Spain Real Estate
Enchanting Spanish Real Estate
For many, the real estate in Spain is the stuff that dreams are made on. Picture a stone farmhouse amidst the vineyards… a white-washed cottage surrounded by olive groves… a chic apartment whose balcony looks out on a centuries-old town square, bustling with cafes… With beaches, mountains, and fabulous cities, Spain has plenty to choose from:
The Catalan Coast south of Barcelona offers city amenities, small-town feel, and miles of beautiful urban beaches. A string of charming, small towns lines this coast… towns with colorful plazas, pedestrian-only centers, and plenty of local shops and restaurants. Yet the metropolis—Barcelona—can be as little as 20 minutes away on suburban trains. The climate is mild—and even when it’s too chilly for wintertime swimming, it’s warm enough for the sunny outdoor cafes.
Property Samples on the Costa Dourada:
- In pretty Castelldefels, just 20 minutes from Barcelona, a 700-square-foot apartment with balcony in the city center, close to shops, is selling for €105,000 ($136,500).
The Alhambra, Granada’s famous rose-red citadel, bears an enigmatic inscription that translates as: “Give him alms, woman, for there is nothing in this life so cruel as to be blind in Granada.”
Baking under Andalusian skies, Granada taps into the emotions as well as the senses. It bridges the worlds of Islam and Christianity, meshing together Jewish and Gypsy traditions along the way. With the Sierra Nevada mountains as a backdrop, it’s difficult to envisage a more dramatic setting for a city. Or a sultan’s palace…
The Alhambra’s fortress-palace complex was built mostly in the 13th century. A $15 admission fee gives you entrance into a lost world of passion, intrigue, and tragedy. But there’s far more to Granada than a palace. It’s a city you simply must visit.
Property Sample in Granada:
- In Granada’s old center, the Albayzin, a 538-square foot, one-bedroom/one-bathroom apartment is selling for €90,000 ($117,000).
Buying real estate in Spain
Purchasing procedureThe buying process is divided in three phases:
- Making an offer
- Entering in a private contract
The private contract should contain details of the agreed deposit payment, purchase price, and details for payment of the outstanding balance of the agreed buying price plus any additional extras and your intended completion. A notary will prepare the official contracts and make sure it complies with Spanish regulations. Any property sale or purchase in Spain should be registered in the Land Registry, and it’s important to make sure any relevant taxes are paid before this is done.
There are no restrictions for foreigners buying real estate in Spain.
*Prices as of 2014.
Get Your Free Real Estate Report Now
Sign up for International Living's free daily postcard e-letters now and receive a special report "International Living's Insider Guide to Buying Real Estate Overseas."
This special report covers information on the 25 things you must know before buying property overseas as well as some of the best places in the world to buy real estate…and is yours free when you sign up for IL’s daily postcards below.
Get Your Free Report Here
Mexico’s Riviera Maya runs south of Cancun to Tulúm. The sand is white…and the water, turquoise. In the jungle, you’ll find Maya ruins. Offshore, the world’s second-longest coral reef is home to brightly colored fish. The biosphere at Sian Ka’an is a great place to hike, kayak, and study nature. The coral reef offshore attracts divers and snorkelers. Golf, hiking, spelunking in ancient caves…it’s all here. Tulúm is, and will stay, boutique. The Sian Ka’an biosphere means that much of the land is protected. Development will be low rise and low density—that’s if and where it’s permitted. Yet, amazingly, you’re just a 90-minute drive to the airport and two hours in the air to the U.S.
In the early and mid-2000s, Europe’s real estate markets embarked on a massive tear. People re-financed, often to buy a vacation home or make a speculative investment in Europe’s sunnier locales. Values rose and rose…until everything stopped. The market imploded and real estate owners found themselves deeply under water. By 2009, with a few exceptions, Europe’s real estate markets had halted. Transactions simply stopped. The gulf between sellers’ expectations and what buyers were willing to pay was so great that there was nowhere for them to meet. Now markets are moving again. And in four countries in particular—Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Spain—I see opportunity today. An added plus is the current strength of the U.S. dollar. At time of writing, your U.S. dollar buys you 24% more euros than it did in March 2014. Now, I’m not a currency guy, and I’m certainly not making a call on future euro-dollar exchange rates, but it makes European opportunities all the more attractive right now.
Imagine waking up in the morning and enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee before heading out your back door to get breakfast. You gather eggs from your hens. Tomatoes, peppers, and herbs, all from your kitchen garden, as well as homemade goat cheese, are added for an excellent omelet. The fresh-squeezed orange juice comes from your trees. Life in the cities and suburbs of the U.S. can mean being far removed from the origins of the food we eat. If you dream of getting back to the land, you’ll find hobby farms with fertile soil, ideal growing conditions, and great locations throughout the world.
Today real estate shoppers in Spain will find good-value properties at bargain prices in three scenic mountain towns—Mijas, Ojén and Torrox—located 30 minutes from the popular resort town of Marbella. With more than 2,800 hours of sunshine a year, this region attracts travellers and expats looking to escape a harsh winter back home and save money at the same time. “A couple can live well for about $2,400 a month, including $600 in rent,” reports InternationalLiving.com editor Nazareen Heazle.
A populace that appreciates art, a local government that supports artistic endeavors, and a network of galleries to show your work…these are key ingredients for artists choosing a place to live. Surroundings that inspire creativity, whether through architecture, natural beauty, or indigenous influences, are also important. Finally, affordable accommodation and studio space are vital as well. A place where you can live well on a little income and concentrate on your work. Fortunately, even as artists get priced out of metropolises like New York City and Paris, other cities have stepped in. These havens can be found around the world. And even if you’re not a painter or sculptor, these cities are great for those who love and appreciate art…not to mention perfect places to sample new styles and snap up unusual pieces at bargain prices.
It’s no secret that Spain’s property market has been at rock-bottom the last few years, but it’s slowly starting to pick up here in Mijas. Buyers, mostly from Western Europe, are making their way back to southern Spain. They are buying with a view to retiring to the area. (Mijas already has a very international community…I met an Irish woman who runs a chocolate shop and a relocation consultant who’s originally from England.) That’s good news if you like the idea of living here. There’s a good choice of rentals at affordable prices. And, despite the return of the European snowbirds, there are still plenty of great-value properties for sale.
It’s a day for dreaming of Andalucia. So I’m letting Spanish composer Manuel de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain take me on a musical journey back to Granada—back to the lament of flamenco guitars, orange trees, and jasmine-scented patios with pattering fountains. On my last visit to Spain, I added a Granada side trip. Sheer indulgence as I’d been before, but it’s a city made for indulgence. De Falla’s old garden, just above the Realejo neighborhood, is laden with roses. Gardens have a long history in Spain. For the Moors, a garden symbolized an inner paradise and a reflection of heaven.
It’s a sun-drenched morning as I stand at a lookout point above the town of Mijas. Below me, the gleaming white buildings, with their roofs of rust-red tile, tumble down the mountainside. The pine-covered hills of the Sierra de Mijas mountain range reach up into the clear sky to my right. On my left, I can see the Costa del Sol—the Sun Coast—with the glittering Mediterranean Sea stretching to the horizon. It’s a comfortable 66 F here in Mijas, which is located in southernmost Spain. With more than 2,800 hours of sunshine a year around these parts, it’s the perfect place to escape a harsh winter back home.
From the quaint town of Cotacachi to the vibrant capital, Quito, from Salinas by the sea to the peaks of the Andes, Ecuador’s diversity is a key part of the massive appeal that sees it regain the coveted top spot on this year’s retirement index. Although prices have risen slightly in recent years, Ecuador’s real estate is still the best value you’ll find anywhere. This is bolstered by the generous array of benefits the government has afforded to retirees. Over-65s get discounts on flights originating in Ecuador, as well as up to 50% off entry to movies and sporting events. Discounts are also available on public transport (50%) and utilities, with the option of a free landline if you purchase a property.
We typically see Path of Progress opportunities in places that are on the up…we usually discover distressed opportunities by finding high-quality inventory somewhere that’s broadly in crisis. It’s rare that we see the convergence of both these trends—but today that’s the opportunity we have along a stretch of Spain’s Costa del Sol. San Pedro is a pleasant sleepy Spanish town of leafy squares and pedestrian streets. Marbella is 12 minutes away (by car…25 minutes by public bus).
I go to Spain whenever I get the opportunity; this is my third vacation there in the past five years. This time I’ll head to the North of Spain…to the little-known but very affordable region of Galicia. Previously, I’ve visited artistic Barcelona, historic Seville, and sun-soaked Malaga…three cities with their own distinctive characteristics, appeals, and benefits—and I’m anxious to follow up this vacation with another soon, to picture-perfect Valencia, the bull-running city of Pamplona, and the traditionally preserved hillside towns of Cuenca and Ronda.
Pundits are divided on whether Spain’s property market will see further price falls. A huge overhang of unsold homes remains, but for the first time in seven years, sales in Málaga province showed an increase in 2013. Spain will always be a popular retirement destination for northern Europeans, and the number of U.S. citizens registered as living in Spain has increased, too.
Steeped in memories of Moorish Al-Andalus, the narrow streets, shady gardens, and stunning architecture of Granada make it one of Spain’s most iconic cities. In the Realejo, the old Jewish quarter, a refurbished 913-square-foot apartment close to Campo del Príncipe (which has some wonderful tapas bars) is reduced from $162,000 to $134,000.
Thanks to Europe’s financial and economic crisis, you’ll find some of the best real estate values in the best parts of Europe right now—and some of the best opportunities to profit. Specifically, the deals are to be found in Ireland, Portugal, and Spain. These places were hit hard by the crisis—and pricings finally reflect that.
What’s not to love about cultural riches and cobbled charms? Throughout most of Europe, the property market remains in the doldrums, which means you can find bargains. From the Atlantic to the Mediterranean…from Ireland to Greece, there’s a tempting array of move-into properties that will leave you change from €100,000 ($137,000).
It’s called the “Old World” for a reason, and despite two world wars and decades of development, history is evident in the architecture of Europe. You can stroll cobbled streets where lords and ladies once rushed to galas, climb castle steps in the footsteps of armored knights, and explore villages preserved for 500 years or more.
There’s no question…Barcelona is fabulous. A mild Mediterranean climate; attractive urban beaches; a vibrant cultural scene; lively street ambience; great shopping; and some of the best food in Spain…Barcelona has it all. But—while Barcelona is a great place to visit—not everyone wants to live in a major metropolis. If you like what Barcelona offers but prefer day-to-day life on a smaller, more intimate scale, you have options here.
In the popular imagination, it’s the great capitals of Europe that get the most attention. Tourists flock to Paris, Rome, Madrid, and London for the big-city flair, museums, and monuments. It’s the thing to do. And granted, you should seize any opportunity to stroll the Champs-Élysées on a beautiful spring evening or explore London’s international cuisine and regal parks.
The global economic crisis popped Spain’s real estate bubble. That’s why today you could buy a spacious condo in a high-end community on one of the nicest stretches of the Costa del Sol with monthly payments from $483. That’s a low sticker price. And, this is a stunning place to visit and spend time. You have dramatic views along the coast. Long winding sandy beaches you can walk for miles. Quirky Gibraltar.
For 15 years, real estate prices in Spain soared. Then in 2007 demand slowed. By the time the worldwide economic crisis rolled through Spain and Europe, the real estate bubble had well and truly popped.
Seductive and sensuous, an amalgam of cultures, Andalusia gets under your skin. Maybe that’s why so many of Spain’s signature sounds and images come from this vast, southern region of the country: castanets, gypsies, flamenco dancers, bull fighters, strumming guitars…This is romantic Spain…the one the tourists flock to.
In August I visited a new luxury beachfront apartment building on the Costa del Sol’s new Golden Mile. Within eight days earlier this year, 122 apartments in the building sold. The fire-sale pricing was that good: $347,209 for an apartment. Seven months later, these apartments were listing for $528,396 each.
In medieval Europe, keeping an eye out for and guarding against invasion—a frequent occurrence in those days—was no easy feat. But one of a nobleman’s greatest defensive weapons was a castle perched on a rocky hilltop near an important mountain pass. The location itself—surrounded by steep cliff—offered protection.
For anyone who’s been there recently, it’s no surprise that Spain is one of the top five destinations in International Living’s Global Retirement Index—our pick of the top retirement destinations in the world. Spain is arguably the best bargain in Europe, offering First-World living at a cost that can compete with some Latin-American countries. Thanks to the ongoing recession, real estate prices in many parts of Spain have plummeted. Buying here is more affordable now than it’s been in decades.
The white-washed town of Istán clings to the slopes of the Sierra de las Nieves (Mountains of the Snows). It’s a truly hidden place—yet stunningly and conveniently positioned. I’ve visited plenty of charming hill towns and villages in Spain, France, and Italy where real estate is cheap. But the downside has always been remoteness. Istán is different.
Real estate bubbles send all prices too high. When they pop, they bring everything down with them. Sometimes too far. The same irrational views that drove the prices up help push them down, and for a short time quality properties become very cheap. That’s when you should buy: before the fear subsides and prices go up once again.
The accepted story goes that as humankind progressed over the millennia, we abandoned our cave shelters in favor of constructed homes. But plenty of folks still live in dwellings carved out of volcanic rock, into mountains, rocky hillsides, cliffs, or quarries. And they aren’t living a primitive life in caveman-style homes, either (though they are referred to as “troglodyte” homes).
You’ve made plans, set tentative dates…you’re almost ready to take off on your three- or six-month European tour…the next step is a roof over your head. But the short-term rentals offered online can be sickeningly expensive. Fully furnished and ready to go they may be, but with prices often multiples of those you’ll find on the ground, there are better ways to look.
For thousands of years skiing was just a way to travel in winter, carry mail and goods to snowbound towns, or—believe it or not—charge into battle. Then in the mid-19th century the first races took place and before long enthusiastic amateurs had taken up the sport.
Spain is in a terrible mess. The banks and the country are broke, by any reasonable measure. Spain’s regions (like U.S. states) have also borrowed too much. Unemployment tops 27%.
There’s a way you can buy real estate in some of world’s most stunning locales and pay a fraction of what your neighbor paid. I’m not talking about buying in a depressed backwater.
High above me are slate-gray mountains capped with snow. Despite the altitude it’s 68 F and in the narrow valley the meadows are in full flush and horses take shade in the orchards
If you’re in love with classic Europe and its history, romance and culture, take heart: Spain, Italy and France aren’t only for the vacationer who saves for months just to visit. Each one of these three countries has numerous small towns and villages that lie under the radar—places with enticingly affordable properties to rent or buy
We’ve been keeping an eye on what’s been happening in the property market of crisis-hit Spain—and there’s no shortage of bargains. Check out the articles below for more on the type of real estate opportunities Europe’s economic downturn has thrown up in this varied, culture-rich nation.
In Spain banks have foreclosed on, or control, hundreds of thousands of completed unsold condos and homes. This is the type of scenario that could throw off some very interesting opportunities. As you know Europe is in crisis. But let me back up and take a look at Spain. Home ownership in Spain (now over 80%) is encouraged through policy and a range of tax breaks. Municipalities were encouraged via windfall payments to designate land for development.
Right now, doom and gloom in Europe runs deep. But there is a story not being told…one of opportunity borne of this crisis. A story of places where you could own your own piece of the Old World…for less than half the price of a budget family sedan. In Greece and beyond—prices are falling like a rock. And for anybody who ever mused about a European retreat, that’s the silver lining.
Everything is modern, new, and shiny. This area is convenient like Florida is to a New Yorker. The visitors I’m watching are desperate for some spring sunshine. Some (mostly Scandinavian or Russian) are even here to pick up real estate on the cheap. There are deals to be done.
Everywhere historic buildings bring alive the romance of old Spain. Granada is the country’s most beautiful city, the jewel in the crown of Andalucía, and today, thanks to the country’s crisis, you can ﬁnd distressed real estate here for up to 50% less than what you would have paid for it four years ago.
Steeped in history, Granada, Spain attracts visitors from around the world. Its international airport has flights from most major European cities, and it’s within a two-hour flight of northern Europe’s major population centers. This could just be the perfect location. There’s culture. Three World Heritage sites, including the exquisite Moorish palace of the Alhambra, are just the headline draws.
The spring sunlight glints off the snow-covered Sierra Nevada mountains. When I left Marbella on Spain’s Costa del Sol, 90 minutes from here on a modern highway, it was a balmy 75 degrees Fahrenheit. I haven’t seen a cloud since. At 2,200 feet above sea level, in Granada’s historic center, it’s 63 degrees, and sunglasses and short sleeves are the order of the day.
Spain Real Estate
Get Your Free Report
Retire Overseas Now
Sign up for our free daily Postcard e-letter and we'll immediately send you a FREE research report on the most desirable -- and cheapest -- retirement havens available to you today. Each day you'll learn about the best places to retire, travel, buy real estate and enjoy life overseas.
My three friends & I spent a month in a Condo in Salinas, Ecuador in January. Loved it. Thanks for all the information in IL. We also visited Cuenca. Donna McCormickRead More Testimonials