Foreign buyers boom
Official figure break-down shows which foreign nationality buys more houses and where
By James Parkes RECENT figures show there are more houses sold in Spain to foreign buyers that ever before, even surpassing figures reported before the construction bubble burst in 2008.
The latest figures reported by government officials are for the first quarter of 2018, which shows 53,359 properties were sold to non-Spanish nationals. In the second half of 2007, when the bubble was still growing, the figure was of 33,000 which plummeted the following year.
The market has been recovering slowly since 2014, and since 2015, the annual increase of sales to foreign buyers has always been two-digit percentage points more than the previous reports.
One reason for the new boost is the price per square metre. Foreign buyers purchased at an average €1,687 per square metre tag – but this is only a 0.9% increase on the previous year.
British are best buyers One thing that doesn’t change is which nationality buys more properties in Spain. For decades the top spot has been British and it stays that way.
In the first half of 2018, Britons purchased 7,613 properties throughout the country – an 8.8% increase on the figure for the first semester of 2017. French (4,211 properties purchased) and Germans (4,138) follow way behind, and in both cases figure dropped (4.6% and 2.1% less respectively).
Romanian nationals and Moroccans are rapidly catching-up, with 3,872 and 3,662 properties purchased respectively in the first half of 2018. Where do foreign nationals
buy? The Valencia region is still way ahead of the rest in terms of properties purchased by foreign nationals. 15,613 property transactions involving non-Spanish residents (of the grand total of 53,359 nationwide) were reported in the region, which has seen this type of transaction increased by 16.7% in the past year.
Way below is Andalucia, the Costa del Sol, with 9,737 properties sold to foreigners (8.2% rise) followed by Cataluña (7,570), although in this region the independency crisis has seen the figure drop by 5.3%.
The Canary Islands account for 5,312 transactions with foreign nationals involved and Madrid lies in fifth place with 4,911.
Who buys where? Notary reports make a clear differentiation between foreign nationals living in Spain (expats) and those who simply purchase holiday homes. The first group account for the majority of transactions (56%).
British expats and holiday home seekers prefer the Valencia and Andalucía regions, more specifically the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol.
British expats represent 12% of all transactions carried out in the Valencia region, on a par with the number of Romanian expats in this case, but as for holiday homes, British buyers purchased 21% of the total figure, way ahead of second-placed Swedish buyers (14%). The same applies to Andalucía with subtle differences. There, British expats and Moroccan expats account for 16% of purchases, while the difference between British holiday home buyers and second-placed (again) Swedish nationals is far wider (28% against 13%).
In Cataluña the majority of expat buyers are Moroccan nationals (13% of the total) followed by the neighbouring French (10%).
In the holiday home market, the French lead the way accounting for nearly half the purchases (44%) with Germans in second place (7%).
Madrid is the favourite spot for Romanian expats to buy (19% of the total figure), but in this region Chinese nationals are the main non-resident buyers accounting for 18% of the transactions, followed by Italians (7%).
As for other regions, Italian expats are the main buyers of Canary Island properties (31%) while the Germans are the main holiday home customers (20%).
In Balearics, as expected, German nationals are the main buyers in both categories, followed by British and Italians. Britons are also the main foreign property buyers in Murcia, Asturias and winecountry La Rioja. French buyers are the main customers in the Basque Country, Aragón, Navarra, Cantabria, the two Castillas and Extremadura. Galicia is the only exception to the rules, where the majority of non-Spanish buyers come from neighbouring Portugal. The poor condition of tracks and trains operating the rail service in Extremadura region was again proved on the first day of the new year when over 160 passengers were left stranded as the train on which they were travelling from Badajoz to Madrid broke down at 17.20 - and they were unable to reach Madrid via alternative transport until 03.00 on Wednesday morning. Regional president Guillermo Fernandez Vara, tired of complaining about the service, has demanded the government cease Renfe's operations in the region until safe and reliable trains are in service. Extreme right-wing party Vox has threatened to withdraw its support from the PPCiudadanos pact to rule in Andalucía region. The far right-wingers have said they will support the new government unless all funds are withdrawn from projects against gender violences in the region. Vox regional MPs' votes are essential for the new government as without them PP and Ciudadanos together are still short of an overall majority in the regional parliament. Its national manifesto, Vox has openly stated it will scrap all gender violence legislation in Spain if it were to rule the country.