Looking to buy a property in Barcelona in 2024? Here's what you need to know

Barcelona is one of Spain's most expensive places to buy property. However, the investment could be highly rewarding, particularly if you plan on living or renting there. Keep reading a guide that covers the process, requirements, and tips to make an informed decision.

Delia Mihuț
Written by Delia Mihuț
Published at 2023-07-25T14:23:00Z
Last updated at 2024-01-15T14:32:34Z
Readtime 3 minutes

Barcelona boasts a fusion of stunning architecture, vibrant nightlife, and sandy beaches, making it the perfect getaway for digital nomads. Additionally, it's a thriving hub for startups and innovation, providing opportunities to begin a new venture.

If you're considering buying a property in Barcelona as a non-resident, whether for living or rental, this guide is for you. You'll find essential information to help kickstart your home-buying journey.

Living in Barcelona: what you need to know

From the mountains to the sea, Barcelona is a place where you can immerse yourself in nature, savor delicious food, and experience a cultural mix, making it highly attractive to tourists worldwide.

If you're thinking of buying a property in Barcelona, let's explore some essential information you should know:

  • Climate: Mediterranean climate with hot summers and cool winters
  • Language: Catalan and Spanish
  • Currency: Euro (1 GBP = 1.162 EUR)
  • Population: around 5.700.000
  • Number of British expats in Barcelona: +17.000

Cost of living in Barcelona compared to the UK

Living in Barcelona is generally more affordable than in the UK, with lower costs in various spending categories. Here are some examples to give you an idea:

  • restaurant prices in Barcelona are 34.7% lower than in London
  • groceries prices in Barcelona are 25.2% lower than in London
  • the price per m2 for an apartment in Barcelona can be up to 63% cheaper than in London, depending on its location inside or outside the city center
  Cost in Barcelona Cost in London
Meal for two, mid-range restaurant 47£ 80£
Cappuccino 1,92£ 3,56£
Draught beer 2,58£ 6,30£
Monthly public transport pass 21,32£ 195£
Price per m2 to buy an apartment in the city center 4,996£ 13,492£
Price per m2 to buy an apartment outside of the center 2,961£ 7,816£

The cost comparison was made on January 15, 2024

What’s the property market like in Barcelona?

Barcelona is one of Spain's most expensive places to buy property. 

However, the investment could be highly rewarding, particularly if you plan on living or renting there. The city offers an excellent living and working environment and is a tourist spot.

The average asking price for residential properties for sale in Barcelona was 3,960 EUR per square meter, which decreased by 1.20% compared to December 2022 (4,008 EUR per square meter).

How much does it cost to buy a property in Barcelona?

In December 2023, the Sarrià-Sant Gervasi area of Barcelona had the highest asking price for properties for sale, at 5,315 EUR per square meter. On the other hand, the lowest price was found in the Nou Barris area, averaging 2,399 EUR per square meter.

To gain a better understanding of property prices in Barcelona, here is the average price per m2 for the other five districts of the city:

District Price m2
Les Corts, La Maternitat-Sant Ramon 5,233 EUR
Gràcia 4,443 EUR
Ciutat Vella 4,116 EUR
Eixample 4,699 EUR
Horta-Guinardó 3,241 EUR

Can foreigners buy property in Barcelona?

Any non-resident foreigner can purchase a property in Barcelona. 

To get started, you must obtain the NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) or Foreigner's Identification Number, a crucial requirement for the process. 

The legal process is the same as in any other city in Spain.

How easy is getting a mortgage in Barcelona as a foreigner?

The process is quite simple if you want to obtain a mortgage to maximize your budget for buying a property in Barcelona. 

However, the conditions may vary depending on the lender, so it's essential to carefully check the requirements to find the best fit for you.

Fortunately, most banks accept documents in English. Still, it's worth noting that banks evaluate cases individually. As a result, interest rates may vary depending on your situation.

Obtaining a mortgage as a non-resident for your dream home in Barcelona may be challenging, but with careful planning, it's possible. 

What are the best Spanish mortgages for buying a property in Barcelona as a foreigner?

The best Spanish mortgage should match your financial situation and ease your property-buying experience. Bankinter, Sabadell, Santander, Unicaja, Cajasur, and BBVA are among the banks offering mortgages to foreigners.

Continue reading a comparative analysis for non-residents and discover how Homevest can help you secure a cross-border mortgage. 

Homevest is a digital service designed to speed up the mortgage application process directly from abroad. By choosing Homevest as your mortgage broker, you'll benefit from priority service from the banks, ensuring you secure your mortgage in time for the property signing.

Depending on your preferences, you can request offers immediately after uploading the necessary documents to the account you create for free on the platform.

What are the taxes associated with buying property in Barcelona?

The taxes associated with buying a property in Barcelona depend on several factors, including the location and type of property you are acquiring.

Let's assume you are buying a second-hand apartment worth 690,000 EUR on Carrer de la Fruita in the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona. In addition to the sale price, you will have to pay another 82,620 EUR for the following taxes: 

  • Property Transfer Tax (ITP): 79,350 EUR
  • Notary: 450 EUR
  • Property registration: 2,070 EUR
  • Agency: 350 EUR
  • Property appraisal: 400 EUR

The simulation was made on December 20, 2023. It's worth considering that taxes vary depending on the property value. 

For instance, if you purchase a new property, you will need to pay two taxes:

  1. VAT (Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido or IVA): 10% 
  2. Stamp duty (Actos Jurídicos Documentados or AJD): 0.5%-2% 

Pros and cons of buying a property in Barcelona

Pros

  • the buying process is relatively straightforward
  • the cost of living in Barcelona is lower compared to the UK or the US
  • you can obtain a Golden Visa if your property is valued at over 500,000 EUR
  • multiple mortgage options for foreigners buying property in Barcelona
  • Barcelona attracts many tourists making it a great opportunity for renting out the apartment
  • access to a more relaxed lifestyle and a city that offers both mountains and the sea
  • a large community of expats

Cons

  • Barcelona has the highest property prices in Spain
  • numerous taxes associated with a property that you must take into account
  • you may face difficulties in job-hunting in Barcelona without knowing Spanish
  • you'll need to pay a non-resident income tax ranging from 19% to 24% if you want to rent out your property
  • a minimum of 2000-2500 EUR monthly net income to be eligible for a mortgage in Spain
  • Barcelona no longer issues tourist licenses, so if you're planning to rent out your property to tourists on a short-term basis, it is not possible

You decide if Barcelona is the right place to buy a property. However, if you want to access a mortgage to maximize your budget, it's essential to find the most advantageous solution for you.

Remember that applying for a mortgage in Spain with foreign income can be accelerated with the right support, like Homevest. This digital solution saves you time and energy in this process.

Sources used and checked in January 2024:

  1. Barcelona population 2024
  2. Global currency converter
  3. Cost of living in Barcelona vs. London
  4. Housing prices in Barcelona
  5. Sales cost calculator
  6. Taxes when buying property in Spain
  7. Non-residents income tax

We recommend obtaining professional or specialist advice before taking or refraining from any action based on the content in this article. The information in this article does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice from Homevest Limited. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties, or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in this article is accurate, complete, or up to date.

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