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Canary Islands

Spain - Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are part of Spain, but located off the northwest cost of the African continent. They have a year round subtropical climate and have been attracting expats for many years, mainly due to the low cost of living. The Canary Islands offers a very laidback lifestyle and most businesses will shut in the afternoon for siesta.

Properties (propriedad) across all the islands in the group are proving to be very popular with investors and as well as people making the move to the islands for good, there are many who are simply choosing to buy a second home (vivienda secundaria) there to use for their own holidays and to rent out to others.


The expats (expatriados) who move to Tenerife are divided into those who reside in towns on the coast and those who prefer the rural lifestyle inland. The island has a low crime rate although the tourist areas will attract petty criminals.

This part of Spain still has fairly low property prices, although in recent years they have risen quite a bit. Those looking for a new home on the island will find that a property on the coast will cost around twice as much as a similar property further inland. If you prefer to be away from the coast you will find a number of old properties in need of some renovation work which are very reasonably priced. Old farmhouses (fincas) are much in demand.

Tenerife has a number of organisations that can help you to find a property and offer advice if it is needed. The Tenerife Association of Estate Agents can be contacted via their website at www.estateagentstenerife.com but expats can also contact the Institute of Foreign Property Owners. Rental properties are always available but these tend to be expensive and are aimed more at the tourist market.

Those who have limited Spanish language skills will find that the work opportunities available to them are also limited. There are opportunities for English speakers within the tourist sector, but if you have other ideas then Spanish is a necessity. If you are looking for a job then you should also be aware that salaries are generally lower than in other parts of Europe, but this is matched by a reasonably low cost of living. Those who want to start their own business will find that the paperwork necessary is very time-consuming. Setting up your own business will involve trips to various government offices in order to get the necessary permits and deal with all the regulations as much of this cannot be sorted out by post.

Education is another consideration for those who have families. International schools can prove to be expensive – several thousand Euros per child per year – and Spanish schools will only have Spanish speaking teachers, so the affect of this will need to be considered in advance.

Gran Canaria

The island of Gran Canaria attracts thousands of tourists each year and is very popular with expats. The capital of the island is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and is a town with over 500 years of history. Expats from all over the world have settled there and it now has a truly multi-cultural community. Las Palmas has everything that the residents need for daily life and the airport there has daily flights to and from most European destinations.

The climate is cool for the location of the island with an average temperature in summer of just 23°C, although winter temperatures are not much lower, making the island an attractive destination for those expats who want to get away from the colder weather in Northern Europe.

Most properties on Gran Canaria are sold through estate agents (agente de la propriedad inmobiliara), although there are some that are sold privately. If you hear of a house that is being sold in this way then ensure that you have good legal representation as many people have been let down. There are many estate agents on the island, and there are several newspapers which are published weekly and which have many property listings pages. Prices that are applied to houses for sale are not necessarily a reflection of their true worth and most are overpriced, so there is always room for negotiation, although the island no longer has a wealth of very cheap property, due to the influx of expats in recent years. Allow approximately 10% extra on top of the cost of a house for fees and taxes (impuestos).


This island is closest to the coastline of Africa at just 100km away from Morocco. It is the second biggest island in the Canaries and attracts thousands of water sports enthusiasts every year. The island is particularly popular with those who are buying holiday homes to rent out for part of the year but there is a growing community of expats who have chosen to make their home there permanently.

Fuerteventura is one of the least densely populated of the Canary Islands, so even when the tourist season is at its height it is still a quieter place to be than either Tenerife or Gran Canaria. Properties on the island range from older traditional style houses (casa de epoca) to new build apartments (pisos). There is some development of new complexes (complejo residencial) on the island, although these are aimed mainly at the second home market.

La Gomera

La Gomera is the second smallest of the Canary Islands and one of the quietest where tourism is concerned, although it is an attractive destination for those who like nature, as it is filled with forests, parks and mountains. Despite its proximity to the Equator, the average temperatures are just 22°C, thanks to the trade winds. The beaches at La Cueva and Avalos are amongst the best on the island.

There is not as much new development on La Gomera as there is on some of the other islands, but it is possible to buy a new property in some areas. The more traditional Spanish style house is popular with buyers and it is still possible to buy one fairly cheaply if you are prepared to do a little renovation work.

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