Buying and Selling Homes in Spain

The downturn of home purchases in recent months is being remedied by the increased entry of investors from other countries in the market.

In this sense, according to data collected by the Association of Registrars of Property, Personal Property and Mercantile of Spain, in 2012, 8.12% of the homes purchased in Spain were acquired by foreigners, resulting in figures not seen since 2006 (8.97%) and 2007 (8.29%). Similarly, along the same line of growth, lies the first quarter of this year, during which 8,457 transactions were made €‹€‹by an agent to a buyer from a foreign country. This reflects a vision, yet uncertain, but very positive thanks to the entry of foreign investment in the current year results.

This data shows a significant, gradual increase (in 2009, 4.24% of the dwellings were acquired by foreigners; in 2010, 4.45%; in 2011, 6.04%,; and in 2012, 8.12%). However, the objective in purchasing homes is very different now than it was in 2007. Then, foreigners bought homes with the goal of working, today, the recorded data shows that the motive for this increase is based on vacation purposes, so coastal areas are those that reflect a greater increase due to their tourist attraction (therefore, in order, we find: The Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Valencia, Murcia, Catalonia and Andalusia).

Considering each nationality, the British are still at the forefront as the most prevalent buyers. However, it is true that the acquisition of housing by the British has been decreasing, in 2011, they purchased at a rate of 19.14%, in 2012, it fell to 16.63%.

In the second place, the French remain, despite having experienced growth over the previous year, followed closely by a surge of Russians who replaced the Germans (who had maintained the third position in recent years).

However, the data shows a clear tourist focus confirmed by the fact that most of the top positions are occupied by European countries attracted by the Spanish climate. Thus, it is necessary to drop to ninth place to find the top countries with strict work objectives where we find China (4.30% of Spanish acquisitions), Algeria (3.41%), Romania (in twelfth place with 2.86%) and Morocco (2.41%).

Also, concerning the type of housing, foreigners opt for used (50.65%) compared to new (49.35%), similarly as previous years (53.96% and 46, 04%, respectively, in 2011), even though there was a slight decrease.

With these figures, it is possible to deduce that those nationalities, who buy properties for purely tourist reasons, are more likely to acquire new homes, while those who come to Spain to work are opting, rather, for used homes.

This growth has been really positive for the Spanish economy as it has served to reduce the number of unoccupied dwellings. In addition, an expected increase is accompanied with anticipation of recently granted legislation. You may recall the recent bill from Mariano Rajoy´s government that is expected to grant a residence permit to foreigners who acquire homes worth a certain amount in order to attract investors from these countries.

Talia Gozález

This article is not considered as legal advice

Mariscal & Abogados has extensive experience in the area of real estate and urban planning law in Spain: preparation and drafting of building contracts, due diligence, reports on real estate assets, processing of authorisations and urban planning licences, etc. If you have a query, do not hesitate to Contact us.