What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Extremely expensive for what you get. Housing is the most pressing problem in Spain now and specially in Catalonia. - Jul 2008
The vast majority of people live in flats (some larger than others). I am aware that many expatriates with families prefer to live in suburbs such as St Cugat or even in Sitges which is 20 minutes away by train. Barcelona is rather compact so anywhere is relatively close by. One needs to take into account the heavy traffic. I own a scooter so I can manage to go around the cars. Most of my (foreign) friends live in Zona Alta (St Gervasi, Sarria, Pedralbes), more established neighbourhoods which tend to be eerily quiet on the weekends and populated by older people with small dogs attached to their hips. Gracia is much more youth-friendly but it can be a pain to commute from as the streets are very narrow. L' Eixample, on average, is more lively than Zona Alta. I know people who lived in the Raval and Poble Sec who were quite satisfied of their living arrangements in more working-class surroundings. One thing is that one cannot picture how the flat will look like by the look of the building. Some flats are completely refurbished while others haven't changed since the Franco days. Landlords usually ask for a deposit. Just don't expect to receive the full amount. They will find a way to take some out of it. While washing machines are the norm, a dryer is almost unheard of. One is expected to say hello to one's neighbors. - May 2008