British demand up to ‘real’ Brexit

UK demand for Spanish property before real Brexit

British demand for property in Spain has held up surprisingly well since the Brexit referendum in 2016, but real Brexit only kicked in at the start of this year, so the effect might have been delayed. 

Brexit didn’t really start to bite until the start of this year when the transition period came to an end, so you could argue it has been a bit like a phony war until now, with little visible impact. 

That might now be all changing with the start of real Brexit, though it is difficult to find data to prove this. I have heard reports of thousands of Britons moving back to the UK in the first quarter of this year driven out by Brexit, but I haven’t seen any figures to quantify it. 

And now that the British are barred from spending more than 90 days in any 180 day period in the Schengen area, will this significantly drag down British demand for a second home in Spain? We will have to wait a month or more to find out.

My hypothesis is that British demand will take a hit from real Brexit this year, but I’m not that confident about my own predictions, having been confounded by Brexit so far. I expected a bigger, sustained fall after the referendum, and I was stunned by how well British demand recovered after the Spring lockdown of 2020, as you can see from the chart above. Through Brexit and Covid the British have kept buying homes in Spain, and remain by far the biggest foreign market. 

With the British vaccine success story boosting confidence, talk of a slingshot economic recovery, and the Pound close to 12-month highs, there are reasons to think that 2021 might not be too bad, so I could be wrong (again) about the demise of British demand. It will largely depend on the impact of real Brexit, and whether the 90/180 rule is a big obstacle or not.

The Association of Spanish Land Registrars will publish the numbers for foreign demand for Q1 in the next month or two, and then we will finally be able to see the impact of real Brexit, assuming Covid-19 doesn’t distort the picture too much. For now, here is what British demand looked like up until the end of the phony Brexit period.

SPI Member Comments

One thought on “British demand up to ‘real’ Brexit

  • Now the EU has completed a final ratification of the treaty / exit agreement with the UK by 660 votes to 5 on just two weeks ago, it can’t be long before some countries introduce a 180 day visa free travel period in 360 days, this is in fact is what the British government offers to EU citizens, and if you see this link of written evidence to the UK Parliament, it appears action is underway to ask the EU to reciprocate and outlines some good reasons why they should, see:

    And I note also this paragraph from the ETIAS website which states:

    “Whilst the Schengen Area visa policy applies to the entire region, bilateral visa waiver agreements are made between certain third countries and the individual EU Member States. The duration of stay and other conditions vary depending on the nationality of the visitor, their destination, and the type of passport they hold.”

    So it appears that the likes of Spain and Portugal can create a waiver agreement with the UK, and why would they not, there are an estimated 500,000 UK citizens that would like to avail themselves of a 180 visa free travel period, and whilst the EU wanted to stay ‘united’ on all things Brexit, the treaty has now been ratified, it is done, it is over with, and there is nothing but common sense in allowing Brits an 180 day period and only the shooting of themselves in the foot on the part of Spain and Portugal who are heavily invested in residential tourism if they do not.

    It will happen, am pretty sure of it, there is no reason for it not to, especially as the notion of ‘punishing’ the Brits for leaving starts to die down and we all just get on with what happened.

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