If you like mountain chalets, beachside apartments, stone village houses or villas set in landscaped gardens, you will find what you want somewhere in Spain that offers a very varied and interesting property scene.
Most Spaniards live in apartments and maybe have one in a large town or city and another close to the sea or in the mountains. There was a time when apartment blocks were built without following building regulations, but those recently constructed are subject to strict rules.
You will find every sort of apartment across the country - from luxury penthouses to duplexes to comfortable two bedroom flats and studios. In older apartment blocks, the rooms tend to be larger than in modern ones, certainly with more spacious bedrooms and nearly always with a laundry area. They may not have a lift, though, or parking, but will usually offer good value and you will have the opportunity to refurbish to your taste.
New builds must have energy efficient heating and insulation, and will come with up-to-date bathrooms and kitchens. You may have to pay extra for parking, and apartments with a sea view command higher prices; you can often find one overlooking a park or other green space at a competitive price. Some blocks have shared swimming pools and gardens.
In most towns, there are elegant apartments built around the turn of the 20th century, with high ceilings, double doors and attractive cornicing and plasterwork. These are usually located in the most sought after areas and so come with a high price tag, though in smaller towns you could buy such an apartment for a reasonable sum. They are light and airy and those which have been renovated combine the features of Modernist architecture with modern conveniences.
Villas on urbanisations are popular with both Spaniards and foreigners, and can vary from quite a small property to something extensive. Most will have their own pool, and some include a summer kitchen for outside entertaining. You will find that property plots have been getting smaller in general, so an older villa could offer you much more land. Spanish villas are very different from British houses and often have steps leading to a variety of levels, (particularly if the property is built into a hillside); bedrooms may be downstairs and the living space on the upper levels
Stone houses and masias are located inland and in or close to a village. These will be old properties, many of which have been well renovated and are full of character. Village houses may have a small garden or terrace, and the front door opens on to the street. Some still have their original stone floors and stairs and many nooks and crannies. The windows tend to be small, to keep out the hot sun in summer and the cold in winter and you’ll find fireplaces in most.
The mountainous regions of Spain offer another perspective and, as you would expect, properties that can withstand the winter cold and extremes of weather are popular here – old stone houses which have stood for centuries, simple, white, single-storey homes, contemporary chalets and luxury properties with pools. Here, too, are white painted terraced village houses and apartments.
There was a lot of uncontrolled building on Spain’s coastline for many years, and the remains of this development can be seen almost everywhere. Nowadays, you cannot just build what you want, where you want, so apartment blocks by the sea tend to have fewer levels with an underground or outside parking space, a terrace or balcony and some sort of garden. Some of these apartment blocks are very well appointed, and offer a really comfortable living space. They will, of course, cost more than average apartments, but you won’t have to do anything except buy some furniture and move in.
Spain really does offer something for everyone – whatever style appeals to you, you will find it here.
Once you know where you want to live and have had a chance to think about the kind of property you want to live in, we suggest you have a think about your answers to the following questions:
- What type of property – modern apartment, villa, town house or character home?
- How big does it need to be? How many bedrooms, bathrooms etc.?
- Do you want a property you need to redecorate or even renovate? Are you looking for something new?
- Do you need parking? Do you want a garden and/or swimming pool?
- What type of view (if any!) would you like?
- What else do you need?