Spain is still the most popular country in Europe for Brits abroad
Spain is still the most popular country in Europe for Brits abroad, and it’s easy to see why. With its incredible landscapes, beaches, food, climate and cities, what’s not to love about it? It seems many Brits still love the idea of having a holiday home in Spain or retiring there full time, and in a post-Brexit world it is becoming an increasingly appealing choice when compared to other European destinations.
The most popular relocation destination remains Australia, however, for those not wanting to move so far away, Spain ticks the most boxes. There are currently almost 4 times more Brits living in Spain than there are in the next most popular European destination, France.
Interestingly, for those harboring a dream of owning a place in the sun, in our post-Brexit current Covid climate, it has become a buyer’s market and Spain is more appealing than ever for those who are deposit ready and looking.
The rating agency Standard & Poors predicted house prices in Spain to drop the most in Europe due to the fallout of the pandemic, but to also see the sharpest rebound towards the back end of 2021. Given the large amount of second homes that make up the market, it seems to be a repeated trend that when times get tough, many people sell off assets that they deem non-essential. There was a similar story in Spain during the 2008-9 financial crisis where a tough time for some presented opportunity for others. By 2022, Standard & Poor’s expects a sharper rise still – up to 4.5% capital appreciation.
This means that within the space of a couple of years, house prices in Spain will experience one of the biggest price fluctuations of Europe’s main economies, from a 1.4 percent fall to a 4.5 percent rise. Many Brits have started to seize the opportunity already with an incredible 53% of all inquiries from non-Spanish buyers, being British.
Why are Brits increasingly choosing Spain?
One reason for the increase in interest from Brits may come as a consequence of Brexit, as Spain offers a compelling residency program that would allow many Brits to live there full time even as non-Europeans. This could also allow them to acquire a Spanish passport meaning they would have the same freedoms of movement as before.
Spain’s golden Visa Program
Spain launched its golden visa programme in 2013. An investment of €500,000 in real estate (1 or multiple properties) will gain family residency. The Spanish investor visa can be renewed every two years. After five years it is possible to gain permanent residency and after ten years citizenship. It is not necessary to live in Spain in order to retain and renew the residency visa permit.
Other reasons for choosing Spain
Besides the 320 days of sunshine and the 350km of coastline, there are a number of other factors that come into play. We are seeing a remote working revolution and many countries are capitalizing on it. The UAE for example, has created remote working visas to lure in those who can perform their function from the comfort of their own homes. Whilst Spain hasn’t created any specific remote working incentives, thanks to the residency program it will be the obvious choice for many. Travelling to and from Spain from the UK is incredibly easy and affordable and there’s many daily flights available.
The process of buying property in Spain
Property transactions are simple & straight forward, often a far quicker process than in the UK, with the entire process being as short as 6 weeks in some cases. The market is well catered to the British buyer, with many companies specifically set up to service British clientele.
- Viewing Trip – no more than 3-4 days
- Place holding deposit on Viewing Trip (circa €6,000 – €10,000)
- Introduction to third parties used in the buying process
- Contracts complete within 30 days
- Obtain a mortgage in principal prior to visiting Spain. This can be done via your agent with a local Mortgage Broker
It is important to have a good understanding before you start the process of what you can afford so you can find the right area to meet your personal needs. Things to consider when choosing a location are:
- Distance from airport
- Type & price of property
- Facilities (shops, restaurants, bars etc)
- Child friendly?
- Beach Property/Golf Complex Property?
Are there any specific areas offering good value?
According to Richard Kirk, owner of Purple Property Consultants:
“There are pockets of areas along the whole coast if you know where to look. This is where it’s important to work closely with an experienced agent to find what you are looking for. Typically, better value these days is slightly inland and usually in and around golf complexes. Generally, the Golden Mile (West of San Pedro/Puerto Banus), and further along the coast going down towards Estepona, Casares, Duquessa and Sotogrande provide cheaper property but of good quality. The further you go either East or West the lower the prices become. I would say the properties and locations to the West are generally nicer, as it is a newer more modern area with height restrictions on buildings. Costa Blanca and around the Murcia region offer a slower lifestyle than the south of Spain and also tend to be cheaper for the same size and quality you would get in the Costa Del Sol.”
Why it’s important to work with experienced high-quality brokers
A good broker will advise on the best areas to meet your criteria. A good ‘holiday’ location may not always be the best location to purchase a property. They will have knowledge of the up and coming areas or most established, whichever is your preference, and can advise on where the best value for your money is.
A top broker will undertake most of the ground work for you, prior to your trip, and insure you are introduced to the best:
- Mortgage Brokers
- Foreign Exchange Brokers
- Local Banks
If property in Spain is of interest to you, you can browse over 11,000 available properties and get a full guide to property in Spain here.