Foreigners buy 64,593 homes in Spain in 2012


A new report in the Spanish press suggests that the foreign market for property in Spain might be almost twice as big as I previously reported.

A new article with an infographic (see above) at the Spanish news site El Economista, which was discussed in the specialist (property) press, claims that foreigners bought 64,593 homes in Spain last year, based on an analysis of figures from Spain’s General Council of Notaries.

This came as a surprise. If correct, it means that foreign demand for property in Spain is much more substantial than data from other sources recently reported here would have us believe.

This table compares data on foreign demand in 2012 from a variety of different sources.

SOURCE (click for more info)Notaries data reported at El EconomistaNotaries data reported earlier this yearRegistrarsDept. Housing
TYPE DEMANDAll ForeignForeign non-residentAll ForeignAll Foreign
SALES VOLUME64,59338,31226,87144,087

Four different figures quantifying the same market, but with big differences between them. No wonder investors complain about the transparency of the Spanish property market. Often there are no statistics, and where they do exist they can leave you scratching your head, as in this case.

It is true that the notaries count sales at the end of the year that the registrars count in the following year, but that wouldn’t explain such a big difference.

It is also true that the registrars use a large sample rather than the total sales figure, but that wouldn’t explain such a big difference either.

As far as the latest figures go, it doesn’t help that the Notaries fail to publish statistics at their website, so I can’t check the original data. Furthermore, the article and infographic at El Economista have disappeared, and links to the article from other sites now draw a blank.

I will try to get to the bottom of this question over the summer. In the meantime here is a brief analysis of the latest figures as reported by El Economista, based on data from the notaries.

The first chart shows sales by nationality, comparing the data from the notaries and the registrars:


This pie chart shows how foreign sales break down by nationality in 2012 exclusively based on figures from the notaries:


And finally, budgets by nationality, with the Danes leading the field with an average budget of €210,377 last year (click chart to enlarge). This chart makes it clear that plans by the Spanish Government to offer residency permits to non-EU nationals who spend €500,000 or more on a home in Spain (final amount still to be decided) won’t have much of an impact on foreign demand for property in Spain.

Average budgets of foreign buyers of Spanish property



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