Buying property in Barcelona as a foreigner: tips you should know

Buying a property in Barcelona as a foreigner - Casa Bures
Casa Bures, residential luxury project in Eixample

Buying a property in Barcelona as foreigner might sound like a challenge for some people, but it is actually a great opportunity for investment and high quality of life. The vibrant capital of Catalonia, Spain, offers an enticing real estate market for both locals and foreigners. Its rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture, and Mediterranean charm make it an attractive destination for property investments.

In this article, we will explore key tips and recommendations to help international buyers navigate the Barcelona real estate market successfully.

Things to keep in mind before buying property in Barcelona as an expat

1. Understand the local market

Before delving into the Barcelona real estate market, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the local dynamics. Gain an understanding of the city’s different neighbourhoods, property types, and price ranges.

Research market trends, property appreciation rates, and any legal restrictions on property ownership for foreigners. Finding a reliable property developer in Barcelona can provide invaluable insights and guidance throughout the buying process.

2. Determine your budget and financing options

Establishing a realistic budget is crucial when buying property in Barcelona. Consider all costs involved, such as stamp tax, property tax, notary fees, registration fees, and consider fluctuations in currency exchange rates, as they can affect or benefit the final purchase price.

By assessing your financial capacity upfront, you can avoid any surprises and make an informed decision.

Foreigners can obtain financing to purchase property in Barcelona, although the availability and conditions may differ from those for Spanish citizens. It is advisable to approach several banks to compare mortgage offers and determine the best financing option for your needs. Compared to other European countries Spain is an incredibly attractive destination if you’re looking to buy a quality property on a slightly tighter budget.

3. Get an identification number

Although you don’t need to be a resident in the country to buy a property, foreigners must obtain a NIE number in Spain, no matter their citizenship. This number is a requirement to carry out any type of legal procedure in Spain, like opening a bank account, paying taxes or buying a property.

4. Golden Visa, an opportunity for foreigners

A golden visa offers, a residency-by-investment, offers people the possibility of obtaining a residence permit in Spain by buying a house in the territory or by making a large investment or donation.

An investment of 500,000 euros in real estate is required to obtain the golden visa, which gives the right to live, work and study in Spain.

The visa can also be obtained by starting certain types of business in Spain, holding company shares or bank deposits worth at least one million euros in Spanish financial institutions, or making an investment in government bonds of at least two million euros.

If you want to know more about the golden visa, read the interview with Jordi Sabrià, lawyer specialized in real estate transactions with international buyers.

5. Get informed about the pros and cons of the neighbourhood you are considering investing in

Barcelona, Spain, offers a variety of neighbourhoods, each with its unique ambiance and property characteristics. Consider your lifestyle preferences, proximity to amenities, transportation links, and potential for rental income when choosing a location.

The most sought-after neighbourhoods for international buyers include Eixample, Poblenou or Sarrià, for their safety, strategic location, and services.

Visit different areas and spend time exploring them to find the one that suits your requirements best.

6. Make a list of the desirable features of the property

Write down the essential criteria that the property must fulfill and are non-negotiable and another one that would enhance the property but are not essential. For instance: For instance:

Essential Requirements:

– An elevator

– A specific number of bedrooms or bathrooms

– Proximity to school or work

– Proximity to public transportation

– Located in a particular neighbourhood, etc.

Desirable Features:

– A terrace or patio (large outdoor spaces are rare and often come at a higher cost)

– Parking availability

– Proximity to the beach

– Views, building facilities and communal areas

Buying a property in a heritage building of Barcelona

Buying a property in Barcelona as a foreigner - Girona 34
Girona 34, properties in a heritage building in Eixample

If you plan to invest in a property with renovation potential, familiarize yourself with the local building regulations and obtain any necessary permits. Barcelona has specific rules to protect its architectural heritage, and alterations may require approval from the local authorities, a reason to be more convenient to invest in a new-build property in a fully restored building.

Some of the homes are located in Modernist charming constructions such as Girona 34 or an emblematic house listed as a cultural heritage of Barcelona, like Casa Bures.

Benefits of investing in properties in Barcelona

Buying a house in Barcelona as a foreigner can be a rewarding investment, allowing you to enjoy the city’s vibrant lifestyle and potentially generate rental income.

The cost of living in Spain is significantly lower than in other world-class capitals, offering a great quality of life for less money. With careful planning, thorough research, and the right professionals by your side, such as a qualified property developer, investing in a property in Spain is a great alternative.

By understanding the local market, seeking legal assistance, establishing a budget, and conducting due diligence, you can navigate the Barcelona real estate market successfully and secure your dream property in this enchanting city.

Get to know our exclusive properties in Barcelona


What are the additional fees when buying a new build property in Barcelona?

– VAT, corresponding to 10% of the cost of the property

– AJD (Actos Jurídicos Documentados) or Stamp Tax, which is 1,5% for properties in Barcelona

– Notary fee

– Registration fee

What’s the benefit in buying a new build property instead a second-hand home?

In a new property, the entire building has been completely renovated, not only the homes. All the facilities, pipes, elevators, windows, among others are new, and the properties fulfill the current regulations in terms of energy efficiency and all technical specifications.  

Also, the neighbours in a new build property tend to be like-minded individuals in terms purchasing power, age or interests.

How long is the process to buy a property in Barcelona?

The purchase process of a property in Spain is very relative and depends a lot on each buyer. Aspects like obtaining the NIE or getting the funds could extend the terms.

On average, once you find your ideal property, the purchase process may take 2 to 3 months. However, if there’s no need to go through a mortgage application and you already have a NIE, you could sign the house deed in just one week.

When is a good moment to buy property in Spain?

Purchasing a property in Spain in 2023 can be a good alternative to investment because there are still good prices and properties in the real estate offer. 

The return on investment of properties in the Spanish market is positive