Seville, in southern Spain, has become the darling of more than just the tourism circuit, and with good reason. It’s a warm city, both in terms of climate and the openness of its people, and it’s beautiful on the surface, and deep in tradition.
In the last decade, Southern Spain’s de facto and cultural capital has been a big draw for North Americans looking to retire abroad, as well as young expats looking for a vibrant city with a low cost of living. While the Costas on Spain’s Mediterranean coastline attract North Europeans, it’s not uncommon to hear North American English floating out of locals-only pubs and tapas bars.
Flamenco and bullfighting are part of local culture, and the city boasts UNESCO World Heritage sites, a bustling tapas scene, and transportation options to Europe and beyond. Perhaps the biggest draw to Seville is its low cost of living. The average salary sits around €1,200 (roughly $1,480) a month, meaning that entertainment costs and city taxes are kept to a minimum.
Thanks to a walkable city center (one of the largest in Europe) and decent public transportation, most expats stick to the neighborhoods of El Centro, Santa Cruz, Triana, and the Macarena. Amenities—and prices—can vary greatly in town, particularly because many homes do not have air conditioning/heat or modern appliances. Look around or use an agent to help you find the gems.
In the last decade, the Alameda de Hércules and its surrounding area has become the city’s hub for nightlife, dining, and cultural activities. You can buy a 960-square-foot ground floor apartment situated steps off the Alameda and next to the trendy Feria Market for €220,000 (about $274,000). In addition to a cozy terrace, and plenty of light, this apartment boasts a renovated kitchen with full-sized appliances, two large bedrooms, and a living room that’s perfect for entertaining. A bonus is the newly laid hardwood floors, which is not typical in homes in Southern Spain.
If you’re looking for something larger, the Aljarafe area immediately west of Seville is gaining popularity with foreign families. In Gines—only nine miles from the city limits and off of the A-49 motorway—a six-bedroom, semi-detached house, with a yard, and parking is going for €159,000 ($196,500). It comes with fitted wardrobes, a community pool, and space for a large family.
A downside to buying in Seville? You’ll have to pay 8 to 10% VAT tax on the negotiated price of the secondhand property’s value, and you’ll also need a notary (a specially trained lawyer and government official) for the paperwork and signing, so you may be paying up to 15% in additional costs.
Not looking to buy? Most apartments for rent come full furnished in Spain. You can rent a 750-square-foot apartment in a traditional corral de vecinos (apartments around a shared, central terrace) for €750 a month (just over $900). Enjoy two bedrooms, newly installed kitchen appliances, and plenty of storage space. And building upkeep costs are included.
And who cares that there’s no terrace? Sevillanos are rarely at home, preferring instead to live their lives in restaurants and tapas bars.
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