Bigger house outside the city: necessity in Spain today

Bigger house outside the city becomes a hit with the prospect of further confinement as well as the shift to remote working.

Search for bigger house outside the city is a fast growing trend in Spain, as reported by real estate agencies and property portals. The prospect of another few months of confinement as well as the shift to remote working are driving the market for more spacious properties in more remote areas. 

During the 99 days of Spain’s lockdown between March 15 and June 21, most people’s lives unfolded within the confines of their homes, many of which failed to meet the new dual demands of family life and teleworking. 

According to Ferran Font, director of analysis at the real estate site, while price is still the main priority when buying or renting a property, the importance given to other features has changed. “During and after the confinement, 60% of people felt they lacked something in their home – 35%, a balcony and 20%, a garden,” he says. 

Another indication that more people are keen to get out of the city is that removal companies are experiencing intense activity after business was suspended during lockdown.  “Right now there is an incredible stampede at the inter-provincial level,” says Santiago Pérez, head of the removal company, Portes 365 Días. “Many people know that they will not be working from now until the end of the year and, as they perhaps have a house in a small town somewhere, they are going in droves to sit out whatever is coming our way.” 

According to the online real estate platform Idealista, the percentage of searches corresponding to property in provincial capitals fell to 38.8% during the 14 weeks of lockdown, compared to 44.1% in January. However, once the state of alarm was over, this rose again to 40.4%. “There is one essential stipulation right now and that is that the home has a balcony. More than 80% are looking for that,” says Lola Alcover, secretary of the General Council of the Official Associations of Real Estate Agents of Spain (COAPI). “There is also far greater interest in properties with a garden and land plot in the commuter belt, but far enough out that there is no population pressure. 

Anaïs López, director of communications at the Fotocasa real estate platform, says that while searches for homes with a balcony or garden have increased by 40% compared to pre-pandemic figures, searches for country estates have risen 46%; villas, 36%; and townhouses, 24%.  Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, searches for apartments have fallen by 14%.  “The change in tendencies is particularly noticeable with regard to the rental market,” she adds. “If, before the pandemic, 34% of those in the market were seeking to rent, that’s now 39% – the same as those wanting to buy [also 39%]. And, during the months of confinement and deescalation, 42% of those renting were looking for another property.”