelona by exploring these websites:

  • Idealista - A real estate platform in Spain that offers properties for sale and rent, including holiday homes. They also provide mortgage services and property-related resources.
  • Fotocasa - A property portal that specializes in homes for sale and rent across various cities in Spain. They also offer mortgage and insurance services.
  • Habitaclia - A real estate platform that provides properties for sale, rent, and new builds in different regions of Spain.
  • Pisos - A real estate portal in Spain that features properties for sale and rent, including houses, flats, and commercial spaces.
  • YaEncontre - A real estate portal offering a diverse selection of properties for sale and rent across various regions in Spain.

Also, know that we have included contacts of real estate agencies, property lawyers, moving companies, expats communities and more in our pack for buying property in Spain.

Properties & Budget

As mentioned before, the average price per sqm in Barcelona is $5,500. A 1-bedroom property with an area of 60 square meters would cost approximately $330,000, while a 2-bedroom property with an area of 85 square meters would cost approximately $468,000.

However, the cost of properties will fluctuate depending on both their characteristics and their location.

Nice neighborhoods in Barcelona usually have higher prices. A condominium in Eixample might be about $630,000, whereas an apartment in Sarrià-Sant Gervasi could be priced at $580,000.

However, some places cost less. You may find a house in Nou Barris for $420,000, or a house in Sant Andreu priced only at $350,000.

Find a more detailed price list in our full pack for buying property in Spain.

Common mistakes

Here are the main pitfalls when buying property in Barcelona, Spain:

  • Catalan independence impact: Political uncertainties surrounding the region's independence movement may affect property values and stability.
  • Tourist rental restrictions: Strict regulations on short-term rentals can limit potential income from tourists.
  • Historical building regulations: Owning a historical property may come with strict renovation limitations and added expenses.
  • NIE number requirement: Foreign buyers need a Spanish identification number (NIE) for property transactions.
  • Non-EU buyer restrictions: Non-EU citizens may face additional bureaucratic hurdles and limitations on property purchases.
  • Property tax variations: Tax rates differ between regions and municipalities, potentially impacting overall costs.
  • Coastal development laws: Coastal areas may have restrictions to protect the environment, limiting construction or renovation possibilities.
  • Language barriers: Legal documents and negotiations conducted in Spanish or Catalan can be challenging for non-speakers.

We don't want this to happen to you, so we have included a full checklist for your property investment in our pack of documents. Avoid these mistakes and save a lot of money.

real estate Spain

Everything you need to know is included in our Spain Property Pack

Living in Barcelona

Living in Barcelona offers a vibrant and cosmopolitan lifestyle with plenty of cultural attractions, beautiful beaches, and a rich history.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Barcelona is generally considered to be higher than average for Spain, but still relatively affordable compared to other major cities in Europe. Prices for basic necessities such as food, transportation, and housing are all higher than the national average, but still lower than in many other European cities.

Here are some examples to better understand the cost of living in Barcelona:

  • A glass of "Vermut" (local fortified wine) at a bar in El Born: $3.50.
  • Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Gothic Quarter: $1,300 per month.
  • "Menu del dia" (daily set lunch) in Eixample district: $12.
  • A bottle of "Estrella Damm" beer at a beachfront bar: $4.50.
  • Fresh seafood paella for two at Barceloneta: $35.
  • Monthly membership at a local "Club Esportiu" (sports club): $50-$70.
  • Groceries from the "Mercat de la Boqueria": $40 per week for one person.
  • Admission to Sagrada Familia: $25 (with audio guide).


We want to show information in an easy-to-understand way. So, we made a table that lists all the neighborhoods in Barcelona. For yields, prices and rents, check our property pack.

Neighborhood Description Strengths Weaknesses


Gràcia is a bohemian and vibrant neighborhood known for its charming squares, unique shops, and artistic atmosphere.

Artistic community, lively nightlife, and a wide variety of cafes and restaurants.

Can be crowded and noisy, limited public transportation options.


Eixample is a modern and upscale area characterized by its grid-like streets and stunning architecture, including Gaudi's masterpieces.

Architectural wonders, high-end shopping, excellent public transport connectivity.

Can be expensive to live, heavy tourist presence, parking challenges.

El Raval

El Raval is a diverse and evolving neighborhood with a rich multicultural atmosphere, offering a mix of historic and contemporary attractions.

Cultural diversity, trendy bars, proximity to the city center.

Can be sketchy in some areas, issues with pickpocketing, and occasional noise.

Barri Gòtic

Barri Gòtic, or the Gothic Quarter, is the historic heart of Barcelona, featuring medieval architecture and narrow, winding streets.

Historic charm, iconic landmarks, and a plethora of quaint shops and cafes.

Can get crowded with tourists, limited green spaces.

El Poblenou

El Poblenou is an up-and-coming neighborhood that offers a mix of industrial heritage and modern innovation, with a beachside location.

Beach access, tech hubs, trendy bars and restaurants.

Less historical charm, ongoing construction in some areas.

La Sagrada Família

This neighborhood revolves around the iconic Sagrada Família basilica and is popular among tourists for its Gaudi landmarks.

Proximity to Sagrada Família, Gaudi architecture, well-connected by public transport.

Can be crowded with tourists, limited parking options.


Barceloneta is a seaside neighborhood famous for its sandy beaches, seafood restaurants, and vibrant beach culture.

Beachfront location, seafood eateries, lively atmosphere.

Can be crowded, touristy, and noisy at times.


Sants is a traditional neighborhood with a friendly ambiance, home to the Sants train station and the FC Barcelona stadium.

Good transport links, local shops and markets, Camp Nou stadium.

Limited nightlife options, fewer tourist attractions.

Les Corts

Les Corts is an affluent area known for its upscale shopping, business centers, and proximity to the university.

High-end shopping, business opportunities, near universities.

Expensive cost of living, less cultural attractions.

Diagonal Mar

Diagonal Mar is a modern neighborhood with high-rise buildings, a large shopping center, and close access to the beach.

Modern architecture, shopping options, close to the beach.

Lacks historical charm, limited community feel.


Horta-Guinardó is a green and residential area featuring parks, gardens, and the scenic Carmel Bunkers viewpoint.

Nature parks, peaceful environment, panoramic views.

Can be distant from the city center, fewer entertainment options.

Sant Martí

Sant Martí is a diverse neighborhood with a mix of residential and industrial areas, including the technology hub known as "22@".

Tech district, modern architecture, multicultural community.

Some areas lack amenities, limited historical attractions.

Life in Barcelona

Barcelona has a diversified and competitive economy, driven by the service sector, tourism, and high-tech industries. It is one of the most important economic centers in Spain, with a strong focus on innovation, research and development, and entrepreneurship.

What expats usually like the most in Barcelona are its unique culture and vibrant nightlife. It also has a wide variety of outdoor activities and gorgeous beaches to explore.

Unfortunately, there is a bit of crime in Barcelona (the crime rate index is around 51, which is not so low. Common examples of crimes in Barcelona include pickpocketing, mugging, and property theft, which are primarily targeted at the local population and do not usually affect expats.

A good point for a property investor - Barcelona has an extensive metro system, comprising of more than 10 lines and over 150 stations.

Access to healthcare in Barcelona is more than excellent, with a Healthcare Index of 77. A strong healthcare infrastructure always improves the desirability of a location, which is a good thing for real estate.

Finally, it is worth noting that Barcelona has 2 universities in the top 200 worldwide: the University of Barcelona and the Pompeu Fabra University

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Renting out in Barcelona

This section is for you if you want to buy property solely for renting out and earning income.


Tenant Profiles in Barcelona

According to the data reported by Wikipedia, the home ownership rate in Spain is 76%, which is average.

It means that, if you decide to buy and rent out in Barcelona, there will be a good number of people who can become your potential tenants.

If you decide to buy and rent out to long-term tenants, you should target young professionals, students, and expats who are looking for a place in the city center or near to public transportation. Families, couples, and retirees are also viable target groups, as they are typically looking for more spacious properties in the suburbs.

Here is a little summary table we've made for you.

Property type and area Profiles of potential tenants What they are looking for Expected monthly rent in $

Apartment in Eixample

Professionals, families

Central location, amenities

$800 - $1,800

Studio in El Raval

Students, artists

Bohemian atmosphere, affordability

$500 - $1,000

2-Bedroom Apartment in Gràcia

Couples, young professionals

Trendy neighborhood, local shops

$900 - $1,600

Penthouse in Diagonal Mar

High-income expats

Luxury living, sea views

$1,500 - $3,500

Apartment in Poble Sec

Young professionals

Artsy vibe, proximity to theaters

$700 - $1,300

1-Bedroom Flat in El Born

Local and international singles

Historic charm, nightlife

$800 - $1,500

Townhouse in Sarrià


Quiet area, international schools

$1,200 - $2,500

Rental yields

Nowadays, rental yields in Barcelona are usually below 5%. It's not much. A good rental yield is usually around 7% or higher. Maybe, you knew it already.

Rental yields in Barcelona are typically highest for smaller, older properties that are located in areas with high demand for rentals, such as the city centre and popular neighbourhoods like El Born and Gracia. This is because these properties offer a good balance between the price of the property and the potential rental income.

For further explanation and a more detailed breakdown, you can check the reports and analyses we have made.

Finally, be aware that rental incomes in Barcelona are taxed at 19%, which is rather good.


You could also decide to rent short-term to tourists visiting Barcelona for sightseeing, business travelers in town for a few days, or students coming to the city for a semester.

If you decide to go with that option, look for properties in the Gothic Quarter and El Born, as they are popular tourist areas and offer a variety of amenities. Additionally, consider properties in the Eixample district, which is known for its modernist architecture and is conveniently located near many attractions.

You will have some competition though - there are around 14,000 Airbnb listings in Barcelona. The average daily rate stands around $215, which is quite high.

You have the opportunity to generate a nice additional income stream then. According to online testimonials and analytics platform like AirDNA, Guesty and Inside Airbnb, people who offer short-term rentals in Barcelona can make around $4200 per month. Also, the average occupancy rate is estimated at 87%.

Is it worth buying real estate in Barcelona then?

Certainly, buying a property in Barcelona can be a fantastic idea if you're planning to put down roots in this vibrant city for the long haul. It's a great choice for those seeking stability and equity growth over time. Barcelona's property market offers a reasonably balanced property price-to-rent ratio, making property ownership financially attractive compared to renting, especially if you're envisioning a lengthy stay.

With an affordable average cost per square meter compared to international counterparts like New York or the French Riviera, Barcelona presents a competitive real estate market. Moreover, the stability of Spain's economy and projected growth can potentially lead to property appreciation, enhancing the value of your investment.

On the flip side, if you're looking for short-term accommodations or intend to profit solely from tourist rentals, buying property might not be the best strategy due to strict regulations and bureaucratic hurdles. Additionally, if you're eyeing historical properties for extensive renovations, be prepared for potential restrictions and added expenses. Non-EU buyers may face challenges, and language barriers could complicate the buying process if you're not proficient in Spanish or Catalan.

The region's political uncertainties and varying property tax rates are factors to consider. In a nutshell, if you're planning a long-term stay and value equity growth, Barcelona's property market could be your golden opportunity.

However, for those seeking quick returns or short stays, navigating the city's property landscape may prove more challenging and potentially less rewarding.

Make sure you understand the real estate market in Barcelona

Don't rush into buying the wrong property in Spain. Sit, relax and read our guide to avoid costly mistakes and make the best investment possible.

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The content provided here is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement or advice. While we strive for accuracy, we do not guarantee the completeness or reliability of the information, including text, images, links, or other elements in this material. Following the content and analyses presented here does not assure specific outcomes. For guidance tailored to your individual circumstances, it is recommended to consult with a professional, such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor.