Spain’s ‘Golden Visa’ Program Off to Slow Start

Tarifa town houses and property for sale
Despite widespread speculation that Spain’s “golden visa” would spark home sales, only 72 of the new visas have been issued to property buyers in the first seven months of the program.

Chinese and Russian buyers account for nearly half of the visas issued, with the rest coming from such countries as Ukraine, Lebanon, Ecuador, Qatar, Egypt and Iran, according to Department of Immigration data reviewed by El Pais, the daily newspaper.

The visa-related transactions have totaled about €100 million, the paper reports.

Spain followed the example of several other countries, including Portugal and Cyprus, when it launched the visa program last September, offering a visa in exchange for an investment of €500,000. In a competitive market, the opportunity for a visa is often cited as one of the most popular incentives for international property buyers.

The visa program was designed to encourage different forms of investment, but only nine have been issued thus far for investments outside property, El Pais reports.

The numbers may be disappointing to boosters hoping for a jolt in the market, but they also reflect the overall state of the market, which is only now showing signs of stablising. And it is a new program, full of complexities. It is unrealistic to think that a new visa program would spark a buying surge, especially considering the global competition for buyers.

Despite the initial results, there is no doubt the visa is appealing to buyers. Portugal issued 772 visas in the 15 months of its program, primarily to Chinese investors, according to published reports.

But there are other elements that go into the decision to buy property.

“Spain has beaches, great cities and their prices are much lower than those of other European countries,” “Mustafa W,” an Egyptian buyer who used the program in Spain, told El Pais. Those factors are not necessarily related to a visa.

International buyers interested in the program may be taking a cautious approach, considering the fragile economy and the many elements to a property buying decision. Once taxes and extra charges are added to the transaction, the minimum investment is closer to €600,000, analysts note. Even Chinese and Russian buyers eager for a visa may be taking a wait-and-see approach until they are convinced the property recovery is for real.



7 thoughts on “Spain’s ‘Golden Visa’ Program Off to Slow Start”

  1. Skip

    I have been looking to buy in Barcelona and the problem is that most flats still have asking prices closer to 2007 levels. Also, agents will pretend flats are selling, but owners tell me they took them off the market due to lack of interest.

    Spain’s taxes are more abusive than other countries offering similar golden visa schemes. It is very easy to see why Spain’s golden visa scheme is a flop.

    1. gino

      Property not the best angle… but there are good investment opportunities… in companies… especially in the south…. Marbella area is getting back its glamour from 20 years ago… PLUS the property prices are finally REALISTIC… sun is still shining… tourist numbers increasing especially since the extension of Malaga Airport. and indeed disagree with the Spanish hospitality… live here since 2006 and never had any issue… send me a message if you like more info

      1. allan

        Hi Your view is very interesting, I am English and plan to buy a nice villa in Marbella to use as a semi permanent home which will cost more than the require

        My girlfriend and her daughter are both Ukrainian and only have a Ukr passport .we plan to live together in Marbella 3 week and month.. Do you think applying for a Golden visa for my future wife and daughter is the best way forward??

        Regards Allan

  2. k.Li

    I am a retired Hong Kong Chinese wishing to live somewhere nice and warm,and peaceful. I have a total asset of 8 millions Euro and I like Spain a lot. But I was told by some local people, Spanish is very against foreigner and racial TV remarks happening fairly frequently. That,s why I chose Orlando instead.

    1. john

      Well I am actually living in Spain Barcelona and I can tell you that in my opinion the people here are less rassist then all countrys I was living before (Hong Kong, Dubai, Germany, France, UK). It might be Catalunya or it might be my personal feeling. Anyway I am wondering who told you that the people here are rassists, as here are living a lot of chinese people. At least you always have to check a country before you decide to live there or even to invest your money. Because everyone is seing a country with other views, its a subjective thing.

    2. Darren

      Hi, K. Li, I have lived worked in property 12 years, and the spanish is not against the foreigner. I do not agree to this. I am a foreigner, Spain has a different culture, but it receives 50 to 60 million tourists a year. It is reliant on foreigner. And it has a deep and long history, it is probably the best country in Europe.
      Having lived and worked and studied in Holland, UK, Switzerland, France, and worked in USA. Spain is number 1.

  3. Shari

    If the amount of required investment were lower, I think more people would decide to purchase. 500 euros can buy A LOT of beachfront property in the U.S.

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