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March 3, 2017

Record of property purchase in Spain in 2016 by foreigners

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Foreigners continue to be and are becoming each year more important part of the housing market in Spain, which is confirmed by the statistics of the official real estate register. In 2016, foreign citizens bought more than 53,500 real estate objects, which is the best indicator in history and accounted for 13.3% of the total number of transactions, but even so the effect of Brexit contributed to the reduction of the number of operations of the citizens of the United Kingdom in recent quarters. However, the British, French and Germans, who are looking for sun all year round and excellent beaches in Spain, again became leaders last year in the purchase of houses and apartments in Spain.

Therefore, property registrars in Spain confirmed the normalization of sales in the housing market with more than 403,743 transactions, of which 13.3% was carried out with the participation of foreign citizens, that is to say, 53,500 transactions. This figure represents the highest figure in the history of statistics, which was started in 2006.

Statistical data on the registration of transactions with real estate in Spain in 2016, although preliminary, suggest that investments in real estate in Spain continue to have a great appeal for citizens of the United Kingdom, with more than 10,000 transactions. They are followed by the French, with about 4,400 transactions, and the Germans, in this case, the number of transactions exceeded the figure of 4,000.

However, this figure of property purchases by foreigners could reach higher levels. The results of the referendum held in the UK regarding its permanence in the European Union, have actually slowed the British's desire to buy a house or apartment in Spain.

Although the number of Britons is far superior to the general data on the number of transactions with real estate in Spain, the proportion of other nationalities has also increased significantly. For example, the shares of Moroccans and Romanians, which have increased by 49% and 40%, respectively, were the highest figures registered in 2015 and 2016.

On the other hand, it is worth noting a decrease in the number of transactions carried out by Russian citizens that is falling year after year, after registering their best index in the past 2013. More specifically there were registered about 1,500 transactions last year, when in 2013 this figure was more than double, about 3,160 transactions. The fall in the exchange rate of ruble against euro has become one of the main reasons for this decline.

Despite these slight interferences from the indexes of buyers from the UK and Russia, apartments and houses in Spain continue to attract foreign investors and foreign residents established in the country. In addition, especially some of the coastal areas remain the focus of foreign tourists coming to Spain in search of sun and beach.

In the absence of definitive official data for the whole of 2016 of the number of transactions in the Spanish autonomous communities and provinces, the general preliminary data suggest that the Mediterranean provinces from Girona to Malaga, through Alicante and both archipelagos, remain the main choice of the foreign investors to buy residential properties in Spain. For example, in 2015, foreigners accounted for 42.5% of the total number of buyers of houses in Alicante. They were followed by Santa Cruz de Tenerife (35.8%) and the Balearic Islands (35.6%). The other three provinces also exceeded the figure of 20%, i.e. Malaga, Girona and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. In two provinces, the weight of foreign buyers in buying a property, however, has been reduced to 9% in Barcelona and up to 5% in Madrid.

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