When climate migrants from Northern Europe buy a place in Spain, around a quarter of them head for the Autonomous Region of Valencia and its sunny coastline. So it’s bad news all round to read that last year foreigners fled the Valencian property market in record numbers, according to a recent article at the local news site Levante-emv.com.
The article reveals that, according to new figures from the Valencian Region’s College of Notaries, home sales to foreigners fell by 44% in 2009, whilst sales by foreigners selling up and leaving the region rose by 45%. So last year there were 4,291 foreign vendors, compared to 2,939 the year before, and 5,631 foreign buyers, compared to 10,040 the year before.
Digging into the numbers a bit deeper, we learn that the number of sales in which at least one of the parties came from abroad fell 19% last year, from 17,377 transactions to 14,136, but the number of transactions where both sides were foreign stayed broadly similar at 4,244 in 2009, down just 3.5% from compared to 4,398 a year before.
For Spain as a whole, foreigners were involved in 61,137 sales last year, down 21% from 77,273 year before.
But what hasn’t budged is the Valencian Region’s share of the foreigner buyer market, stable at 22%. If Valencia’s market share stayed the same whilst sales plunged 44%, that suggests a similar story for the rest of Spain’s popular holiday home destinations like the Andalucia and the Costa del Sol.
Contrast that with the overall fall in transactions last year, down 27% for Spain as a whole, you can see how the holiday home / second home market catering to foreign buyers has been hammered even more than the overall market. Why? Because nobody really needs a holiday home, so sales tend to collapse when the economy turns down. And because of the weak Pound, which traded around 1.10 Euros last year, making Spanish property seem expensive for British buyers, who have dominated the market in recent years.