As far as types of housing in Madrid are concerned, there is not a very wide selection. Apartment buildings, or “pisos” as they are known in Castilian, predominate. Most apartment buildings in Madrid are between three and six stories, although newer constructions may be a bit taller.
Spaniards are used to living in fairly small spaces, so apartments run small in Madrid, unless you are financially capable of renting a luxury apartment. It may be an adjustment getting used to the smaller rooms, kitchens and bathrooms for those used to living in houses. The use of apartment buildings, allows more people to live in an area without taking up as much land, making even residential neighborhoods congested but also all the more vibrant.
Lack of privacy is another issue you’ll inevitably face when living in a Spanish apartment building. Many of these buildings have either windows looking onto interior courtyards or thin walls or both, so hearing what is going on in your neighbors’ apartments is common. Eventually you’ll get used to the buzz of activity around you.
Houses are far less common in Spain than apartments, namely because they are larger living spaces and take up more land, making them prohibitively expensive in cities such as Madrid. Areas with houses in Madrid are generally gated communities around the outskirts of the city or around Madrid’s periphery. There are some small enclaves of houses within the city, but they are quite exclusive.