When looking to purchase overseas, cost of living is always a key consideration for buyers, but increasingly it has become the main driver, alongside hours of sunshine. Rates of taxation have long different widely between countries, but rates of inflation are from equal in 2023, and energy bills often a lot different too.
Not only do you need to consider the outright cost of the property that you're purchasing (along with ongoing maintenance costs etc.), but you also need to consider your long-term expenditure in order to plan your budget accordingly.
Cost of living indexes generally take into account the average cost of rental accommodation, price of utilities, internet, shopping basket staples and some typical entertainment costs like a pint of beer. Using findings from expatistan.com, one of the largest cost-of-living database, we look at how what you can buy in the five most affordably ranked European countries that are also popular relocation destinations for British home hunters.
For the record, the most expensive places to live in Europe are Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK – it’s no coincidence that some of the biggest buyers in the countries below hail from these places.
Still appearing in our annual Top Ten Places to Buy Abroad indexes, Bulgaria is the 56th most expensive place to live. Offering beaches, ski, rural retreats or city investments – all at a lower price point than most southern European locations – Bulgaria is still an emerging market with potential. Find plenty of rural homes in areas such as Veliko Tarnova for less than £20k.
Despite being very fashionable this year, Greece is the 37th most affordable place, but you might need to pay more to buy a property than in Bulgaria. In the past year the average search budget has been just under £250k (which just happens to be around the same amount you must pay to get a golden visa). Crete is the most popular island for its great choice of homes for all budgets.
Top for property searches of all kinds on aplaceinthesun.com, Spain is a couple of places behind Greece for cost-of-living affordability. Low council taxes, more affor Spain dable train fares and very modest prices for coffee, wine or locally grown food are often mentioned by those moving to Spain. Most of you are looking to spend around £150k in or behind the southern costas or in the Canary Islands. Want to know how far £83k goes on the Costa Blanca? Read Karl and Vicky’s story.
Perhaps a little surprising that this beautiful Balkan country is deemed a little more expensive than Spain? But joining the eurozone, as it did this year, always tends to push up prices a little. Croatia is not in our Top Ten index but has a lot of great advantages, from its stunning 6,278 km coastline to its numerous islands and tourist-magnet coastal cities. Browse what’s for sale.
One place behind Croatia, Portugal is generally viewed as an affordable place to live, assuming you avoid fashionable Lisbon these days. Low taxes and a slow pace of life make Portugal a top three destination for Britons in search of a home in the sun, although in you’ll probably have to pay more to buy one: the typical budget for property searches is around £340,000. See what you can buy here.