Reducing British Ex-Pat Population in Spanish Costas

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    • #182919

      Earlier this year I was in Marbella and reading through the local paper.  There was a report that many British people who had moved to the Costas for the wonderful life have moved back to the UK.

      Presumably many will have lost loads of money on their property investments in Spain.

      Does anyone reading this have any comments to make about the possible fading popularity of Spain for British people, at least as a place to live permanently?

      I’m still very interested in investing on the eastern coast, but wonder if it will be too difficult to find people who want to rent.

    • #182948
      Mark Stücklin

      Hi Geoffrey,

      There’s no doubt that emigrating to Spain doesn’t work out for a significant number of people. I have no data on what proportion. In the long run I think the vast majority go home, even if they’ve had a pleasant retirement in Spain.

      Back in May there was a story about 90,000 Brits heading home last year, but I don’t those numbers told the full story. I think they exaggerated the scale of annual repatriation.

      Did they all lose a bundle? Some certainly did, but some didn’t. All depends what they bought and when.

      Spain is still the No. 1 destination for British holiday-home buyers and retirees, though Spain has made some stupid mistakes in recent years to put off retirees, just when they should be rolling out the red carpet. However, there is no data on the retirement market because the official figures don’t distinguish between people buying holiday homes and people relocating.

      If you are relocating in your 50s or early 60s it might make sense to buy in Spain, but to anyone relocating 65yrs plus I would always recommend renting over buying. I suspect that is a segment that is poorly satisfied by the current rental offer.

    • #182951

      Hi Mark

      Interesting your report of 90,000 Brits returning to the UK last year.  Surely this is having a downward effect on property prices in some of the resorts most popular to British people?

      Surely it makes more sense for many people, particularly if retired, not to move completely to Spain, but instead spend several months there over the winter, and still enjoy milder weather with the family and friends back in the UK?

      In a few weeks I’ll be making another visit to Spain, trying to work out whether it is a good idea to invest there to cater for the holidaymakers and short-term residents.  Somehow I need to work out what will make a property more popular, and likely to be selected by visitors to Spain.

      Generally speaking, which seaside resorts would you generally recommend .. and why?  For example, there are real bargains in the northern part of the Costa del Sol at present, but will these rent easily for most of the year?


      • #183009
        Mark Stücklin

        I don’t think those 90,000 left at the same time. I think they dropped of the municipal register (padrón) over some years, but didn’t show up in the stats until the padrón was updated.

        If I was retired and had the money to afford a house in Spain and the UK, I would do exactly as you suggest: winter in Spain and summer in the UK. Personally speaking I prefer to be away from the Spanish coast in August: too hot, too crowded.

        Spain has a long coast with lots of different resort towns. I all depends what you want. What do you mean the north Costa del Sol?

    • #182967
      Fuengi (Andrew)


      I do not think the popularity of Spain is fading, just changing. Which is of course normal. Spain is a wealthier country that it was 20 years ago, so can no longer remain the cheap sunny destination it was back then. It is also cheaper to travel and we have different ideas of what a holiday should be.

      Regarding all the people who have moved back. Yes I sure quite a few have. Only normal, met many who are returning because they want to be nearer the grandkids/kids/etc…. Also many who cannot find work, expected something different, etc…

      As to whether they lost a lot of money, depends. Most of the older generation that I talk to seem to have bought 15/20 years ago. They may have sold for less than they could have got during the boom, but generally for more than they bought for. For the people that bought during the boom? which seems to make up a majority, then yes, quite a few could be losing money.

      Investing in what type of property. there is always a demand for rentals. You just have to decide what market you trying to attract and if the return makes it worthwhile.

    • #183042


      We are in the process of planning a vacation in Spain.What we are looking for is a condo or cortijo that has some character in it. A traditional fireplace, tilework, with a deck. The first two places we liked were both booked and this is for October! We have found another place near Nerja, just inland a bit.

      Condos that were just slapped together using the cheapest materials are a dime a dozen and are all empty and probably will be until next summers booze fueled vacationers arrive. Renters who appreciate the old fashioned spanish or moorish style will probably treat your property with some respect.

      I hope this helps you to decide what style of property you will buy.


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