Foreign investment in Spanish property has risen significantly over the past years due to a variety of factors including easier access to finance, increased consumer confidence and low but rising house prices. Recent notary figures confirm this considerable increase in foreign demand, and also reveal surprising details in the amount overseas buyers are spending.
International sales of private housing rose for the eighth year in a row in 2015 (up 12.9% in 2015) with foreign buyers now accounting for 1 in 5 house sales in Spain. While it isn't necessarily surprising that the foreign market was able to return quicker than the Spanish market, which underwent one of the worst financial crashes in history, the latest figures also reveal a huge discrepancy between what resident and non-resident foreigners are spending.
According to the Spanish notaries, in December 2015, national buyers paid an average price of 1250€/m² for private housing. Resident foreigners averaged at 1380 €/m² and non-resident foreigners invested an average of 1806 €/m², meaning they are more likely to invest in higher end property than both nationals and resident foreigners. Overseas buyers therefore pay a considerable 46% more than the national average, and while the British buy the highest number of property, the Germans, Russians and the Swedish far outspend them, and the Irish are Europe’s greatest bargain hunters.
Recent figures show that growth continues to be driven mostly by the western European countries, aided by strong currencies and largely stable political climates. The top international buyers in 2015 were the British by far (up by 27% in 2015), followed by the French, Germans, Belgians and the Swedish trailing closely behind. Germans on average spent 2,149€/m², followed closely by Sweden, Switzerland and Norway who spent between 1952 and 2,082 €/m². A noticeable difference this year is that Russian buyers have all but disappeared from the Spanish market (-68%), hit economically by the ramifications of Putin’s actions in Ukraine.
By region, little changed in 2015 in terms of where foreign investors buy. The region of Valencia took the lead in terms of the number of house sales with 21,208, up by 7.2%, followed by Andalucía which includes areas like Marbella, Benalmadena and Mijas, with 13,861 and an annual change of 13.6%.
Evidently, a number of factors are contributing to creating an opportune moment for foreign buyers to invest in cheap property located along the ever-alluring Spanish coastline.