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Buy a flat in Barcelona

How Much Savings You Need When Buying an Apartment in Barcelona in 2020

couple with moving boxes
Written by Daniella

The following question is the most important question anyone should ask himself before buying an apartment in Barcelona: How much should I have in my savings account? Buying a home will probably be the biggest investment during your life, so you should know beforehand how much you should have saved to pay for a property, besides getting a mortgage.

This article will dive into the percentages you need to take into account when buying an apartment, as well as other expenses that go with this type of purchase, but if you are in a hurry to know the amount you need to have saved when buying a property, please click on this link.

Should I buy an apartment in 2020 post Covid-19?

In an earlier article on the estimated prices of properties in 2020, we already mentioned that prices were expected to drop. Besides this fact, according to data collected by INE (the Spanish Office for National Statistics) in July of this year, the annual variation is the lowest since 2015, climbing to 3.2%.

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We can therefore already conclude that 2020 is a good time to check out the real estate market and look for opportunities. And above all, this is especially the case if you were already actively searching for an apartment or looking to invest in property in order to rent it out later.

At the same time the demand for rental apartments will rise, and this is due to the economic crisis caused by the Corona virus. And what can only be a logic consequence of higher demands on the rental market? That the demand for buying apartments will eventually fall.

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How much savings do I need to get a mortgage?

Although there are a few banks that grant the full 100% of the mortgage, in general banks only grant up to 80% of the mortgage. This means you must have saved at least 20% in order for you to be able to pay that part yourself.

But… when you buy a new home, it’s not just the 20% you pay for in that initial phase, there are also other costs associated with buying a property. So don’t count your blessings just yet, because these costs could add up to another 15% of the property price.

So if you are wondering how much savings you need to buy an apartment, the final answer is 35% of the property price.

This is only a recommendation, however, as the final percentage can vary, depending on whether it concerns a new or second-hand property. Above all, it obviously depends on the price of the property.

📌 Be aware that the 35% is a recommendation, and that the final percentage varies on the property being new or used. Besides that, there is the price of the property itself.
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Photo via Freepik

Taxes and other expenses when buying property

If you want to become the owner of a property you must pay 12-15% extra on the value of the property. Taxes and other expenses are paid for by the new owner after signing the purchasing contract. Only then can the new property owner move into the new home.

Be aware that some expenses may vary, according to the region where you buy the property. In this article by ShBarcelona we will only take the percentages in Catalonia into account.

Taxes when buying property

Paying the taxes applicable to property purchases are an important part of your final invoice, but pay attention, because there is a difference in taxes when it comes to buying a new or used home.

Taxes when buying a new home

  • VAT: 10% of the property value
  • AJD (Impuesto de Actos Jurídicos Documentados = Stamp Duty) which is 1.5% when it concerns new buildings in Catalonia.

Taxes when buying a used home

  • ITP (Impuesto de Transmisión Patrimonial = Property Transfer Tax) which is 10% of the property value in Catalonia.

If the value of the property exceeds 1,000,000 euros, we recommend going to the Agència Tributària de Catalunya’s website for specific information.

Other expenses buying an apartment in Barcelona

Who pays for all the other expenses that are related to property purchases? There have been major changes in Spain since the new mortgage law of 2019 was approved. This new law states that the buyer only has to pay for the property valuation and the copies of the deeds that the buyer wants.

As a result, the bank must pay for the notary, the administrative agency and registry costs, which ultimately has a positive effect on the amount of savings the buyer needs to have.

Property valuation

The first thing a new buyer pays for when buying an apartment is the property valuation.

The property valuation will be executed by an independent property valuator, who values the property at a certain price, and the bank then grants the buyer a mortgage, depending on this valuation.

The valuation takes various elements of a home into account, like the general state the building is in, the installations inside the property, the location of the property, and the number of square metres. The price of a property valuation varies between 200 and 600 euros.

couple with moving boxes

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via Pexels

Opening fee

This fee is a commission that the bank applies directly to the amount of the mortgage granted. The fee can be up to 2% of the final price of the property.


These expenses are for the notary taking care of the public record of the real estate loan. As mentioned before, after the passing of the new law this means the bank will pay for these expenses.

Property Registry

Once the notary has signed the deed, this document must be added to the public property registry. The registering itself also has its price, but as from June 2019 the bank will take care of this.

Administration fees

The bank usually outsources the property registration process to a gestoria (an administration office), but with new legislation, these costs can no longer be charged to the buyer.

couple with papers and computer

Photo via Freepik

Opening fees + taxes + other expenses 

So if you want to buy an apartment, but you are not sure on how much you should have saved to pay for all the extra costs that come with buying property, it is best to have a reserve of at least 35% of the property price.  

Our last piece of advice would be to always use the knowledge of real estate professionals to help you through the entire process of buying (or selling) a property. ShBarcelona’s team of experts is ready to assist you at all times.

If you want to contact our team, please visit the apartment for sale in Barcelona section on our website. If you are a property owner and want to get the best return on investment, contact us here.

Want to buy an apartment? Visit ShBarcelona

Do you still have questions on taxes or other expenses?
Please leave your comment below.


About the author


Daniella enjoys everything the city of Barcelona has to offer. She writes, translates and loves discovering Catalonia and its beautiful nature.

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