Cluttons opens first Barcelona office, buoyed by property demand

Estate agents in Spain are bracing themselves for a boost in demand for Barcelona property.

Strong demand from British and European investors has led to Cluttons opening its first office in Barcelona.

Spain’s property market is enjoying a steady recovery now, after five years of falling prices and weak interest from overseas buyers.

“Barcelona is paving the way for the country’s residential market recovery,” says Cluttons. Indeed, capital values in the Catalan city increased by 6.6 per cent year-on-year in Q1 2016 and rental values have risen by 17.8 per cent during the same period. Barcelona’s average residential yields as at Q1 2016 were 5.23 per cent, representing a strong market.

Buoyed by the demand and positive growth, the agency has now opened its first office in the area.

“Barcelona is a global city and a much loved destination. Interest from British and European property investors has strengthened in the last two years with sales in Barcelona climbing 13.4 per cent during this period. There is also a strong local market where nine in ten Barcelonans own their own home,” says Joanna Leverett, Cluttons head of international residential markets.

The Barcelona office is the company’s second in Spain, following a launch in Marbella less than a year ago.

“I have worked in Barcelona’s real estate market for more than 20 years and what makes this city unique from many others in Spain is its strong commercial aptitude. Its economy benefits from tourism but is not reliant on this sector, meaning it is quite robust. In recent months, we have seen demand continuously increase and with prices remaining attractive, coupled with a decent amount of mortgage lending, Barcelona is fortifying itself as a strong real estate market,” adds Isidre Valldosera, head of Cluttons Barcelona.

“What also attracts many buyers to Barcelona is the variety of stock available. Property styles vary from refurbished historic apartment buildings, boasting gothic architecture, to modern high rise units overlooking the Mediterranean Sea to palatial hilltop houses with a vista across the city’s skyline.”

Estate agents brace for Barcelona investment boom

22nd March 2016

Estate agents in Spain are bracing themselves for a boost in demand for Barcelona property.

Lucas Fox’s latest market report indicates that 2015 was a turning point in Spain’s property recovery. Official figures show that sales prices for Barcelona and Madrid increased by 6 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively over 2014, while sales climbed 19 per cent and 14.5 per cent.

Sentiment surrounding the two cities is turning around too. In two separate recent reports, Madrid and Barcelona were singled out as top European property investment hotspots by PwP (Urban Land Institute) and the fdi intelligence division of The Financial Times ranked Barcelona the top city – above London – in terms of strategy for attracting foreign investment for 2016/17.

In anticipation, Lucas Fox International Properties has now made two key appointments at its Barcelona Headquarters. Rod Jamieson, previously the company’s Madrid Director, has been promoted to Director of Sales & Operations for both Barcelona and Madrid, while Joanna Papis has moved from Sales Manager to head up the newly created New Developments division.

Lucas Fox says it expects strong interest in the coming years from both overseas and increasingly local clients. Indeed, a recent study from Tecnocasa and the Pompeu Fabra University highlights the growing local demand for investment properties, with one out of every four properties sold to an investor (24.65 per cent) – 26.7 per cent of whom are over the age of 55.

“These are also people that know the market and the area where they opt to purchase a property, and therefore know what property prices are like now and how they were before the crisis,” explains Expatica.

Barcelona is certainly enjoying something of a rental boom, with rates jumping 9 per cent year-on-year at the end of Q3 2015 to an average of €765 per month, more than anywhere else in the country. Ada Colau, the left-wing Mayor of Barcelona, is calling for controls to be introduced to stop rents accelerating further. With the most recent index from Alquiler Seguro showing rents falling nationally by 0.64 per cent in February 2016 year-on-year, though, experts believe it is unlikely that Barcelona will see a Berlin-style rental cap any time soon.

Lucas Fox, meanwhile, will be welcoming investors with extra pairs of open arms.

Mr. Jamieson, who is 42, has 14 years’ experience in the Real Estate business including seven years as Head of Sales at a leading international real estate agency in France. His role will include managing a multilingual team of 35 sales and rentals professionals as well as overall company strategy for the company.

“I am extremely excited to be taking on this new role as Director of Sales & Operations for the Barcelona & Madrid offices,” comments Mr. Jamieson. “It is an opportune time as demand for Spanish property from international investors continues to grow in both key markets. With finance becoming more widely available and positive economic indicators, Lucas Fox has excellent potential for growth during the next 12 months and beyond.”

Ms Papis, who is 31 and has been at the company for 6 years, takes over the role of Head of New Developments following unprecedented demand over the last 12 months for turnkey homes in prime locations.

Lucas Fox will be taking on at least 10 new projects in Barcelona during 2016.

“The return of local buyers to the property market is a key growth area for Lucas Fox in 2016 and beyond,” adds co-founder Alexander Vaughan. “As the recovery gets well and truly underway we are also seeing the return of high quality ready-to-move-into homes and we have anticipated these changes with the restructuring of our sales division at our Barcelona HQ. We are currently seeing steady sales of developments such as Casa Bures, Balmes 141 in Barcelona as well as JA48 in Madrid, reflecting a trend in the market as a whole – that buyers want good quality properties in prime locations with excellent investment potential.”