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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.