Galicia offers a wide variety of homes, but in fact the vast majority of these can be categorised as follows and almost all Galician houses are constructed using one of two construction methods.
Certain types of properties come with a premium to the price, and each construction method brings advantages and also typical problems, so it’s good to know your Galician property types when searching.
Traditional stone (farm)houses
These are prevalent in the countryside but also make up much of the older parts of small towns. They are Galicia’s traditional housing stock and can provide charm, character and stunning locations.
Unfortunately they have often been modernised in a cheap and ugly way and traditional materials such as rough cut slate roofs and chestnut beams are often ripped out to be replaced by modern concrete equivalents.
This term equates to manor houses and everything bigger in the UK, but the style is very different. These are big, rambling, stone built buildings that often have courtyards, private chapels and prime sites.
They range from architectural gems in prime positions to large, brooding, lightless moderately fortified buildings, and they are invariably disproportionately expensive to buy (because there is a cache to owning a pazo) and tricky (not least because extra historical building permissions are involved) to restore.
This was a particular style prevalent in the 1920s and 1930s when there was quite a lot of money coming into already affluent Galicia, often from Galician expatriates in Latin America.
Casas Indianas are almost always stone built but are square with multiple beam widths and central supports instead of the normal single beam width rectangular shape of stone built farmhouses.
They are typically 4 storeys high and feature a rectangular turret of some sort. These were often made using high quality woods and stonework and extensive art deco decoration and detailing is also common. As with pazos, these come with a premium attached to the price.
Even small town centres are predominantly composed of 4-6 storey apartment blocks. Older ones, especially in town centres, may be stone built but the majority (and anything over 5 storeys) are concrete framed.
Modern apartments are often (but by no means always) built to high standards but often come with hefty building charges, especially if an apartment complex has a communal pool, garden or sports facilities.
Older apartments can be extremely badly built and may have next to no natural light. They are less likely to have building charges but shared costs of necessary repair work (the roof, guttering, stairwells, doors and intercom systems, etc.) can be a headache, especially if there are disagreements about the necessity, pricing, etc. of such work.
Concrete framed chalets
Most houses from the 1960s onwards are built using a steel reinforced concrete frame with brick infill walls, and these can be found throughout the countryside and towns.
This is also the building style of most of the holiday homes built in the 1970s and 80s that have the best coastal sites in Galicia. Some modern buildings are semi-detached or even terraced, but most houses in Galicia are either apartments or detached.
The typical Galician chalet is 2 or 3 floors, often with the ground floor cut into the ground and so used as a garage and having windows on just one side and a back wall damp problem.
The vast majority are bespoke designs, although in the last 20 years “urbanizaciones” of many identikit houses on tiny plots have become more commonplace.
Underlying construction methods
In terms of underlying construction method there are really only two types found in Galicia, stone built and concrete framed. These two types, the problems of that construction type, and solutions for those problems are covered in our Galician construction methods, stone walled problems and solutions and concrete framed problems and solutions sections.