Barcelona takes lion’s share of the Spanish Golden Visa market

spanish golden visa residency investment by region

Barcelona is the destination of choice for almost 50% of people buying property in Spain for a Spanish Golden Visa.

On Thursday I went to a seminar in Barcelona’s Liceu organised by the global real estate agency brand Fine & Country, with presentations made on subjects like Brexit, and the Spanish Golden Visa scheme.

Antonio Caracuel, a partner at Caracuel Abogados – a firm of lawyers with offices in Marbella, Barcelona, and Valencia – gave a presentation on Spain’s so-called ‘Golden Visa’ scheme, and pointed out that Barcelona is the most popular destination for Golden Visa investors by a wide margin.

I already knew this because I reported as much back in April (see Spanish ‘Golden Visa’ scheme attracts €2 billion in first three years), but it wasn’t until I saw Antonio’s chart (pictured above) that it really sunk in. When it comes to Spanish Golden Visa investments, Barcelona dominates the market.

For those of you who don’t know, the Spanish ‘Golden Visa’ residency scheme enables non-EU nationals and their families to get residency permits, including Schengen-area travel, in return for certain types of investment, including €500,000 or more in Spanish property. It also offers a path to citizenship in the long-term.

Antonio, whose firm specialises in Golden Visa services, had crunched the numbers, and revealed the following:

  • There were 2,093 Golden Visa investments made in real estate over the period 2013 – 2016
  • 893 were in Barcelona, which represents 43% of the total
  • In second place was Malaga province, with 348 Golden Visa investors, some 17% of the total. I assume the majority of these investments were in Marbella.
  • Next came Madrid, with 306 investors, 14% of the total
  • Alicante was in fourth place with 153 investors, 7% of the total
  • Girona province, home to the Costa Brava, was in fifth place, with 91 investors, 4% of the total
  • Valencia was last, with 77 investors, 3.6% of the total
  • The remainder, 227 investors (11%) chose other areas of Spain

Barcelona dominates because it’s the number one choice for Chinese investors, who are something like 40% of the market, and is also popular with Russians, the second biggest group. It’s also increasingly popular with Turkish and Egyptian investors, who are spooked by the situation back home, well aren’t they all.

I was surprised to see Valencia so low in the rankings. Following in Barcelona’s footsteps as an urban resort, and with lots going for it in its own right, Valencia City is an increasingly popular destination for foreign buyers. But it seems it’s not really on the radar for Golden Visa investors, despite being cheaper than Barcelona (and without the independence hullabaloo). I guess it will catch up.

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). He can be reached by email on ms@spanishpropertyinsight.com. All articles published in good faith as a general guide but no substitute for professional advice. Please read the SPI disclaimer

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