I want to live in Gibraltar! That’s exactly what I said to myself all those months ago when I decided it was time to both upgrade my job and hunt out a better climate than what we were experiencing in the north-west of England. But, is it expensive to live in Gibraltar?
I had friends already living and working in Gibraltar, I had been to visit them and I had fallen in love with the place. What I needed to work out, was whether I could afford the move, and what I needed to do to make it happen.
|Rent per month||Prices|
|Cost of living for a family (4 person, monthly)||£ 5549|
|Cost of living for local (renting outside of the centre, monthly)||£ 1585|
|1 room studio (in centre, monthly)||£ 1240|
|1 room studio (outside of centre, monthly)||£ 1014|
|Apartment 3 bedrooms (in centre, monthly)||£ 2337|
|Apartment 3 bedrooms (outside of centre, monthly)||£ 2062|
|Prices utilities per month||Prices|
|Bills (Gas, electricity, heating, water…)||£ 150|
|Internet (ADSL, cable)||£ 50|
|Clothing and shoes||Prices|
|Summer dress||£ 35|
|A pair of sport shoes||£ 50|
|A pair of jeans||£ 40|
At first, I thought the job element would be the hardest, but actually it wasn’t. I was already experienced in real estate and property management and this continues to be a growth area in Gibraltar, where there is still substantial investment in property development. I flew over, attended interviews and a number of meetings and the job offer arrived before I had landed back in UK!
Then came the research.
As a real estate professional who had visited Gibraltar a number of times, I already had a good idea of the property market, the types of property available, where some of the developments were located and the price ranges. However, Google earth and google maps are invaluable if you are trying to do your own research, although nothing quite beats chatting to a real estate agent like HABiKONS and arranging photos, property videos and so on to give you a more ‘feet on the ground’ feel to your research.
The cost of property in Gibraltar varies depending on the location and age of the property. Property prices in Gibraltar have tended to increase steadily over the past few decades, even during the financial crisis of 2008. This makes purchasing property in Gibraltar, with its favourable tax status, a tremendously efficient way of investing money. It is also a more secure way of building up a new life.
Because there is a high demand for property in Gibraltar – which is a small city with an increasing population, Gibraltar rental prices tend to be high. However, with careful research, there are many rental properties on the market that will provide excellent value for money.
The cost of living in Gibraltar compared to UK
|One way ticket (Transport public)||£ 1,50||£ 2,50|
|Gasoline (1 liter)||£ 1,05||£ 1,28|
|Pint of beer||£ 3,00||3,80|
|A meal (In a restaurant)||£ 10,00||£ 12,00|
|Milk (1 liter)||£ 1,11||£ 0,92|
The cost of living in Gibraltar has a reputation for being high. This worried me a little when I started to research. Gibraltar is small and has to import almost everything, and many goods are subject to import duty which can increase the end cost to the consumer. However, in practise, I have found that the cost of living is pretty comparable to other areas of UK, including cities.
Food is slightly more expensive in Gibraltar, but this is neatly balanced by a lower cost in terms of energy costs, water and fuel. Although import duties have to be paid on many goods, this is often still less than the VAT that is applied in the UK, making even high-end electronics a good option if purchased in Gibraltar rather than in UK.
Cost of Living in Gibraltar compared to London
|Monthly pass (Transport public)||£ 40||£ 150|
|Cinema (A seat)||£ 8||£ 12|
|Bottle of water (0,33 litres)||£ 1,20||£ 1,15|
|Cappuccino||£ 2,20||£ 3,50|
|12 Egg||£ 1,50||£ 2,60|
|Bread (A loaf)||£ 1,50||£ 1,20|
This is an important comparison. Much of the work in Gibraltar appeals to people whose skills and experience would naturally gravitate them to London. Wages are very comparable and this is where Gibraltar makes such a great alternative to ‘the big smoke’.
Not only does Gibraltar have great weather, a friendly, village-like atmosphere and easy access to some entrancing countryside and beaches, it also provides the sort of cosmopolitan feel that a big European city does. But it is cheaper to live in Gibraltar than it is to live in London. While property prices in Gibraltar tend to be high, they are nevertheless some 20% lower than in London.
Food, clothes, personal care, entertainment are all less expensive in Gibraltar, and transport – with very cheap buses here in Gib (free if you have a residency card) – coming in at a huge 70% cheaper. If you have spent any time travelling around London for work, you will appreciate working in a compact city where there is no holding back on city luxury!
Can I use British pound in Gibraltar?
Gibraltar uses sterling and has its own official currency, the Gibraltar Pound (GIP) which is pegged to and interchangeable with the British pound (GBP). While British pounds are accepted anywhere in Gibraltar, you must be careful not to try to spend Gibraltar pounds in UK as they are not accepted currency there!
Can I use Euros in Gibraltar?
Many stores in Gibraltar also accept Euros although often change will be given in sterling using a basic conversion rate. I would always suggest paying by card wherever possible or exchanging Euros for sterling at an exchange bureau as the rate obtained is often much more favourable.
Is Gibraltar expensive to live?
So is Gibraltar an expensive place to live in? There’s no simple answer to that. It is a yes, and a no. Property, especially at the luxury end, can be expensive, but investment in property can bring you a great return. Costs of rent can be high in the private market, but if you can afford them, then renting in some of Gibraltar’s luxury developments can be an absolute pleasure, a bit like going on holiday after work every day!
Food prices in Gibraltar can be compared to most UK cities and are generally lower than in London. Alcohol is cheaper in Gibraltar, and so is fuel, but eating or drinking out can be more expensive. Overall shopping prices can be very comparable to UK cities and non-groceries can often be cheaper because they come VAT free.
For example a bottle of beer (0,5 litres) cost in London 1,75 pounds and Gibraltar it cost 0,98 pounds.
There is also something to be said for the lifestyle. Can you really put a price on the pleasure of living in the Mediterranean sunshine with a sense of relaxation balanced with city living, surrounded by friendly people, with excellent health services and education at your fingertips? I wanted to live in Gibraltar, balanced the many pros against only a few cons and made the move. I hope you do too!
So now, you know how expensive is Gibraltar.