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 2023 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 2023-07-19T08:55:22Z
Last updated at 2023-09-07T11:04:09Z
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?

If you're thinking about moving to Madrid, purchasing a vacation home in Alicante, or retiring to the Canary Islands, it's important to find a property that meets your requirements.

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 simplifying 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 34.4% lower than in the USA
  • groceries prices in Spain are 39.6% lower than in the USA
  • the price per square meter for an apartment in Spain can be up to 30% 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 typical price of a house in Spain is around 2,169 USD per square foot.

The cost of purchasing a property depends heavily on the location you choose. 

Barcelona has the highest property prices in the country. However, if you are considering coastal regions, you can find a wider range of prices.

Location Price m2 in the city center Price m2 outside the city center
Barcelona 5,696 USD  3,571 USD
Madrid 4,781 USD 3,051 USD
Alicante 2,320 USD 1,818 USD
Puerto de la Cruz 2,451 USD 2,002 USD
Canary Islands 4,490 USD 2,245 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?

Buying property in Spain is relatively simple for Americans, as the Spanish government encourages foreign investors. 

The first step is to obtain a Spanish financial number known as the NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) or Foreigner's Identification Number. 

You can either request it yourself at a Spanish consulate or have a representative do it on your behalf, in which case they will need a power of attorney.

The steps are similar to any home purchase after obtaining the NIE. You set your budget, search for the property, and check if everything is in order before preparing all the necessary documents.

Does Spain have a Golden Visa program?

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. 

The Residence Permit you receive through investment is valid for two years. Subsequently, you can renew it indefinitely every two years if you retain ownership of your purchased property.

It’s worth mentioning that if you live in Spain and obtain a Golden Visa, you become eligible for permanent residence after five years, allowing you and your family to enjoy the benefits of Spain's health and education system. 

Furthermore, after ten years of residence, you can apply for Spanish citizenship, opening up even more opportunities for you and 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 a variable interest rate of 1.65% + 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. Their mortgage options accommodate 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, with a starting interest rate of 2%.

What are the mortgage rates in Spain in 2023?

Here are the current mortgage interest rates provided by the five banks in Spain that offer mortgages to Americans looking to broaden their property budget:

Lender Variable Rate Fixed Rate Mixed Rate
Sabadell 1.8% first year, followed by 1.2% + Euribor 12m 4.95% -
Santander 1.82% + Euribor 12m 3.99% for the first 6 months, followed by 4,99% 4.90% for the first 9 years, followed by 5.40%
Caixa - 3.55% -
Cajasur 2% + Euribor 12m - 4% for the first 5 years, followed by 2% + Euribor 12m
Bankinter 2.80% first year, followed by 2.05% + Euribor 12m 4.60% for 10 years 4.60% for the first 10 years, followed by 2.05% + Euribor 12m

The interest rates comparison was made on July 18, 2023

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 apply for and receive mortgage offers from Spanish banks.

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

#1. Go to and create a free account

#2. Upload your documents and apply for credit pre-approval

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

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.

If you want to save money when making international money transfers, Wise is an efficient method that uses the mid-market exchange rate. 

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 July 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. Property prices in Puerto de la Cruz
  9. Spain Golden Visa
  10. Santander Mortgage for non-residents
  11. Bankinter Mortgage for non-residents
  12. 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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