Spanish homes half price on one condition: old owners live there until they die

Spanish pensioners are selling their flats for half the market price to buyers prepared to meet their one condition: that they allow the old people to live in their homes until they die.

Spanish homes half price on one condition: old owners live there until they die
Photos: AFP

It’s a practice that’s neither illegal nor obsolete, but still a hard pill to swallow for many Spaniards who were unaware it was going on. 

An increasing number of pensioners in Spain are choosing to help out budding homeowners with a half price discount on their properties.

But the enviable offer is attached to one condition some buyers might find rather morbid.

It’s the concept of bare ownership, which allows the seller to continue living in the property after the purchase goes through and until they pass away.

“What I want is to die in my house,” 92-year-old Carmen Segovia told Spanish daily El Español, who’s planning on selling her 100sqm flat for just under €200,000.

“I have all my family memories here so until I die, I’d like to live well.”

One Spanish Twitter user raised eyebrows earlier in August after sharing a property ad for a Madrid apartment he’d spotted which read “The current owner, over 70 years old, will continue to live in this property as a usufructuary until the end of his days”.



Some commentators reiterated that the legal practice is completely above board but other Twitter users found it macabre that the property handover is dependent upon someone’s demise.


“One way or another, isn't it disturbing? You could actually wish someone else's death to have access to their homes? I wouldn't sleep well,” wrote one Twitter user.

“I also couldn’t believe it when I first saw it. It’s one of those things you don’t even think about until you search for a home. Then you realize it happens every day and it’s quite sad,” another commentator wrote.

But for the pensioners making use of Spain’s naked ownership laws, which gives them the usufruct rights to use and enjoy a property belonging to someone else, it’s a no brainer.

“Our daughters are doing well for themselves and won’t need the house, so by selling it we’re going to have some more money to live more comfortably with, “ 88-year-old Mariano Muñoz told El Español.

And the somewhat bizarre conditions attached to this type of property sale don’t seem to be putting off buyers, with agencies seeming capable of selling the cheaper homes very quickly to anyone who sees the medium to long term appeal of the offer.

French website, which underlines that this practice is common in Spain, France and Belgium, states “under this type of purchase you can maximize your investment capacity and buy properties with an immediate reduction of 40 to 50% of the value of full ownership, with no risk of sacrificing quality.”

If you’re not put off by the prospect of having to wait for someone’s death to obtain full ownership of your property and want to find out more about the specifics of Spain’s bare ownership law, here’s a useful link.

Madrid-based estate agency Eduardo Molet specialises in the purchase and sale of properties under bare ownership. 

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REVEALED: The cheapest most in-demand areas in Spain to buy a house

If you're considering making the move and buying property in Spain, but don't fancy purchasing in a rural village in the middle of nowhere, you should know where the cheapest, most in-demand parts of the country are.

REVEALED: The cheapest most in-demand areas in Spain to buy a house

If you’re thinking about relocating, Spain is a fantastic place to do it. Foreigners have been moving to Spain for decades, not only for its fantastic food and weather, along with a laid-back lifestyle, but housing is generally affordable – if you know where to look.

Though the rise in the Euribor has sent interest rates spiking, house prices in Spain are expected to flatten somewhat in 2023 and it could be a good year to find a bargain, depending on your financial situation.

Knowing what type of house you want and where in Spain you want to live is one thing, but knowing the cheapest, yet most in-demand parts of the country could really help you narrow down your search.

Fortunately, Spain’s leading property website Idealista has put together a list of the most ‘in demand’ municipalities of Spain and where you can find the most expensive and, more importantly for the house hunters among us, the cheapest municipalities of Spain to buy property.

It’s based on data from the last quarter of 2022 and is the average price of housing in towns with more than 1,300 sale announcements and costs valued at more than €1,100 per square metre. 

You can find the ten cheapest areas of Spain to buy property by average price below, but it’s worth noting that Idealista did these rankings by average price across the entire municipality, so there are likely individual towns and villages dotted around Spain where prices are significantly lower.

That said, this list gives you a good idea of the areas to look out for.

READ ALSO:  What will happen with property prices in Spain in 2023?

The 10 cheapest municipalities in Spain to buy property 

Santa Pola (Alicante) – Santa Pola, in the Alicante province, is the cheapest most in-demand municipality to buy a house, according to Idealista’s rankings. The average price for a house in Santa Pola costs just €151,796, though this may come as a surprise given its prime location in a foreign hotspot on the sought-after Costa Blanca. The main town of Santa Pola itself is a small beachfront community with a population of around 35,000. It also has a large foreign population and is a short drive or bus away from both Alicante and Elche.

Ourense (Galicia) – Next on the list is Ourense in Galicia where the average price is €154,941. The municipality is home to several towns and villages, surrounding the main medium-sized town of Ourense itself in southern Galicia. The town has a population of around 105,000 and is a little over an hour’s drive from both Santiago de Compostela and the coastal city of Pontevedra.

Oviedo (Asturias) – Third on the list is the municipality of Oviedo where you’ll pay an average of €154,968 for a property. Another area in northern Spain, the main city Oviedo itself, which is the capital of Asturias and has a population of 220,000. It sits between Cantabrian mountains and the Bay of Biscay. It’s known for its picturesque medieval old town and impressive architecture. 

Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz) – Properties cost an average of €155,563 in the municipality of Jerez de la Frontera, or Jerez as it’s commonly referred to. It’s located in the Cádiz province of Andalusia and is a real piece of ‘traditional’ Spain. Jerez city is a decent-sized place with a little over 200,000 people and is known for horses, flamenco dancing and sherry, as well as the Alcázar de Jerez, an 11th-century fortress that harks back to Andalusia’s Moorish past.

READ ALSO: Is it better to buy or rent in Spain right now?

Torrevieja (Alicante) – Another municipality in Alicante and another incredibly popular with foreign homeowners. Properties here go for an average of €155,787. Torrevieja itself has a population of 82,000 and is another coastal town, but also has nature trails and salt plains nearby.

Murcia (Murcia) – Murcia is often overlooked, wedged between Alicante and Andalusia, but you could grab a bargain here with average prices of €157,119. Murcia capital is a bustling city of almost 450,000 people, and is strategically placed for trips to the Costa Blanca, Costa Calida, Costa del Sol, and Costa de Almeria.

Parla (Madrid) – The municipality of Parla lies just 20km south of Madrid and the town of the same name is home to 130,000 residents. It’s a great commuter area for those who work in Getafe or the capital. A house here costs an average of €160,652. 

Salamanca (Castilla y León) – The municipality of Salamanca surrounds the capital of Salamanca in Castilla y León in northwestern Spain. Buying a property in this area costs an average of €162,909. The main city of Salamanca is known for its university, which is the oldest in Spain and dates back to 1218. Understandably, much of Salamanca’s roughly 150,000 residents are students, which gives the town a lively atmosphere.

Burgos (Castilla y León) – Another northwestern Castilla y León municipality, is Burgos has around, where you can buy a house for just €163,164. The city of Burgos has around 180,000 inhabitants and is known for its medieval architecture and grand cathedral. 

Dos Hermanas (Sevilla) – The second most populous municipality in the province of Seville, properties cost an average of €163.274 here. The Andalusian town is just 15km south of Seville, making it great for commuters or those who want plenty of culture nearby.