12pc more foreign residents bought homes in Q2 than the same time last year, but numbers are still heavily down compared to the boom year of 2006.
It appears an in increasing number of expats living in Spain are taking advantage of low property prices, judging by the latest figures from the Housing Department, in the Ministry of Public Works (Fomento). The number of house sales to foreign residents increased by an annualised 12pc to 9,502 in Q2, lead by a 25pc increase in Catalonia. The Valencian Region, with its Costa Blanca, was once again the biggest market by some margin.
However, the trend is only positive compared to the years since the crisis began. If you look back to 2006, expat purchases are down 68pc on average, and as much as 72pc in Catalonia. But at least expats are doing more than Spaniards themselves to buy Spanish property: Purchases by Spaniards are still declining.
Nevertheless, it’s is good news to see that more expat residents are buying property, and it is a relief to be able to report it.
Note that expat residents include economic migrants, and these numbers don’t distinguish between them and what I call climate migrants from northern Europe. But it’s a fairly safe bet that the vast majority of expat residents buying in the popular holiday-destinations of the Spanish coast (Andalusia, Valencian Region, Catalonia, Balearics and Canaries) are in the latter group.
The following table breaks down expat purchases by region (click to enlarge).
Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based property market analyst and consultant, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008). He can be reached by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.