A mortgage could be a strategic option to expand your budget
A mortgage could be a strategic option to expand your budget

US citizens buying property in Spain in 2024: what are your options?

Buying property in Spain as a US citizen might have some challenges, but with good advice, knowing the local rules, and careful planning, owning a house in this country it's possible. Here’s what you need to know in 2024.

Delia Mihuț
Written by Delia Mihuț
Published at 2023-08-09
Last updated on 2024-04-18
Readtime 4 minutes

US citizens can buy property in Spain, turning their dream of owning a home surrounded by the warm climate, delicious cuisine, and relaxed lifestyle into a reality.

Purchasing property abroad comes with complexities, but it’s possible since Spain welcomes foreign investments. 

Continue reading to explore your options before taking the plunge. 

Key takeaways
  • Spain's property prices are generally more favorable than in many US cities
  • Mortgages can extend buying power, with several Spanish banks ready to serve US citizens
  • Homevest helps you access the best mortgage deals in Spain for non-residents 

What’s the property market in Spain in 2024?

The National Institute of Statistics (INE) reports that property sales in 2023 reached their second-highest level in over 15 years. 

With property prices generally lower than in many US cities, Spain is an appealing choice for many buyers. The average house price experienced a 4.5% increase from the previous year, indicating a healthy and growing market.

Analysts predict Spain's real estate market will stay stable in 2024, but coastal areas have already seen a slight price rise in early on.

What are the legal requirements for buying property in Spain as a US citizen?

Buying property in Spain requires compliance with specific legal and financial regulations. Key among these is obtaining an NIE number, which is required for any financial transactions in Spain.

While not mandatory, having a Spanish bank account can make money transfers more efficient and potentially save on conversion rates.

Understanding local taxes, such as property and transfer taxes, is crucial. That's why assistance from a Spanish legal representative can simplify the legal process.

What are the tax obligations for buying property in Spain?

Hidden costs, including various fees and taxes, can accumulate rapidly, potentially catching you off guard. 

Assuming you are buying a second-hand property worth 350,000 EUR in Madrid. In addition to the sale price, the estimated total taxes could range from 26,250 EUR to 46,900 EUR:

Sale tax Price
Property transfer tax 21,000 EUR to 35,000 EUR (6% to 10%)
Notary fees 350 EUR to 1,400 EUR (0.1% to 0.4%)
Registration fees 1,400 EUR to 3,500 EUR (0.4% to 1%)
Legal 3,500 EUR to 7,000 EUR (1% to 2%) ​​

In the case of a new property worth 500,000 EUR, the estimated taxes could range from 59,500 EUR to 72,500 EUR:

Sale tax Price
VAT 50,000 EUR (10%)
Stamp Duty 2,500 EUR to 7,500 EUR (0.5% to 1.5%)
Registration fees 2,000 EUR to 5,000 EUR (0.4% to 1%)
Legal 5,000 EUR to 10,000 EUR (1% to 2%)​​

Simulation prices were made on March 20, 2024. Prices may vary depending on the value of the property.

For a complete overview of taxes for non-residents in Spain, continue with our guide on the tax implications of buying property as a non-resident.

A mortgage: an alternative to boost your property budget

Legal, tax, registration, and notary fees significantly increase the cost of buying property in Spain. A mortgage could be a strategic option to expand your budget and enhance the return on your initial investment.

US citizens have several choices among Spanish banks, including Sabadell, Santander, Caixabank, Cajasur, and Bankinter, as long as they demonstrate their eligibility and ability to repay the loan.

Get a quick budget estimate to understand how much you can borrow based on your financial profile. Homevest is a digital service that enables you to receive offers directly from the banks that compete for your case.

Best places to buy property in Spain in 2024

From coastal towns to vibrant cities, Spain offers many excellent property-buying opportunities in 2024. There is something for every need, whether you prefer quieter, greener areas, lively urban centers, or locations well-connected to major airports.

Let's explore a few popular cities to inspire your decision.

Malaga

Average price per m2: €2,841

With over 300 days of sunshine per year, stunning beaches, and a wide range of leisure activities, Malaga boosts endorphin levels.

With tourism booming, Malaga offers rental opportunities, particularly near beaches and the city center, where rental demand is increasing. Investing in property here provides financial returns and a lifestyle known for its leisurely pace, rich history, and exquisite cuisine.

Madrid

Average price per m2: €3,218

Though Madrid lacks Mediterranean access, it's one of Europe's greenest cities. Buying property in Madrid is more affordable than in cities like London, Paris, or Amsterdam. 

With over 20 diverse districts, you can choose areas near parks or museums, or the city center, which offers convenient transport, numerous job opportunities, and a vibrant expat community.

Barcelona

Average price per m2: €3,941

Barcelona, a city known for its stunning architecture and vibrant nightlife, is also a thriving hub for startups and innovation, making it a popular spot for digital nomads and expats. Due to its popularity, property prices in some areas can exceed €5,300 per square meter.

If you are considering buying property in Barcelona to rent out to tourists on a short-term basis, note that the city no longer issues new tourist licenses. 

Tenerife

Average price per m2: €3,061

If you're drawn to the eternal spring of the Canary Islands, with many opportunities to surf and explore the ocean, buying property in Tenerife could be the ideal choice.

Tenerife is also easily accessible from the US, with United Airlines providing frequent direct flights from Newark Liberty International each week. Property prices in Tenerife are generally lower than in Madrid or Barcelona, making it an attractive option for investors.

Mallorca

Average price per m2: €4,748

Real estate in Mallorca is considered a safe-haven asset, providing effective portfolio diversification. Buying property in Mallorca represents a strong investment, and purchasing directly from the US presents no obstacle.

While Palma de Mallorca is 20% more expensive than the mainland, it remains more affordable overall than many US cities.

Valencia

Average price per m2: €2,289

Valencia is renowned for the Las Fallas Festival, one of the largest and most vibrant festivals in the world. This festival, recognized by UNESCO, transforms the city into the capital of firecrackers, bonfires, and music. 

Valencia is a green and sustainable city that offers compelling reasons to consider purchasing property here. It has repeatedly been voted the best city to relocate to.

Alicante

Average price per m2: €2,452

Situated on the Costa Brava, Alicante is best known for its beaches and crystal-clear waters. The city enjoys a warm and dry climate for most of the year, making buying property here a potential dream come true. This also means there are plenty of opportunities for tourists to rent the property, especially during the high season.

The area has a large number of expats, which means there are plenty of English-speaking activities available.

Ibiza

Average price per m2: €6,178

Ibiza is a Mediterranean paradise that offers more than its world-famous party scene. Whether you're seeking adventure or relaxation, this island has it all. Buying property in Ibiza as a US citizen involves specific steps. Although purchasing properties in Spain is possible, acquiring rural and coastal properties requires a military permit, which can delay the process.

Due to its popularity, Ibiza is generally pricier than other Balearic Islands.

Marbella

Average price per m2: €4,924

They say Marbella is the jewel of the Costa del Sol, which is probably why it has become a movie destination and a celebrity playground. Marbella is a melting pot, with more than 25% of its residents born outside Spain. It’s not just about luxury; you can also explore its natural beauty.

Marbella is a popular destination for foreign buyers.

Granada

Average price per m2: €2,090

Located in Andalusia, Granada is famous for its lively culture and beautiful buildings. The area’s housing market fits all budgets, with traditional homes showing the local style. 

These homes are often in old city centers or pretty villages. They provide a unique charm and good value, even though they might not increase in price as quickly as homes in coastal areas.

Frequent questions for US citizen buying property in Spain

We've compiled some of the most frequently asked questions to provide you with the essential information needed to navigate the Spanish property market as a US citizen.

1. Is it cheap for a US citizen to live in Spain?

Living in Spain is generally cheaper for a US citizen than living in cities like New York, especially in terms of housing, utilities, transportation, and other daily expenses.

For example, the cost per square meter to buy an apartment in Madrid is 70% cheaper than in New York.

2. How much deposit do you need to buy a house in Spain?

As a US citizen buying property in Spain, you typically need a 30% deposit, as mortgages can cover up to 70% of the property's sale price. Learn all you need to know about getting a mortgage in Spain as a non-resident in 2024.

3. What are the mortgage rates in Spain?

As of February, the average mortgage rate in Spain was 4.27%, with top fixed-rate mortgages at 4.05%. When comparing mortgages for a property in Spain, staying updated on the latest mortgage rates for non-residents in Spain can help you negotiate effectively.

4. What are the best mortgages for non-residents in Spain?

When looking for the best mortgages in Spain for non-residents, consider not just the interest rates but also any extra fees. Lower rates might mean higher fees, raising the overall cost. Choose what’s best for your financial profile. 

5. How much do I need to invest in Spain to qualify for citizenship?

You can get residency in Spain by buying a property valued at over 500.000 EUR, but you would become eligible for citizenship if you lived there for at least 10 years.

 

Buying property in Spain as a US citizen might have some challenges, but with good advice, knowing the local rules, and careful planning, owning a house in this country it's possible. Remember that support like Homevest can accelerate buying a house in Spain directly from the United States.

Sources used and checked in March 2024:

  1. Spain property market in 2024
  2. Cost of living in New York vs. Madrid
  3. Housing prices in Spain

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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