That Spain ranks one of the world’s favourite places to buy property is no secret. The country stands as the top destination for foreigners year after year. Despite the economic crisis and the uncertainty of Brexit, Spanish continues as a preferred holiday home location for international buyers, particularly Northern Europeans. In this article, we look at who buys in Spain, where and what they buy as well as some general facts about the Spanish property market.

How many foreigners buy property in Spain?

International buyers have accounted for around 13% of the Spanish property market every year since 2014. According to figures published by the Spanish Registry Association (Colegio de Registradores) in June 2018, 61,000 properties were sold to foreigners in 2017, the highest number ever.

In mid-2018, all large developers in Spain reported sustained interest in property from international buyers with a marked increase in popular coastal areas and on the islands. In these areas, foreign buyers account for considerably more than 13% of the market. In the Canaries and Balearics, their share reaches almost 32%. In the Comunidad Valenciana, home to the Costa Blanca, over a quarter of all purchases are made by foreigners.

Who buys property in Spain?

Although Spanish property sparks interest among South-American and Asian buyers, Northern Europeans dominate the market, particularly for second homes on the coast. British buyers take the lion’s share. In 2017 (latest figures available), they represented 15.01% of the total. The next largest group was the French (8.64%), followed by the Germans (7.77%) and the Belgians and the Swedes, both with just under 6.4%.

European buyers tend to be between 45 and 55 years old, looking for a second home, possibly for retirement. Their average budget is €250,000 and preferred location, on the Mediterranean or in the Canaries.

Where do they buy property in Spain?

While corporate and investor buyers tend to concentrate on Spanish cities, particularly Madrid and Barcelona, lifestyle buyers overwhelmingly prefer the coast. Market analysts noted in 2018 that most interest was centred on the Canaries and Balearics, the Costa del Sol in its entirety (from Sotogrande to Nerja) and the north of the Costa Blanca. Check our Costa del Sol Area Guide for more information about the region.

All these areas experienced strong price rises in Q1 2018. According to figures published by the property valuations company TINSA, prices for Costa del Sol property generally rose by 9.29% in the year to reach an average of €259,694. Price hikes in specific resorts were higher, however. For example, property in Malaga city went up by 16.5%, in Mijas by 13.4% and in Fuengirola by 11.9%.

What do foreigners buy?

Foreign buyers in Spain tend to buy resale property and favour townhouses with shared pool and garden or villas with a private pool and grounds. Beach and golf locations are the most popular. New-build property plays second fiddle, but since 2016, there has been a marked rise in interest in buying off-plan homes, particularly on the Costa del Sol. For more information on the best projects, please check our New Developments Page.

According to the Spanish Ministry of Development (Ministerio de Fomento in Spanish), two resorts on the Costa del Sol issued the highest number of new-build licences in Spain in 2017. Estepona saw an increase of 370% in licences while the rise reached 288% in Fuengirola. Marbella also featured in the top 10 list with 143% more licences than the previous year.

Sales of new-build property also increased in 2017. In Malaga city, they went up by almost 28% in 2017 with Estepona registering a similar figure. Sales on new homes in Mijas rose by 16.3% and those in Marbella, by 7%. Interest in new-build properties on the Costa del Sol comes both from foreign and Spanish buyers.

How do they find their property?

Most foreigners use the services of a real estate agency. But to make things easier, many opt to use a dedicated property finder, a service that saves time, money and stress and increases the chances of finding the right home.

Let us help you find your perfect second home in Spain. Use our exclusive property finding service to ensure you buy the property that ticks all your boxes. We would love to hear from you.

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