Many Spanish tenants pay rent that is above the reasonable limit

by Lorraine Williamson
cost of rent

65% of two-bedroom rental apartments in Spain have an average price that is higher than the maximum recommended retail price for middle-income families. That means a large group of renters have to spend more than 30% of their income on rent, according to data from Idealista.

The real estate portal has used the data of the INE on household income in each provincial capital and with these figures calculates the maximum amount that a family could pay in rent, called “reasonable rent” by the portal.

Regarding the sample of apartments, the portal took into account that, according to INE data, Spanish households consist of an average of 2.4 people. “So a two-bedroom apartment would be the minimum home for a family,” says Idealista.

Maximum rental amount

According to the platform, the maximum rent amount for a family with an average income should be €767 per month. But, as Idealista reports, the average price of a two-bedroom apartment in the fourth quarter of 2023 was €899 per month.

There is a great shortage of apartments in several places. For example, in Málaga and Palma. There, only 6% of the two-bedroom apartments are economically ‘suitable’ for an average-income family.

Reasonable vs. current rents

Although in Málaga a rent of up to €755 per month is reasonable, the current market price of a two-bedroom apartment is €1,028. In Palma, ‘reasonable price’ goes up to €913, while the market price is €1,419.

Cogesa Expats

In Alicante and Barcelona, 14% of apartments fall below the ‘reasonable limit’, followed by Valencia (17%), San Sebastian (22%), Madrid (24%) and Bilbao (29%).


The general consensus is that a family should not spend more than 30% of its income on rent. Because incomes are not the same in all Spanish regions and capitals, the reasonable limit differs

In Barcelona, the difference between the ‘reasonable price’ and the market price is greatest, with a market rent that is €589 more expensive than the reasonable rent. Then Palma (€506 more expensive), Valencia (€343), Madrid (€325) and Malaga (€272), according to Idealista.

Percentage of income on rent

In the cities where the differences between the reasonable price and the market price are larger, families pay a higher percentage of their income on rent. Barcelona takes the cake, families spend 44% of their income on rent. Palma (43%), Valencia (39%), Malaga (38%) and Madrid (37%) also have very high rates.

Also read: The escalating rental crisis is a breeding ground for scammers

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