Like to live in Spain? But how much does it cost to live in Spain?
Despite the economic woes of Europe Spain still remains the most popular destination for us British seeking a safe place to buy a second home and enjoy a warmer sunny climate. Many expats come here to live and/or retire here in Spain.
But how much does it cost to live in Spain? I’ve been living here in Catalonia for well over 13 years with my Spanish wife. For well over 10 years I used to commute back to the UK to work but now I’m retired and enjoy helping other people pursue the same dream in a safe way.
Catalonia is the most prosperous region in Spain. It lies just to the south of France, just the other side of the Pyrenees, with the Mediterranean coast line forming the Costa Brava, Costa Maresme and Costa Dorada. The elegant city of Barcelona is our capital city and the seat of our regional government.
We live here because we enjoy the friendly nature of the people and their strong sense of family values and the traditional Catalan culture, which reminds me of back home in the fifties with the coronation and street parties, friends and family united in friendship following the hardship of the war years.
We also have an extremely good health service “Institut Català de la Salut” I think it’s the best in Europe if not the world. There are no fat cats. The doctors and nurses are vocational dedicated to the good health of their patients. I will write more on this subject in a future article as I know it’s an important concern for people retiring here.
The climate is also very pleasant here in Catalan, we don’t get roasted alive in the summer and we don’t freeze to death in the winter. I find the climate here very compatible with my Anglo-Saxon blood. In the province of Tarragona where I live fresh salad and vegetables are harvested every day of the year.
Now you are familiar with the background to the answers, I will now endeavour to answer the question how much does it cost to live here in Spain.
Spain does enjoy a much lower cost of living index than the UK. In an article in the Daily Mail in June 2014 experts claimed that the cost of living in Spain was 34% less than the UK and since then the Pound has strengthened against the Euro by at least 9%. My own experience supports the index, I think I’m between 30% to 40% better off leaving here in Catalonia but if you are a smoker and/or more than a social drinker the savings could be much higher.
A UK basic state pension of £514 per month when converted into euros is currently worth €688 In Europe If you live here in Catalan, €15 spent at a farmers market will buy you enough fruit and vegetables to last couple for a week.
To go shopping a litre of diesel for the car currently costs 74 to 98 English pence! Do you enjoy an occasional drink? One litre of Famous Grouse Whiskey currently costs a staggering £10.60 don’t know how much is in England at the moment but I bet it’s at least twice that price?
If you live in Catalan, Spain generally speaking you will make major savings on local taxes and infrastructure charges for instance here in Catalonia the annual general rates would be about €240 for a typical 3 bedroom home of say 90 m2. Rubbish collection is paid separately and would cost an additional €180 pa but here in the city of Reus the bins are emptied every day except for one day in the year, Three Kings Celebration on the 5th of January.
House prices are also at their lowest level since 2007 but house sale transactions are increasing in most regions of Spain which implies the market is starting to bottom out and we can now start to see an increase in values.
If you’d like to learn more about historic house prices and the current state of the housing market here in Spain then please check out my other articles and follow the links below.