Felice Tufano left his native Italy twenty-five years ago. The reason is simple: he gave in to the “call for real estate” in Barcelona ! Quickly integrated into the microcosm of Catalan real estate, which already has 325 agencies, Felice Tufano is bursting with creativity and projects. The proof : its structure, Proyecto Casa, has just concluded a partnership with the network of Etoile agencies. Meet this hyperactive who is passionate about his job and about Barcelona, his adopted city.
Why did you decide to create Proyecto Casa?
In 2001, I created this structure specializing in residential, an area in which I was already a specialist. Barcelona is a strategic choice, because Catalonia attracts a large number of foreigners wishing to make a real estate investment. Belgians, Russians, Italians, Germans, but above all French (who represent the first investors), Barcelona appeals to all foreigners. Five years ago, I decided to change my business strategy. Today, I sell goods exclusively. And this strategy has paid.
Are you invested in professional real estate organizations ?
Absolutely ! I am particularly involved in various associations of real estate agents, both locally and internationally. I can quote COAPI the Agency of Propiedad Inmobiliaria (API) in Barcelona or FIABCI the international association of real estate agents, in Spain. I even chair some of them, like one of the real estate networks in Catalonia.
Moreover, it was during an international congress of the Official Association of Real Estate Agents that André Perrissel and I met. After many discussions, we quickly developed a partnership agreement between Agence Etoile and Proyecto Casa. Concretely, this partnership consists of an exchange of visibility. I communicate on goods for sale in France and André Perrissel does the same on goods for sale from my agency. The commissions will be shared between our two structures. Indeed, many foreigners buy real estate in Spain. But a number of Spanish are also very interested in buying real estate in France. I am therefore very excited about the future of this collaboration.
Why does Barcelona appeal to so many foreigners?
It is a city that multiplies the benefits. First, its climate, which is very temperate all year round, attracts many foreigners in search of good weather. The inhabitants are also very welcoming. You feel at home very quickly, from the first days. Culturally, Spain attracts many tourists and architectural students. Indeed, each street is full of architectural heritage treasures, such as the Sagrada Familia, by Antoni Gaudi. Finally, part of the city is bordered by the sea and this is a major tourist attraction. With the good weather, this is what sets it apart from other tourist cities, such as Paris, London, Berlin.
Are Barcelona’s arguments also financial ?
Undeniably. Real estate prices have not (yet) seen a significant increase, as they have elsewhere. Thus, you can find apartments on the immediate outskirts for 1,200 to 1,300 euros per square meter. In the city center, in some neighborhoods, prices can reach 6,000 euros per square meter, or even more depending on the interest of the property.
But even though Barcelona – along with Madrid and Sant Sebastian – is Spain’s most expensive city, it remains very competitive compared to Paris. We are not yet at 10,000 euros per square meter! It is this accessibility that Agence Etoile and Proyecto Casa want to highlight.
Do you think real estate prices will remain stable over the next few months?
After confinement, we saw a rush in Barcelona for apartments with balconies or terraces. Prospective buyers also wanted to be able to enjoy a better quality of life and a little more space. This is the reason the real estate market did not collapse during the pandemic. Since the start of the year, the Barcelona real estate market has shown very good health. For now, the assets are stable and valued at the right price. In this context, apartments sometimes sell during the day because buyers know the market prices. Investors can make interesting transactions there, up to around 4% if they also buy at “market” prices. However, I think 2021 is really the year to buy in Spain, and Barcelona in particular. I believe the prices will go up soon as the owners are well aware of the demand. They will not resist the temptation to outbid the value of their property for long.
What advice would you give to foreigner people wishing to buy a property in Barcelona ?
Of course, the price per square meter is affordable for foreigners. However, it can vary from one house number to another ! So you have to know the city inside out to get the best deal possible. This is why I recommend foreigners wishing to acquire real estate to be accompanied by a local real estate agent. He knows the market perfectly and will make them carry out a good transaction, at the right price. He can also guide him through all the administrative and legal formalities surrounding the purchase of the property. Finally, you should know that French banks are more and more used to dealing with their Spanish counterparts. It is therefore no longer rare for foreigner families to mortgage their property.