The appeal of Barcelona for Digital Nomads
As companies increasingly adopt the Work From Home (WFH) trend in the aftermath of the Covid-19 health crisis, the real estate sector in Barcelona is gearing up for transformation. The focus now lies in catering to the growing phenomenon of ‘digital nomads’—professionals opting to work remotely from various cities or countries, embracing the flexibility and freedom offered by this new work paradigm.
The industry, already on an upward trajectory before the pandemic, is now experiencing a significant boom, driven not only by entrepreneurs but also by individuals seeking a more fulfilling lifestyle after facing job loss or dissatisfaction.
The popularity of ‘digital nomadism’ is creating a wave of incentives globally. In Madeira, an entire village is dedicated to hosting digital nomads, providing free workspaces for stays of a month or more. Mauritius offers a visa allowing remote workers to stay for up to a year, similar initiatives are happening in the Maldives and Helsinki, while a cruise ship off Panama’s coastline is offering floating offices to remote workers.
Barcelona, over the past decade, has emerged as a favored destination for digital nomads due to its strategic location, vibrant cultural scene, and the rise of FinTech startups. The city’s appeal lies in its thriving and sociable community, where newcomers feel welcome and collaborate on various projects, fostering the creation of new communities and lasting friendships.
The influx of this new demographic has naturally impacted the local property sector. Digital nomad tenants often prefer virtual property rental, prompting landlords and leasing agents to adopt advanced technology such as DocuSign for streamlined and expedited leasing processes. Transparency is key, with potential clients seeking video tours, verified testimonials, and ratings to manage expectations in the absence of face-to-face viewings.
The abundance of coworking spaces makes Barcelona an ideal city for digital nomads, complemented by numerous cafes with reliable WiFi, allowing them to work while enjoying the pleasant weather. Bcn Advisors has witnessed a notable increase in inquiries for mid-term rentals (3 to 11 months) from remote workers who prefer the flexibility of not committing to long-term leases.
The real estate agency CEO, Francisco Nathurmal, notes that digital nomads rarely buy properties, prioritizing furnished apartments with good internet connection. Barcelona’s appeal lies in its extensive array of coworking places, especially in Poblenou and Eixample, coupled with the city’s cultural, leisure, and gastronomic attractions, as well as its Mediterranean location.
Bcn Advisors is also observing a rise in affluent professionals with families utilizing their second homes in Barcelona to spend part of the year in a different environment—a trend expected to persist in 2021 and beyond.
For virtual businesses and companies offering virtual services, or those capable of working virtually, the coming years promise new opportunities. Real estate agencies can stay ahead by focusing on accommodating individuals with a penchant for travel and a desire to create communities in vibrant locations.
Investing in a property in Spain isn't just about embracing a superior quality of life graced by stunning coastlines and rich historical cities. It's also a gateway to tapping into the burgeoning real estate market, promising potential investment returns. All of this is enveloped in a hospitable and expat-welcoming ambiance.