The cost of renting a flat in Barcelona has fallen due to the large number of properties that there are available to rent in the city (read article in Catalan here, Avui). Rentals have reduced on average by 5.2 percent in the past year as an increasing number of properties come on to the market, including many that were not originally intended to be rented out, according to experts.The figures were contained in a report issued yesterday by the property company Fotocasa; the average cost of renting an apartment in Barcelona is now €10.17 a month per square metre compared with €10.73 this time last year. However, despite this fall, flats here are still much more expensive than the Spanish average, which is just €8.22 per square metre a month. Àlex Vázquez, director of flat rentals at agency Forcadell, says the reduction in prices here is due to a rise in properties available to rent. "There are entire buildings that have been put up for rent by builders because they've had problems selling them," said Vázquez.
The number of pedestrians knocked down in Barcelona because they crossed the road against the traffic lights rose by 15 percent in 2009, with 16 people killed (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Similarly the number of pedestrians reported for breaking the law is rising: in all of 2009, 163 were reported, whereas this year already 160 fines have been issued to pedestrians. Most of these were the result of crossing the road when the red light was showing, crossing away from the pedestrian crossing or walking in a bike path (pedestrians can cross a bike path but not walk along it). However, most local police agents say they have never issued such a fine and don't know any colleague that has done so either.
The heavy rain that has fallen on Barcelona in recent hours has caused an electricity failure on the city's train system, affecting certain local Rodalies services (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The lines R1, R3, R4 and R7 currently have no service between Sants and Arc de Triomf. In addition, traffic has been affected by the significant amount of rain that has fallen and provoked some road accidents. The Catalan Met Office says that 30 litres of water per metre has already fallen in some areas and that up to 100 litres per metre is possible. Other parts of Catalunya that are seriously affected are Lleida and Tarragona, which are on orange alert; the rain is forecast to last until Saturday morning, with the heaviest rainfall coming overnight tonight.
Also in the news: Spanish television's second channel La2 to be based in Catalunya from Monday as it changes to be cultural channel (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico); Spain's top female tennis players refuse to play for national team due to treatment by governing body (read article in Castilian here, LaVanguardia).