Getting to know Spain
Almost 20 percent of property transactions completed in Spain during the last year were made by international buyers. British property seekers have traditionally been the number one source country for international property buyers in Spain, but the uncertainty triggered by the Brexit vote, and the future for British expats who currently live in the country, has seen a slight slowdown in the number of British homebuyers entering the market.
This can also be attributed to a combination of rising house prices in Spain and a weaker Pound (in large part due to Brexit) which has undoubtedly made buying a home in Spain a little more expensive for UK-based buyers. However, there are still bargains to be found if you look in the right places…
Over half of the property sales made in Alicante last year were made by foreign nationals, while international buyer activity is high throughout the Spanish Costas, especially the Costa del Sol and Brava. The cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia and the Balearic Islands also continue to attract significant numbers of overseas buyers.
Although it is too early to say how demand in Barcelona will be affected because of the Catalan independence saga that resurfaced towards the end of 2017, having been hit hard by the financial crisis between 2008 and 2015, construction in Spain is back on the up and property prices are finally going up, having hit record low levels as a result of the crash.
Mortgages are currently very affordable in Spain; yet another attraction for would-be property buyers. Golden Visas, which have proved popular for other European countries, such as neighbouring Portugal, are also now gathering momentum in Spain, with increasing interest from investors in non-EU countries such as China, Sweden and Russia, spending a minimum 500,000 Euros on a property in the country.
Brexit and buyers from the UK
If you are an overseas property buyer from the UK, you will still be able to purchase property and live in any other EU country without issues while the UK is still a member of the EU (until 29th March 2018). If you are able to achieve residency before Brexit, you will live with the same rights as overseas buyers currently have. While any changes after this date are yet unknown, work is ongoing in the negotiations for expat rights. There will certainly be some protections in place for UK owners of property within the EU, particularly given the contribution that UK homeowners make to the local economies throughout popular EU destinations. Stay up to date by following our Brexit reports.
Fun facts about Spain
- Castilian Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world, after Mandarin. There are estimated to be more than 406 million Spanish speakers worldwide.
- The United Nations projects that Spain will be the world’s oldest country by 2050. It is estimated that over 40 percent of the population will be aged over 60 by this time.
- Spain has the second highest number of bars per inhabitants. Only Cyprus has more. No wonder the country is so popular with tourists!
- Spain is the number one producer of olive oil in the world, responsible for approximately 44 percent of the world’s olive oil production.
- Despite its reputation sun, sea and sand, the weather in Spain is actually the most diverse in Europe due to its size, coasts and large mountain ranges. The climate changes dramatically from north to south and east to west. The highest official temperature ever recorded is a sweltering 47°C in Andalusia in the southern central region of Spain. The coldest temperature officially recorded in Spain is -32°C in Lerida, in the Pyrenean region in the north of the country.
- The country boasts over 8,000 kilometres of beaches – plenty of options for those who like to feel the sand between their toes.
Deciding on your preferred location and property type
Spain is divided into 17 regions, with 15 of these regions located on the mainland of Spain. The other two regions are island groups: the Balearic Islands lie off Spain’s eastern coast, while the Canary Islands are off the western coast of Morocco. Spain is one of the most decentralised countries in the world. Although the country is governed nationally by Parliament, each of the 17 autonomous regions also has its own president, government (gobierno or junta), administration and Supreme Court. This is designed to give each region more responsibility for matters such as economic development, education, health, environment, police, public works, tourism, culture, local language and social security. We have provided a brief summary of some of the most popular areas with overseas property buyers below.
Located on the southern coast of Spain, the Costa del Sol includes the popular resorts of Marbella, Malaga, Fuengirola and Puerto Banus. Historically one of Spain’s major tourist destinations, over the years, the Costa del Sol has become something of a Mecca for expats and foreign second home seekers. It is home to a number of large expat communities, including the British Association of Marbella, which has been running for more than 20 years. As well as a warm year-round climate, the Costa del Sol offers something for everyone, including some of the country’s best golf resorts, renowned shopping centres, beaches aplenty and, for those with deep pockets, the opulence of Marbella.
A map of Spain