Madrid preview

Spain

When compared to the average salaries earned by Madrileños, the cost of living in the Spanish capital is quite high. In some of Spain’s smaller cities, cost of living is still quite affordable, but the country’s major metropolises are seeing annual increases in their costs of living.

As with most Spanish cities, the majority of Madrid’s housing is made up of apartment buildings between three and six stories high. Houses, or “chalets,” as they are called in Spain, are not very common within the city limits, and the few enclaves that you’ll find are generally expensive for both rent and purchase (upwards of 1 million euros to buy).

Madrid’s real estate market is one of the most bloated in the country. Purchasing an apartment for under $200,000 euros in Madrid is virtually unheard of, regardless of its size, condition or location. Renting is a bit more affordable, and thanks to the economic crisis, the average rent has decreased slightly. The price of rent is highly dependent upon the neighborhood in which one chooses to live. The more central, the more expensive, plus some neighborhoods are known for being very posh, which, of course, influences price. Studios can range from between 500-700 euros, one bedroom apartments between 750-900 euros, and two bedrooms 800-1100 euros. Anything below those estimates may indicate a sub-par apartment and anything over may signal that the apartment is overpriced.

Madrid is a landlord’s market. There is always a strong demand for rentals, so good apartments get taken quickly. It’s no exaggeration to say that a nice apartment can be rented the very first day it’s shown. Be ready to call the owner as soon as you see an advertisement that interests you and schedule a visit as soon as possible. If you love the place, negotiate terms and sign the lease while you’re still in the apartment. Taking a few days for consideration could mean losing it to a more eager renter. Of course, if you’re not quite convinced, just keep looking.

It is best not to use an agency to find an apartment. Real estate agencies in Spain charge a month’s rent for their services. That means that if you rent an apartment shown by an agency, you’ll have to pay a month’s deposit, your first month’s rent and the agency fee. There is a large selection of apartments whose owners advertise independently online and in the newspaper, so it’s much more economical to deal directly with the owner.

Although the daily newspapers include housing classifieds, online listing sites, such as http://www.idealista.com and http://www.fotocasa.com are much more user-friendly and allow you to view photographs and videos of the apartments. You also have the ability to customize your search to include number of bedrooms, price range and which neighborhoods you prefer.