NOTARIES: Foreign demand up 6% in second half of 2016, British demand down 24%

The number of homes bought by foreigners rose an annualised 6.4% to 43,380 purchases in the second half of last year, reveal the latest figures from the Notaries’ Association.

Foreign buyers represented 19.6% of the total Spanish housing market in the period, if you exclude subsidised housing. This compares to around 13% of the housing market per quarter if you look at the figures published by the Land Registrars’ Association. I can’t explain this substantial difference.

49.2% of buyers were non-residents buying second homes or investments, whilst 50.8% were foreigners living in Spain. This is the first time since 2012 that resident foreigners have outnumbered non-resident foreign buyers. Resident demand was up 13.2%, whilst non-residents rose a meagre 0.1%, probably thanks to Brexit.

Foreign demand by region

Foreign demand rose in all Spain’s autonomous regions with the exception of Andalusia, where it fell 6.9%. Brexit will have something to do with that, as the British are the biggest group of foreign buyers in Andalusia’s Malaga province, home to the Costa del Sol.

Foreign demand was up the most in Castille-La Mancha (+25%), Aragon (+25%), and the Basque Country (+17%) – all small markets as far as foreign demand is concerned, so minor increases deliver big percentage gains.

Demand was up 6% in the Balearics, and 6.1% in the Valencian Region, the latter where Brexit has had less of an impact than Andalusia. Why? Maybe because prices are lower on average in the Valencian Region, so Brits are heading there with their reduced budgets post Brexit, or maybe because the Valencian Region is doing a better job of attracting other buyers. Or maybe a bit of both.

The regions where foreign buyers represent the biggest share of the housing market were the Balearics (42%), the Canaries (40%), the Valencian Region (36%), Murcia (27%) and Andalusia (20%).

The British were still the biggest group of foreign buyers by nationality (15.5% of foreign demand), followed by the French (9.3%), Germans (8%), Italians (6.5%), and Romanians (6.2%).

The following maps show foreign market share by nationality, with non residents on the left, and residents on the right. You can see that the British are still number one or two in most regions as far as non-residents are concerned, and still big players in the south and islands as far as residents go. I was surprised to see US non-resident buyers on the radar for the first time in the Basque Country, Cantabria, and Asturias. I wonder what’s going on there.

spanish property market

click to enlarge

 

Overall, British demand fell 24% in the period, with residents buying 16.5% fewer properties and non-residents 26% less. To give you some perspective, in the second half of 2015 British demand was up 37%, so Brexit has turned high-growth into big declines in the space of a year.

Non-resident second home buyers from abroad spent 3.7% more in terms of €/m2 than the previous year.

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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