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One in ten foreign buyers spent half a million euro or more on Spanish property in 2022

Percentage of foreign buyers spending €500,000 or more on Spanish property. Source: Registrars

The percentage of foreign buyers spending half a million euro and up on Spanish property rose to 10% for the first time in 2022.

A total of 8,995 foreign buyers spent €500,000 or more on Spanish property in 2022, which represented 10.1% of foreign demand, according to the latest annual report from the land registrars’ association.

As you can see from the chart above, the number of foreign investors spending half a million euro and up has risen significantly in the last three years. Having hovered around 5% to 6% between 2012 and 2019 it started climbing rapidly between 2020 and 2022. So the market share of wealthier buyers is growing fast.

The pie chart below shows where the properties were located, excluding markets of little interest to foreign investors (which made up less than 2% of the market between them). 34% of properties were in Andalusia, followed by the Balearics (24%) and Catalonia (18%).

In Andalusia 42% of buyers spending half a million euro or more came from outside the EU, including the UK, whilst in the Balearics, where German buyers dominate the foreign market, the proportion fell to just 24%. Buyers from outside the EU spending €500,000 of their own funds on Spanish property meet the investment criteria for applying for a Spanish Golden Visa.

Super-rich & super-prime in Spain

This increase in the number of foreigners investing big sums of money in Spanish property comes at a time when Spain is firmly on the radar of super-rich global investors. 

According to the Knight Frank Wealth Report 2023, Spain is the top destination for high-net-worth Europeans purchasing a new home, and the third destination for wealthy buyers from the Americas. Globally Spain is in fourth place behind the US, UK, and Australia, and ahead of France in fifth place. (See page 61 of the Knight Frank Wealth Report 2023).

However, buyers will find a scarcity of product for sale in some segments at the very high-end, for example the super-prime serviced-apartment segment that tends to appeal to so-called ultra-high-net-worth individuals, or UHNWI for short. As I found out when researching an article on super-prime serviced apartments in Spain compared to the UK, there is very little left on the market, and almost all of it is in Barcelona and Madrid.

“We are down to our last remaining full-floor apartment,” says David Rolt, Director of Francesc Macià 10 in Barcelona, the first project in this segment launched in Spain. “There is clearly international demand at the very high-end, but the pipeline of super-prime serviced-apartments in Barcelona has nothing new coming in, so it won’t be long before high-end buyers can’t find what they are used to in cities like London and New York.” 

The very high-end of the market in Spain, where buyers spend as much as €45m on an apartment, is a tiny fraction of the segment of buyers spending 500,000€ or more, but the growing market-share of wealthy foreign buyers is a reality that is captured by the latest market report by the land registrars, and supported by the Knight Frank Wealth Report 2023. The wealthy tend to survive times of economic turbulence better than most, so it will be interesting to see if this growing appetite for Spanish property amongst wealthy foreign investors translates into another increase in market share in 2023.

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