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Easiest Countries To Buy a House in Europe in 2023

Discover The Easiest Countries To Buy a House in Europe[2024 Update]

Are you looking for the easiest country to buy a house in Europe?

If you’re planning to live abroad, particularly in Europe, you’re in luck because the real estate market in this place is expat friendly. You can purchase property in some European countries without dealing with the complexities of the filing the documents and other requirements. According to reports, home ownership rates in Europe are lower than other countries. For instance, Germany has 49.1% and Switzerland 42.2%. These countries have the lowest rates of home-ownership in Europe.

Germany and Switzerland aren’t your only options.

So, what are the easiest countries to buy property as a foreigner? Expats can buy property in Europe from these countries:

Whenever you have questions like “Where can I buy a house for 50k in Europe,” “Best European country to buy a house,” or “Which European countries allow foreigners to buy property,” we can help you. In this blog post, we will help you with your real estate investments. Today, we’ll talk about the easiest European country to buy property.

Europe’s a dream for many, and buying property there can be a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the culture. I snagged a charming flat in Lisbon a few years back, and it’s been amazing. But it’s not all sunshine and sangria. Research is key – the process can be complex, and there are taxes and legalities to navigate. Think long-term too. Are you planning to live there full-time, or is it more of a vacation getaway? Weighing the pros and cons will help you decide if Europe’s your property bullseye.

Are you planning to explore Europe? Read our article: Cheapest Countries in Europe To Buy a Motorcycle

Easiest Countries To Buy a House in Europe #1: Italy

smiling tourist traveling in Italy

Italy is frequently mentioned among the easiest countries to buy property as a foreigner. This appeal stems from the diversity it offers potential buyers and investors. While its main city’s real estate market commands premium prices, there are regions where houses start at incredibly attractive rates.

Reasons Why Italy Is One of The Easiest Countries to Buy a House in Europe

Intrigued by the possibility of finding a home for under €50k in Europe? Here are some of the reasons why Italy attracts expats and foreigners who are looking for houses in Europe.

  • Lower Property Costs: Italy boasts regions with significantly lower property values than other parts of Europe. In certain areas, you can find houses starting at €600 per square meter, making real estate investment highly accessible, especially considering the potential returns ([where can I buy a house for 50k in Europe]).

  • Open Market: Unlike some countries, Italy generally doesn’t restrict foreign property ownership. As long as you are a citizen of an EU country or a country with a reciprocal agreement with Italy, you can freely purchase property.

Average House Price in Italy

The average property price in February 2024 was €1,994 per square meter. The prices have an increase of 1.63% compared to February 2023. The house prices can vary significantly depending on the region. For example, the price for a house for sale was highest in the Trentino Alto Adige region, costing €3,293 per square meter. In the Calabria region, it only costs €930 per square meter.

Some of the common types of residential properties in Italy:

  • Farmhouses

  • Villas

  • Palazzos

  • Apartments

Pros: Expats will have ffordable housing, can make a foreign investment with a possible rental income, areas are close to rich lifestyle, open property market for foreign ownership.

Cons: Bureaucracy in the buying process, potential renovation costs, challenges in remote management, lower rental income compared to other European capitals, and various taxes.

Legal Requirements for Expats Buying a House in Italy

Is Italy the best European country to buy a house? Check out the requirements needed to buy property in this European real estate market:

  • Citizenship: First, you need to be an EU/EEA citizen. Expats with citizenship from countries with reciprocity agreements with Italy are also allowed. There are minimal restrictions for these groups.

  • Restrictions for some nationalities: If you’re not a citizen of Italy, you will probably face additional scrutiny or limitations. It’s best to consult a lawyer to see if any special requirements apply to your nationality.

  • General Documents: Whatever your nationality is, you will have to provide standard documents like a passport, proof of address, and financial information during the purchase process.

  • Tax Identification Number: Expats will need an Italian tax identification number (codice fiscale) when making an investment property. Real estate agents require this to complete the process of purchasing real estate.

Steps for Buying a House in Italy

These are the procedures that foreigners must take in order to purchase a home in Italy:

  1. Consider a mortgage: Foreigners are able to obtain loans from most Italian institutions. Before you begin, it would be wise to find out just how much they are ready to lend.

  2. Hire a Realtor: A realtor can guide you through the Italian real estate market and assist you in locating a house that meets your requirements.

  3. Select a Property and Make an Offer: You have the option to make an offer once you’ve located a property you like.

  4. Obtain a Sale Contract: You must obtain a sale contract following the acceptance of your offer.

  5. Sign the Agreement and Pay the Taxes: Signing the agreement and making any required tax payments is the last step.

Timeline: The entire process can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months, depending on various factors like the complexity of legal checks and the efficiency of different parties involved.

Also read: Best Banks in Italy for International Students

Easiest Countries To Buy a House in Europe #2: Greece

Typical house structure in Greece

Greece is slowly becoming popular in the European real estate market. Many of the urban areas in this European Union have had significant price increases in recent years (14.14% annually in 2023). But first time owners, can still have chances for securing attractive investments, especially in less develop locations.

Reasons why Greece is One of The Easiest Country to Buy a House in Europe

Here are other reasons why Greece is among the easiest European countries to buy property:

  • Path to European Residency: Purchasing a residential property or a house in Greece offers a route to European residency for non-EU residents through its popular Golden Visa program. This allows expats and real estate buyers to obtain Greek residency by investing in real estate.

  • Tax-Friendly Environment: Greece provides a tax-friendly environment through its non-domicile tax regime. The Greece Non-Dom Tax regime allows non-EU citizens who qualify for the Golden Visa scheme by buying commercial or residential property to pay a flat annual income tax fee of €100,000 on foreign earnings.

  • Affordable and Diverse Property Options: Greece is known for its affordable lifestyle. It’s an appealing destination for exapts. Housing, dining out, and daily expenses are much lower than in the United States and many other European countries. Moreover, Greek real estate offers different property types, from traditional village houses to modern apartments and luxurious villas.

Average House Prices

The average property price in Greece is under €1,600 per square meter in major metropolitan areas. The property price depends on proximity to the sea, infrastructure, and transport accessibility. Over the last three years, real estate prices have risen by 30-32% in Athens, by 21-25% in Thessaloniki, and by 9-14% in other major cities. The average price increase in the Greek property market equals 10-16% over the three-year period.

As for the types of houses, here are some common ones in Greece:

  • Traditional Greek Houses

  • City House (Oikos)

  • Farmhouse (Khôraios Oikos)

  • Villa

  • Apartments

Pros: Open market for foreign buyers, transparent purchasing process, potential for residency permits, strong investment potential, diverse location options.

Cons: Rising house prices, seasonal fluctuations in rental income, importance of due diligence, lower rental yields compared to some Western European capitals, potential renovation costs for older or rural properties.

Requirements for Expats Buying a House in Greece

Greece isn’t necessarily the cheapest real estate in Europe. However, this country offers a relatively easy or straightforward process for foreigners to buy property. To give you an idea, here’s a breakdown of the general requirements:

  • Citizenship: The process is most straightforward for EU/EEA citizens and those from countries with reciprocal agreements with Greece. There are minimal restrictions for these groups.

  • Open Market: Unlike some countries, Greece generally allows property ownership for most foreign nationalities. This makes Greece a good option for those looking to expand their investment portfolio or considering a move to Europe from outside the EU.

  • Tax Identification Number: Expats who are purchasing property with an average house price need to present a Greek Tax Identification Number (AFM) to complete the process.

  • Financial Documentation: Make sure to prepare documents or proof of funds to ensure you can finance the purchase.

  • No Location Restrictions: Foreigners generally have the freedom to purchase property throughout Greece. This allows you to choose between the allure of western european cities or the charm of islands and more rural areas, depending on your budget and preferences (remember, average house price can vary significantly by location).

Steps for Buying a House in Greece

Here are the steps you would need to follow when buying a house in Greece as a foreigner:

  1. Prepare: Scouting for houses that fit your interests and budget should be your first step in preparation.

  2. Create a Bank Account: Prior to traveling to Greece, you must create a bank account.

  3. Submit an offer: Once you’ve located a property you like, submit an offer.

  4. Complete Your Finances: Complete your mortgage and finances as soon as your offer is approved.

  5. Sign the Agreement and Register the Property: Signing the agreement and registering the property is the last step.

Timeline: This process can take 2-4 months, depending on the complexity of legalities and the efficiency of those involved

Related article: Best And Cheapest Places To Buy a House in the Netherlands

Easiest Countries To Buy a House in Europe: Croatia

old town houses in Croatia

Croatia is currently becoming one of the best countries to buy property in Europe. Years of 2023 to 2024 is the best time for investment because of Croatia’s political and economic stability, profitable growth, and ideal location along the Adriatic coast. Even though real estate prices can vary depending on location (think charming coastal towns versus the capital city), there are still opportunities throughout the country that be attractive to a wider range of buyers compared to some other European destinations.

Is Croatia the easiest country to buy a house? Well, this country has a simple process for foreigners to purchase property. It’s one of the best strong contenders for the title of easiest country to buy a house in Europe.

Reasons Why Expats Should Buy a House in Croatia

To know more, here are some of the reasons why you must purchase real estate investments in this country:

  • Positive Ownership Laws for EU nationals: Since Croatia joined the EU in 2013, acquiring property has become easier for EU nationals. Without the Ministry of Justice’s approval, citizens of EU/EEA member states as well as legal entities from those nations may purchase property rights in accordance with the same regulations as Croatian citizens and entities having their headquarters in Croatia.

  • Appealing Real Estate Market: Investors from all over the world are actively drawn to Croatia’s real estate market. 75% of transactions in 2021 required foreign funding. For individuals looking for real estate in an area with a nice climate, the market offers houses on islands in the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas, close to the shore, and near the water.

  • Strong International Demand: There is a lot of interest in Croatian real estate, especially from buyers in Germany, Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Switzerland. A house near the water is often more desirable to buyers.

Average House Prices

In Croatia, the average asking price for a flat in 2023 jumped by 21% from 2022 to €3,223 per square meter and that of a house by 40% to €2,606. The average price of new homes in Croatia rose by 4.1% to €2,219 per square meter in the first half of 2023. House prices in Zagreb are about €2,623 per square meter. Meanwhile, it was €1,916 per square meter in other settlements. The prices can vary depending on your chosen location, property size, and whether or not the property has been recently renovated.

As for the types of houses, here are some common ones in Croatia:

  • Wooden House

  • Tinel Vacation Houses

  • Villa Swallow

  • Gumno House

  • Issa Megaron

  • Walnut Tree, House, and Terrace

Pros: Easy and transparent buying process, open market for foreign ownership, investment potential in tourism and economy, EU benefits, diverse location options, potential for residency permits or citizenship.

Cons: Price fluctuations, limited rental income outside peak seasons, potential Ministry of Justice approval requirement for some buyers, renovation costs for older properties, developing real estate market.

Requirements for Expats and Foreigners Buying Property in Croatia

Croatia can be the cheapest country to buy a house in Europe for you. But aside from that, it also offers a relatively easy process for foreigners. To know more about it, here are the basic requirements for expats or foreigners when they purchase properties in major cities of Croatia:

  • Citizenship: The process is most straightforward for EU/EEA citizens and those from countries with reciprocal agreements with Croatia. There are minimal restrictions for these groups.

  • Reciprocity Check: For non residents of EU, it’s crucial to confirm Croatia allows property ownership by foreigners from your specific country. A lawyer can help you with this.

  • Ministry of Justice Approval (Some Cases): Expats and investors for foreign trade need to get approval from the Ministry of Justice before they can complete the purchase. This requirement applies to non-EU/EEA real estate or buyers or properties in specific locations (e.g., near strategic infrastructure and rich history places, or historic buildings).

  • Tax Identification Number: Expats and other foreign investors need a Croatian tax identification number (OIB) to complete the transaction.

  • Financial Documentation: The law requires expats and foreigners to show proof of funds to ensure you can finance the purchase.

Steps for Buying a House in Croatia

The following are the procedures that a foreigner purchasing a home in Croatia must follow:

  1. Find the Perfect Property: Look for homes that fit your requirements using internet tools like Njuškalo, Oglasnik.hr, and Index Oglasi.

  2. Examine the Property Records: To make sure there aren’t any duplicate owners of the property, confirm the property records with the State Geodetic Administration (Katastar).

  3. Draft the Contract: After locating the ideal property and confirming its documentation, draft the purchase agreement.

  4. Request Permission from the Ministry of Justice: In order to complete the investment, if you are not a citizen of the European Union, you must obtain permission from the Ministry of Justice.

  5. Register with the Land Registry: Following clearance, register your acquisition with the Land Registry.

Timeline: Croatia’s property purchase timeline can range from 3-4 months to 4-6 months, potentially longer with complexities.

Related article: Cheapest Cars in Europe in 2023

Easiest Countries To Buy a House in Europe: Portugal

architecture in Porto, Portugal

The real estate market of Portugal is currently getting the attention of foreign investors, particularly those looking for low property prices in relaxed lifestyle places in Western and Eastern Europe. The country has different types of properties.

Some regions in Portugal, especially those near the sand beaches, have high property prices. However, there are still places for budget-minded non resident buyers. Regions like Nisa, Gavião, and Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo are the best places with low property prices per square meter compared to the national average. The affordability in those areas makes Portugal a strong contender for the title of the cheapest country to buy a house in Europe for many.

Portugal actively welcomes foreign property ownership, making it a breeze for foreigners to buy property compared to some other European nations. Recent statistics solidify this ease. Foreign buyers made over 50% of all property purchases in Portugal in 2023.

Is this the cheapest country to buy property? Here are other reasons why many foreigners buy a house in Portugal:

Why Buy A House in Portugal?

  • Low Cost of Living: Portugal has one of the lowest costs of living in Western Europe, with inexpensive housing, food, and other essentials. Because of this, it is an ideal choice for people wanting to extend their retirement funds or buy a vacation property. A person typically spends €200 per month on necessities like groceries and meals.

  • Easy Property Purchase Process: Purchasing property in Portugal is easy and uncomplicated process. The government has removed all barriers to foreign ownership of real estate, making it simple for foreigners to buy property in the nation. Many foreign investors and retirees have been drawn to Portugal by this scheme to purchase real estate.

Average House Prices

The average cost of houses in Portugal is about €1,500 per square meter. However, keep in mind that it’s just an average. For instance, in Lisbon, the average price of an apartment or house is €2,100 per square meter.

As for the types of houses, here are some common ones in Portugal:

  • Single Room (um quarto)

  • Flat/Apartment (um apartamento)

  • Detached House (uma vivenda)

  • Semi-Detached Houses (casas geminadas)

  • Farm (uma quinta)

Pros: Affordable properties, open market for foreigners, residency programs like the “golden visa,” tax benefits for retirees, high quality of life, and a rich cultural heritage.

Cons: Rising property prices, bureaucratic hurdles, limited rental yields outside peak seasons, potential for inheriting debts, and challenges in remote property management.

Requirements for Buying Property in Portugal

Portugal can be the ideal and cheapest property in Europe for some expats. This country also offers an easy process for foreigners, making it perhaps the easiest European country to buy property.

Here are the requirements for expats or foreigners:

  • Minimal Conditions: Portugal is open to foreign property ownership. That’s why this country is an attractive option for expats looking to stay and buy a property in Europe.

  • Documents: Do you want to stay in a vibrant city in Portugal? You must prepare to present a passport, proof of address, and financial documents to show you can make the purchase.

  • Tax Identification Number (NIF): Expats planning to buy a house in Portugal are required to get Portuguese tax identification number to complete the transaction.

  • Residency Not Required: You don’t need residency in Portugal to purchase property. You can buy properties on sandy beaches or the largest city in Portugal like most EU citizens.

Steps on Buying a House in Portugal

Here are some steps you can follow when buying a house in Portugal as a foreigner:

  1. Get a Portuguese Tax Identification Number (NIF): Obtain a NIF number by visiting your nearest Finanças (Portuguese tax office) and applying for it in person. This is necessary to buy a property or get a mortgage in Portugal.

  2. Choose a Mortgage: Based on your financial status and budget, select a mortgage that would be a good fit for you. After that, if you have a budget in mind, you can obtain an offer in principle.

  3. Hire an Independent Solicitor: This expert will assist with contract verification and ensure that the land is surveyed. After that is finished, you can provide the vendor with an offer.

  4. Sign the Sales Contract: Once you’ve made your decision, you’ll sign the Contrato de Promessa de Compra e Venda with the notary. This is usually when you pay for your deposit, which ranges from 1% – 10% of the purchase price.

Timeline: Expect the process to take 2-3 months, depending on complexities.

Related article: Which Country Is Best To Live in: Germany, Austria or Switzerland?

Easiest Countries To Buy a House in Europe: Serbia

street view in Belgrade, Serbia

Portugal is becoming a well-established market for foreign investors. But if you’re into cheap and average property price, Serbia can be you rideal choice. This country is a potential contender for the title of easiest European country to buy property.

Serbia’s real estate market is growing and offers exciting opportunities, especially for cash buyers. Statistics show that 70% of apartment purchases in Serbia are made in cash.

Reasons why you should buy a house in Serbia

Why is paying in cash becoming a trend in Serbia? Check out these reasons:

  • No Minimum Investment Requirement for Residency: Serbia’s program does not impose a minimum investment requirement, in contrast to the majority of other countries that provide investment visas through real estate investment. This implies that foreigners can satisfy the investment requirements for residence by purchasing real estate in Serbia for any sum. Foreign investors find it simpler to participate in the Serbian real estate market thanks to this freedom.

  • Reasonably Low Average Home costs: Compared to the US and other European countries, Serbia has much lower average home costs. Due to their affordability, Americans and other foreign people can purchase residential buildings and other real estate at more reasonable costs. For overseas investors, this is a promising market because the prices are very inexpensive when compared to Western Europe.

  • Cash-Friendly Market: The marjority of the market operates on cash purchases. This trend benefits cash buyers who can move through the process more swiftly. While the housing market in Portugal caters to cash buyers, mortgages are still available for expats and foreign investors. Explore financing options if needed.

Average House Prices

In the second half of 2023, house prices in Serbia were RSD 207,103. Prices ranged from 48,344 dinars per square meter in Bujanovac to 495,981 dinars in the Belgrade municipality of Savski Venac.

The median price of an apartment for sale is €2,339, and the median price of a house is €731.

As for the types of houses, Serbia has a diverse range of traditional homes in different parts of the country. The types of houses include:

  • Apartments

  • Detached Houses

  • Villas

  • Manor Houses

Pros: Affordable property prices, emerging real estate market, open market for foreigners, simpler buying process, and a cash-friendly market.

Cons: Developing market with lower liquidity, limited rental market outside major cities, currency fluctuations, potential renovation costs for older properties, and limited information in English on the property market.

Requirements for Expats When Buying a House in Serbia

Here are the requirements for buying a house in Serbia as an expat or foreigner:

  • Types of Property: Foreign individuals not conducting business in Serbia can acquire apartments or residential buildings, just like Serbian citizens. However, they cannot acquire other types of land unless it’s directly related to a residence or residential building.

  • No Minimum Investment Threshold: Serbia’s program has no minimum investment threshold, meaning foreigners can buy real estate in Serbia at any amount to fulfill the investment criteria for residency.

  • Documentation: A written confirmation of current employment issued by the employer, turnover according to the bank account for the last 12 months, a copy of the work permit from the passport, a credit bureau report from the territory of Serbia, as well as from abroad, an extract from the real estate list of the competent cadastre, are required.

  • Additional Documents: Passport, certificate of marital status, an account number in a bank in Serbia, from which the funds will be transferred, and documentary proof of the origin of funds.

Steps on Buying a House in Serbia

To buy a house in Serbia as a foreigner, you should follow these simplified steps:

  1. Find Your Dream Home: Start by browsing popular Serbian real estate websites like Nekretnine or 4zida to search for properties that match your preferences.

  2. Hire a Real Estate Agent: Consider engaging a Serbian real estate agent who can help you find the best property for your needs and guide you through the buying process.

  3. Check Property Ownership: Ensure the property’s ownership and history are clear by hiring a competent Serbian lawyer to examine the title deed and confirm there are no legal issues.

  4. Sign the Purchase Agreement: Negotiate the purchase price and terms, then have a purchase agreement drafted with the guidance of your lawyer, including legal considerations and a timeline for the transaction.

  5. Make the Down Payment: Formalize the purchase by signing the agreement. If you’re not in Serbia, you’ll need a Power of Attorney for a representative to complete the purchase on your behalf, including paying a down payment of 10 to 20 percent of the sale price.

Timeline: Buying a house in Serbia as a foreigner involves legal checks, negotiation, payment, and registration and takes approximately 91 days to complete.

Are you choosing Italy as your new home country? Read our article: How Much Does a House Cost in Italy?

Final Thoughts About The Easiest Country to Buy a House In Europe

In conclusion, Europe offers different of options for expats and foreigners looking to buy property, with countries like Italy, Greece, Croatia, Portugal, and Serbia standing out as the best choices. Each country has unique benefits, from affordable prices to transparent buying processes and potential residency programs.

If you plan on buying property in Europe, be sure to do a research, know the local market, and factor in your long-term goals. Whether you’re looking for a vacation home, an investment property, or a place to retire, Europe has much to offer.

For further assistance with your real estate endeavors in Europe or to explore more topics related to property investment, feel free to reach out for a free consultation. Subscribe to our email or explore our blogs regarding staying in Europe.

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