Real estate

Price of new apartments stable in Barcelona but soars in Catalonia

Pandemic revitalises periphery and increases the supply of single-family homes

3 min
Image of an apartment development under construction.

BarcelonaChange of trend in the housing sector. The increase in the price of apartments in the city of Barcelona has slowed down in the last year, while in the rest of Catalonia the behaviour is the opposite. This is the result of the Association of Developers and Builders of Catalonia's (APCE) annual study, which analyses the supply of new housing.

The data is clear. A home in Barcelona, on average, cost €607,543 in 2021, 0.4% less than the previous year. But the average surface area of new apartments is also decreasing and has fallen by 1.7%. This means that the price per square meter in the Catalan capital stood at €7,159, only 1.4% more than the previous year. In Catalonia as a whole, the average price of a home in 2021 stood at €376,208, 11.5% more than the previous year, while the price per square meter was €4,421.6, 14.4% more than a year earlier.

The president of APCE, Xavier Vilajoana, attributes the phenomenon to two causes. On the one hand, in areas such as Terres de l'Ebre or inland counties the housing stock left over from the real estate bubble burst has been absorbed, causing prices to rise. On the other hand, the pandemic has led to a change in demand and, therefore, in supply. "The pandemic has greatly modified the way in which people want to live", explained Vilajoana, and buyers do go further afield in order to larger houses, a swimming pool or garden areas. In this sense, the president of APCE acknowledged that in the city of Barcelona "the pressure of demand is not what it was".

This change in buyer behaviour is clearly reflected in prices. After the city of Barcelona, housing is most expensive metre in the metropolitan area, at €4,999 per square metre, followed by the counties of Girona (€3,741), and Penedès (€3,551). It is a sign that people are willing to leave Barcelona to lead more balanced lives.

Within the city of Barcelona, however, important differences have also been detected by districts. Thus, prices have risen the most in Horta-Guinardó (7.1%), Gràcia (4.5%) and Sants-Montjuïc (2.7%), while the main decreases have occurred in Sant Andreu (-5.1%), Sant Martí (-3.6%) and Les Corts (-1.1%). By price, the ranking per square meter is topped by Eixample (€10,230), followed by Sarrià-Sant Gervasi (€10,209), Ciutat Vella (€8,402) and Les Corts (€8,130). On the lower end, the cheapest prices were in Sant Andreu (€5,149), Nou Barris (€5,142) and Horta-Guinardó (€5,608).

The APCE study notes that housing construction activity in Catalonia grew slightly in 2021. It went from 6,098 new homes for sale in 2020 to 6,294 in 2021, an increase of 3.2%. The study includes newly built homes, as well as comprehensive refurbishments. Out of the total supply, new construction homes accounted for 93.2%, while comprehensive refurbishments were limited to 6.8%.

The change in the trend in the post-pandemic way of life can also be seen in the growth of semi-detached and detached single-family homes. Of the total number of developments for sale in Catalonia, 6.6% corresponded to semi-detached single-family homes and 2.4% to detached single-family homes in 2021, compared to 3.9% and 1.3% a year earlier.

Future changes and price increases

Xavier Vilajoana predicts that the changes that have begun to be noticed this year in new housing developments will be consolidated, because "people who previously would not give up a square metre of dining room now do so in order to have a larger terrace". Other changes that will occur will affect prices, since the developments that went on sale last year do not reflect the sharp increase in the price of energy and raw materials, since it usually takes between 18 months and two years to build a development. Another aspect that is not yet noticeable is the obligation to allocate 30% of new developments to social housing in Barcelona and other towns in the metropolitan area, since the developments completed in 2021 were given licenses granted prior to this regulation or during the months in which there was a moratorium.

Average housing in Catalonia
  • €376.208 Average sale price in 2021, 11.5% higher than in 2020.
  • 84.8 square metres Average surface area in 2021, 3.6% less than in 2020.
  • €4.421.6 Price per square metre in 2021, 15.3% more than in 2020.
Average housing in the city of Barcelona
  • €607.543 The average price of homes in Barcelona in 2021, 1.7% less than in 2020.
  • 82.1 square meters Average surface area of homes in Barcelona in 2021, 0.4% less than the previous year.
  • €7.159 Price per square metre in Barcelona in 2021, 1.4% more than in 2020.