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Foreign demand ends 2021 on a high

foreign demand for spanish property q4 2021

Foreign demand for Spanish property has recovered powerfully from the lows of the coronavirus pandemic ending last year on the highest note since 2007, when the Spanish housing bubble was beginning to deflate.

Foreign buyers acquired 18,156 Spanish homes in the last quarter of 2021 according to the latest report published by the Spanish land registrars’ association.

Year-on-year, foreign demand for property for sale in Spain was up 49% compared to the same period last year, as illustrated by the chart above.

There were a total of 143,982 sales in the quarter, up 26.5%, with local demand up 23.8% to 125,826, meaning that foreign demand was growing fastest at the end of last year. The next chart shows total sales and growth.

spanish property market 2021 Q4

Foreign demand fell more than local demand during the pandemic, and the recovery at first was weaker, which makes perfect sense considering the travel restrictions that have been in place since the start of the pandemic, and have not yet entirely disappeared. The next chart illustrates how foreign demand turned up in the last quarter, whilst growth in local demand began to cool.

As a result, the foreign-buyer share of the Spanish property market rose to 12.6% in Q4, up from 10.7% a year earlier. It’s not the highest on record, but it represents a significant recovery from the slump brought about by the pandemic.

foreign share of spanish property market 2021 Q4

Foreign demand for Spanish property by nationality

The British were once again the biggest group of foreign buyers with 2,255 purchases, ahead of the Germans with 1,984. Regular readers will recall that the Germans were the biggest group in the third quarter –  the first time since records began that the British were not number one. It is too early to say if there is a new trend emerging, but it is fair to say that British buyers are showing remarkable staying-power in the face of Brexit and the pandemic. 

Like all comparisons with 2020, the growth in sales by nationality needs to be interpreted carefully because of the pandemic’s impact that year. More than growth, the year-on-year figures tell us about recovery from a Covid-depression in sales, with almost all countries up by 25% or more, and Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany up more than 100%. The British recovery of 29% was modest in comparison.

The overall picture is one of growing foreign demand and confidence in Spanish property. Next week I will look at the annual picture, and start looking at individual markets, including Russia and the Ukraine, where demand has been recovering in line with other markets, but where current events are bound to have a big impact.

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