WHEN property experts got together at the Barcelona Meeting Point conference to discuss the city’s housing dynamics and those of Spain as a whole there was a strong sense that the Catalan city is the leader of the pack. It is well-known that Spain is in the throes of a two-tiered property market which sees cosmopolitan cities and coastal hotspots operating at a far more advanced level than the struggling interior. What emerged from the end of October conference was the notion that the national market might have three tiers, with Barcelona occupying a level all on its own. The founder of one of Spain’s largest property portals describes how apartments are rented out within hours of hitting the market and said that rising prices and yields were driving more investment by the day. It does mean that younger residents are being forced off the property ladder and condemned to pay ever higher rents. Even the rental game in the city has come under fire as short-term rents prove more and more appealing to landlords despite efforts from the city council to establish controls.