Thinking of buying a property in  Spain but can’t make sense of the property types? Don’t know your ‘pisos’ from your ‘adosados’? Here’s some of the common types of property in Spain

Villas/chalets (detached houses)

When Spaniards refer to a villa or chalet, they may well mean a luxury property but it’s often used to mean a detached house, something relatively rare in Spain compared to other countries. Chalets are generally found on the outskirts of towns or cities or in the countryside, whereas villas are more common on the coast.

For many moving to Spain, though, buying their own villa is the dream.

Adosados and pareados (Terraced and semi-detached houses)

Townhouses, terraced and semi-detached housing in Spain are generally referred to as casas adosadas. These are slightly more private than living in an apartment block (more on that below) but often much more affordable than buying a chalet or villa. Many casas adosadas have shared facilities such as parking, gardens, or pools, but that means you won’t have the privacy of a chalet or villa.

Pisos and apartamentos (flats and apartments)

If you live in Spain, the chances are you live in a flat. These are homes located in a block that share a front door, foyer, and lift (if you’re lucky) and maybe other common areas in the building such as a roof terrace.

Flats are by far the most common type of housing in Spain. According to figures from Fotocasa, 7 out of 10 people in Spain live in an apartment, a figure that rises to 9/10 in cities. Flats also usually have lower running and maintenance costs than a chalet or adosado, due to the size, although you will have to join la comunidad and pitch in with some communal costs.

Spaniards tend to use piso and apartamento interchangeably, but technically speaking a piso refers to a person’s main home whereas an apartamento is second home.

Dúplex (Two-floor apartment)

Duplexes generally occupy the two highest floors of a building and they share a staircase and lift with the other neighbours. They’re often centrally located yet offer more space and privacy than other types of flats, with the main disadvantage being that they tend to have steep spiral staircases connecting the two floors.

Urbanizaciones (estates and urbanisations)

Residential estates (known as urbanizaciones) are basically housing developments consisting of a combination of flats, townhouses and villas.

These are incredibly popular in the touristy areas on the Spanish coasts (particularly the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol) and are well-known attracting clusters of foreigners. In the Costa Blanca area, for example, it’s not uncommon to find entire urbanizaciones made up of Germans or Swedes or UK nationals.

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