Studying in the universities of Barcelona is increasingly attractive with each year: in 2015, the capital of Catalonia came sixth both in the QS “Top European Cities to Get an Education” ranking and on the Reputation Institute “Top Cities of the World” list.
Demand: international students on the rise
The total number of students in Barcelona shrunk by about 10% between 2010 and 2015 to 170,000, a trend which characterized the whole of Spain The total number of students in the city is decreasing due to the outflow of Spanish students who come mostly from Barcelona. This has occurred for three reasons:
- the population of Barcelona has shrunk (by 1% between 2010 and 2015)
- the number of Spaniards aged 18 to 34 has decreased (between 2000 and 2014 it fell by 16%)
- the population of Europe in general is ageing (the percentage of young people declined from 28% of the total in 2000 to 20% in 2014).
At the same time, the number of international students in the region increased, having grown from 2005 to 2015 by factors of 2.1 in Spain and 2.5 in Barcelona The percentage of international students in the Catalonian capital is small (less than 5%, or 8,000 people) in comparison with the same figure in the largest cities of the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and France
In spite of their paucity, the international students affect the general demand for residential property in Barcelona: for instance, as of 2015, about 33,000 students, approximately a quarter of them international, applied for places in local residence halls.
In the future, the number of Spanish students will keep decreasing due to demographic changes, but the number of international students will continue growing, largely thanks to the governmental
Barcelona comes second in popularity with foreign nationals after Madrid. Many universities popular with students from abroad are in Barcelona. Therefore, a significant portion of the newly arrived international students will stay in this very city. In addition, the Catalonian capital attracts a great number of young people who come to study in the Erasmus international student exchange programme, as the University of Barcelona is the main programme coordinator in Europe.
An additional factor of growth in the number of international students in Barcelona is the affordability of local education as compared to that of other Spanish and European cities. To study in Barcelona is on average 20% cheaper than in Madrid,
Top universities. Barcelona is home to eight university campuses: five of the higher education institutions are public and three are private. Four of them make the QS 2015/16 World's University Rankings:
Languages. The languages of instruction are Spanish and Catalan. There are also courses and programmes in English.
Tuition fees. As reported by QS, the average tuition for an international student at one of Barcelona's universities is about €2,350 per year. According to Espanarusa.com, the tuition depends on the university, major and the cycle of education. For example, bachelor's degrees in business administration, English philology and tourism cost from €1,500 to €10,000 per year. Master's degrees in bioinformatics, political science, business administration or tourism and hospitality management cost from €3,500 to €14,000. The cost of Ph.D. studies starts from €750 per year.
Supply: not enough student accommodation for all
Most students in Barcelona live in residential halls. There are about sixty of them there. The total room capacity is 11,000, 85% of which accounts for large dormitories (over 300 places)
Given the total number of places available (11,000) and the number of students needing accommodation (33,000),it becomes clear that only a third of the students in Barcelona can beaccommodated. The nationwide student housing provision rate is 56%. At the same time, in Barcelona, the problem of student property shortages is especially acute: according to Savills, the residence occupancy rate is 100% during the academic year.
Almost all the residence halls offer single or small double rooms. Some of them have shared kitchens and bathrooms. In some cases, Barcelona apartments are merged into three, four, or
The average residence rental rates are around €600 per month, but they can vary depending on the following:
- the dormitory type (public are on average 25% cheaper than private)
- the policies of a certain dormitory (e.g. accommodation in Vila Universitària costs
€300-400per month, while in Barcelona Diagonal Residence Hall the prices start at €1,000)
- the number of roommates(single rooms are on average 20% more expensive than double ones)
- the rental term (when renting for a short term (one to three months), the monthly rental rate is on average 20% more expensive in comparison with
long-termrentals (the whole academic year))
- the service package (most dormitories include cleaning in the rental price, some include meals or offer them as an additional option).
Average residence rental prices in Barcelona, EUR per month Source: Residence halls' websites
|Residence hall||Number of placesin a room|
|Barcelona DiagonalResidence Hall||1||1,259||1,110|
|Campus La SalleResidence Hall||1|
|Residencia SanMarius Gracia||1|
|Residencia UniversitariaPere Felip Monlau||1|
|Sant Cugat del Vallès||1|
|Torre Girona ResidenceHall||1|
Only the two largest of Barcelona's universities — the University of Barcelona and the Autonomous University of Barcelona — have residence halls of their own. The rest of the universities work with residence halls under cooperation agreements, while the halls themselves are owned by private companies. The
The main alternatives to residence halls are rental flats and rooms offered by private companies. Due to the unavailability of housing, many students rent flats jointly. According to the Spanish real estate website Pisos.com, 53% of the requests for
Another home sharing opportunity is getting accommodation in exchange for taking care of elderly people as part of the Viure i Conviure programme. The University of Barcelona, for example, offers such an option.
The number of places in the residence halls of Barcelona is unlikely to increase significantly in the near future, and, due to the limited supply, jointly renting accommodation in the private sector will grow in popularity. As of early autumn 2016, the prices for single rooms range from €150 per month in the district of Gràcia and the neighbourhoods of Navas and El Clot to €400 per month in the
Taking into account that there are about 33,000 students in Barcelona who need accommodation and the total residence room capacity is only 11,000, the demand exceeds the supply almost threefold. This situation will favour the growth of residential property rental rates, which may further encourage the developers to carry out new