Sant Marti – Diagonal Mar
Diagonal Mar | Properties Diagonal Mar | Barcelona Buyers
Diagonal Mar is the newest and definitely most expensive area of the district of Sant Marti.
As the name clearly explains, it is the area where the Avenida Diagonal meets the sea.
Up to the early 90s, there was nothing else than slums and poor areas while now it features the most expensive properties of Barcelona and one of the largest shopping centres in Spain.
The renovation started in the late 1990s. It was known as one of the most ambitious urban generation projects but it was also one of the most controversial as it was perceived as a dramatic departure from Barcelona’s well-established urban model (the typical barrios).
Regardless of the critics, and also as a consequence of the 2004 Forum of Cultures held here, Diagonal Mar has rapidly become an area of new high-end residential buildings, large hotels, offices, and conference centres.
It is not the place where people go to find a good restaurant or to hang out at night but it is nice for its tranquillity, and large streets and spaces.
There are no landmarks or tourist relevant places in Diagonal Mar, which helps keep the area quiet. The only element worth mentioning is the “torre de las aguas” (pictured above). Fourteen hectares of this area, and especially the part now occupied by the park, belonged to a factory that used to build railway material, known as Can Girona. The company was part of a cooperative that used the water of the Besos river, which was quickly contaminated because of the waste of the several factories in the area.
Contrarily to Poble Nou, where despite the absence of specific landmarks and points of interest the Rambla de Poblenou represents the centre of the barrio and of its social life, Diagonal Mar does not have any place where people can have a nice walk and sit at outdoor cafes.
The actual centre of the social life is the 3-storey Diagonal Mar shopping centre. Opened in 2001, it has a surface of over 100,000 m2 with 240 shops, a parking for 5,000 vehicles, and an 18-screen cinema. It is the largest shopping mall in the city and the 10th largest in Spain.
The commercial centre features many cafes and restaurants although most of them are chains. There are a few good restaurants but if you look for a very nice place there is by far a much wider choice in other parts of the city.
Apart from the shopping centre, there are only a few shops in the streets of Diagonal Mar. It is possible to find some bakeries, small greengrocers, a few bazars, but it is nothing compared to the the huge offer of proximity shops of all kinds so typical of the traditional barrios of Barcelona.
The Diagonal Mar Park (El Parc Diagonal Mar) is worth visiting if you happen to be in the area. It was designed as a “technological park” where nature is controlled by man. It is divided in seven areas, each one created to evoke different sensations, with water as a common element. Among these are a kid’s playground area, a raised walkway over water, a lake with sculptures spraying water, a tubular structure, and a large central plaza.
Finally, the best part of this area is definitely the beach.
Completely recovered during the renovation, the beach is much quieter than the one in Barceloneta or by the Olympic Port. It is mainly attended by people who live in Barcelona and by guests of the hotels in the area, and it offers the same services of the more central beaches. However, it also features the nudist beach, which may be disturbing for some visitors.
The whole area is served by the underground Line 4 with the stops Selva de Mar and El Maresme i Forum (the shopping centre stop).
Diagonal Mar is the home of wealthy Catalans and of many foreigners who chose to live by the sea.
The Properties in Diagonal Mar
All the buildings in Diagonal Mar are quite recent, it is almost impossible to find anything older than 20 years.
Most of the buildings are residential blocks with modern flats. They cover a wide range of prices and it is possible to find properties for prices per m2 close to the average of the district.
However, properties in the high-end tall buildings that are the symbol of the area are extremely expensive.
Most of these buildings feature communal areas with swimming-pools, gyms, tennis or padel courts, and parking spaces.
The price per m2 of the flats in these buildings is the highest in the Sant Martí district and among the highest in Barcelona. To find comparable prices we have to look to properties in historical buildings in Paseo de Gracia or Rambla Catalunya.
However, there is no comparison between a flat in one of the towers in Diagonal Mar and a Modernist property in the centre of the city. Apartments in the Eixample or some other central areas represent a piece of history of Barcelona, they are part of the heritage of the city, often in protected buildings, with original features such as vaulted ceilings and hydraulic floors. These will never cease gaining value and are unique, they will never be replicated and cannot be found in any other city.
The flats in Diagonal Mar that are sold for over 10.000€ per m2 are – in my opinion – overpriced. I have visited some, and we have worked in some. The materials, distribution, finishing, and communal areas are definitely not worth this price.
Additionally, one has to consider that these are flats that are not going to gain value in the future, if not for the natural increase in prices, compared to historical properties in the centre.
The view to the sea and the city (especially from the high floors) is what you pay for, and definitely if you would like to live close to the beach, with magnificent sea view, in a large flat, with lots of natural light, this is the area you should focus on.
Prices in Diagonal Mar
The average price per m2 in the district of Sant Marti has slightly increased over the past year (source Habitaclia, October 2019).
The current price per m2 of 4.788,38 € is the average of the prices in all the areas of the district, which includes higher prices in Poblenou, Vila Olimpica, and especially Diagonal Mar, and lower prices in the other areas. This includes Besos that is next to Diagonal Mar and a net contrast to it, with some of the lowest prices per m2 in Barcelona.
In the “usual” Diagonal Mar buildings (not the high ones by the sea) it is possible to find properties for a price per m2 between 3.500 € and 5.000 €. They do not have sea view but if you would like to live in the area with a more modest budget, these apartments represent a good opportunity.
However, if you are looking at the typical high-end properties in Diagonal Mar, simply forget about the average price. Prices can start at around 8-9.000 € per m2 and rapidly increase to up to 20.000 € per m2.
If you are interested in these properties check three things:
- That the flat is actually in Diagonal Mar. Often you see advertised as Diagonal Mar properties that are actually located beyond this area, towards Badalona, in what is called Sant Adriá de Besos, which is not even Barcelona. The flats are less expensive than the actual Diagonal Mar, but they are not in the same location (or city!), including farther from the shopping centre, the good beaches, and any underground stop.
- That the finishing of the property is good. That the parquet is real wooden floor and not laminate, check the quality of the bathrooms, of the windows, and everything else that must be top when paying so much money for a flat.
- How much the communal expenses that you have to pay every month are. You may end up with additional thousands of Euros to pay every year.