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Property in Spain: How much does it actually cost to build a house?

The Local Spain
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Property in Spain: How much does it actually cost to build a house?
Photo: Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

If you plan to build a house in Spain, there are many costs to factor in that go beyond the obvious land price, architect fees and building expenses. Before you decide to go ahead with your build, it's important to consider how much it's actually going to set you back.


Buying the land

One of the most important aspects of building your own home is the land. Land prices vary greatly throughout Spain, depending on which region you want to buy in, if the site is inland or on the coast, and the other types of buildings already in the area. Besides the price of the actual land however, there are several extra costs associated with it that you may not have taken into consideration before.

The first extra you might need is a topographic study, which involves a topographer coming to the site to draw a plan of where the house is going to be built. They will assess if any land needs to be moved in order for a house to be able to built safely in that location. According to, this will cost you around €400.

The second is a geotechnical report from a geologist, which looks at the characteristics of the land and can help calculate the foundations needed for the house. says this report will set you back around €800.

Keep in mind as well that the terreno (plot of land) you buy should be urbano (urban) or urbanizable (buildable); the first means the town hall has given permission for a propert to be built there whereas the latter theoretically has the permit but not necessarily the right water and electricity access for building to begin immediately, which could also mean extra costs and waiting. Do not buy a terreno rústico (rustic plot) as it is meant for agricultural and not residential purposes so your local ayuntamiento (town hall) is unlikely to change its mind on this front. 


Hiring an architect

Hiring an architect is an essential part of building your own home. There is only one established professional body of architects in Spain, which is the College of Architects CSCAE. However, they have various other groups around the country.

Architect fees in Spain can vary wildly, depending on their experience, design style and location. But most of all, it will depend on what type of house you want, whether it’s something basic or luxurious. The architect will provide you with a preliminary design of the house, which is revised until you are finally happy with the way it looks.

Once you are happy with the look of the design, the architect will carry out a detailed project looking at all the structural calculations and what’s known as the bill of quantities, which shows all the necessary structures and installations to be carried out in order to fulfill the design.

According to, architect’s fees cost around 5 to 7 percent of the total cost of construction of the property, however, Spain Property Guides, says you should expect to pay around 10 percent. states that people should keep in mind that houses with unique features such as big terraces or undulating facades will cost more. Flat roofs are generally much cheaper than sloped roofs and adding a basement can add on a lot of extra cost too. 

Find hundreds of move-in ready homes in Spain on The Local's property listings page

Hiring an architect in Spain. Photo: Lorenzo Cafaro / Pixabay

Building license

In order to carry out your project, you will need to apply for a building licence with the local authorities. Spain Property Guides says: “The cost of a licence to build varies from region to region, but budget in the region of 3 percent to 4 percent of the projected cost of the construction. If therefore, your house is going to cost €350,000 to build, you’ll be paying at least €10,000 for the licence”.

According to, you must also pay a deposit for waste management and demolition, but you will get this back when the project is complete.  

Fees before works begin

When budgeting for your property it’s important to take everything into consideration, including the associated taxes involved. Before building begins, you will be expected to pay Tax on Constructions, Installations and Works, known as ICIO to your local town hall.

Property newsite Expansión Inmobiliario says this will cost you 3 to 5 percent of the total budget for construction. They also state that “You will need to pay VAT, which for individuals is 10 percent, a cost that must be paid monthly as the work progresses”.



According to, the average construction costs in Spain have risen a lot in the last few of years and range from around €1,100 per square metre to €1,500/sqm. However, this is using standard materials and doesn’t take into account expensive finishes.

The construction will need to be supervised by your architect, as well as a building engineer, who will also be in charge of health and safety on site. states that fees for the building engineer typically cost around 1.5 to 3 percent of the total cost of construction.

Building a house in Spain. Photo: Borko Manigoda / Pixabay


Taxes and fees after completion

When your dream house is finally complete, there are yet more fees to pay in taxes. You will need to hire a notary to draw up the deeds and register your property for the first time in the Land Registry. Expansión Inmobiliario states that both of these will cost you 0.5 percent of the total value of the house.

Before you can legally live in your property, there is yet another fee to pay – the license for the first occupation or Tasa de licencia de primera ocupación, which according to Expansión Inmobiliario will cost you 0.5 to 1 percent of the total budget.

You will also need to pay the Impuesto de Actos Jurídicos Documentados por declaración de obra nueva, which is the fee you need to pay to declare a new building.  This will reportedly cost you 1.5 percent of the cost of your new build.

Finally, you will have to apply for a habitation certificate or cédula de habitabilidad, which shows that the property is habitable. For this, you will need to pay fees to connect your water and electricity. According to, this could cost you around €200 to connect each utility.



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