Why you can’t check sold house prices in Spain online

How much did it sell for? Picture credit Engel & Völkers
How much did it sell for? Picture credit Engel & Völkers

Many foreigners are often frustrated by the fact that you can’t check sold house prices online in Spain like you can in other countries. The reason being, I discovered yesterday, is because of data protection laws in Spain. You can, however, get fairly accurate valuations online for a fee.

If you are buying or selling a home it can be useful to know what comparable properties in the area have sold for in the past. This is easy to do with just a few clicks in markets like the US and the UK. At the British property portal Rightmove, for example, you can find out all the sold prices of properties by area with historical prices going back decades. I bet some people also use it just to find out how much so-and-so paid for their home.

I never understood why this was not possible to do in Spain. After all, the information exists in the database of the Property Registrars. Now I know why: Spanish data protection laws do not allow it.

This was explained to me yesterday by Beatriz Corredor, who used to be the Minister for Housing in the Zapatero Government between 2008 and 2010 (the Housing Department was subsequently folded into the Ministry of Public Works), and is now the Director of Institutional Relations at Spain’s College of Property Registrars. We met in Madrid yesterday to discuss an agreement to analyses the Registry’s data on foreign demand to help make the market more transparent. More on that next week.

So you can’t check sold house prices online in Spain for free like other countries, which is annoying. But, depending on the type of property you are interested in, you can get a fairly accurate valuation online for a small fee. I’m in the process of setting up this service with a valuations company, and it will soon be available here in English.

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