Nope, it’s not in New York and it’s not London… the coolest neighbourhood in the world is in Madrid and is one of the most traditional and famous in the capital: Lavapiés-Embajadores.
This is the conclusion reached by 'Time Out' magazine, which has published a ranking of the 50 best neighbourhoods worldwide. The opinions were compiled from the opinions of experts, the editors of the publication, and more than 15,000 people surveyed.
Along with the area of Madrid, the first places are occupied by Euljiro (Seoul), Nueva Villa de Aburrá (Medellín), Metaxourgeio (Athens) and Princípe Real (Lisbon). The only other Spanish representative in the list, the Sant Antonio neighbourhood of Barcelona, occupies the 22nd position in the ranking.
In the case of the Madrid neighbourhood, the magazine highlights that it is the most colourful in the city, where people from all over live together in a merging of cultural, artistic, gastronomic and nocturnal life. The Rastro flea market, the Reina Sofía contemporary art museum, La Casa Encendida and Plaza de Tirso de Molina come to life here. In the words of 'Time Out', Lavapiés-Embajadores is "living proof of how Madrid is transforming and advancing towards the future without renouncing its past".
To celebrate this award, idealista/news reviews some curious facts about the Lavapiés-Embajadores neighbourhood, from how much it costs to buy and rent a house to how many homes are available at the moment, what the average surface area is and which the most expensive and cheapest properties in the area are:
Property prices at highest level since 2007
The price of used housing in this neighbourhood was 4,017 euro/m2 (373 euro/sq ft) at the end of last year, according to data from idealista, which is the highest figure since 2007. In just the last year, prices increased by 24%, a percentage that rises to 47.6% if we compare the current price with 2012, the lowest point of the economic recession.
This is a real sign that it has become one of the most fashionable areas of the Spanish capital to buy a house. According to idealista/data, the most common homes in Lavapiés are one-bedroom flats, with an average price of around 168,000 euro.
Lavapiés-Embajadores is located in central Madrid and average house prices there were 4,987 euro/m2 (463 euro/sq ft) at the end of the second quarter, the fourth highest figure in the city. Only the Chamartín (5,007 euro/m2 or 465 euro/sq ft), Chamberí (5,202 euro/m2 or 483 euro/sq ft) and Salamanca (5,930 euro/m2 or 551 euro/sq ft) neighbourhoods are more expensive.
If we take into account the average price of second-hand homes in Spain as a whole (1,664 euro per square metre or 155 euro per square foot at the end of June 2018), this neighbourhood is three times as expensive.
The rent is twice the national average
The average price per square metre to rent a home in Lavapiés-Embajadores is around 19.75 euro, which equates to 1.83 euro per square foot, according to supply currently available on idealista. This price far exceeds the Madrid average (16.10 euro/m2 or 1.50 euro/sq ft in the second quarter) and Barcelona (17.21 euro/m2 or 1.60 euro/sq ft), which are the two provincial capitals with the highest prices in the country. Compared with the average for the whole of Spain (10.80 euro/m2 or 1 euro/sq ft), renting a house in this Madrid neighbourhood is almost twice as expensive.
According to idealista/data, Lavapiés-Embajadores is, along with Malasaña-Universidad, Madrid's fashionable neighbourhood for renting a house. The typical Lavapiés flat has one bedroom and costs about 820 euro per month, compared with 990 euro in Malasaña. Two-bedroom apartments in both neighbourhoods are evenly priced at about 1,250 euro.
More than 1,000 free homes in Lavapiés
There are currently more than a thousand houses located in this area that are available on idealista. Most of them are used houses for sale (there are 598 property listings), with an average price of 4,547 euro/m2 (422 euro/sq ft), while there are another 485 houses for rent, with a price of 19.75 euro/m2 (1.83 euro/sq ft). There are also 112 listings for rooms in shared flats.
Among the homes for sale, only five cost less than 100,000 euro (although they are less than 40 m2, 430 sq ft), while there are more than a dozen that cost over one million euro. In the case of rented flats, the listings are priced between 450 and 2,850 euro.
Sales soar 42% in one year
Last year, 981 homes were sold in Lavapiés-Embajadores, giving an average of 2.7 daily operations. The figure only represents 2% of the transactions of the whole city, although the increase is significant. In 2016, 688 operations were carried out, which means that in just one year, sales have skyrocketed 42%. In the capital, the increase was 23%, while in the country as a whole it stood at 14.6%.
In addition, we must bear in mind that in the neighbourhood there were 24,941 houses at the end of last year, a very small figure when compared with the volume in the capital as a whole (2.85 million properties).
11 years in the hands of the same owner
Another striking figure that we find among the municipal statistics is that, on average, the period of possession of a residential property in this neighbourhood is higher than the average for the capital. Specifically, property owners keep their home for around 11.3 years (4,140 days), compared with 10.7 years recorded throughout Madrid (3,941 days).
Smaller than average homes
It’s often the case in large cities that houses in the centre are smaller than those located on the outskirts. Both landlords and tenants prefer to give up more space in exchange for a good location.
In the case of Lavapiés-Embajadores, the average surface area of properties is currently around 56 m2 (603 sq ft), according to data from the Land Registry compiled by the Madrid City Council. On the other hand, the average in the capital rises to about 84 m2, or 904 sq ft.
A curious fact is that new houses are smaller than second-hand ones. In 2016, for example, the new builds had an average size of 48.48 m2 (522 sq ft), compared with 58.53 m2 (630 sq ft) for used homes. This pattern was repeated last year: the new ones had an area of about 49.4 m2 (532 sq ft), compared to 56.2 m2 (605 sq ft) for the used ones.
More people, more youths and more shops
According to data from Mayor Manuela Carmena’s office, Embajadores is the second largest central neighbourhood in Madrid with 103.37 hectares (the district as a whole covers about 523 hectares), but is the most populous (its population density is 432 inhabitants per hectare, in contrast to the average of 252 in the central district, 267 in the Salamanca district, and 92 in La Latina) and the one with the youngest inhabitants (less than 43-years-old on average, compared with 44 in the central district and 46 in both Salamanca and La Latina).
Where this district also stands out is in the number of commercial premises. Of the almost 17,000 in the central district, about 4,000 are located in Lavapiés-Embajadores. To get an idea, in the Puerta del Sol there are less than 2,500, while in the entire district of La Latina there are about 10,000 commercial properties, according to the City Council.
However, the average income of the district is lower than the municipal average. The latest official data for 2015 put the average net income per household in Embajadores at 26,000 euro, compared with 38,534 euro for the capital as a whole or the almost 54,000 euro recorded in the Salamanca district.