Do you ever dream about buying a home in Spain or Portugal, but believe that it must be far too expensive?
If you take a look on Rightmove, or the Spanish equivalent called Idealista.com, you might be surprised to see that you can buy a small two or three bedroom home, in both Spain and Portugal, for as little as €25,000 to €30,000. The single most important factor to finding a low priced home in these countries is to select the right location.
Many people automatically think of the Costa del Sol or the Algarve when it comes to buying a property on the Iberian Peninsula. However, these are expensive locations and the fact is that in both Spain and Portugal, the further inland you go the cheaper the properties get. And when you get to small towns located 100 kilometres or more from the coast, some really low priced houses are on offer.
One option is to look in hillside towns such as Martos, in Andalucia, Spain or Castelo Branco in Portugal, where you can even find properties on offer for as little as €20,000, and where the council tax is a fraction of what you’d pay in the UK. These towns were originally constructed on the upper slopes of hills but have slowly expanded onto the lower slopes where the town centres are now located. If you walk around the neighbourhoods on the upper slopes you will see many “For Sale” signs on empty houses and some of these are well worth considering.
These neighbourhoods often have conservation area status with views over the newer town centre below and the surrounding landscape. They tend to have charming narrow cobble stone streets and attractive facades, often with the original timber doors. The slower pace of life means that you can almost certainly get to know your neighbours, and surprisingly, there are often small expat communities in these places. The chances are you won’t feel alone for long. If you want to check this out for yourself get onto some expat forums and ask questions about the location and what it’s like to live there. You might be surprised how many people participate.
So, why is it so much cheaper in these older parts of town? The reasons are varied, but the biggest factor is that these neighbourhoods are no longer attractive to the local population. Young people, who are in the housing market, live busy lives, especially those with families, and they want to live in larger apartments, nearer to the centre and their places of work. For them its important to have on street parking, a variety of local shops, supermarkets, restaurants and easy access to public facilities such as schools, public transport and medical services.
If you don’t need all of these facilities to be so close to you, then going for a cheaper alternative location can really make sense. There are some inconveniences of course. The novelty of walking up and down the steep streets can wear off after a while and they are usually too narrow to park a car. So, if you have bad knees or really don’t like hills, or having the car parked too far from the house, then forget it. Also, building standards were not so high when these houses were built and some of the houses could have structural or maintenance problems due to neglect.
To conclude, this is not for everybody, and it’s very important to have a condition or building survey carried out by a reputable firm of Chartered Surveyors such as Villa Surveyors. This should be undertaken prior to paying a deposit, thereby considerably reducing the risk of making an expensive mistake. As long as you do this you should be fine. So, if you feel inspired, and you are not daunted by walking up the slopes, why not get onto the web now and start searching for your new home up in the hills of Spain or Portugal?