The Eixample district is the heart of Barcelona because of its geographic location and for being the most important business, economical and shopping district of the city.
The name Eixample (or Ensanche, in Catalan) means “extension” and this is the reason why the area was born, when the city needed to expand during the XIX Century and the Industrial Revolution.
The original project by the architect Ildefonso Cerda was that of a garden city, with wide open spaces, buildings of maximum three floors very distant from each other, and no social class difference as all streets were supposed to look the same.
This initial project was criticized by the bourgeoisie and was subjected to several changes.
The main character of the Eixample is its regular geometrical shape clearly visible on bird view pictures of the city.
The Eixample includes 6 quarters: Eixample Izquierda (split into Antigua Izquierda and Nueva Izquierda), Eixample Dreta (o Derecha), Sagrada Familia, Fort Pienc, and Sant Antoni.
The areas were progressively built as the city grew, and differ a lot from each other,
The part of the Eixample that goes from Calle Aribau to Paseo Sant Joan is also referred to as the Golden Square, and it contains the greatest amount of modernist buildings of the city of Barcelona.
Not everyone knows that this area is still part of the Eixample. It is most commonly known just as “Sagrada Familia“, and it surrounds what is simply one of the most famous and magnificent monuments in the world.
Visited by over 3 million people every year, the temple of the Sagrada Familia is the second most visited destination in Barcelona (yes, second! Guess which one is the first….).
The area was originally known as “Poblet”, which started to develop in the 19th Century when factories were set up. The original Sagrada Familia was meant to be the church for the people in the area. However, when Gaudi took over the project from the original designer, Francesc de Paula Villar, he transformed it into the architectural wonder we know now.
Gaudi worked on the project from 1883 to his death in 1926. The basilica became his obsession and he dedicated his whole life to build it. By the time of his death, Gaudi had completed the crypt and the Nativity Façade (which he changed countless times during the construction), which have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Thanks to Gaudi’s drawings and projects, the construction continued although for several decades it went very slowly.
Now the works are proceeding faster and the basilica is scheduled to be finished in 2026. Personally, I think that part of its charm will be lost when it is completed… but that’s my opinion.
The Sagrada Familia is not the only landmark of this area.
The magnificent Hospital de Sant Pau is located right at the border between the areas of Sagrada Familia and Horta-Guinardo and it is connected to the basilica by the beautiful semi-pedestrian Avenida Gaudi, a diagonal street that offers a central pedestrian area full of nice cafes and restaurants with outdoor terraces.
Like the Sagrada Familia, the Hospital de Sant Pau too is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a magnificent place to visit.
The area of the Sagrada Familia is of course the destination of million of tourists all year long. However, tourists tend to move around the basilica, its surrounding souvenir shops and tourist restaurants, without spreading across the whole area. Therefore, if one does not live right next to the basilica, there are good chances that their property is not going to be overwhelmed by organised groups in owe after the visit to the mystic temple.
The area is very lively, and offers plenty of shops, supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, and services of all kinds (gyms, schools, medical centres, clinics, beauty centres, etc.).
Transport links are excellent, with several underground stops and buses.
The Properties in the Sagrada Familia area
Property-wise this area is extremely interesting. Prices are lower than in the Dreta and Izquierda part of the Eixample, while the area still enjoys excellent services and transport links.
This area is often referred to as “the second centre” of Barcelona. It is very appealing for rentals and it benefits from the fame of the monument to attract also people who know Barcelona little.
Architecturally, the area shows a mix of early XX Century and more recent buildings, which offers investors the possibility to choose between a more classic and typical style (Modernist buildings, flats with Catalan vaulted ceilings, often with no lifts) and buildings from the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties and also more recent years.
One important note about this area: several buildings have what in Spanish is called “afectación”. It means that somewhere in the urban division of the city hall there is a plan that includes the demolition of that building to leave space for something else.
This is something very usual in Barcelona, especially in some districts (Gracia and Borne are other examples). In the vast majority of the cases these plans will never be implemented, especially because they are usually old, and in the meantime the buildings have become part of the heritage of Barcelona. However, when the urban plan refers to the Sagrada Familia, there is a high risk that the building will really be demolished. In truth, it should have never been permitted to build in the streets surrounding the temple but we all know how these things go… Now the community of residents in the area are fighting with the city council to try to save the flats that they bought at a cheaper price while being well aware of the problem.
Please get in touch with us if you would like to know more about these “afectación” situations.
Prices in the Eixample
The average price per m2 in the district of the Eixample has remained stable over the past year (source Habitaclia, October 2019).
The current price per m2 of 5.577,07 € is the average of the prices in all the areas of the district, which includes lower prices in the Sagrada Familia, Sant Antoni and Fort Pienc areas, and higher prices in the other areas.
Prices per m2 in the Sagrada Familia area are usually below this average. It is not rare to find properties for a price per m2 of 3.000 € to 4.000 €, although most flats around this price need some work. Between 4.000 € and 4.500 € per m2 is possible to find nice renovated properties, although the most beautiful ones reach 5.000 € per m2. These apartments are extremely interesting from a value for money point of view.
However, be ready to pay more than this if you are lucky enough to find a property which offers you view to the basilica. In this care there is no rule about how much the property can cost, which is understandable… who can decide the value of one of the most beautiful views in the world?