In its Annual Global Retirement Index, International Living Magazine listed Spain as the ninth best place to retire in the world. Spain was only one of two European countries to make the top ten, after Portugal.
Ranked according to factors such as climate, ease and cost of buying or renting a property, the cost of living, and the ease of fitting in and enjoying a healthy and varied lifestyle, it is not surprising that Spain is a top destination for retirement. The index also includes factors such as visa and residency options, infrastructure and healthcare, which are vital considerations for any retiree seeking to relocate and lead a comfortable new lifestyle abroad.
Spanish healthcare is free of charge to anyone living and working in Spain and is ranked among the best in the world. Spanish healthcare guarantees universal coverage with no upfront expenditure from patients apart from a proportion of prescription charges. You can receive emergency healthcare in Spain by registering on the Padrón (an easy process undertaken at your local town hall, essentially declaring that you live in the area). A state insurance scheme may also be applicable for permanent residents who have been registered on the padrón for a year.
Due to a significant increase in demand and consumer confidence and a more relaxed approach to lending, numerous banks in Spain are now also offering a variety of mortgage plans with variable, fixed or mixed rates, making it easier to buy. Financing to buy a property in Spain can be obtained from national banks and savings banks as well as international banks including British banks like Barclays and Lloyds TSB, all of which offer differing costs and contractual terms.
On the Costa del Sol, British and Scandinavian buyers are seeking out property in areas such as Fuengirola, Estepona and Marbella, known as locations that offer a huge variety of local amenities and extremely diverse local communities. Americans are also showing a renewed interest in the Spanish property market as the dollar stretches a lot further when buying a property and comparing the cost of living to most American states. According to the retirement report by International Living Magazine, an American could enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle in Spain on just $2,100 a month.
Spain has experienced significant economic growth over the past two years and now has one of the fastest growing economies in the EU with a thriving property market. In Q4 of 2017 the overall residential real estate market in Spain expanded by 19.8% to 111,921 home sales, the highest fourth quarter level since the Spanish housing market began its recovery in 2015. Foreign demand also grew by 13.6% in the last quarter of 2017, bringing the total number of properties sold to foreigners in 2017 to 61,000 (13.1%) of the total number of property sales. British buyers led the way accounting for 15%, followed by the French (8.6), Germans (7.8%), Sweden and Belgium (both at 6.4%).
Official government statistics continue to show that the Spanish property market is in a healthy period of sustained growth. While property prices are rising, levels are still far below peak values reached during the property boom pre-2007, creating favourable market conditions for those seeking to retire in one of the top 10 countries for retirement in the world.