If you’re planning to sell your property in Barcelona, Spain this year, there are a couple of critical events happening in June that should influence your decision:
1. The Referendum to be held on June 23 in the UK to decide whether Britain remains in the European Union or not.
2. The new elections in Spain, called on June 26, after the parliament was dissolved last week as no party was able to form the government at the centre.
These are two critical events. Also of interest, since Barcelona is a part of Catalonia is that pro-independence parties won a majority of the seats in the Catalan parliament. The new Catalan government is pushing ahead for independence from Spain under the new Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, who got over 50 percent of the popular vote in the provincial election held late last year.
There is a huge demand for a Brexit-like referendum in Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia. As top Catalan leader and the region’s foreign policy chief Raul Romeva says, "We are making a last offer: let's hold a referendum, let's ask the people and negotiate the terms. If this is not the case, we feel legitimated to go ahead."
"We are not keeping quiet. We have a democratic mandate, and we are committed to it for a single reason: this is a mandate that comes from the people to the institutions, not the other way around," Mr. Romeva added.
Referring to Brexit, Mr. Romeva said, “Brexit shows that the EU is a dynamic project, not a static one. These situations simply demonstrate that there are no presumptions that are inviolable. What is certain is that after the referendum, whatever the result, the situation will be different and you will need to adapt."
If you have a house or apartment in Barcelona that you are looking to sell, this is very significant news indeed. It is possible that two or three things happen at the same time, such as another Spanish election which throws up a fractured mandate one more time, a Brexit referendum which results in Britain leaving the EU and a subsequent referendum over Catalonia’s independence.
This could lead to a sequence of events with a lot of people trying to sell their apartments in Barcelona and trying to get out of Spain. So don’t be surprised if property prices collapse all of a sudden because if there is one thing investors hate most, it is uncertainty in a country’s political situation.
This is a pity because Barcelona had largely recovered from the economic crisis of 2008. Property prices in Barcelona were on the up, until recently. They had in fact risen by over 25% since 2014. However, recent events have brought the sharp rise of the property prices in the city to a halt.
Even so, Barcelona is an incredibly attractive city and it is unlikely that its status as one of the world’s greatest cities will change because of politics. There has always been a great interest in apartments in Barcelona from wealthy individuals from emerging economies such as China, Brazil, Russia and this is expected to continue. A number of Germans, Americans, Scandinavians and Britons also have apartments in Barcelona.
Barcelona is a very diverse and cosmopolitan city with a lively atmosphere. It is a city where everybody wants to live. The people are beautiful, the culture is welcoming and there is such vibrancy in the air.
So regardless of the politics, life in Barcelona will go on as usual. However, if you have an apartment in Barcelona, there is no question that there is a short-term risk to the property market in the city, which you should be aware of.