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The Cost of Living in Spain

Martha Lott

Written by

8th Sep 2021 (Last updated on 27th Oct 2022) 5 minute read

The average cost of living in Spain is €914.63 (£790.88) per month. This includes rent, utilities, food and drink for 1 person living in an apartment outside of the city centre. If you’re looking to move into one of the cities instead, this could increase to €1,048.75 (£906.86).

This cost can vary and will depend on where you live and the lifestyle you lead. For example, living in more popular areas, renting a large home and dining out every evening will cost you more.

Before booking your removal to Spain, you'll need to know how much everyday life will cost in your new home. In this article, we explore the everyday costs of living in Spain compared to the UK, helping you prepare before your international removal.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Is it Cheaper to Live in Spain or the UK?
  2. The Cost of Buying a House in Spain
  3. The Cost of Renting in Spain
  4. Utility Costs in Spain
  5. Average Food Costs
  6. Where to Live in Spain
  7. Where to Work
  8. Public Transportation
  9. Healthcare
  10. Childcare

Is it Cheaper to Live in Spain or the UK?

According to Numbeo, the average cost of living in Spain is 19.70% lower than in the UK. Rent is a major factor contributing to this, as the average monthly rent is 30.10% lower in Spain than in Britain.

Even when you compare major cities in Spain to similar cities in the UK, lower living costs are still very apparent. For example, stats from Numbeo highlight that rent prices in Madrid are 53.49% lower than in London, whilst in Barcelona, they’re 53.02% lower.

This cheaper way of living is part of the reason why around 407,628 British expats made the move to Spain.

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The Cost of Buying a House in Spain

According to SpainHouses.net, the average cost of flats and houses in Spain in 2022 is €530,949 (£459,276.47). As of June 2022, the average house price in the UK is £286,397 (€331,096.41).

Rental and purchase prices vary widely depending on which part of Spain you decide to live in. Below, we’ve used the same dataset to list an example of this range across the country:

LocationAverage Purchase PriceAverage Price per m2

Spain

€530,949

€1,812

Madrid

€725,334

€2,901

Barcelona

€753,536

€3,207

Alicante

€449,735

€1,519

Malaga

€820,753

€3,283

Valencia

€350,356

€1,645

Seville

€355,491

€1,693

The Cost of Renting in Spain

According to Numbeo, the average monthly rent in Spain is 30.10% lower than in the United Kingdom.

Using the same set of data, we discovered the average rent for various property types in Spain and in Britain for you to compare:

AccommodationAverage Monthly Rent in SpainAverage Monthly Rent in the UK
1-bed apartment in the city€738.96£884.49
1-bed apartment outside the city€604.84£664.72
3-bed apartment in the city€1,252.21£1,600.71
3-bed apartment outside the city€935.48£1,182.69

Utility Costs in Spain

The average monthly cost of utilities in Spain is €159.79 (£138.17). This includes the cost of electricity, heating, cooling, water, rubbish collection and internet for 1 person.

Again, the cost of utilities varies widely based on the area of Spain that you choose to live in. We give an idea of this below using data from Numbeo:

LocationAverage Monthly Utility Costs

Spain

€123.59
Madrid€151.31
Barcelona€169.80
Alicante€113.28
San Sebastian€154.27
Malaga€117.33
Valencia€129.20
Seville€115.37

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Average Food Costs

The day-to-day costs of purchasing food from supermarkets or restaurants are often overlooked. However, if you consider the total amount you might spend on food throughout a month, it will likely reach around €150+.

To give you an idea of how much you might expect to spend on food in Spain, we’ve highlighted a few common costs from Numbeo below:

ItemAverage Cost

Milk 1ltr

€0.81

Loaf of Bread

€1.03

12 Eggs

€2.06

Cheese 1kg

€10.17

Chicken Fillets 1kg

€6.29

Apples 1kg

€1.79

Bananas 1kg

€1.63

Water 1.5ltr bottle

€0.64

Bottle of Mid-Range Wine

€5.00

Spanish Beer 0.5ltr

€0.91

Inexpensive Restaurant Meal for 1

€12.00

McDonalds Meal for 1

€8.00

Regular Cappuccino

€1.71

Spanish Beer 0.5ltr Draught

€2.50

Coke/Pepsi 0.33ltr

€1.81

Where to Live in Spain

According to our research, the top 7 locations to live in Spain for British expats are:

  1. Madrid
  2. Barcelona
  3. Alicante
  4. Malaga
  5. San Sebastian
  6. Valencia
  7. Seville

However, when looking at the figures for the average property prices and utility costs, Alicante and Seville are the cheapest places to live in the country.

In comparison, the cost of buying a property in Malaga is over 43% more than in Saville. Similarly, the monthly cost of basic utilities in Alicante is 73% lower than in San Sebastian.

For more information, read the best places to live in Spain.

Where to Work

In 2020, the Basque Country recorded the highest annual wage in Spain according to data from Statista. The second and third highest paid regions were the Community of Madrid and Navarre. The Canary Islands and Extremadura proved to be some of the lowest paid regions.

According to Numbeo, the average monthly net salary after tax in Spain is €1,659.51 (£1,435.25). In the UK, it’s calculated at £2,277.77 (€2,633.87).

Understanding how much you will be able to earn is vital during your move to Spain. As the salaries are lower in Spain, you need to ensure that the lower-earning potential doesn’t put you at a disadvantage. Despite the lower living costs, if the average salary is significantly less, then your quality of life may not improve at all.

According to Salary Explorer, the highest paid jobs in Spain are:

  1. Surgeon/Doctors: €4,880 - €14,700 average monthly salary
  2. Judges: €4,130 - €12,400 average monthly salary
  3. Lawyers: €3,380 - €10,100 average monthly salary
  4. Bank Managers: €3,190 - €9,490 average monthly salary
  5. Chief Executive Officers: €3,010 - €8,910 average monthly salary

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Public Transportation

If you require public transport, know that Spain is well-known for its excellent public transportation system.

You’ll have the option of choosing between a variety of types, such as metro systems, intercity buses, taxis and high-speed trains.

You’ll be able to purchase one-way tickets or monthly passes for the buses and metro systems. If you choose the monthly pass, you may get additional discounts, depending on the city you’re in.

Healthcare

There is a public healthcare system in Spain that is free for citizens and permanent residents. If you’re employed in the country, your employer will be the one to pay your social security contribution from your salary.

However, you may still be required to pay for some treatments, depending on what you require and which region you live in.

Many British expats choose to pay for private health insurance to ensure more coverage. This will typically cost around€30 - €50 a month if you’re aged between 20 - 30 years old.

Childcare

In Spain, Primary Schools start at the age of 6, meaning childcare can be essential for many British expats living in the country.

There are state nurseries available for children aged 3 - 5, costing approximately €250 a month. However, to register your children here, you will need to be registered as a permanent resident and have a social security number.

If you do not meet these requirements, there are also a variety of private nurseries and daycare centres to choose from in the major cities. These are often more expensive, with the average cost in Madrid currently at €450 - €500 per month.

You can also opt for a professional nanny or au pair, but these may require additional costs such as extra lodging and food.

Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having guest authored for many property websites, Martha now researches and writes articles for everything moving house related, from remortgages to conveyancing costs.

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