Paris, London and Milan are the European cities that come to mind when we talk about luxury. Hubs for fashion and international trends, these three metropolises are among the best in the world for leading a life of "high standing", although they are not among the highest valued.
According to the Lifestyle Index 2020 study conducted by the Swiss private bank Julius Baer, the two best cities in the Old Continent to lead a life of luxury are Barcelona and Frankfurt, locations which are also amongst the most attractive cities to invest in real estate.
This is the conclusion which has been made after analysing the trends in the prices of 'prime' products and services in the world's main cities, which include housing, cars, jewellery, clothing and first class travel.
In the case of the Catalan capital, the report highlights that Barcelona's main attraction is that luxury properties are relatively cheap compared to those in London or Paris, for example, while the German financial epicentre highlights that it is more competitive in high-end portable products and hotel suites.
As far as the most expensive cities are concerned, London takes the lead and Zurich is in second place, due to the high price of its services, mainly in the hotel and catering industries.
On a global scale, Barcelona is ranked 24th of the 28 cities analysed, which means that it is one of the most affordable. It is only surpassed by Istanbul (Turkey), Frankfurt (Germany), Johannesburg (South Africa) and Mumbai (India). At the other end of the table, you can find Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, New York, Singapore, Los Angeles, London, Taipei, Zurich and Monaco, which are all in the top ten. Paris is 12th on the list, while Milan is 19th; Vancouver is 21st and Moscow is 23rd, just ahead of the Catalan capital.
As far as the real estate sector is concerned, the report highlights that Barcelona continues to be one of the most affordable cities to buy a luxury property, despite the rise in the residential market in recent times, and especially in the prestigious areas of Barcelona: Diagonal, Eixample and Esplugues. This is the reason why Barcelona is one of the cities that most attracts international buyers.
Having a closer look at house prices, while in Barcelona the average price is around 8,240 euros per m2, in Monaco it is around 90,000 euros and in London, Hong Kong or Tokyo it is over 43,000 euros. In other cities such as Paris, Los Angeles, Sydney, Shanghai, Singapore and New York the average price is between 20,000 and 36,000 euros per m2 .
On the other hand, the study maintains that Barcelona is on par with or below average on almost all luxury items and represents affordable value for the luxury consumer (especially in the areas of clothing and handbags), and manages to combine commerce with relaxation.