Property head-to-head: Milan versus Madrid

Europe is the next stop on our list as we compare Milan and Madrid, with a focus on relocating and finding a rental property.



Milan darling…home to high fashion, haute couture and Italy’s financial centre – including its stock exchange and many offices belonging to UK banks. Residents live in shadow of the soaring Duomo Gothic cathedral and have Da Vinci’s very best on their doorstep.

  • Where? Milan is in northern Italy and is the capital of the Lombardy region. It is less than an hour’s drive to the border of Switzerland and a two-hour drive from Turin. One of Milan’s highlights is its central position between the Alps and Lake Como – each an hour’s train journey from the city.
  • Premium addresses: Milan is made up of nine concentric zones, with one being the most central and most expensive in which to rent. Piazza del Duomo is reported to be on a par with Kensington, Centro Storico is similar to Covent Garden and Brera is chosen by many expats for its quieter vibe. Cittá Studi, Fiera, Isola, Pora Venezia, Corso Como and Tortona (sometimes called Solari) are other popular relocation hotspots.
  • Average rental costs: Despite its reputation for the finer things in life, rents in Milan are around 50% cheaper when compared to London, although more expensive than Madrid.  In the most desirable Milan areas, the average pcm (per calendar month) rent for a 900 sq ft furnished property is €1,637 and €1,053 for a property of the same size in a less desirable neighbourhood, says When looking at smaller properties of 480 sq ft, those with a premiums address carry a rent of €1,205 pcm, and €793 pcm for a similar size property in an average area. 
  • Schools in Milan: Thanks to its status as a financial epicenter, there are a number of international schools to choose from, including Sir James Henderson British School and The International School Milan. Also of note are The Bilingual School Of Montpellierza (nursery and primary school), The British American Pre-School and the Bilingual European School.
  • The rental process: Although many Italians scour the ‘Affittaso Appartamento’ section of the local newspapers for rental accommodation, this is not practical for relocators and our agents in Milan are ready to help find suitable properties. It’s normal for leases in Milan to be for three or four years, although shorter rentals are available at a premium. Our connections are also invaluable in a market where a low supply of rental properties has created exceptional levels of competition. Our experts do have a word of warning – rentals listed as ‘vuoti’ (empty) may not even have a kitchen or light fittings.



As the capital city of Spain, Madrid has over 3 million city residents and is reported to be the third richest metropolis in Europe. Although it is Spain’s centre for international business and commerce, residents are probably more passionate about its football pedigree – home to Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid.

  • Where? Madrid is located almost exactly in the center of Spain at the geographical heart of the Iberian Peninsula. It’s location on a high plateau at the Manzanares river makes it one of the highest cities in Europe.
  • Premium addresses: The Salamanca Barrio is one of Madrid’s most exclusive communities, with Chamberi, Barrio de las Letras (or Heurtas), Palacio and Los Jerónimos also on the most coveted list. Justicia, Nueva España and El Viso shouldn’t be overlooked for their fine settings and property styles.
  • Average rental costs: Although the 2008 property crash in Madrid was catastrophic, prices have recovered and are on a par again, say our Madrid agents. According to, a 900 sq ft furnished property in a premium part of Madrid costs €1,435 pcm to rent and €1,012 in an average area. A smaller furnished studio of 480 sq ft in one of Madrid’s more upmarket areas will set you back €1,087 pcm, while a furnished studio of the same size in an average neighbourhood costs €721 pcm.
  • Schools in Madrid: Those seeking education based on curriculums back home will not be disappointed. Some of the most popular international schools chosen by expats include the American School Madrid, British Council School, Hastings School, Inernational College of Spain, Kensington School and the British School of Madrid.
  • The rental process: Renting in Madrid definitely needs a professional steer. The rental market is under-developed when compared to other Western cities, and property stock that’s more than 10 years old tends to be of poor quality. Our agents have also found that landlords tend to work on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, and only require proof of income and a deposit (equivalent to between one and six months’ rent) to agree a tenancy. Tenancy lengths tend to be one year, as standard, but they can be negotiated.


If relocating to Milan or Madrid is in your professional plans, contact Adleo for accommodation and orientation advice.


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