Foreign Buyers are Voraciously Purchasing Houses in Spain
Who They Are and Where They Invest?
Purchases by foreign buyers increased by 5.4% in the first half of the year.
The number of foreign buyers who are purchasing and selling homes in Spain have set a new record – even higher than the peak achieved during the real estate bubble. According to a notarial statistic released on Tuesday, 53,359 transactions were registered in the first half of this year. It is the highest absolute figure of the historical series, which starts in the first half of 2007. Back then, the number of non-Spanish home buyers numbered significantly fewer (around 33,000), and the figure collapsed during the 2008 real estate crisis. The recovery began in 2014, and since then has registered double-digit year-on-year growth almost every semester. Year-on-year growth is the only confounding factor–compared to the first half of 2017, the market only grew 5.4%–the lowest increase since 2013.
The average price per square meter of foreign-purchased properties also decreased slightly this quarter–from 1,716 euros last quarter to 1,687 euros today–the first decrease in five years. It’s difficult to tell if this is an actual decrease, or a quirk of the season, so we shall have to wait until the next quarter to see if this is a trend. In any case, the average price has averaged 0.9% year-on-year, so prices have been rising compared to the same period of the previous year since 2014.
British citizens continue to buy the most houses in Spain. 7,613 of purchases were carried out by citizens of the United Kingdom, 8.8% more than in the first half of last year. Second and third place correspond to French (4,211 transactions 4.6% less) and German citizens (4,138 transactions, 2.1% less). They are followed by Romanians (3,872 purchases) and Moroccans, which with 3,662 transactions, represent the first non-community nationality. In addition, they are ahead of the Italians after a year-on-year growth of 28.8%, to place among the top five in the standings. The other two nationalities that grew the most were Irish (24.7%) and Danish (18.2%) citizens, while purchases by Swiss citizens fell by 13.2%.
The hottest market for foreign buyers continues to be the Valencian Community. 15,613 transactions, almost one in three purchases, were registered there, and the community grew the most (16.7% year-on-year). Andalusia placed second, with 9,737 purchases and an inter-annual increase of 8.2%; while in third place Catalonia, transactions (7,570) fell by 5.3% with respect to the same period of the previous year. Purchases in the fourth-ranked Canary Islands also fell, with 5,312 transactions (10.6% less), while fifth-place Madrid increased by 5.4% over the first semester of last year, with 4,911 foreign buyers purchasing homes.
British on the Coast, Chinese in the Center
Notarial statistics differentiate between foreign buyers who have a Spanish residence card (resident aliens) and those who do not (non-resident aliens). The former continue to dominate purchases with 56% of transactions. This differentiation applies when it comes to indicating which are the two most numerous nationalities in each autonomous community, which can sometimes be repeated.
In the Valencian Community, for example, British buyers dominate purchases in both the resident- and non-resident alien categories. Among transactions carried out by resident aliens, citizens of the United Kingdom represented 12%, the same percentage as Romanian citizens. Among people who invested in a house in the Valencian territory who did not have legal residence in Spain (non-resident aliens), the British represented 21%, followed by Swedish citizens with 14%.
In Andalusia, something similar happens, with British and Moroccans tied for the most purchases by resident aliens (16% both nationalities), while among non-resident aliens, the British (28%) stand out over the Swedes (13%),
In Catalonia, Moroccan resident-aliens (13%) buy more houses, ahead of the French (10%). However, non-resident French citizens dominate that category (44%) versus Germans (7%). And in Madrid, Romanians (19%) are the foreign residents who buy more houses, while the majority of non-resident aliens are Chinese (18%) and Italians (7%).
Germans, Italians and Brits take over purchases in island communities. In the Canary Islands, Italian resident-aliens dominate the market (31%) followed by the Germans (12%); while among non-resident aliens, those positions flip and German non-resident aliens dominate (20%) by a narrow margin over the Italians (20%). In the Balearics, Germans dominate both categories, while Italians (15%) are the second largest among residents and British (15%) among non-residents.
In the rest of autonomies, the British were the largest community among non-resident aliens in two other coastal territories, while they only dominated transactions in an interior one. We are talking about Murcia, Asturias and La Rioja. Within the same segment of foreign citizens who do not habitually live in Spain, the French dominate all the other communities, Aragón, Navarra, País Vasco, Cantabria, Castilla and León, Castilla-La Mancha and Extremadura.
The only exception is Galicia, where the largest nationality among both non-residents and residents is Portuguese. As for resident aliens, except for the aforementioned exceptions, Romanian and Moroccan are divided as a larger nationality among all other communities. The citizens of Romania were the most active in buying and selling properties in Aragon, the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias, La Rioja, Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha. Those of Morocco were majorities in Navarra, Extremadura and Murcia.
Source: El País.