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Property in Spain: How much does it actually cost to build a house?

If you plan to build a house in Spain, there are many costs to factor in that go beyond the obvious land price, architect fees and building expenses. Before you decide to go ahead with your build, it's important to consider how much it's actually going to set you back.

Property in Spain: How much does it actually cost to build a house?
Photo: Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Buying the land

One of the most important aspects of building your own home is the land. Land prices vary greatly throughout Spain, depending on which region you want to buy in, if the site is inland or on the coast, and the other types of buildings already in the area. Besides the price of the actual land however, there are several extra costs associated with it that you may not have taken into consideration before.

The first extra you might need is a topographic study, which involves a topographer coming to the site to draw a plan of where the house is going to be built. They will assess if any land needs to be moved in order for a house to be able to built safely in that location. According to, this will cost you around €400.

The second is a geotechnical report from a geologist, which looks at the characteristics of the land and can help calculate the foundations needed for the house. says this report will set you back around €800.

Keep in mind as well that the terreno (plot of land) you buy should be urbano (urban) or urbanizable (buildable); the first means the town hall has given permission for a propert to be built there whereas the latter theoretically has the permit but not necessarily the right water and electricity access for building to begin immediately, which could also mean extra costs and waiting. Do not buy a terreno rústico (rustic plot) as it is meant for agricultural and not residential purposes so your local ayuntamiento (town hall) is unlikely to change its mind on this front. 

Hiring an architect

Hiring an architect is an essential part of building your own home. There is only one established professional body of architects in Spain, which is the College of Architects CSCAE. However, they have various other groups around the country.

Architect fees in Spain can vary wildly, depending on their experience, design style and location. But most of all, it will depend on what type of house you want, whether it’s something basic or luxurious. The architect will provide you with a preliminary design of the house, which is revised until you are finally happy with the way it looks.

Once you are happy with the look of the design, the architect will carry out a detailed project looking at all the structural calculations and what’s known as the bill of quantities, which shows all the necessary structures and installations to be carried out in order to fulfill the design.

According to, architect’s fees cost around 5 to 7 percent of the total cost of construction of the property, however, Spain Property Guides, says you should expect to pay around 10 percent. states that people should keep in mind that houses with unique features such as big terraces or undulating facades will cost more. Flat roofs are generally much cheaper than sloped roofs and adding a basement can add on a lot of extra cost too. 

Find hundreds of move-in ready homes in Spain on The Local’s property listings page

Hiring an architect in Spain. Photo: Lorenzo Cafaro / Pixabay

Building license

In order to carry out your project, you will need to apply for a building licence with the local authorities. Spain Property Guides says: “The cost of a licence to build varies from region to region, but budget in the region of 3 percent to 4 percent of the projected cost of the construction. If therefore, your house is going to cost €350,000 to build, you’ll be paying at least €10,000 for the licence”.

According to, you must also pay a deposit for waste management and demolition, but you will get this back when the project is complete.  

Fees before works begin

When budgeting for your property it’s important to take everything into consideration, including the associated taxes involved. Before building begins, you will be expected to pay Tax on Constructions, Installations and Works, known as ICIO to your local town hall.

Property newsite Expansión Inmobiliario says this will cost you 3 to 5 percent of the total budget for construction. They also state that “You will need to pay VAT, which for individuals is 10 percent, a cost that must be paid monthly as the work progresses”.


According to, the average construction costs in Spain have risen a lot in the last few of years and range from around €1,100 per square metre to €1,500/sqm. However, this is using standard materials and doesn’t take into account expensive finishes.

The construction will need to be supervised by your architect, as well as a building engineer, who will also be in charge of health and safety on site. states that fees for the building engineer typically cost around 1.5 to 3 percent of the total cost of construction.

Building a house in Spain. Photo: Borko Manigoda / Pixabay

Taxes and fees after completion

When your dream house is finally complete, there are yet more fees to pay in taxes. You will need to hire a notary to draw up the deeds and register your property for the first time in the Land Registry. Expansión Inmobiliario states that both of these will cost you 0.5 percent of the total value of the house.

Before you can legally live in your property, there is yet another fee to pay – the license for the first occupation or Tasa de licencia de primera ocupación, which according to Expansión Inmobiliario will cost you 0.5 to 1 percent of the total budget.

You will also need to pay the Impuesto de Actos Jurídicos Documentados por declaración de obra nueva, which is the fee you need to pay to declare a new building.  This will reportedly cost you 1.5 percent of the cost of your new build.

Finally, you will have to apply for a habitation certificate or cédula de habitabilidad, which shows that the property is habitable. For this, you will need to pay fees to connect your water and electricity. According to, this could cost you around €200 to connect each utility.

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For members


How to avoid paying Spain’s ITP tax when buying a second-hand home

When buying a second hand property in Spain, you'll have to pay a property transfer tax, known as ITP. There are, however, some circumstances and (legal) ways in which you can avoid paying it.

How to avoid paying Spain's ITP tax when buying a second-hand home

When buying a used property in Spain (as opposed to a new one) you have to pay the Impuesto de Transmisiones Patrimoniales (property transfer tax) known as ITP. 

ITP is the acronym used to describe the tax that applies to the transfer of ownership of a second-hand property in Spain. It varies across Spain’s regions, and generally ranges from 4 percent to 10 percent depending where your property is.

READ ALSO: Ten acronyms you need to know to buy a property in Spain

When buying a house in Spain, you will either pay VAT (IVA) or the ITP. Put very simply, if you are buying a new property, you will pay IVA, whereas if you buy a second-hand home, you will pay ITP.

You will not, however, and should not, pay both.

According to Spanish consumer watchdog OCU, the ITP on second-hand property purchases by region are:

Andalusia: 6 percent
Aragón: 8 to 10 percent
Asturias: 8 percent
Balearic Islands: 8 percent
Canary Islands: 5 percent
Cantabria: 8 to 10 percent
Castilla y León: 8 to 10 percent
Castilla-La Mancha: 6 percent
Catalonia: 10 percent
Valencia – 10 percent
Extremadura: 7 percent
Galicia: 7 percent
Madrid: 6 percent
Murcia: 8 percent
Navarra: 5 percent
Basque Country: 4 percent
La Rioja: 7 percent 

How to (legally) avoid paying it

However, Spanish law does allow for certain circumstances in which a buyer can avoid paying this extra tax, or at the very least appeal it. If a mortgage is not required for the purchase, it is possible to sign a private contract between the two parties that bypasses the ITP. In order for it to be legitimate before important third parties, such as the Spanish tax agency (Agencia Tributaria), it must be put in a public deed before a notary.

The time limit for the Agencia Tributaria to determine the ITP and collect the tax is four years from the date of the transfer, which begins as soon as the contract is presented to the notary.

Let’s take an example.

Say you bought a second-hand flat in Galicia and signed a private contract with the seller which was not notarised and not registered in the Land Registry. The time limit for the Spanish tax authorities (four years) to demand payment of the ITP had expired for reasons such as the fact that the buyer had the house in his name in the Cadastre and had been paying the IBI for more than four years, i.e. he was the owner of the property and had paid la Comunidad expenses since purchasing the property.

READ ALSO: ‘La comunidad’: What property owners in Spain need to know about homeowners’ associations

This shows that there was a handover of the property by the seller without a deed.

In this case, the four year period has passed owing to the fact that it began from the time the private contract was registered in a public register (ie, the Cadastre).

What if the seller dies?

Another example could be if the seller dies without having made the private contract of sale public.

Now the seller’s heirs or children, who let’s say died more than five years ago, must appear at the notary’s office, but the four year period for the ITP payment has already passed.

The buyer, however, may wonder whether or not he or she must pay the ITP for the purchase of the apartment, considering that it was bought through a private contract over 10 years ago.

In Spain, for the purposes of the legal statute of limitations, the date of the private contract is presumed to be that of its submission for payment, even if it is an earlier date.

“In this case, the death of one of the sellers is a fact that allows us to attest to the sale, since the deceased seller could not sign the contract once they had died. Therefore, since the death occurred more than five years ago, the ITP can be considered expired. Why? Because the four-year limitation period provided for in article 66 of General Tax Law 58/2003 has elapsed,” Salvador Salcedo, lawyer at Atico Jurídico, told Spanish property site Idealista. 

Tasación Pericial Contradictoria (TPC)

If none of the above conditions apply to you, you are still able to appeal the ITP payment throughout something called a Tasación Pericial Contradictoria, known as a TPC. This can be a relatively successful way to avoid or reduce the payment because assessments that are appealed can be (and often are) annulled.

By appealing, you would be challenging the the valuation of the property done by the regional or local government. If the appeal is upheld, you will not pay any additional taxes to that paid in the past for ITP or inheritance.

With a TCP, however, you can often obtain a reduction of the ITP.

Is it ever worth paying IVA rather than ITP?

In some cases, it could be worth your while to pay IVA rather than ITP on a second-hand property – even if the total amount you’d pay on IVA would be higher in one lump sum.

If there is the option to choose, some more entrepreneurial buyers may want to pay rather IVA, not the ITP, because they could then deduct that cost and pass it onto customers. In this example, it would likely be of interest to someone buying a property in order to rent it out.

Make sure to seek legal advice from an expert before attempting to not pay ITP tax on a Spanish property.