Lucas Fox International Properties has registered an uptick in enquiries from UK-based clients interested in relocating to Spain following the UK’s ‘Brexit’ decision to leave the EU, the company reports.
In the days since the referendum the Barcelona-based agency with offices in key resort areas like Marbella, Valencia, and Ibiza, has been contacted by a growing number of British citizens and residents disillusioned with the referendum result now considering a move to Spain, in particular to the key cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, where job opportunities are increasing as the local economy recovers.
“We feared that the referendum result would impact immediately on pending deals, but this doesn’t seem to have been the case, and the increase in enquires from UK buyers and UK-based EU residents looks set to more than compensate sellers,” says Tom Maidment, the Lucas Fox partner in the Costa Brava (pictured).
Studies show that Spain is the third most sought-after destination amongst British expats, after Australia and Canada. And post-Brexit research by the London School of Economics found that around 10% of 18 to 25-year-olds who voted ‘Remain’ are now considering a move abroad.
One such person is Sebastian King, a 22-year-old living in the South of England working in Financial Services. He contacted Lucas Fox just a few days after the result, claiming he felt ‘disconnected’ with the UK following the decision to leave the EU. His case illustrates how the Brexit decision is encouraging some British residents to see their future in Spain.
“I have been looking to move to Valencia for a year or so now but the Brexit result made me want to get a move on,” King told Lucas Fox. “For me Valencia has it all – the climate, it’s exciting, full of history and culture as well as having a beach. Overall, I think Spain has lots of potential and for my business it is an ideal place to expand, thanks to a cheaper workforce. When I compare the UK to Spain I see Brits simply surviving whilst the Spanish are really living.”
British buyers currently account for less than 10% of Lucas Fox’s total sales throughout Spain, mainly in resort areas such as Marbella, the Costa Brava and the Balearics. The company reports it has lost a small number of potential offers that were on hold pending the referendum result, but accepted offers made before the Brexit vote have all gone through.
BREXIT SILVER LINING
“Additionally, we have been offered several interesting properties by British couples who now want to sell up and return to the UK to profit from the weak pound,” explains Maidment. “The high end Spanish property market relies far less on the British than it used to – our buyer profile is diverse and includes French, Dutch, German, Swiss, Swedish, Norwegian, US, Russian, Middle Eastern and Asian buyers to name a few nationalities and buyer groups.”
Despite the weakening of the pound, Lucas Fox point out that Spanish property is still attractively priced at 30-35% below the peak of 2007, whilst Spanish banks continue to offer competitive mortgage packages.
“I think the effect of the UK leaving the EU will be felt mainly in resort areas, such as the Costa Blanca, where there are many British retirees and holiday home owners who have invested in lower-priced properties,” says Alexander Vaughan, Lucas Fox co-founder, who also thinks the UK’s decision to leave the EU may have a long-term positive impact on the Spanish real estate market. “Many non-European buyers have started looking at alternative city locations to London which also have good property investment potential. There is also the prospect of some London-based banks and financial institutions moving their staff from London to Madrid.”