Apartments in Spain
Posted by The Expatriator
Information on renting apartments in Spain. Includes comparative information on furnished, unfurnished apartments, finding a room to rent with flatmates, and factors that affect the price of apartments in Spain.
The following information article about apartments in Spain may not be relevant for short-term apartment rentals. Please see a holiday or travel in Spain site instead.
Use the following links to directly access this article’s information about apartments in Spain.
- Rental Prices for Apartments in Spain
- Apartment Rental Agencies in Spain
- Non-furnished Apartments in Spain
- Furnished Apartments in Spain
- Serviced Apartments in Spain
- Rooms for Rent
- How to Get an Apartment in Spain
If you’ve not seen “The Spanish Apartment”, you owe it to yourself to check it out. An all around great movie about a bunch of Erasmus-type students from Europe and the US who find themselves in the same apartment in Barcelona, Spain. Going back and forth between French and English, it gives you a good idea of the kind of expat culture foreigners find themselves in in Spain. You’ll also get more than a few good ideas of what your typical Spanish apartment will be like, at least in Barcelona. Moving along…
Good information on rental apartments in Spain can be difficult to come by, until you are already living here. You’ll find both apartments and - perhaps temporarily - long-term rooms to rent with flatmates. If you are looking for your own apartment (“piso en alquiler”), be aware of the following…
Rental Prices for Apartments in Spain
Since the collapse of the economy in 2008, and in particular the real estate market, prices have come down to more affordable levels. That doesn’t mean it’s as cheap as it used to be on the peseta, but it’s a bit more accessible for foreigners than it was before (of course with unemployment above 20% the cost of an apartment is still relatively high for locals). The average price of rent across the country of Spain for all types of housing units was 718 € in Jan 2012 according to EnAlquiler.com. Madrid (average 1221€ per month), Barcelona (average 981€ per month), Valencia (average 681€ per month) and Sevilla (average 835€ per month) all saw ~10% decreases in rental prices over 2011. Smaller hotspots like Malaga, Alicante, and Lugo saw ~10% increases through 2011. Generally speaking, rental rates in metropolitan centres are much higher than rural areas but good prices can still be found in suburbs and less-discovered areas. Smaller centres, excepting resort hotspots, offer very reasonable rental rates for long-term apartment rentals.
Expect to find the following features dictate prices of rental apartments in Spain:
- Location, location, location… of course. Difficult to know where might be best before you arrive, try asking around in expat forums
- Elevators [ascensor]- not so common here; but with more than 2 floors to climb your cholesterol and heart will be thanking you between heaves…
- Light [luminoso] - can be important: good in the winter, very hot in the summer. Few of the older-style apartments have air conditioning although this is changing.
- Consider asking about the central heating [calefacción]; most older flats don’t have it and December to February can get insanely cold without it. Most flats will have a gas or electric heater instead, but they often go unused due to the inflated expenses they create.
- Furnished [amueblado] - although most rooms are somewhat furnished
- Internet - usually ADSL, and usually an extra cost. Sometimes dial-up. See our article on Internet in Spain.
To give a real cost estimate on long term rental apartments in Spain is difficult, but let’s try (large city might be any center greater than 750,000 people or resort area, range is provided based on apartment location within the city, furnishings, condition, etc):
- Studio apartment, Large city: ~350€ - 700€ /month
- Studio apartment, Small center: ~200€ - 500€ /month
- 2Br apartment, Large city: ~600€ - 1200€ /month
- 2Br apartment, Small center: ~400€ - 800€ /month
- 3Br family style apartment, Large city: ~1000€ - 2000€ + /month
- 3Br family style apartment, Small center: ~700€ - 1500€ + /month
Apartment Rental Agencies in Spain
If you consider using one of the many agencies available, know that you’ll often be forced to sign a contract that includes deposits and agency fees that follow you from place to place as long as you stay with their agency. This option can save days or weeks off your search (I went to 23 flats during one apartment search), but it might cost you a bit more. They can usually offer exactly what you’re looking for from their selection of various apartments in different areas (barios) of each city.
***Beware of ads where the number is listed like this: “93000000*” with the asterix. This is usually an agency that will sell you a list of flats that you will find already rented. Don’t pay for anything until you sign a contract.*** Also, a friend of mine recently found an agency that seems to list the same low price, highly attractive apartments over and over again in the newspapers, luring in unsuspecting people into signing with the agency and paying them a non-refundable “agency fee” before even seeing the flat. In her case she didn’t get to the see the apartment (which probably wasn’t still on the market anyway) and lost her “agency fee” of a few hundred euros.