Foreign demand for Spanish property declines in the first half, reveal the notaries

Foreign buyers were involved in 3.2% fewer home purchases in the first half of the year, according to the latest report from the Association of Spanish Notaries.

In total foreign buyers acquired 51,720 homes in Spain in the first six months of the year, compared to 53,427 the same period last year, a decline of 3.2%, and the first annualised decline after seven and a half years of uninterrupted growth.

Spanish demand also declined in the same period, by 2.8% to 226,594 home sales in the first half. As a result, the overall market decline by 2.9% to 278,314, and foreign demand made up 18.6% of the market – a share that has hardly budged between 2013 and 2018.

Foreign demand breaks down into non-resident buyers with 21,210 acquisitions (41% of foreign demand), principally holiday-home buyers from northern Europe, and expat (resident) buyers with 30,510 purchases (59%), mainly economic migrants from countries like Morocco and Romania.

Non-resident demand was down 9.7%, the third consecutive half-yearly decline, whilst expat demand continues to grow (+1.9%), albeit at a much lower rate than before. The downward trend in holiday-home demand should be a worry for developers on the coast, and is not good news for anyone looking to sell a second home in Spain. There are fewer buyers around.

The main destinations for foreign buyers were the Valencian Region, Andalusia, and Catalonia, in that order. Demand fell in Valencia and Andalusia, but rose in Catalonia (+7-8%). The biggest falls in foreign demand were in the Canaries (-20.1%) and the Balearics (-13.7%).

Foreign demand by nationality

The British have long dominated the foreign market and continued to do so in H1 with 6,681 Spanish home acquisitions, followed by Morocco and France. The following table gives the number of purchases by nationality in the first half.

foreign demand spanish property market h1 2019

Non-resident demand fell in H1 because there were fewer northern-Europeans buying second homes in Spain, whist the number of economic migrants from North Africa and America is still increasing. The next tabñe shows the annualised change in H1 by foreign market.

foreign demand spanish property market h1 2019

The notaries provide maps to show the strength of foreign demand per region divided into resident and non-resident demand. The map on the left shows the top to nationalities of non-resident buyers per region, and the map on the right the same for expat, or resident buyers.

foreign demand spanish property market h1 2019

Non-resident (second-home) demand top two nationalities (left map), expat / resident demand (right map)

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).

One thought on “Foreign demand for Spanish property declines in the first half, reveal the notaries”

  1. SurveySpain

    As mentioned before, to gauge the number of buyers from the numbers at the notaries is misleading. Certainly on Western Costa del Sol, we’ve seen so much new build that’s been sucking up a great deal of the demand. It’s understandable, as the specification is higher than the average pre-crisis property, but the prices are still worryingly high. All these buyers will only register when the first occupation licences are granted and buyer and seller go off to the Notary to register the sale.

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