Cash buyers in the majority, especially in areas of foreign demand

Denia, in the Valencian Region, where cash buyers dominate the property market.

Denia, in the Valencian Region, where cash buyers dominate the market.

Recent figures from the notaries reveal that cash buyers are still in the majority, especially in coastal regions where foreigners tend to buy.

55% of all homes purchased in the third quarter of last year were bought with cash, which suggests that the average property is still cheap enough to buy with cash, that small investors are moving out of cash deposits and financial investments and into property, and that high mortgage costs are deterring investors from using leverage.

The long economic and real estate crisis that Spain has lived through since the boom burst in 2008 has transformed the property market, and one of the most visible signs is the ascendency of cash buyers, who went from 30% in 2007 to 55% now. Cash buyers overtook buyers using mortgage finance in 2011.

The regions with the highest proportion of cash buyers were the Valencian Region (69%), the Canary Islands (65%), Catalonia (61%), Murcia (60%%), and the Balearics (58%).

At the other end of the scale, the regions with the lowest percentage of cash buyers (and highest percentage of buyers using mortgage finance) were the Basque Region (31%), Madrid (36%), and Asturias (46%).

It is interesting to note that the regions with the highest proportion of cash buyers are also the regions with the largest number of foreign buyers. Although cash buyers are not broken down by nationality I suspect this shows that foreign buyers tend to be cash buyers, whilst local buyers are more likely to use a mortgage.

About Mark Stücklin

Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based Spanish property market analyst, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008).

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