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British market update: Q1 2024

Spanish property sales involving a British buyer declined by 11pc in the first quarter, but they were still the  biggest national group by a wide margin, show the latest figures from the Land Registrars’ Association.

1,965 Spanish home sales involved a British buyer in Q1, down 11pc on the same time last year, and 10pc below the ten-year average, as illustrated in the chart above.

The British share of the foreign market fell to 9.1pc, down from a high of 21.9pc in Q1 of 2016. Nevertheless the British still had the biggest market share, ahead of Germany in second place with 6.8pc.

The next chart compares sales by nationality in Q1, and shows how the UK is still the biggest foreign market for Spanish property despite an 11pc decline compared to last year. Germany and France declined even more, by 17pc and 24pc respectively.

The Registrars don’t break down sales by nationality and region on a quarterly basis, but the annual numbers give us a good idea of where the British buy homes in Spain. It’s fair to assume that sales were distributed in Q1 by region similar to the picture given in the pie chart below.

Period: 2023 full year

British demand under a Labour government

British demand for property in Spain is holding up surprisingly well compared to other countries in the period after Brexit and the pandemic, and it will be interesting to see what impact, if any, a Labour government back home has on British demand for property in Spain.

If Labour goes hard after private wealth and raises taxes you would expect that to drive more British buyers to Spain. However, if Labour also makes an even bigger mess of the economy than the Conservatives, and devalues the Pound, you would expect that to reduce British purchasing power in Spain. The chances that Labour will not go after private wealth / raise taxes and and that the economy does well are slim.