Barcelona faces a threat that goes beyond the loss of buildings: the transformation of entire neighborhoods into luxury real estate. The Federació d’Associacions de Veïns de Barcelona (FAVB) has revealed a growing phenomenon it calls “Barcelona for sale”.
This is an ongoing trend of entire buildings that after evicting their residents, are converted into luxury properties or are destined for temporary and tourist rental.
This problem manifests itself in a variety of ways, from visible evictions for non-payment to what FAVB calls “invisible evictions,” where vertical properties are strategically emptied by taking advantage of contract termination or through real estate harassment tactics.
The situation affects several neighborhoods, including Dreta de l’Eixample, Gòtic, Raval, Gràcia, and Poblenou, with more than a hundred cases identified by FAVB.
Barcelona and luxury real estate
A previous analysis revealed that the Dreta de l’Eixample was losing almost one building a month since 2016 due to the expulsion and emptying of its regular residents.
However, this problem extends to other areas where, after the departure of the neighbors, the properties are transformed into luxury homes that are priced much higher than the average market in the area.
Jaume Artigues, member of the FAVB’s Housing Commission, warns about the expansion of this “Barcelona for sale” to new areas and is working on an exhaustive catalog of cases throughout the city.
In six years, more than a hundred situations have been identified, and the final number is expected to be considerably higher.
The problem is not limited to a single neighborhood; the provisional map of the Barcelona Declaration on the housing market shows affected blocks in the Gòtic, Raval, Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera, Gràcia Nova, Gràcia, Sagrada Família, and other areas.
Lack of regulation
Artigues stresses that unless key issues such as investment company tax privileges are addressed and the introduction of cryptocurrencies in real estate transactions is prohibited, the loss of entire estates to real estate speculation will continue.
FAVB urges the implementation of bold fiscal policies on luxury and criticizes the promotion of foreign investment in exchange for residency by the city council.
They warn that as long as the facilities to change the destination of buildings are maintained, the supply of stable housing will be drastically reduced, negatively affecting social cohesion by displacing the middle and lower classes to the periphery.
Barcelona for sale” represents not only the loss of property, but also the threat of losing the identity and social cohesion that characterize the city’s historic neighborhoods.