41 guides on real estate in European countries

A detailed overview of the European real estate market, including data for the last 5 years. Find out where it is still profitable to invest in real estate and where prices have grown dramatically. Download a guide on the country of your interest and learn all the nuances.

How to buy a property in Europe

Each country sets the rules for purchasing real estate, including limitations for foreign buyers. However, the procedural milestones are pretty much the same, and the process usually takes 3—4 months to complete.

1

Selection of a property

First, investors search for properties that align with their requirements and financial plans. They can benefit from on-site tours in the chosen country or examine real estate online through photos, pre-recorded videos, and live streaming.

Immigrant Invest provides a database of real estate in the EU countries that grant residency or citizenship to property owners.

2

Conclusion of a preliminary agreement

Following the selection, the buyer and seller establish a preliminary agreement or a promise of sale. This agreement outlines the sale’s terms and price, ensuring the property is reserved for the buyer.

3

Deposit payment

A deposit, typically 10% of the purchase price, is paid post-preliminary agreement. Usually, a notary safeguards this deposit until the completion of the final deed while verifying the property’s debt-free status and the seller’s rightful ownership.

4

Obtainment of permission to purchase a property, if required

In some countries like Hungary or Malta, non-EU citizens must get permission from the Land Registry or another authorised service to buy a property. It may only be possible through a local lawyer acting by proxy on the buyer’s behalf.

5

Signing of a sale and purchase agreement

The final sale deed is signed in the presence of a notary, officially transferring the property to the buyer.

6

Final payments and property registration

The buyer transfers the remaining property cost to the seller and pays notary fees, taxes, and stamp duty. Additional expenses commonly account for 5—10% of the property value.

The sale and purchase agreement must be certified with the Public Registry, securing the buyer’s ownership registration. At this point, a local lawyer’s assistance might be required.

7

Obtaining a residence permit or citizenship

Some countries provide property owners with residence permits or citizenship if the purchased real estate meets specified value, area, and type requirements. For example, Spain grants residence permits for buying a residential or commercial property worth at least €500,000. In Turkey, it’s possible to get a passport if a property costs over $400,000.

The property owners submit a residency application and documents proving their ownership rights to the Migration Service and pass Due Diligence. They become residents or citizens within several months.

Frequently asked questions

  • Which real estate is best to invest in?

    The most important factor when selecting real estate for investment is liquidity — the ability to resell or lease out the property quickly.

    Several factors affect the liquidity of housing:

    1. Location — a residential project’s location in an area with limited space for further development enhances its liquidity.

    2. Number of rooms — studios and one-bedroom apartments are usually the easiest to sell due to their cost.

    3. Limited supply — fewer available lots typically command higher values, making it easier to find buyers for housing in isolated clusters.

    4. Developer — properties from reliable developers with a good reputation are easier to sell or lease.

    5. Collaborations — partnerships of developers with world brands, architects, and designers increase demand.

  • How to invest in real estate?

    Dive into real estate investment with these strategic approaches:

    1. Buy and Hold: Acquire properties to rent them out, earning rental income and benefiting from long-term value appreciation.

    2. Fix and Flip: Purchase undervalued properties needing repairs, renovate them, and sell them for a profit.

    3. Vacation Rentals: Invest in properties in popular tourist areas and rent them out short-term via platforms like Airbnb or Vrbo.

    4. Pre-construction Investment: Buy into properties at the foundation stage and sell after construction completion when values typically rise by up to 40%.

    Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs): Invest in real estate indirectly by buying shares in REITs, enjoying dividends without direct property management.

  • Are real estate funds good investments?

    Real estate funds can be a valuable addition to an investment portfolio, offering the potential for income generation and capital appreciation, along with the added benefits of professional management and diversification. Furthermore, some countries offer residence permits in exchange for investment in real estate funds. For instance, to acquire residency in Hungary, one must purchase real estate fund certificates worth €250,000.

  • What type of property is most profitable?

    Determining the most profitable property type depends on several factors, including market trends, location, and your investment approach.

    Here are key property types known for their potential profitability:

    1. Multi-family residential properties. Apartments and multi-family buildings can provide a steady income stream from multiple tenants. Economies of scale in management and maintenance can also enhance profitability.

    2. Commercial real estate. Office buildings, retail spaces, and industrial properties often offer higher yields compared to residential real estate, partly due to longer lease agreements. However, they may require more significant initial investments and can be more sensitive to economic downturns.

    3. Vacation rentals. Properties in popular tourist destinations can yield high rental income, especially if managed efficiently and marketed well on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo. Their profitability can be seasonal and requires active management.

  • Which country is best for real estate investment?

    The optimal country for real estate investment is one where your property not only provides a personal retreat abroad but also acts as a backup plan, generates passive income, appreciates in value, and can be a stepping stone towards obtaining residency or second citizenship. All this is possible in several countries across the globe:

    • in Europe — Hungary, Malta, Spain, Greece, and Cyprus;

    • in the Middle East — the UAE, Turkey, and Egypt;

    • and in the Caribbean — Grenada, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica.

  • Where is the cheapest property in Europe?

    The search for Europe’s most affordable properties reveals unique opportunities, such as Italy’s initiative offering houses in abandoned villages for as little as €1. To qualify for this remarkable deal, buyers must submit a renovation plan within 2 to 6 months, depending on the village, and cover all renovation expenses, notary fees, and transfer costs.

    Beyond Italy, Eastern European nations like Moldova, North Macedonia, and others boast some of the continent’s lowest property prices, with averages ranging from €50,000 to €100,000.

    However, it’s crucial to understand that low cost doesn’t necessarily equate to high value. For investments that blend affordability with potential for appreciation and liquidity, countries with burgeoning economies and real estate markets, such as Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Hungary, and Spain, offer promising prospects.

  • Can you buy property in Europe as a US citizen?

    Yes, US citizens are eligible to purchase property in Europe, though regulations differ markedly across countries. The European Union doesn’t have unified rules preventing non-EU citizens from buying property; rather, each nation sets its own guidelines for real estate transactions and foreign ownership.

    For instance, in Greece and Cyprus, US citizens may buy property without special restrictions, whereas in Hungary, acquiring a permit is a prerequisite. Additionally, certain countries have specific zones where foreign property purchases are more accessible: in Malta, for example, more than 10 Special Designated Areas exist where US citizens can invest in real estate without needing permits, while outside these areas, permits are required.