So you are considering visiting or making a move to Barcelona, the sunny and funny metropolitan city of the Iberian Peninsula? First things first, good choice, you will love it! And don’t worry everything’s gonna be great! BUT never underestimate the hustle of finding accommodation in Barcelona, especially during the high season between May and August.
Relocating to a new city with a new job opportunity is always exhilarating, however, with the excitement comes equal challenges. For smooth sailing, essentials such as transportation, food, and accommodation need more focus and planning. If you plan to move to a metropolitan city in Spain like Barcelona, it is advisable to have a comprehensive understanding of the scenario.
The renting trend in Barcelona
In recent years, the rent has spiked to unmatched levels and the major cities such as Barcelona are worst hit by the dramatic increase in price. Unlike other European countries, Spain has a strong culture of real estate ownership but the previous economic crisis and spiking unemployment have pushed many families to go for rental properties. Today, the housing market is showing us that first-time buyers are getting older and more working households are receiving benefits – trends pointing us down the path of renting rather than buying. That isn’t to say, of course, that the rental journey doesn’t hold its own set of hurdles along the way:
• High fees – Payments at practically every step of the bureaucratic process
• Real estate agent commissions – Offers not being made in tenants’ best interests
• Lack of transparency – Agents choosing to withhold certain information from tenants
The average cost of renting a room or flat in Barcelona
When it comes to the real estate market in Spain, some prudent planning is required. It’s getting pretty competitive here and you may have to spend some time to find the perfect option for you even for a shorter stay. Determine your budget, decide whether you want to have your own accommodation or to share a flat with others and make an early start searching the city to see which neighbourhoods would suit you better. Starting with the cost of renting a room or apartment in Barcelona, we give you all the tips you need before you make your decision to move to a new place in Barcelona.
The average cost of a room in a shared flat in Barcelona: €350-650
The average cost of an apartment with 2 rooms in Barcelona: €850-1350
Usually, the deposit asked for renting a flat in Barcelona: 1-2 months of rent
If there’s any, the agency fee you might expect: 1-2 months of rent
Challenges you may stumble upon when hunting a rental accommodation
Most apartment searches are still done in person and over the phone. Being new in the city, this option is definitely not feasible for you as a working professional.
Some rental companies post advertisements for accommodations on paid websites. To find out some options there, you may have to sign an official contract or pay a fee. This could not only relieve your pocket of a huge sum of money but agreeing to an apartment without seeing it in person may leave you in a sticky situation later. The website departiculares.com allows you to search for an ideal accommodation in Barcelona without paying any extra real estate fees.
At times, property hunters also make the mistake of paying more money to the landlords simply to grab the rental accommodation. This is a strict no-no as it not only hampers your budget but it also impedes market growth incessantly by shooting up the prices of rental properties.
Availing the services of rental property agents without any clear information may also make you fall into a rental trap
With multiple eager renters, some of the best rental accommodations in Barcelona get rented just within 48 hours of the advertisement getting published
With these, and other problems encountered during the renting process, individuals are taking to much more creative alternatives when it comes to managing their lives within the rental housing market:
• Subletting – Renting out additional rooms to help cope with costs
• Social Media – Sharing experiences and available spaces around the world
• Rental Housing Platforms – Simplifying the process between tenants and landlords
Finding a flat in Barcelona: Which source to use when looking for an apartment/housemate?
Looking for a space to rent in Barcelona can be a nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are varied ways to avoid common pitfalls for renters. So, that just leaves this final question, which source should you use to ease the rental journey? This, of course, depends on your objective. Let’s say that, for example, you have just moved to Barcelona in search of work without any previous knowledge of the local housing situation.
The old rules of the rental housing market are getting evicted. We live in the digital age where most of our queries can be answered at the click of a mouse, and dealing with people in suits is exhausting and outdated. Check out our recommendations for mission (im)possible, finding accommodation in Barcelona!
If your intentions are short-term that is longer than a vacation time, then a common tool that will fulfil your needs is Airbnb, this site provides rental listings around the world for travellers seeking to experience various cities like a local, and is also a good way of renting out additional space for people leaving for vacation but still needing to cover rent. An intuitive tool but, in the short-term, Airbnb is mainly targeted towards people on the move. Discussing longer stays is a possibility, but any sort of documentation and fiscal responsibilities will be up to you.
A much more local option in this scenario would be renting/leasing via Idealista. This is a little bit like the wild-west of renting in Barcelona, it is what you make of it. It provides a large selection of living options that come and go like the wind, so don’t get frustrated if it can sometimes take up to a month before you find your place in the capital of Catalunya. Also, similar to Airbnb, you will be responsible for taking care of the documentation and finances with the owner/landlord.
Lastly, if assured peace of mind without paperwork is what floats your boat when looking for your new home, think about checking Badi. It is a trendy application that provides a free service connecting people looking for a room with their new possible flatmates. The best part about the Badi is the familiar user experience they use. The logic of Badi is basically being “Tinder for finding your flatmates”. First, you check the opportunities in the neighbourhood and price range you want and swap right the ones you like. If your future flatmates swap you right as well, viola, it’s a match! Badi secures the communication of parties. And it is not only popular among millennials! You will surely find the room and the like-minded flatmates through Badi. A room in a nice neighbourhood with loads of daylight is never gonna be the perfect home if you have annoying flatmates, choose wisely!
Tried and true, white on blue, Facebook. Social media has affected much more than our ability to send messages to friends and families around the world. Keep in mind that accountability and a little bit more luck is needed as there may not be as many options as on Idealista, but where Facebook shines is in its communication capabilities. Direct messaging with landlords in groups gives the user the ability to develop dialogue, and comments from other users can help shed light on potentially shady situations. Check also other social media groups, Twitter lists and Instagram. Make a public post that says you are looking for a flat/room highlighting your best personality traits and your specific preferences. Be visible and reachable, sometimes a friend of a friend can be your dream flatmate.
Best neighbourhoods to live in Barcelona
Heart of Barcelona: El Gotico and El Raval
The two neighbourhoods separated by the famous street of La Rambla can be considered the very centre of the city. This means you will be able to enjoy city life in two steps outside of your flat. However, don’t forget that you cannot expect the city centre to be safe and quiet.
15 minutes to centre 5 minutes to green: El Born and Poblesec
Do you want to enjoy the city centre as much as you want to spend your leisure time laying in the park? These are the best two options! Just note that El Born is still more central compared to Poblesec.
Take me to the beach: Poblenou and Barceloneta
If you want to have quick swims in the mornings or enjoy the wild beach volley scene until the night, it’s better to live close by to the sea. Poblenou is a quiet yet vivid area to enjoy the city, while for the ones who also want to be closer to the centre, Barceloneta will be the choice
Living like a local: Gracia
You will enjoy Gracia if you want to experience the real expatriate, living like a local Catalan in Barcelona. Gracia is the trendy up-and-coming neighbourhood of Barcelona. It is colourful and also close to the colours of Park Güell.
For uptown girls and boys: Eixample and Sarrià
If you are looking for a more quiet, safer and fancier flat to live in, we are sure you can find it in Eixample or Sarrià.
At the top of the wishlist: Castelldefels
It is a dream to live in such heaven close to Barcelona and you can find bigger flats with the sea sight for a similar same price in Barcelona. But you would need to commute at least a half-hour to the city every day.
Going back to the beginning, which source should you use to ease the rental journey? - Well, what are you looking for?
Long-term Vacation? – Airbnb
Local Delicacy? – Idealista
Flatmates forever? – Badi
Crowdsourcing? – Social Media
Are you looking for a job to make your stay in Barcelona permanent? Contact us for the best career opportunities for multilingual talents in Spain!