The cost of living in Spain is generally lower compared to the USA
The cost of living in Spain is generally lower compared to the USA

How to buy a house in Spain as an American: your 2024 guide

Spain has one of the most successful Golden Visa programs in Europe. If you purchase a property worth at least 500,000 EUR, you qualify for the Golden Visa program. Discover all your answers when buying a house in Spain as an American. Our guide covers everything you need to know for an informed decision.

Delia Mihuț
Written by: Delia Mihuț
Published at 2023-07-19
Last updated on 2024-04-21
Readtime 7 minutes

Spain is ideal for a slower, more relaxed way of life. Eating tapas and having time for a siesta doesn’t sound bad for a daily routine, does it?

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know when buying a house in Spain as an American. 

When abroad, don't let complicated financing hold you back, explore Homevest, a trusted digital service that simplifies cross-border mortgages.

Living in Spain: what you need to know before buying a house here

Let's explore some fundamental information you should be aware of about Spain before buying a house and relocating here:

  • Climate: Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters
  • Time zone: Central European Summer Time; Canary Islands is 1 hour behind the mainland (Madrid is 6 hours ahead of Washington, DC)
  • Currency: Euro
  • Language: the official language is Castilian Spanish
  • Population: around 47.500.000
  • Number of American expats living in Spain: 57.000

Cost of living in Spain vs. the USA

The cost of living in Spain is generally lower compared to the USA across various spending categories. 

To give you an idea of the price differences, here are a few examples:

  • restaurant prices in Spain are 36.5% lower than in the USA
  • groceries prices in Spain are 37.8% lower than in the USA
  • the price per square meter for an apartment in Spain can be up to 50% cheaper than in the USA, depending on whether it's located inside or outside a city center

Keep in mind that personal spending habits and lifestyle choices can have a substantial influence on the overall cost of living. However, cities with hot tourist spots, such as Barcelona or Madrid, are generally much more expensive than coastal cities. 

Property market in Spain: overview

In 2023, the housing market in Spain is steadily rising, with a 7.3% growth from the previous year. 

The cost of purchasing a property in Spain varies significantly based on location, with the typical price of a house around 2,169 USD/m2. Location plays a crucial role in determining the overall cost.

Location
Price m2 in the city center
Price m2 outside the city center
Location
Barcelona
Price m2 in the city center
6,553 USD 
Price m2 outside the city center
3,762 USD
Location
Madrid
Price m2 in the city center
4,345 USD
Price m2 outside the city center
2,682 USD
Location
Alicante
Price m2 in the city center
2,839 USD
Price m2 outside the city center
1,769 USD

A mortgage can boost your purchasing power when buying a property in Spain. Take the time to evaluate Homevest to compare the available mortgage options in the country.

How easily can Americans buy a house in Spain?

The process begins with obtaining a Spanish financial number, the NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero), which is essential for any property transaction. This can be done personally at a Spanish consulate or via a representative with a power of attorney.

Does Spain have a Golden Visa program?

Spain offers a highly attractive Golden Visa program, making it a popular choice for those seeking residency through property investment. 

To qualify, you must purchase property worth at least 500,000 EUR. This investment grants you a Residence Permit valid for two years, which can be renewed indefinitely every two years, provided you maintain property ownership.

Living in Spain with a Golden Visa paves the way to permanent residency after five years, granting access to the nation's healthcare and education systems for you and your family. Additionally, after a decade of residence, you become eligible to apply for Spanish citizenship, further expanding opportunities for your family. Continue reading to see what you need to do to qualify for residency in Spain by buying property

How easy is it to get a mortgage in Spain as an American citizen?

American citizens can get a mortgage in Spain even if they don't hold residency. 

The specific prerequisites and terms can differ based on the lender and the individual's circumstances. Here are some general factors that are often considered:

  1. Stable employment: lenders prefer applicants with a permanent job
  2. Employment duration: most banks require a minimum of 6 months of continuous employment with a stable income
  3. Income level: a monthly net income ranging from 2000 to 2500 EUR
  4. Indebtedness ratio: to assess your ability to handle additional debt, banks often consider an indebtedness ratio not exceeding 40% of your monthly net income
  5. Minimum deposit (30% of the property's value) 
  6. Credit history: a clean credit history without significant defaults or outstanding debts reflects your financial responsibility

What are the best Spanish mortgages for an American?

Spanish banks such as Sabadell, Santander, Cajasur, Caixa, and Bankinter welcome applicants of diverse nationalities, including citizens of the USA.

Sabadell mortgages 

Sabadell offers the lowest rate at 3.96%, including Euribor 12m. When it comes to repayment, customers have the flexibility to select a term that aligns with their financial situation. The available terms for Sabadell mortgage range from 3 to 25 years.

Santander mortgages 

As the largest bank in Spain, Santander provides a range of mortgage options suitable for Americans seeking to buy a house in Spain. The Mundo Mortgage offers the flexibility of fixed and variable interest rate choices. Borrowers can opt for terms extending up to 20 years, enabling them to find a suitable repayment period for their specific needs.

Caixa mortgages 

Caixa simplifies the process by accepting documents in your language, eliminating the need for translation. Caixa's mortgage options cover a loan range from 100,000 EUR to 2,900,000 EUR.

Bankinter mortgages

Bankinter offers a fully remote banking experience that remains easily accessible even when you are outside of Spain. To qualify for their variable-rate mortgage, applicants must have a minimum monthly income of 2,500 EUR.

Cajasur mortgages 

Cajasur serves non-residents interested in purchasing properties in the Costa del Sol and Andalusia. With Cajasur, you can borrow amounts ranging from 80,000 to 1,000,000 EUR at a competitive lowest rate of 5.77% in the Spanish market.

What are the mortgage rates in Spain in 2023?

Here are the effective mortgage interest rates from the past three months, provided by the five banks in Spain offering mortgages to Americans seeking to expand their property budget:

Bank
Interest rate (effective rate past three months)
Bank
Sabadell
Interest rate (effective rate past three months)
5,41%
Bank
Santander
Interest rate (effective rate past three months)
6,10%
Bank
Caixa
Interest rate (effective rate past three months)
4,76% 
Bank
Bankinter
Interest rate (effective rate past three months)
5,31%
Bank
Cajasur 
Interest rate (effective rate past three months)
5,81%

The cost comparison was made on November 9, 2023

The effective interest rate approximates the annualized interest rate of a loan offer, considering the loan duration and initial promotional interest rate periods.

What options do you have to accelerate obtaining a mortgage in Spain from overseas?

If you live and work in the United States and want to buy a house in Spain, Homevest can help simplify the process.

Homevest is a digital platform that makes it easy to receive and compare mortgage offers from leading Spanish banks.

Here's what you need to do to get started:

#1. Go to homevest.io and create a free account

#2. Upload your documents and request mortgage offers from top Spanish banks for non-residents

The Homevest website is user-friendly and easy to navigate. You'll need to include the following documents:

  • Your ID
  • Employment contract
  • Bank statements from the past 12 months
  • Payslips from the past 3 months
  • Tax return from the most recent fiscal year
  • Credit report

Depending on the requirements of the bank you choose, you may also have the option to upload additional documents.

#3. Manage your mortgage application from your Homevest account

Additionally, if you need a dedicated mortgage broker, Homevest can assign you one to answer all your questions. Your case will be prioritized by the banks, and you can even benefit from an hour of legal consultation.

What taxes should an American expect when buying a house in Spain?

When buying a property in Spain, the taxes and costs involved can vary depending on the property's location and whether it’s a new development or a second-hand property.

Here are the estimated costs associated with buying a house in Spain:

  • Transfer taxes: for second-hand properties, expect to pay around 6-10% of the purchase price in transfer taxes
  • Value Added Tax (VAT): if you're buying a new property, approximately 10% of the purchase price will be charged as VAT
  • Stamp duty (AJD): usually ranges from 0.5% to 2% of the purchase price and applies to new properties
  • Notary fee: around 700 EUR 
  • Registration fee: around 350 EUR
  • Property appraisal: 300-600 EUR

Considering the additional fees and property taxes that can quickly accumulate is essential. By understanding the taxes and costs of buying property in Spain, you can better plan and budget for your purchase.

 

Buying a house in Spain as an American citizen is an exciting opportunity to embrace the Spanish lifestyle. 

By understanding property market dynamics, mortgage options, and associated taxes and costs, you can embark on your journey toward property ownership in Spain. 

Remember to use Homevest's services to simplify the mortgage process and make your dream a reality.

Sources used and checked in December 2023:

  1. Spain population 2023
  2. American expats 2023
  3. House prices in Spain
  4. Cost of living comparison between Spain and the USA
  5. Property prices in Barcelona
  6. Property prices in Madrid
  7. Property prices in Alicante
  8. Spain Golden Visa
  9. Santander Mortgage for non-residents
  10. Bankinter Mortgage for non-residents
  11. Caixa Mortgage for non-residents

We recommend obtaining professional or specialist advice before taking or refraining from any action based on the content in this article. The information in this article does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice from Homevest Limited. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties, or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in this article is accurate, complete, or up to date.

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