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Where can you still buy a home in Spain for under €100k in 2022?

As it becomes more difficult to find cheap property in Spanish cities, The Local takes a look at the provincial capitals where you're most likely to find and buy a home for under €100,000.

Where can you still buy a home in Spain for under €100k in 2022?
A 'for sale' sign on a balcony in Madrid. Photo: DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP

Spain has long been a haven for foreigners looking to buy cheap property, whether it be a holiday home to spend the summer months or somewhere to retire or relocate to entirely. 

While the country may still be much cheaper than many nation across northern Europe, the US, Canada or Australia, prices are going up and if you want to find a bargain – a property under €100,000, that is – you’ll need to know where to search.

If you were looking to buy in Madrid, for example, finding somewhere for under €100,000 might prove difficult.

According to recent data published by Spanish property giants Idealists, homes in the Spanish capital under €100,000 account for a measly 3.9 percent of the total market.

Even for properties costing €200,000 or less, just 30.5 percent of the capital’s viviendas fall into that category.

In Spain’s second city, Barcelona, the number of homes available for €100,000 or less has actually increased ever so slightly in the last year, from 1.6 percent to 1.7 percent in May 2022.

Increasing marginally it may be, that still means that in Barcelona fewer than two in every 100 properties cost €100,000 or less.

Even if you expand the search to €200,000, in Barcelona just 19.4 of properties in May 2022 cost €200,000 or less. 

Spain’s two main cities might not be the best places to find a bargain then, it seems, and it is worth remembering that like in other capital cities across the world, such as London, New York, or Paris, the cheaper properties (in this case, those under €100,000) are often incredibly small, old, poor quality, far from the city centre or publican transport links, or some combination of all of those things.

Tourist favourites

If you’re looking for cheap property in areas already popular with other foreigners, or large international communities, be warned, prices can be steep, depending on where you are.

Note that these figures are for provincial capitals, not the wider province as a whole, and therefore may not be representative of the availability of cheap properties in smaller towns and cities there. They do, however, give us an idea and are good for making comparisons.

In Alicante, for example, the Costa Blanca city famous among foreigners in Spain, 23.2 percent of properties in the province’s capital are on the market for under €100,000.

In Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands, that figure is 20.4 percent, whereas in the next-door city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, it’s just 14.5 percent.

In Valencia 13.6 percent of properties cost less than €100,000, while in Costa de Sol hotspot Málaga there’s even fewer, with just 7.4 percent of properties.

In Palma de Mallorca, just 1.1 percent of properties available cost €100,000 or less, making the Balearic capital the second city with least cheap housing after the upmarket Basque city of San Sebastián.

The Spanish cities where there are most cheap properties under €100K

So which are the Spanish cities with the highest stock of affordable housing?  Here is a list of the provincial capitals where at least 25 percent of homes are available for less than €100,000, based on Idealista data from May 2022.

Provincial capitals where 40 percent or more of properties on the market are under €100,000.

  1. Huelva (47.5 percent)
  2. Lleida (46.9 percent)
  3. Ávila (46.6 percent)
  4. Jaén (44.8 percent)
  5. Zamora (42.0 percent)
  6. Teruel (41.8 percent)
  7. Ciudad Real (41.2 percent)

Provincial capitals where 30 to 40 percent of properties on the market are under €100,000.

  1. Palencia (38.4 percent)
  2. Cuenca (38.3 percent)
  3. Murcia (37.5 percent)
  4. Almería (36.1 percent)
  5. Cáceres (35.7 percent)
  6. Huesca (35.6 percent)
  7. Valladolid (34.6 percent)
  8. Oviedo (34.3 percent)
  9. Zaragoza (33.7 percent)
  10. León (33.6 percent)
  11. Soria (33.3 percent)
  12. Castellón de la Plana (31.8 percent)
  13. Ourense (30.6 percent)

Provincial capitals where 20-30 percent of properties on the market are under €100,000.

  1. Lugo (29.1 percent)
  2. Badajoz (27.4 percent)
  3. Tarragona (26.7 percent)
  4. Logroño (25.7 percent)
  5. Guadalajara (25.6 percent)
  6. Córdoba (24.6 percent)
  7. Burgos (24.1 percent)
  8. Alicante (23.2 percent)
  9. Santa Cruz, Tenerife (20.4 percent)
  10. Salamanca (20.0 percent)

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Why are Spanish homes so dark?

Despite being known for its year-long sunny weather, Spain is the EU country with the fewest homes with natural light, often intentionally. Why is it that when it comes to spending time at home, Spaniards seem to love being in the dark?

Why are Spanish homes so dark?

Spain – the land of sunshine. The country gets between 2,500 and 3,000 hours of sun per year on average, almost double the 1,600 hours the UK gets, for example.

You’d probably assume that finding a bright apartment in such a sunny country would be a piece of cake, but unless you’re renting or buying a modern home, it might be trickier than you realise.

More than one in ten Spaniards live in dwellings they feel are “too dark” – the highest percentage among all EU countries, according to figures from Eurostat.

As far as dark homes go, Spain is head and shoulders above the EU average of 5.9 percent, and higher than other nations with a high rate of gloomy homes such as France (9.5 percent), Malta (9.4 percent) and Hungary (7.7 percent).

At the other end of the brightly lit spectrum, it’s no surprise to see that countries with cloudier skies and darker winters such as Norway, Slovakia, Estonia, Czechia and the Netherlands have homes that let in plenty of natural light, and yet Spain’s sun-kissed Mediterranean neighbours Italy and Cyprus do make the most of the readily available light.

Dark homes are almost twice as common in Spain as the EU average. Graph: Eurostat.

So why are Spanish homes so dark?

Is it a case of hiding away from the sun, and keeping cool during the summer months? Or is it something else? 

Apartment blocks

The vast majority of Spaniards live in apartments as opposed to houses, often in tightly-packed cities with narrow streets.

In fact, in Spain 64.6 percent of the population lives in flats or apartments, second in the EU after Latvia (65.9 percent.)

By contrast the EU wide average is 46.1 percent.

By nature of apartment living, Spanish homes tend to get less sunlight.

Depending on whether they have an exterior or interior flat, they might not actually have a single window in the flat that faces the street.

If the apartment is on a lower floor, the chances of it receiving natural light are even lower. Internal patios can help to solve this to some extent, but only during the mid day and early afternoon hours. 

why are spanish homes so dark

A dark, narrow street in the centre of Palma de Mallorca. Photo: seth0s/Pixabay

Hot summers

During Spain’s scorching summer months, there’s no greater relief than stepping into a darkened apartment building lobby and feeling the temperature drop. 

In southern Spain, and in coastal regions, Spanish buildings were traditionally built to protect against the heat and hide away from the long sunny hours. White walled exteriors and dark interiors help to keep homes cool.

It’s often the case that bedrooms are put in the darkest, coolest part of the apartment, sometimes with just a box-window to allow for a breeze but no sunlight.

Spaniards’ obsession with blinds and shutters

Spain is pretty much the only country in Europe whose inhabitants still use blinds (persianas), even during the colder winter months.

In this case, rather than it just being down to keeping homes cool during the sweltering summer months, their usage is intrinsic to Spain’s Moorish past and the fact that they provide a degree of privacy from nosy neighbours. By contrast, northern Europeans with Calvinist roots such as the Dutch keep the curtains open to let in natural light and because historically speaking, keeping the inside of homes visible from the street represents not having anything to hide. But in Spain, the intimacy of one’s home is sacrosanct, especially when the neighbour in the apartment building opposite is less then ten metres away.

Keeping the blinds or shutters down also has the advantage of making it easier to have an afternoon nap (the siesta, of course) or to sleep in late after a long night out on the town. 

In any case, it seems hard to believe for some foreigners that many Spaniards are happy to live in the dark whilst spending time at home, regardless of whether they’re sleeping or not. 

A byproduct of this? Dark, gloomy homes.

why are spanish homes so dark

Spaniards aren’t fans of airing their dirty laundry, at least metaphorically speaking. Blinds have historically provided the privacy they’ve wanted from their homes. Photo: Quino Al/Unsplash

The long, dark corridors

Spanish apartments have plenty of quirks that seem odd to outsiders, from the light switches being outside of the room, the aforementioned shutters, the bottles of butane and last but not least, the never-ending corridors. 

Most Spanish homes built in the 19th and 20th century include these long pasillos running from the entrance to the end of the flat. They were meant to provide a separation between the main living spaces and the service rooms (kitchen, bathroom etc), easy access to all and better airing and light capabilities. But when the doors to the rooms are closed as often happens, these corridors become the opposite of what was intended: dark and airless.

Navigating these windowless corridors at night is akin to waking around blindfolded.

dark corridor spain

Light at the end of the tunnel? Dark corridors are a common feature of Spanish homes. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)

Are Spaniards rethinking their dark homes?

Times are changing, and modern designs are experimenting with more spacious, light-filled, open-plan apartments, especially as the Covid-19 lockdown forced many Spaniards to reconsider their abodes. 

It’s also increasingly common to see property ads stressing that the property is diáfano, which means that natural light enters the home from all sides.

However, the vast majority of Spanish homes are still gloomy for the most part, often intentionally.

A combination of traditional building styles, the crowded nature of apartment block living, the use of shutters, the desire to keep homes private, and the long windowless corridors mean Spanish flats can seem dark if you’re new to the country, and with good reason.

Ultimately, it is worth remembering that Spanish society is one that largely lives its life outdoors. Living in smaller apartments, Spaniards generally spend less time at home and more time out and about in the street.

Native to a hot and sunny country as they are, Spaniards’ homes are a place of rest, relaxation and, crucially, sleep.

Spanish people have enough sunlight and heat in their lives; they like to live, therefore, in homes designed to keep cool and dark.

READ ALSO: Why are Spanish homes so cold?