Buying property in Spain as an Australian. What you need to know

Roberto Efflandrin

Ola! From Barcelona to Madrid or even up to San Sebastian, Spain boasts a whole variety of beautiful cities, villages, and lets not forget the beaches or islands! It may already be very possible that Spain has captured your heart and you are thinking of making your connection stronger by buying your own Spanish “la casa.”

If this does sound like where you are at, and you're wondering if it’s possible to buy a house in Spain as an Australian, you’re in the right place. We’ll answer this very question and more through this article. Vamos…

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This article is purely for general information purposes and is not to be taken as financial advice. We recommend that you obtain independent financial advice before making any form of investment.

Can Australians buy property or real estate in Spain?

Yes, Australians can buy property in Spain with no restrictions. This means that Australians can choose to buy residential properties, commercial properties or even land if they want. It's also possible to attain the Spanish Golden Visa or residency if you buy a property worth over 500,000 Euros.¹

Before we tell you what these steps are, let's go through whether it is even worth buying a property in Spain as an Australian and some other general information.

What is reciprocity when it comes to buying property in different countries

In some cases, some countries have what is referred to as Reciprocity or a Reciprocity agreement for buying property. These agreements usually set out protections and preconditions for either citizen when they do decide to invest in real estate in either foreign country.

For Spanish and Australian citizens, no reciprocity agreement is currently in place for the specific purpose of buying property in either country. This means that at this time, the ability for foreign residents, including Australians to buy property in Spain is a country specific policy. However, Spain and Australia do have in place a Double Tax Treaty which means you do not have to pay taxes twice on income, investments and capital gains.²

What’s the property market like in Spain?

Since the pandemic, the Spanish property market has been steadily increasing each year. However, recent statistics are showing that the Spanish housing prices are still well below their historical peaks.³ For Australians wanting to buy their own piece of Spanish history, now is a great time to jump into the Spanish property market.

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Property prices for different types of property in different locations

With so many cities and villages to choose from, where do you start? We’ve gathered some prices of different properties from some of Spain's popular cities plus a small village on the sea.

Cities Property type Price (AUD)
Madrid 3 Bed, 2 Bath Apartment⁴ $821, 371
8 Bed, 5 Bath Villa⁵ $1,621, 344
Barcelona 3 bed, 1 bath Apartment⁶ $492, 164
4 bed, 4 bath House⁷
$2,143, 617
Sevilla 3 Bed, 2 Bath Apartment⁸
$534, 961
Palma 3 bed, 2 Bath House with pool Chalet⁹ $2,475,292 (1,598, 400 USD)
Santa Pola (Near Alicante) 2 Bed, 2 Bath Apartment¹⁰ $445,500 (270, 000 EUR)

As seen on 15 September 2023

In cities, prices vary based on neighbourhood. Rural locations and smaller seaside towns generally attract lower prices.

How to find property to buy in Spain

The best way to find a property is by consulting with a real estate agency that is well acquainted with the Spanish market. This could be either a large international agency or a smaller local agency that specialises in a specific region.

Popular agents in Spain and other ways to find properties for sale

To get started, you can do a general search using sites that collate many of the publicly available listings. Some of these sites include:

These sites can also list the available local agencies available to contact or check out as well. You’ll find close to 2800 local agencies with their own local listings across the country. Real estate is translated to “Inmobiliaria”, so if you see this term used, it is a real estate agency. Some local agencies include:

You can also check out some of the large international agencies, especially if you are looking for more high-end, luxury properties. Agencies include:

There is also the option of not using a real estate agent. This option is good if you have been living in Spain a long time or are well acquainted with the culture or policies. However, if you are not, it is not a recommended way to go and may make your property buying experience more difficult.

How to choose the right property to buy in Spain. What to consider

As one of the larger countries in Europe, there is a vast supply of properties available suitable for all types of wants and needs. However, to narrow down your search its best to consider a few things including:

  • Which city or region you like
  • The number of bedrooms and bathrooms on the property
  • Whether an apartment, house or something more traditional is suitable
  • Is a pool important and other building amenities?
  • If you want your property to be close to the sea, mountains or on an island
  • Your budget range
  • How you are going to use the property (rent, commercial use or to live)

You should only use these considerations as a guide, especially if you are not yet in Spain. They will help you structure your search when you decide to go to Spain and start viewing properties.

Can you get a mortgage in Spain as an Australian

With no restrictions on buying property, foreign residents including Australians can also get a mortgage with a Spanish lender. You will need to be ready to put down around 20% of the property value as a deposit, as mortgages generally cover up to 70% of the total property price. Residents may get access to higher lending amounts.¹¹

What are the legal requirements for buying property in Spain as an Australian

As an Australian, the first thing you will need to do to be able to even start the process of buying property in Spain is by getting a Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE) number. This translates to “foreigners identification number.”

All foreigners, even if they do not reside in Spain permanently, can open a bank account and conduct other sorts of transactions such as buying or selling property with this number.¹²

Documents needed for buying a property in Spain as an Australian

When you are ready to buy a property, you will need a few documents to begin and finish the process. Personally, you will need to have ready¹²:

  • Your NIE number
  • Your Australian passport

It is also highly recommended that you open a Spanish bank account, although this is not mandatory to purchase real estate. If you need an easy way to transfer your funds, you should check out Wise.

Next are documents that you will run into when you get the ball rolling.¹²

  • The Title Deed
  • Registry document acquired through the relevant Property Registry Office
  • Last utility bill
  • Energy efficiency certificate
  • Catastro information
  • The Declaración de Asimilado a Fuera de Ordenación (DAFO) or Housing Condition Report

Some properties may also attract community fees, so this is good to clarify prior to finalising the sales process.

What are the taxes and fees usually levied on property purchases in Spain

There are a few types of taxes and fees you will need to pay if you buy a property in spain. These are as follows.

Property Transfer Tax

The first type of taxes you’ll need to be ready to pay is a property transfer tax. The amount you pay depends on the property you buy and which region it is in. The national average sits at around 7% for a pre-owned home. A new home will levy 10% VAT plus 1.5% towards a new registration certificate.¹³

Non-resident income tax

This tax depends on how you use your property in Spain.¹⁴

Spanish Wealth Tax

If your property is worth more than 700,000 Euros, you will need to pay this additional tax.¹⁴

Tasa de Recogida de Residuos Urbanos Fee

This is translated to the household refuse collection fee and is paid annually to the local city council.¹⁴

Steps to take to buy a house in Spain

You may have already seen some of the steps hidden within each section of this article. To make it clearer, we’ll break down the steps here in a more concise manner.

  1. Narrow down where you would like buy
  2. Set your budget
  3. Apply for your NIE Number
  4. Find a Real Estate Agent
  5. View some properties you like
  6. Hire a Spanish Lawyer to begin drawing up your contracts
  7. Make an offer and pay a deposit to reserve it
  8. Get the financing sorted if needed
  9. Sign the official contract with a notary
  10. Get your property registered under your name in the Spanish Land Registry

Just like that, you are the proud owner of your own Spanish home.

Avoiding scams when buying a property in Spain

Buying a property in any country is a huge decision, and one that involves spending a significant amount of money.

  1. Work with authorised real estate agents, lawyers, and notaries when facilitating a deal
  2. Always verify property ownership and check for legal disputes
  3. Always physically visit the property to ensure it matches the listing
  4. Exercise caution if the price seems too good to be true
  5. Use reputable real estate websites to search for properties to reduce the risk of fake listings.
  6. Don’t pay any fees before completing all the required legal processes

Always perform your own due diligence before jumping into any deal. It’s always best to spend as much time in Spain as possible before and during your property purchase.

What else to keep in mind

Some Spanish banks may require you to have a lawyer to undertake the due diligence of the property and contracts if you decide to take out a mortgage in Spain.¹⁵

Wise for sending large amounts

Sending large amounts of money can be frightening and the fees add up fast — but not with the Wise large money transfer service.¹⁶

Wise is a specialist in sending large amounts overseas, securely. The added bonus is that with a sliding fee scale, the more you send, the more you save. The exchange rate is always based on the mid-market rate, like the one you’d see on Google.

Safety is super important at Wise and it’s regulated wherever it operates. In Australia, it is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL number 513764). On top of this, Wise has dedicated compliance teams and systems working around the clock to keep our customers’ money safe.

You’ll need to keep in mind how much your receiving bank will accept in one transaction, check with them first before making the transfer.

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Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.
This article is purely for general information purposes and is not to be taken as financial advice. We recommend that you obtain independent financial advice before making any form of investment.

Sources:

  1. Expatica non-residents
  2. DFAT DTA
  3. Global Property Spanish prices
  4. Real estate Madrid
  5. Real Estate Villa Madrid
  6. Real Estate Barcelona
  7. Sothebys Barcelona
  8. Real Estate Sevilla
  9. Lefigaro Palma
  10. Spain Houses Alicante
  11. Property Tax International mortgage
  12. Competa Properties documents
  13. Balcells Group taxes
  14. Savloir levies and taxes
  15. Expatica lawyer
  16. Eligibility is subject to verification of customers' identity

Sources checked on: 15th September 2023


Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

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