Government data confirms Q1 surge in foreign demand

The latest data published by the Spanish government’s housing observatory reveals that foreign demand for property in Spain increased by 171% in the first quarter of the year, and validates the foreign demand figures published by the Spanish notaries’ association.

The latest data divulged to the press by the Spanish government MITMA Ministry that deals with housing policy reveals that foreigners bought 31,711 homes in Spain in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 171% over the same period last year.

This confirms the strong appetite amongst foreign investors I reported in May’s article ‘Foreign demand starts 2022 with strong growth‘ looking at the latest figures on foreign demand published by the Spanish land registrars’ association, but these figures suggest that foreign demand was much bigger, and growth much stronger.

MITMA also provides us with a breakdown of foreign demand between expats and foreign non-residents (FNR). Expat demand increased by 36% to 16,691 sales but FNR demand exploded 141% to 15,020, so the big increase was mainly driven by foreigners buying second-homes in Spain.

You can use the table below to see how the two segments of foreign demand have changed since the first quarter of 2017, as illustrated by the chart below the table. Choose to see all the entries, or filter the table using the search field to focus on a particular year or quarter. If you put ‘q1’ into the search field the table and chart will show you how demand has changed in every first quarter of the year since 2017.

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How big is foreign demand for property in Spain? It depends which figures you use

There are three sources of data for foreign demand: the land registrars, the notaries, and the government (MITMA). As I’ve pointed out on several occasions there’s a big discrepancy between the notaries and the registrars, as you can see in the next chart.

The government’s figures must be based on one of the sources, and it looks like it’s the notaries’ figures, as you can see in the table below. The government’s figures are similar to the notaries, and both of them are much higher than the registrars. So, when it comes to counting the number of foreign buyers of property in Spain, I assume the MITMA / notary figures are more reliable, though I have not yet heard a good explanation as to why the registrars count far fewer foreign buyers every year.

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