A closer analysis of the latest housing market figures from the General Council of Notaries suggests that Chinese demand is responding best to the Golden Visa stimulus introduced by the Spanish Government last September, though results overall are still disappointing.
Looking at non-resident demand for Spanish property in the first quarter of this year broken down by nationality, and comparing it to the same time last year, Chinese demand is in a league of its own when it comes to year-on-year growth, up 666% (see chart above). No other country comes close, though it has to be said that Chinese non-resident demand started from a low base of less than 10 sales in the first quarter of 2013, rising to 69 sales in the first quarter of this year.
The next best performer in terms of non-resident demand growth since the Spanish Golden Visa scheme came into force was the USA, up 143 per cent since last year, all according to the latest figures from the notaries.
The only other country with an increase of more than 100 per cent was Argentina, up 115% to 28 sales, once again starting from a very low base.
Big increases in purchases by non-residents from countries outside the EU are likely to be driven by ‘Golden Visa’ buyers.
However, the Spanish Golden Visa scheme has not been a great success since it was launched last year, partly because it is still early days, but mainly because competitors like Malta and Portugal offer more attractive Golden Visa packages.