Buying a Villa in France or Spain, Which is Best?

Buying a Villa in France or Spain, Which is Best?

Moving abroad can be all sunshine (literally) and rainbows, exciting adventures and opening doors to new possibilities but such a move comes with big implications and a lot of information to take in along the way. There are many different aspects to look at when planning to emigrate to a new country. The main ones are climate, legal costs, cost of living, languages, schools and naturellement the quality of life.

If you are familiar with our website and the French property system, you'll be aware of the buying process, the various legal costs as well as taxes. If not, visit our article entitled property taxes, purchase fees and stamp duty and also check out our comprehensive guide to buying a property in one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, if not the world.

The cost of living is essential to consider when deciding to move abroad and it's important to compare not just the buying costs of the property but also how much you will need to live a comfortable lifestyle while taking into consideration fluctuations of exchange rates, especially for pensioners living abroad permanently. Spain is currently cheaper to live when looking at meals and drinks at restaurants, the price of food shopping all the way through to transport. This is also evident when it comes to utility prices which is a major topic in the world.

The good news is there are opportunities to earn income from your property overseas; for example from renting it for the holiday season, run a gite/guest house activity or B&B which is both very common and popular in France. While in Spain it's possible to invest in a new build flat or villa, with a 10 year guarantee and rental income in almost guaranteed sunshine.

Climate is always the beacon which attracts people to move abroad. Spain and France both boast very attractive climates but Spain has more sunshine days per year than France. However, it all depends on the regions you live in; Costa Blanca and Costa Calida, for example, are blessed with hot bright summers and warm winters. Spain is said to have, on average, 300 days of sunshine annually and up to 325 days in some areas.

Spain with 89M tourists visiting in 2019 is the 2nd most visited country in the world after France (90M), ahead of the USA, so it tends to be lively on the various coastal ressorts along the Mediterranean sea. Spain is easy to fly to and from with daily flights from all European countries and especially from the UK. Spain offers the possibility to gain access to working or golden visas which can be interesting for non EU-residents who are able to contribute to the economy.

People in France tend to work an annual average of 1,514 hours, compared to Spain which is higher at an annual average of 1,687 hours. However, one of the most well-known pieces of information about Spain is the famous siesta! This isn’t always an actual nap, it is more an extended lunch break in which people use to run errands or meet with friends for lunch, away from the midday heat and open later for business.

Whereas France is more traditional, perhaps more tranquil and relaxing, depending which of the 13 regions you decided to adopt. France offers easy access for those families who prefer to drive or retirees who don't seek the Spanish sunshine and heat, by ferry, Eurostar and car being conveniently situated across the channel. Car enthusiasts and drivers will confirm the unforgettable memories of driving around the countryside and through France, often on routes nationales (A roads) thanks to an excellent road and motorway network. If you're into cars and France, you must check the Napoléon Route, a classic gravity-defying 325km road that's worth the extra hours getting to your final destination.

This piece wouldn't be complete without talking about food and drinks ... We, like many francophiles, think French food is the best in the world. The choice of dishes, the ingredients mostly grown locally, the markets, the regional specialities and delicacies, then there's the wine, a whole different subject altogether! Don't get us wrong, we enjoy Spanish food, the fantastic colors and smells, light tapas on a summer evening, speciality ham or a local wine with a tasty sea food paella. It's always a lovely change and a plate full if sunshine in the summer months, but our hearts (et estomacs) are French with a chilled rosé at this time of the year!

For those who can't make up their mind between France and Spain, there's an island that swaps nationalities between both! Pheasant Island changes countries twice a year.  Still unsure? Tell us about your plans and sign up to gain access to your client area full of great tips and resources.


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