• Spain's news in English
 

London's cheapest suburb? It's Barcelona

Published: 30 Oct 2013 14:26 GMT+01:00
Updated: 30 Oct 2013 15:50 GMT+01:00

"It all started as a bit of a fun for a couple of friends," the London-based social media manager told The Local about his viral blog piece.

In his article, Cookney demonstrated he would save €387 (£330, or $530) a month by choosing to live in Barcelona and commuting with the low-cost airline Ryainair to London four days a week for work.

To "compare apples with apples" he chose to line up Barcelona’s upmarket Les Corts district against London’s pricey West Hampstead.

Cookney's search revealed he could secure the lease on a one-bedroom flat in West Hampstead for around £1,505 (€1,760) while a three-bedroom place in the Catalan capital would only set him back €680.

For the commute, meanwhile, he found he could fly return from Barcelona to London's Stansted airport with Ryanair in November for around €34 a day.

Even after factoring extra travel costs including a London rail pass and a Barcelona equivalent, the Spanish city still came out the winner.

With total costs in Barcelona being €1,592, Cookney figured he would come out €387 a month by living in the Catalan capital.  

The reaction has been astonishing with media outlets latching on to the story with its "surreal premise".

At the same time, plenty of commentators have taken Cookney to task over his sums, saying he hasn't factored in variables such as changing airline prices, or the toll that all that travel would take.

But the social media manager says those people are not focusing on the key message of the article: "People are being priced out of this city."  

"I’m not seriously suggesting that people start commuting between London and Barcelona, and I’m not about to start doing it either.

"I wanted to highlight how property prices in London are not sustainable."

Cookney said the origins of the idea to compare London and Barcelona could be traced back to when he lost his job in April.

Soon afterwards, he found himself applying for work in Barcelona, a city where he lived and taught English for a year in the mid-2000s.

"I love Barcelona. I always tell people it’s my favourite European city," he explained to The Local.

"It has everything: the sea, the mountains, the nightlife. It is great fun, and friendly there’s a decent start-up community."

Check out The Local's great Barcelona–Madrid city face-off. Which one is best?

Cookney was also spurred on by the recent media debate about property prices in London — a discussion he said originated with a New York Times piece about the city becoming a home for the super-rich.

Recent figures quoted by the UK’s Guardian newspaper show property prices shot up 9.7 percent in London from July 2012 to July 2013.

"I’m very glad my piece has been taken seriously and that it has raised the issue of high property prices in London," Cookney said.

And what advice would he give to the many Spaniards eyeing a move to the UK capital?

“If you can get a decent job in London, the salary is great. But there are also lots of people working a lot of hours just to pay their rent," Cookney warned.        

Click there to read Cookney's original blog piece.

George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Suarez, Messi move Barca to within a point of Madrid
Photo: Jorge Guerrero / AFP

Suarez, Messi move Barca to within a point of Madrid

Barcelona moved to within a point of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga as Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi were on target in a 3-1 win at Granada on Saturday. READ  

Bailed-out Spanish bank reports profits jump
Photo: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP

Bailed-out Spanish bank reports profits jump

Bailed-out Spanish financial giant Bankia announced Saturday an 83 percent jump in its 2014 net profits to €747 million, though the group remains under investigation for an ill-fated 2011 stock listing. READ  

Catalonia prepares ahead of independence vote
Photo: AFP

Catalonia prepares ahead of independence vote

The wealthy Catalonia region is strengthening its tax office and expanding its network of foreign missions in defiance of the central government, as it prepares for possible secession from Spain. READ  

Spain's anti-austerity party opens books
Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

Spain's anti-austerity party opens books

Podemos, the new anti-austerity party that is leading Spanish opinion polls, published its accounts Friday in a fresh bid to show that it is not financed by foreign governments. READ  

Prime time TV brought forward - to 10.15pm

Prime time TV brought forward - to 10.15pm

Spanish national broadcaster, RTVE, has announced it is bringing forward its prime time slot to 10.15pm, allowing Spaniards to get to bed earlier. READ  

Podemos gives up EU seats to run at home
Pablo Iglesias at a rally in Madrid on Wednesday. Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

Podemos gives up EU seats to run at home

Podemos, the new anti-establishment party in Spain, has said it will replace its European members of parliament so that its leaders can run in elections at home. READ  

What's on in Spain: March 2015
"The most dangerous walkway in the world" reopens in March. Photo: caminitodelrey.info

What's on in Spain: March 2015

Whether it is a trip to see the tongue-in-cheek send up of politicans at Las Fallas before a spectacular flaming finale in Valencia or braving the dizzying heights to walk the renovated Caminito del Rey, there is plenty going on across Spain in the run up to Easter. READ  

The strange consular requests of Brits abroad

The strange consular requests of Brits abroad

The British Foreign office has released a list of the strangest requests it receives from Brits abroad, from a chef to make the perfect haggis to advice on how to treat a cat’s infected paw. READ  

Ukraine crisis
Spaniards arrested for fighting for Russia
Pro-Russian separatists ride tanks in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on February 21, 2015. Photo: Vasily Maximov/AFP

Spaniards arrested for fighting for Russia

Police on Friday arrested eight Spaniards who were "inspired by the International Brigades" and had returned from fighting alongside pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, sources close to the investigation said. READ  

Priests defend secrecy in sex abuse confessions
Photo of a priest: Shutterstock

Priests defend secrecy in sex abuse confessions

Spain's bishops conference on Thursday defended the right of priests to maintain the secrecy of the confessional booth even in cases of serious crimes such as the sexual abuse of children. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Brooms up! Quidditch casts its spell over Spain
Society
Ten phrases you'll only hear at work in Spain
International
Spanish crowned world's happiest language
National
Eight cool things the crisis did for Spain
National
There is joy in learning something new yourself'
Travel
Top Ten: Spain's best beaches for 2015
National
Euro property bargains up for grabs in Spain
What's On
Spain's craziest carnivals
National
Spanish town fights 'Fifty Shades' bondage hotel
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
International
Vinnie Jones teaches Spanish in hilarious ad
What's On
Ten golden rules for snagging a Spanish man
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
National
Are these Spain's most romantic couples ever?
Property
House sales up for first year since crisis began
Gallery
The highs and lows of the Spanish property market
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
National
The five strangest things about Spaniards
Society
Bizarre Spanish fashions you shouldn't try at home
What's On
Top Spanish director to open Berlin Film Festival
National
Young and old, rich and poor join left-wing march
What's On
What's on in Spain: February 2015
International
Spain planned to invade Australia in 1790s
National
Spanish jobseekers fail exam with answers
National
Moving to Spain: a guide for beginners
National
Spain's new penal code: key talking points
International
Spain among Europe's cheapest nations: study
Features
Top ten surprising Spanish inventions
National
Court to study paternity suit against ex-king
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
National
Top ten: must-know Spanish superstitions
International
'Change Schengen rules to catch Islamists': Spain
What's On
Ten ways to spice up your Spanish life in 2015
Health
Spain tops world organ donation rankings
National
5 things no one tells you about renting in Spain
National
'No Pants Subway Ride' hits Madrid Metro
National
Spain's satirical mags back Charlie Hebdo
National
Finally: a Spanish PM bothers to visit Andorra
National
Woman fined for being kissed while driving
Travel
Top travel highlights in Spain for 2015
National
Gallery: Hits and misses of Antonio Banderas
National
Spain's top news in 2015: The Local's predictions
National
Spain's public holidays in 2015: Official list
National
Christmas fireball lights up Spanish skies
National
Top ten: Spain's biggest stories of 2014
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

599
jobs available