• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3

London's cheapest suburb? It's Barcelona

George Mills · 30 Oct 2013, 15:50

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 ahead 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?

Story continues below…

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
Spanish economy continues to grow despite lack of govt
Photo: Contando Estrelas/Flickr

Spain's economic growth continued in the second quarter even as the country remains mired in political limbo after two inconclusive general elections.

Shocking video shows torture of young calf during fiesta
Cruelty in the name of fun? Photo: Pacma

Bullfighting fiestas reached a new low with the torture of a young calf.

Ethan Hawkes to be honoured with San Sebastián award
Ethan Hawke in the Magnificent Seven

The Hollywood actor will be given the Donastia lifetime achievement at the 64th San Sebastián Film Festival.

Gallery
The ten most weird (and wonderful) museums in Spain
Photo: Courtesy of the Museum of Funeral Carriages.

Spain is home to some of the finest museums in the world, but it also boasts some of the most bizarre.

Spanish court bars top Eta figure from Basque elections
The Basque separatist leader in San Sebastian. Photo: AFP

Arnaldo Otegi, once jailed for terrorism charges, has been barred from standing in Basque elections.

Spanish town warns against texting while crossing roads
The warnings now appear at crossings in Talavera de la Reina in Spain.

It might seem entirely obvious to most, but it seems some people need to be told that looking at your phone while crossing a busy road can prove dangerous.

Police launch appeal for Costa Blanca hit and run driver
Photo: N332 /@drivingSpain/facebook

Do you recognise this car?

What political deadlock? Spain economy forges ahead
Rajoy is struggling to form a government. Photo: AFP

Eight months without a government but is Spain really the worse for it?

Ten fascinating museums in Spain you REALLY must visit
The innovative NMAC foundation in southern Spain's Cádiz province features contemporay art in a former military installation. Photo: Guillermo Varela

To mark International Museum Day, The Local takes a look at ten museums in Spain, you may not have visited. But should.

True cost of Spain's balcony-jumping craze revealed
A tourist leaping into a swimming pool. Screen grab: YouTube

They're young, on holiday, drunk and sometimes high, and they decide to jump from their hotel or apartment balcony into the pool. But some miss and end up in hospital... or worse, dead.

Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
International
'We won't ban burqinis on our beaches' insists Barcelona
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
British dad drowns saving daughter on red flagged beach
National
11 Spanish words that English must adopt right now
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Lifestyle
Justin Bieber just bought an amazing new pad in Lanzarote
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Lifestyle
Recipe: How to make Andalusian Ajo Blanco soup
Travel
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Travel
Ten touristy types you'll meet in Spain: Which one are you?
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Lifestyle
Ten top tips to avoid looking like a guiri when in Spain
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
International
Don't miss this spectacular meteor shower over Spain
Travel
Desperate Ryanair passenger chases after missed flight
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Travel
What's on in Spain: August 2016
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Get your kit off! Spain's ten best nudist beaches
National
German firestarter blames blaze on 'toilet paper mishap'
National
Flashmob prank sparks 'terror attack' panic in Spanish resort
Culture
Croquemon Go: Spain invents twist on game to 'eat 'em all'
Technology
Six free apps to simplify your summer in Spain
National
Spanish parents fight for right to name their son 'Wolf'
National
Beach closed after shark attack in southern Spain
National
Spain ups security at tourist spots as terrorism fears grow
National
Ten great reasons to discover the real Malaga right now
Lifestyle
The good, bad and the ugly of long distance relationships
National
7 reasons why grandparents in Spain are simply the best
Travel
Barcelona bans Segways from tourist clogged waterfront
3,287
jobs available