Flat or house?

Spain: A nation where two-thirds of population are flat-dwellers


More Spaniards live in apartments than anyone else in Europe, but why do they seem to favour flats over houses?


Spain has the highest proportion of flat-dwellers in Europe and the lowest percentage of people living in houses, according to a new report by Eurostat.

The latest figures on European housing reveal that two out of three Spaniards live in a flat, while in countries such as Britain, Croatia and Norway, more than 80 percent of people live in houses.

Flats are also a popular form of accommodation in Latvia - where 65 percent of the population live in a flat - Lithuania (58 percent) and Greece (57 percent).

But unlike their flat-dwelling European cousins, most Spaniards own their own homes - 80 percent own while only 20 percent rent. They just prefer those homes to be flats and not houses.

Six out of ten Europeans live in houses, so why do Spaniards prefer flats? One answer is that Spain is a heavily urbanized society:

"There is a geographic factor in why many Spaniards choose to live in apartments," Brian Mosbeux, property analyst at Moving2Madrid, told The Local.

"Spain has a large territory but a lot of it is empty and the population concentrates in specific areas, with city growth often engulfing the periphery."

The construction of large apartment blocks boomed under Francisco Franco, who ruled Spain between 1939 and 1975. Many Spaniards moved to the cities from the countryside in the hope of greater opportunities.

"Cities have a lot to offer: job offers and opportunities are perceived as much better, ultimately whether or not to live in an apartment is a choice Spaniards make," Mosbeux added.

Mosbeux also pointed out that there is a cultural factor involved in the fact that Spaniards often prefer to live in a smaller space.

"The Spanish lifestyle limits the need for a lot of space or a house, a commodity highly prized in colder northern Europe," he told The Local.

So Spaniards spend more time outdoors enjoying the good climate than nestled indoors like northern Europeans, giving them less need of a sprawling house.

And while it may seem that many Spaniards live on top of each other, packed into crowded apartment blocks, Spain is actually one of the least overcrowded countries in Europe, according to the report.

They must be doing something right: Spaniards are happy with their living conditions, rating them, on average, 7.3 out of 10.


 
 

 

Do you like living in a flat? What are some of the pros and cons?

Would you prefer to live in a house?

Describe where you live.

Comments

José said…
Hi Graham,

I live in a flat, but it wasn’t easy because the flat was very expensive in Madrid. If you wanted to live in a house in Madrid, you need a lot of money. You can live in a house in your village, like me that I have a house in my village. I would live in Scotland in a house like yours because it’s beautiful, apart from the winter. If I couldn’t live in Scotland, I would live in my village, but I can’t work there. This is the reason because I live in Madrid. I hate pollution, I like the fresh air.

My flat is common, nice to me, with enough space and it’s near to underground, bus and train. I have a market, a department store and a lot of shop, which is essential to my wife.

See you.
Graham said…
Hi José,

I'm at my parents' - the house where I grew up. Here I don't hear neighbours having a shower or the footsteps children running around. I wake up to the sparrows chattering and the crows cawing.

It's so much better not having a wall, ceiling or floor between you and your neighbours.


I live in a flat, but it wasn’t easy because flats are very expensive in Madrid. If you want to live in a house in Madrid, you need a lot of money. You can live in a house in your village, like me. ... This is the reason why I live in Madrid.

My flat is an average one, in my opinion nice, with enough space and it’s near the underground, bus and train. I have a market, a department store and a lot of shops, which is essential for my wife.

Eva Mercado said…
As far as I concern, I prefer houses rather than a flat. I grew up in another country and the majority live in houses, I used to live in a big house, so, when I arrived to Madrid I was shocked because the houses are too expensive and a good flat too. At the moment, I live in a flat, and I can hear all kind of sounds from my neighbours. During my first night in my flat, my neighbour came back too late to his flat, which is in front of mine , and when he opened the door, I got really scared because I heard like he was entering to mine. I think that the most difficult part of adaptation here is that topic.
Graham said…
Hi Eva,

I know what you mean. I grew up in a house with a garden. There were no dividing walls, ceilings or floors. My neighbours in every flat that I have lived in Madrid have caused me a lot of stress. And the thing is, if you complain, the problem gets even worse.


As far as I am concerned, I prefer houses rather than flats / I prefer houses to flats. I grew up in another country where the majority live in houses, I used to live in a big house, so, when I arrived in Madrid I was shocked because the houses are too expensive and good flats too. At the moment, I live in a flat, and I can hear all kind of sounds from my neighbours. During my first night in my flat, my neighbour came back really late to his flat, which is in front of mine , and when he opened the door, I got really scared because it seemed he was entering mine. I think that the most difficult part of adapting to here is that.

angelnisoruiz said…
Hi, Graham

The article looks very interesting. There's a very different lifestyle from Spain to another countries in Europe...

I think living in a flat is the easiest way to live in a city like Madrid. All things that you need is close to you, and you mustn't drive a car for nothing because public transport in Madrid is as well as you need for your life. Spaniards used to buy a flat several decades ago, but I think it will be changed by new generation. Anyway, sharing a flat is cheaper than paying a mortgage for the same apartment.

I prefer to live in a renting flat because my life could change in serveral years, and today I need 1 bedroom, but I don't know how many bedrooms I would use in the future, how many childrens would I have...

Thanks for your blog, and see you soon.

Graham said…
Hi Ángel,

It's good to see you on the blog. I normally respond to comments a bit sooner than this, but I've been ill (and without much energy) the whole week.


The article looks very interesting. There's a very different lifestyle between Spain and other countries in Europe...

... Everything you need is close to you, and you don't have to drive a car for anything because public transport in Madrid is as good as you need for your life. Spaniards used to buy a flat several decades ago, but I think it will change with the new generation. Anyway, sharing a flat is cheaper than paying a mortgage for the same apartment.

I prefer to live in a rented flat because my life could change in a few years, and today I need one bedroom, but I don't know how many bedrooms I would use in the future, how many children I would have...