Buying Land in Spain: Things You Need To Know

Buying land in Spain

Whether you want to retire in Spain, invest in Spain, or are looking for a holiday home. Buying land is a great option to save money, and make something that feels completely yours. When it comes to buying land in Spain, there are a few things you need to take into account. Firstly, you should be aware of the different types of land available in the country, and what each type entails. Secondly, you should also have an understanding of how to choose land and the costs involved, and thirdly you should know about the risks involved. In this article, we will provide an overview of each of these topics so that you can make an informed decision when purchasing land in Spain.

Buying land in Spain

There is no doubt that buying land in Spain is an exciting prospect. Not only is the country renowned for its stunningly beautiful scenery, but it also has a rich cultural heritage which makes it a popular destination for tourists. Next to this, it is also one of the most popular European countries for foreigners to emigrate and not as crowded and expensive as other countries.

All of these factors combine to make buying land in Spain an attractive proposition for many people. In addition, the climate in Spain is excellent, with plenty of sunshine throughout the year. This means that those who purchase land in Spain can enjoy relaxation and tranquility on their own piece of paradise, while also having easy access to all the amenities and attractions that a lively city has to offer.

Town hall and planning permission

Building your dream home in Spain

Building a house in Spain can be a great experience, but it is important to be aware of the many planning rules and permissions that are required. In general, the process of building a house in Spain is quite complicated, and it is important to make sure that all the necessary paperwork is in order before starting construction.

Permissions and regulations

One of the main things to keep in mind when building a house in Spain is that there are different regulations depending on the region in which you are constructing the property. Additionally, each autonomous community within Spain has its own regulations, so it is important to consult with a property lawyer or local authorities to get all the relevant information.

Urban land

Choosing a land to build

Spain is a diverse country, with plenty of different regions that offer their own unique charms. When it comes to choosing a location to build your dream home in Spain, you will need to consider a few things.

  1. What amenities do I need?
  2. What type of climate do I want?
  3. How close do I need to be to my workplace?
  4. What type of obligations does the land carry?

What amenities do I need?

It is important to consider what amenities are needed in the surrounding area. Do you need to have access to public transport? Is it necessary for shops, schools, and hospitals to be nearby? Or do you need a large range of leisure activities on your doorstep?

What type of climate do I want?

The climate is another thing that should be considered when buying land in Spain. There are many different areas in the country, and each one has its own climate. For example, if you want to escape from colder climates buying land in sunny Andalusia might be a good idea, but if you enjoy skiing then it could make more sense to buy property in mountainous regions like the Sierra Nevada.

Do I need to live somewhere close?

When choosing a home in Spain, many people opt for one that is situated close to their place of work. This makes sense, as it eliminates the need for a long commute and allows you to spend more time relaxing at home. Additionally, many people who purchase a home in Spain choose to do so near an airport, as this makes traveling to and from the country much easier.

How much do I want to spend?

The amount of money you want to spend will also affect your decision when buying land in Spain. For example, if you are looking for a cheap property then there are many different options available to you, but they might not be the most attractive properties in the area. Cheaper land can also come with restrictions on what can be built on. It is important to not fall for a deal that is too good to be true.

What type of obligations does the land carry?

Some land might carry obligations for building and providing certain amenities. It is important to know what you are buying and if there will be any restrictions or obligations you will have when making a land purchase on the Spanish property market. For example, the municipality might have plans to urbanize the land you are buying, in this case, in the future, you will have to negotiate the property price, make votes with surrounding property owners, or will have to sell your property.

Planning permission

Other options than building

There are many other options that you have when buying land in Spain.

Buying a brand new property

One of these is to buy a property that is already built. This can be a great option, as you will not have to go through the hassle of getting planning permission and construction permits. Additionally, there are many different types of properties available for purchase, so you are sure to find one that meets your needs and budget.

Renovating an existing property

When renovating a property in Spain, it is important to be aware of the permissions that are required. In general, the process of renovating a property in Spain is quite complicated, and it is important to make sure that all the necessary paperwork is in order before starting construction. You will need permission to build pools, move walls, and change the use of the home. One of the main things to keep in mind when renovating a property in Spain is that there are different regulations depending on the autonomous community within which you are renovating the property.

Costs of buying land in the Spanish property market

Land in Spain has an average price of 165 euro per square meter in 2021. However, the cost of land is cheaper in rural areas than in urban areas.


Buying land in Spain

There is a big distinction between rural areas and the main cities of Spain. This is because there is less demand for land in rural areas, and developers are not as likely to build new properties in these regions. Additionally, the cost of land is usually higher near airports and major cities. This is because there is more demand for land in these areas, and people are willing to pay a higher price.

Spanish Land buying

Land classification in the land registry

For urban planning purposes, we classify the land in the land registry into three main groups: Suelo Urbano (urban land), Suelo Urbanizable (land for development), and Suelo No Urbanizable (land not for development) (often known by users as rural land).

Urban land is that which the general planning of the municipality determines as such, either because it has all the necessary services and facilities (road access, water supply, drainage network, and electricity supply), or because it is largely consolidated by building. Urban land is also considered to be that which has been developed and urbanized as determined by the planning.

Suelo Urbano (urban land)

It is obligated to construct on these properties subject to the city’s or region’s “Planes de desarrollo urbanístico” (Plan General de Ordenación Urbana PGOU) or qualifying urbanization zones called “Planes Parciales”

Most of these territories are already developed and inhabited, with all of the urban amenities and infrastructures required for residential habitation in terms of high or low population density. They are characterized by facilities such as

  • Sewage system and drainage
  • Parks and green areas
  • Water, internet, and electricity
  • Sports facilities
  • Schools and colleges
  • Health facilities
  • Road access

Within urban land, there is a distinction between Urbano Consolidado (consolidated urban land), and unconsolidated urban land (Urbano No Consolidado, de Núcleo Rural o Urbano Especial),

Suelo Urbano Consolidado: This type of land is already finished built on and consolidated with all of the urban amenities and services required for a residential settlement. Consolidated land is already finished built on, and does not require you to undertake any building works on the property to make it legal.

Suelo Urbano no Consolidado: This type of land is not finished built on or consolidated, the Spanish government still wants to build extra on this land. The land’s owners are required by law to finish the urban fabric, conduct rehabilitation operations, interior renovation, urban remodeling, change of uses, rehousing, planning of the subsoil or sanitization of people, and others of the same sort.

Suelo No Urbanizable

Non-urbanizable soils are those that cannot be used for industrial, residential, or commercial purposes because they are exclusively intended for certain protected usages such as nature conservation, agriculture, or livestock. Other residential, industrial, or commercial uses are severely restricted and prohibited. The two categories within Suelo No Urbanizable are:

Suelo No Urbanizable Protegido: These are soils that have been designated “protected” for reasons such as nature, forest, and others, in order to preserve. In other words, these are lands that have the same protection as natural parks or nature reserves, and they are strictly prohibited to build or develop buildings.

Suelo No Urbanizable Comun (Terrenos, Suelo Rústico o Finca Rustica): This land is primarily used for agriculture and livestock production, and sometimes other uses such as residential and commercial development, subject to certain restrictions. This type of land is protected from urbanization or other uses that go against its natural or primary use of agriculture.

Suelo Urbanizable

Suelo Urbanizable or Developable land is land that is suitable for urban development, that is, it can be utilized in an urban transition. This type of land is still non-urbanized, but you can expect that in the future it will be. This means that in the future infrastructures such as water supply systems, electricity networks, sewage systems, drainage networks, road access will be needed.

In other words, likely the municipality will integrate them into an urbanization strategy, although they are not yet included in one. The owner of developable land has to pay for the urban transformation action of the land if the municipality decides to urbanize it.

Risks of buying land

Risks involved with buying land

While buying property in Spain has its own set of pitfalls, the same risks apply when purchasing land. Next to this, Spanish taxes such as the property tax and wealth tax must also be considered when owning land. When purchasing land, you should also bear in mind the following risks:

Future development plans around your land

When you buy land, there are always risks involved, especially when it comes to future development around the land you own. For example, the municipality may decide to urbanize the area around your land and ruin your view. Additionally, if you expect certain development, such as parks and shopping malls, there is always a risk that the land may not be developed as planned, or that the development may not go ahead at all. This can be due to a number of factors, such as changes in government policy or economic conditions. It’s important to be aware of these risks before you purchase land and to factor them into your decision-making process.

Unkown rights and obligations

When you’re buying land, it’s important to be aware of the risks involved. One such risk is that you may not be aware of all the laws and regulations that are associated with the purchase. For example, if your land has any water streams running through it, or if it’s located in a hunting area, you may not be aware of the restrictions that are in place. It’s important to do your research and to understand all the risks before you buy land so that you can make an informed decision. We advise contacting a property lawyer to analyze the obligations and rights that you have when you own the land.

Your land gets redeveloped by the local authority

There is also the risk that the municipality decides that your plot of land needs urbanization. This means that you will require to have water-supply networks, proper sewage systems, and road access to the land. This is a problem because you will have to pay for these infrastructures. If you are not aware of this problem, you could buy the land without knowing that these infrastructures will be your responsibility. This is frequently one of the most serious challenges you may have when purchasing real estate in Spain, since building costs can be very expensive, forcing you to sell the property.

Not obtain building permits or planning permission

Obtaining a building permit in Spain can be a difficult process, as there are a number of bureaucratic hurdles you must overcome. One of the main problems is that the procedures and regulations for obtaining a permit can vary from one municipality to the next. In addition, the process can be lengthy, taking anywhere from several months to a year or more. There are also times when the permits are denied, often without any explanation. This can be frustrating for property owners who want to construct their homes or business according to their plans. It’s important to note that these problems are not unique to Spain, and often a property lawyer can advise you on how to best go through the process.

Ownership of the land after you have purchased it

One of the risks involved in buying land is the possibility of a dispute of ownership. This can happen when the land is not properly registered in the land registry, or if there are any discrepancies in the documentation. If this happens, it can be difficult to resolve the issue and you may end up in a legal battle over the land. It’s important to make sure that you have all the proper documentation and to register the land with the correct authorities so that there is no confusion about who owns the property.

Get help from a property lawyer

Get help from a professional when buying land

Buying land in Spain can be a complicated process, as there are a number of things you need to take into account. It’s important to do your research and understand all the risks before making any decisions. We advise contacting a property lawyer in Spain to help you navigate through the legalities involved in purchasing land. By being aware of the potential problems, you can make an informed decision about whether or not buying land in Spain is right for you.