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British buyers in Q1 2023: Declining but still top dog

UK british demand for property in spain q1 2023

A snapshot of British demand for property in Spain based on the latest quarterly figures from the Spanish land registrars’ association shows that British buyers were once again the biggest group in the first quarter of this year, though less numerous than the same time last year.

2,216 Spanish home sales in the first quarter involved a buyer from the UK, down 15% on the same time last year, show the latest figures illustrated in the chart above. You can also see how British demand staged a decent recovery after the Covid-19 disaster before starting to cool off in the second half of 2022, and declining in the first quarter of 2023.

If you look at demand in the first quarter compared to previous years (next chart) you see that British demand was almost the same as 2019, slightly lower than 2018, and significantly lower than 2016 just before the Brexit referendum. So demand has recovered from the Coronavirus, but not from Brexit.

british uk demand for property in spain

Compared to other countries, British demand declined fractionally more than German demand in Q1, but less than Norway and Sweden. Despite an annualised decline of 15%, the British were still the largest group of buyers by foreign nationality, head and shoulders above the Germans and the French.

British share of the foreign market

The British have long been the biggest group of foreigners buying homes in Spain but they no longer dominate the market as they once did. Back in 2015 almost one in four foreigners buying property in Spain were British, but by Q1 this year the British market share had fallen to 9.6% of the overall foreign market, and 17.1% of key markets, not far ahead of Germany and France, as illustrated in the next two charts.

British demand by region

Whereabouts in Spain did the British buy property in the first quarter of 2023? Regrettably the registrars don’t provide any information on a quarterly basis, but based on their annual figures for 2022, we can assume that around 34% of Brits bought in Andalusia (753), 31% bought in the Valencian region (687), 13% in Murcia (288), 11% in the Canaries (243) and 7% in the Balearics (155).

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2 thoughts on “British buyers in Q1 2023: Declining but still top dog

  • nigelgsimpson@yahoo.co.uk says:

    I wondered what the difference would be if age was a factor? Working/non working/retired. Plus how many purchases are for time share/group share, short term use eg non resident and full time but foreign residents?
    Recently there was an article about more properties being purchased away from the coast, I suppose the price increase/land area/bargains is also a factor especially Madrid and Barcelona?

    My personal choice in over 3 years of serious searching changed because my wife ‘changed’ and I began to think of old age. I wanted a detached villa with loads of land then a large classic house on or near a square finally I selected, a large terrace with up to 3 bedrooms underneath close enough to a city with good train links…

    • Mark Stücklin says:

      I wish I could get my hands on data like that but sadly it’s not available in Spain. I think foreigners have been buying further inland for some time now. Interesting to read how your requirements changed over time, also that your search lasted more than 3 years.

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