The number of homes in Spain acquired by Russian buyers has been recovering slowly since it bottomed out in 2016, as illustrated by the chart above.
Last year Russians acquired 1,912 homes in Spain, up from 1,750 in 2017 but still more than one third down compared to 2014.
Russian demand collapsed by 43% in 2015 but was growing again by 2017, though far below the level previous to the Russian crisis. Last year Russian demand grew by 9%.
Russia was the 10th biggest foreign market for property in Spain, whereas back in 2014 it was the third biggest foreign market.
As a result, the Russian market share has fallen from around 9% to 3% of foreign demand.
Guifré Homedes, boss of Amat Immobiliaris,Barcelona’s longest-established real estate agency (in business since 1948), explains how Russian demand has changed in recent years from the perspective of Barcelona, one of the most popular destinations with Russian buyers.
How have you seen Russian demand evolve in the last few years in terms of numbers and budgets?
The Russian market has changed significantly from the years between 2012 and 2014 when there were lots of Russian buyers with big budgets on average around €1m to €1.2m. Then after 2014 Russian buyers almost disappeared from the market in Barcelona until 2017/2018, when they started to return in steady volumes. But the big difference today is their budgets, which are typically lower than they used to be, and are now in the €650,000 to €900,000 range.
What factors are influencing the change in Russian demand?
Russian demand dried up very quickly in 2014, mainly linked to Crimea issue, EU sanctions, economic recession and currency changes. Russian buyers went from being one of the most important groups in the Barcelona property market to almost nothing in around one month. I think since 2017 the Russian economy and currency are slightly improving and buyers are coming back to the market. It is a very slow recovery, but month by month it is improving.
That said, it’s difficult to compare what is happening today with Russian buyers to what happened around 2012. Back then the market in Spain was in deep crisis, with prices and transactions very low, meaning that Russian buyers found themselves in a very competitive market in terms of prices and the selection of properties on offer. Today the market is completely different, prices are higher, without much for sale, and domestic demand is also very active, so it will be difficult for Russian buyers to dominate the market in Barcelona like they did in the past.