Cheapest countries to buy a house in Europe: discover the cheapest places in Europe to invest in real estate and get your property for a bargain
Are you considering moving or retiring in Europe? Or Maybe you just want a cheap summer house in the old continent? Discover below the cheapest countries to buy property in Europe, featuring the advantages and disadvantages of every place.
Buying a House in Europe: Overview
Owning a house in a foreign country is something that many people dream of. What if I tell you you can buy a house in some of the most idyllic locations in Europe, and pay just a fraction of what a similar house would cost in the US or in the UK?
That’s exactly what we are going to discuss in this post. We will list not only the cheapest places to buy a house in Europe, but also why these places are cheap, and when you should actually consider doing that. We will also list some prices per square meter in different countries in the continent.
So, let’s start with our list of the cheapest countries to buy a house in Europe.
Cheapest Countries to Buy a House in Europe
We are going to start our list of the cheapest countries to buy a house with Bulgaria. Bulgaria is one of the most affordable countries in the European Union and the one with the lowest income in the bloc. This reflects in a lower than average cost of living for European standards and also pretty cheap properties, may they be apartments or houses.
Property prices in Bulgaria are pretty low all over the country, in the countryside, by the seaside, and even if you want to live in the capital Sofia. In fact, Sofia is one of the cheapest capitals in Europe, with price per square meters going from 1000 to 2000 dollars. A bit farther away from the center, it is not uncommon to find properties below 1000 USD per square meter.
If you go to the inner parts of the country, prices are even lower. In the city of Veliko Tarnovo, you can get an apartment for as low as 500 dollars per square meter. Houses in smaller towns are even cheaper.
If you are planning to stay in Bulgaria for more than 3 months in each 6 months and you are not an EU citizen, Bulgaria does offer a visa for retirees. Moreover, Bulgaria is a great place to conduct business. It has some of the lowest income tax rates in the European Union, and getting a residence permit for that purpose is also an option.
Latvia is the best option if you want to buy a cheap house and live in Northern Europe, as most of the countries in this list are actually in Southern Europe. This Baltic State is a full European Union member. It is also a member of the Schengen area, and currently uses the euro common currency.
Despite its location in Northern Europe, Latvia does offer some of the cheapest houses and apartments in the whole of Europe. This surprisingly applies even to the capital Riga. In fact Riga is one of the cheapest European Union capitals to buy property, together with Sofia, Bulgaria.
You can find properties in Riga just outside the city center for as low as 1500 dollars per square meter. It is not uncommon to find some offers at 1000 USD per square meter, and even below that if the property needs renovations.
Outside of Riga prices are even lower. There is no real lower limit to this. In the city of Daugavpils in Eastern Latvia for example, it is pretty common to find apartments with a price per square meter as low as 300 US dollars.
Latvia is one of the only full EU members part of the Schengen area, that offer a residence permit for real estate investors. This option might be a good one to consider if you are not an EU citizen. To qualify for this type of residence permit you need to make an investment of at least 250.000 euros in real estate in the country. It can be one or several properties, you can live in one of them and rent the rest, for example.
Romania is one of my favorite countries in Europe, for its delicious cuisine, quaint provincial towns of Transylvania, and overall low cost of living.
In Romania, you will also find some of the cheapest real estate in Europe. The capital Bucharest is a quite large city and has a domestic migration from other parts of Romania, making of it relatively pricy for Eastern Europe prices. If you go further away from the capital into smaller cities and towns, it is where you can find the real gems in terms of cost-benefit analysis.
In cities like Iasi or Timisoara, you can find a number of apartments ranging in the 1000 to 1500 dollars per square meter range. If you go to the countryside you can find decent houses for as low as 500 dollars per square meter built, and plus some land on top of that included in the price.
The downside of Romania is that there are is no residence permits for passive residents. If you are an EU citizen, you can just move to Romania without any restrictions. Those from outside the EU would need to find another reason to be able to get a residence permit, opening a company for example.
You can check properties in Romania in Olx.ro.
If you like Romania and you want to go even further and look for even cheaper prices, you might want to consider Moldova. Moldova is a neighboring country to the East of Romania, they share a number of cultural elements including the language. Properties in Moldova are oftentimes cheaper than in Romania, but there are much less options as the country is much smaller.
Ukraine is one of the most underrated countries in Europe in terms of almost everything, including cost of living, nightlife, eating out and of course, buying property.
Before we talk about property prices in Ukraine, it is important to point out that Ukraine offers one of the most varied types of locations in which you can potentially buy a cheap house or apartment. Ukraine offers great options if you want to live in a large city, like Kharkov or Lviv. The country also has great coastal towns on the Black sea. Finally, it has many mid-sized cities and even some picturesque small towns on the Carpathian mountains. Definitely worth considering.
Prices vary depending on the location. The capital Kyiv however, I wouldn’t consider it as cheap, especially in the city center. Everywhere else apart from Kyiv is that you can find plenty of bargains.
In cities like Lviv or Kharkov, which have a good transport infrastructure with fast trains and international airports, prices are very attractive. An apartment in the city center of one of these cities will usually cost around 1000 dollars per square meter. If you go further from the center, you can find a lot of offers for around 500 to 600 dollars.
Houses in towns are even cheaper. It is not uncommon to find cheap houses in decent conditions in most regions of Ukraine for prices from 10000 to 20000 US dollars. That doesn’t apply to Kyiv and its surroundings, though.
Albania is another pretty underrated country in Europe, but unlike Ukraine it is much smaller in both territorial terms, but also in its population. Albania is pretty similar to Ukraine in one aspect though, its property prices.
The country of Albania is blessed by nature but also has a turbulent past. That translates into some of the cheapest properties with some of the best views in the continent.
The capital Tirana is by far the most expensive location in the country, and properties can range from 1000 to 2000 US dollar per square meter usually.
In the coast of Albania is where you will find some of the greatest cheap houses and apartments in Europe. In the city of Sarandë for example, it is quite common to find apartments with a view to the sea for below 1000 US dollars per square meter.
Getting a residence permit to live in Albania is quite easy. US citizens can stay up to one year in Albania visa free. Therefore Albania can be the perfect location for a summer house for example. You might want to check our other post on how to move to Albania for more information.
Serbia is a country that I often talk about, because it offers so many advantages for any one considering moving abroad. Among the key advantages, a low cost of living, a pleasant weather and an easy residence permit process are worth mentioning. Apart from that, properties in almost all parts of Serbia are quite affordable, and that is why the country made it to the list.
Real estate prices in Serbia follow a similar trend in countries like Albania, Romania or Ukraine. The capital Belgrade has considered higher prices than the rest of the country. But even driving just a few miles outside of Belgrade, you will see a very significant drop in property prices.
In cities like Novi Sad, which has a great location and decent infrastructure, you have a good offer of apartments in the 1000 to 1500 US dollars per square meter range. If you want to buy a house in countryside Serbia, prices are pretty good, even in the vicinity of cities. You can easily find houses in good conditions for as low as 500 dollars per square meter.
Portugal is a country that has gained huge popularity among expats and retirees in the past decades. This has made most of it’s real estate market prices to skyrocket. But then one could ask, why is Portugal in this list then?
The truth is that, while Portugal property prices did increase significantly in the past decades, most of this price movements happened in some parts of the country. While Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve are quite pricy at the moment, Portugal still offers some great bargains.
Most of the bargains in Portugal are located in the countryside, where you can buy a house or a even a small farm for a quite cheap price. In some districts like Bragança or Castelo Branco, along the border with Spain you can find houses under 500 USD per square meter of constructed area, oftentimes with a nice garden. However, these properties tend to be either rural or in quite small towns.
Moreover, it is also relatively easy to move to Portugal, even if you don’t want to work there and even if you are not an EU citizen. You can check our post on how to move to Portugal for more details about it. But to put it short, there is a retirement visa in Portugal, and the income requirements are the lowest in Western Europe for the countries which do offer a residence permit for retirees.
Turkey is another country that almost didn’t make it to the list, mostly because just a small part of its territory is in fact in the European continent. But there are undeniable facts making of Turkey a great option if you want to buy a house abroad for ridiculously low prices.
First of all, the purchase power and the cost of living in Turkey are much lower than in most European nations. Secondly, the Turkish lira, which is the country’s national currency, has been losing value versus the dollar and the euro pretty constantly during the past years.
There are many interesting areas to consider in Turkey, in the European part of the country as well as in the Asian part of it. You can choose between its beautiful countryside, mountainous regions, the Black Sea coast and the Mediterranean coast.
In the city of Edirne, in the European part of Turkey, right next to the border with Greece and Bulgaria, prices are quite amazing. You can find properties for around 600 to 700 USD per square meter in pretty central areas. In Tekirdag, a coastal city also in the European side of Turkey, prices are even cheaper. You can find an apartment in good conditions with a view to the sea for as low as 350 USD per square meter. What can you buy for 350 dollars for 10 square feet in the US?
Getting a resident permit to live in your property in Turkey is also quite affordable and relatively simple. Turkey also is one of the most visa free access countries in the world. So coming as a tourist and spending some months per year in your property shouldn’t be a problem regardless of your citizenship.
Moreover, if you are interested in Turkey you should also definitely check Northern Cyprus. Half of Cyprus is currently a disputed region between the Turkish Republic of the Northern Cyprus, and the usual Cyprus, the EU member we are used to hear about. The Turkish side of Cyprus is much cheaper than the independent side, which is part of the EU.
You can check properties in Turkey on this website.
Checklist Before Buying a House in Europe
Now that we have reviewed some of the best and cheapest countries to buy a house in Europe, let’s analyze some of main things you should consider before you actually want to buy a house in Europe.
One of the first things you should consider is the documentation. This includes the documentation of the property itself, but also the current regulations in the country regarding ownership of real estate.
Checking the property documentation and understanding the local regulations is critical for the success of your property acquisition. In many countries, especially those which broke up after the fall of communism, property registries might be confusing. Make sure the house you want to buy have only one owner, and that is properly registered and up-to-date to the currently legislation in the country.
Some houses might not have the right paperwork. They might have heirs who long ago emigrated from the country in question, but still have legal rights to the property.
Finally, make sure you can that type of property as an individual in that country. Some countries might restrict foreigners to buy some type of properties. This is pretty common in many countries for rural properties, for example.
Visa and Residence Permits
Another thing you should consider is the current visa and residence permit regulation in the country. Are you allowed to visit the country without a visa? Are you allowed to get a residence permit in the country without too much hassle?
This might be crucial for your decision, especially if you are still considering several countries. You should definitely choose the one which will allow you to enjoy your property for as long as you want with the lowest level of red tape possible.
The last aspect I will point out in this post is the ongoing costs of owning a property. This can vary greatly, depending on the type of property and its location. But among them, we can mention, utilities, taxes, repairs and security.