12 Apr 2021

Pros and cons of living in a duplex

Published in Real estate

In a city like Barcelona where apartment-living is the norm, living in a duplex can bring a breath of fresh air.

Spain is the EU country with the highest proportion of its population living in apartments – 65% of all Spanish residents according to Eurostat.

This figure is a lot higher than the United Kingdom or the Netherlands where around 20% of the population live in apartments.

But in a country where apartment-living is the norm, buying a duplex in Barcelona can be a good alternative.

Duplexes are sometimes built into regular apartment blocks, but they are homes that have space distributed on two different levels. They are usually single-family homes, penthouses or loft-style homes with a ceiling height that allows for two floors, generally connected by stairs or sometimes an elevator.

But like any type of housing, when looking to buy a duplex there are pros and cons to consider.

The following factors must be taken into consideration when weighing up whether to choose this type of property.

Advantages of living in a duplex

More space: duplexes are larger than apartments. Also, if the duplex is a single-family house or a penthouse, it can include a small patio or terraces. These allow you to enjoy the outdoors while still taking advantage of apartment living. Few single-storey apartments exceed 90 m2 in Spain, meaning a duplex is one of the only ways to get more space for your money in a Spanish city like Barcelona.

Better lighting: in general, duplexes are built with terraces or patios that face the sun. Some duplexes can incorporate two-storey spaces or staircases, bringing in more light to the lower floor. Also the fact of having two floors means there are generally more windows in a duplex property.

More privacy: duplexes are often split with bedrooms situated upstairs, with the living room, kitchen and bathroom downstairs. This divide can lead to greater privacy especially for larger families, and also means that kitchen and living room noises are minimised.

Better views: duplexes often occupy the top two floors of an urbanisation or apartment block. Depending on where the duplex is located, there can be great views from the top floor.

Disadvantages of living in a duplex apartment

Stairs: as duplexes are divided over two floors, they tend to have a staircase. This can be a disadvantage for families with limited mobility or elderly relatives. It can also be more dangerous for small children.

More expensive: since they usually have more square metres, and usually more outdoor space, duplexes tend to be more expensive than ordinary apartments.
Location: in general, duplexes exist in newer apartment blocks and so are usually located further away from the city centre. This is more typical in a city like Barcelona with a historic quarter.

Higher maintenance: the upper part of the duplex can be more exposed to rainwater, leakage and damp. Although you live in an apartment you might have a responsibility to check the roof is well insulated to avoid problems.

The most important thing is to carefully consider one’s needs and tastes, and to take into account the advantages and disadvantages of duplexes before you make a final decision.

Lasose Properties & Investments is a leading real estate agency in Barcelona – you can find exclusive listings of duplex homes to buy and to rent on our website.

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