Home » FOREIGN DEMAND FOR HOUSING IN SPAIN: More people looking to rent than buy

FOREIGN DEMAND FOR HOUSING IN SPAIN: More people looking to rent than buy

New data from the property portal Idealista shows that more people are searching for rentals from outside of Spain than homes to buy.

The latest report from the College of Spanish Land Registrars shows that foreign investors bought property in Spain in record numbers in 2022, but figures from property portal Idealista based on an analysis of searches to buy and rent done from outside of Spain suggests that foreign demand for rental homes in Spain has overtaken the interest in buying.

According to Idealista, 14.9% of all rental searches of the portal’s online database were carried out from abroad at the end of last year, the highest level on record, whilst 14.5% of purchase searches came from abroad, so foreign rental searches were higher than purchase searches, when the opposite is normally the case.

Idealista assumes that everyone conducting a property rental or purchase search from abroad is a foreigner, and uses the number of searches conducted from abroad (users with IP addresses outside of Spain) as a guide to foreign demand. However, there will be Spaniards based abroad and others using VPNs at home in Spain that mean that not all searches made from foreign IPs represent foreign demand. Nevertheless, it’s a reasonable snapshot of foreign interest in property for rent and sale in Spain.

Both rental and purchase searches have been growing since a slump in February 2022, when many plans were temporarily put on hold by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Both purchase and rental searches from abroad are now at or close to all-time highs, according to Idealista’s data.

Idealista provides data on searches for property in provincial capitals rather than all areas of Spain. It’s a smaller but more manageable data-set that gives us a reasonable idea of foreign interest in different regions, broken down by rent and purchase motivations. There is a table at the bottom where you can see all the data.

Idealista also provides data on the main source by country of international interest for each provincial capital, both rental and purchase. For example, in Palma de Mallorca, the main source of both rental and purchase search is Germany, which comes as no surprise because Mallorca has long been the Spanish Mecca for Germans. What is surprising, however, is to see that in Barcelona, the biggest source of searches to buy now comes from the USA.

spanish real estate market analysis

Subscribe to the Data Hub

Dive into the data. For more detail and the most comprehensive source of Spanish property market data with interactive charts subscribe to the Data Hub.

Burgeoning US interest in Spanish housing?

This data backs up the idea that US interest in Spanish housing is exploding, as recently reported in an article by Jeff Marcus in the WSJ about American property buyers in Spain. According to Idealista the US was the number one international source of both rental and purchase searches in provincial capitals, in first place for 28.8% of rental searches, and an astonishing 57.7% of purchases searches. The biggest foreign market for property in Spain – the UK – was only first in 11.5% of provincial capitals. Now compare this with the latest data from the Land Registrars on purchases by nationality in Spain (Q4 2022) illustrated in the next chart, showing US buyers were just 1.1% of the the “rich” foreign market, and you get the sense that either there’s a wave of US buyers and renters on the way to Spain, or people in the US searching for property in Spain at Idealista are mainly dreamers (or there’s some other explanations like VPNs based in the US, or some other bias in the data, which is quite possible).

How to use the table

Use the table below to explore foreign interest in Spanish housing for rent and purchase based on Idealista’s data for December 2022 (you can see the original data here, but the table and charts below are much more useful).

You can sort the table by clicking the table headers, or filter the regions and provincial capitals using the filter fields at the bottom of the first two columns. The rental and purchase search columns show the percentage of searches that came from abroad, so for example, in the case of Malaga, 22.2% of rental searches and 18.5% of purchases searches were done outside of Spain, with USA being the number one source of rentals searches, and the UK for people looking to buy. The pie charts below will automatically update to reflect your sorting/filtering. Enjoy playing with the table!

Rental and purchase searches dec-2022 (Idealista id 159)

Leave a Reply