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Foreign Residents Pile Into Spanish Property, Really?

The amount of money invested in Spanish property by foreigners resident in Spain leapt by 27 per cent last year, if figures from the Spanish Government are to be believed.

Foreigners residents in Spain spent a combined total of €8.6 billion on Spanish homes in 2014, data from the Spanish Ministry of Development (Fomento) would have us believe.

That represents a leap of 26.6 per cent compared to 2013 when it reached €6.8 billion, implying that expats in Spain are the most bullish segment of all.

Expats went largely for resale properties, spending 31 per cent more on these type of homes (€7.7 billion), compared to a fall of 2.5 per cent spent on new homes (€934 million).

Why the big preference for resales? Probably because the stock of new homes that anyone actually wants to buy has been largely sold. What is left might be unsaleable.

As far as geographical distribution goes, the region that saw the highest value of purchases by foreign residents was the Valencian Community with €2 billion, of which €1.7 billion was spent in the province of Alicante. Then came Andalusia (€1.9 billion) and Catalonia (€1.6 billion).

The problem is these figures can’t be right. It doesn’t make any sense that expats outnumber non-residents thirteen to one.

Looking at the Fomento data for number of home sales by buyer type, you get the following picture, with expats (foreigners resident in Spain) far outnumbering foreign non-residents, who must be buying second homes.


When you consider that the biggest group of foreign buyers in Spain (expat and non-resident) are the British, followed by the French, who are mainly buying holiday-homes, it’s impossible that expats outnumber non-resident foreign buyers. There is something wrong with the Government’s numbers.

SPI Member Comments

Thoughts on “Foreign Residents Pile Into Spanish Property, Really?

  • Campbell Ferguson says:

    And do those figures include all the major investors who are buying urbanisations and large residential portfolios from banks/SAREB? Even if they’ve never been occupied they are statistically counted as resales.

  • We hear a lot now which says that the British are the biggest group of foreign buyers in Spain at present which I find difficult to believe. I live in the affluent South East of the UK and keep an eye on the property market and have lots of friends who holiday abroad. I honestly haven’t met anyone over the last year who is buying in Spain, I don’t know where these people are coming from. I do know many Brits trying to sell in Spain though. Neither have I met anyone buying in Greece, Italy, Portugal or Cyprus which were once en vogue. The only country I know Brits are buying in is France and quite a lot of them.

    Are stats produced by Governments to be trusted?

    • Mark Stücklin says:

      I think the breakdown by nationality stats are reasonably reliable, based on sales witnessed by notaries. But these resident / non-resident stats are clearly wrong.

  • David I agree the latest trend is to buy to let in the UK. The stats are deceiving as they include inheritances, repossessions and the investment companies moving portfolios of unsold properties. Of course a few will be buying but it will never reach the peaks earlier on this decade. The tulip bubble is over, dead. I know over 20 people who have been trying to sell for years, I never hear of anyone wanting to buy except from property websites.

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