Property market data and international buyer trends
Which international buyers purchase the most properties in Spain?
Despite rising interest rates across Europe and a cost of living crisis, international buyers remain a significant part of the national Spanish housing market, accounting for 14.9% of the total real estate transactions registered in the second quarter of 2023.
According to the latest data published by the Spanish College of Property Registrars (Colegio de Registradores), in the second quarter of 2023 alone, foreign buyers accounted for 22,706 sales.
It is the second-highest quarterly figure since 2013, surpassed only by the 15.9% figure registered in the third quarter of 2022. In contrast, the highest pre-pandemic record for foreign sales was 14.3%, recorded in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Sales of properties to international buyers have continued to exceed 20,000 registrations since the first quarter of 2022, highlighting the continued appeal of the Spanish property market to global investment.
"Foreign demand for housing has maintained its intense strength in the residential market in Spain, in line with the results of recent years, becoming a particularly relevant factor in maintaining outstanding amounts of real estate sales," reports the College of Property Registrars.
British buyers continue to lead the Spanish property market
The current global economic situation, with record inflation and high interest rates in many northern European countries, is changing the distribution of Spanish property sales among different nationalities.
The British continue to be the leading property buyers in Spain, with 1,998 transactions registered between April and June 2023.
But with more sales to buyers from other nationalities, the British share of the international property sales market has reduced from 9.0% in the first quarter of 2023 to 8.8% of total foreign sales in the latest second quarter of the year.
The College of Property Registrars registered 151,983 property sales nationwide between April and June 2023, and sales to British buyers accounted for 1.3% of all purchases made in the last quarter.
Historically, British citizens have been the most active nationality in the Spanish property market, peaking at almost 25.0% in 2015. But British buyers have declined in number over the past eight years, barely exceeding a 10.0% market share in four of the last ten recorded quarters.
A new generation of Spanish property buyers
However, over the same period, property sales to international buyers have skyrocketed, with other nationalities contributing to nationwide record-breaking sales since the fourth quarter of 2021.
International buyers from Germany take second place, with 1,646 property sales to German nationals in the second quarter of 2023, representing 7.3% of the total foreign real estate sales.
French buyers accounted for 6.6% of the international property market, with 1,490 registered sales between April and June 2023.
Residents of Morocco (1,219), Italy (1,185), Romania (1,169), Belgium (1,156) and the Netherlands (1,047) all recorded sales exceeding 1,000 homes in the last quarter.
Buyers from Poland (3.9%), Russia (3.4%), China (3.1%), Sweden (2.9%), Ukraine (2.7%), and Ireland (1.7%) purchased less than 1,000 properties in the second quarter of 2023, but showed a dramatic increase in foreign property market share.
Alicante Province remains the favourite destination
The latest data implies a broader distribution of nationalities in purchasing Spanish property, with the decline of traditional buyers marked by a progressive increase in new markets.
However, one thing that has remained the same is the international buyers' choice of destination in Spain, with the Mediterranean provinces and Spanish islands continuing to be the most preferred locations.
In our province of Alicante, international buyers represent four out of every ten local property sales (44.7%), and foreign holiday home buyers in Tenerife's Santa Cruz (38.0%), Málaga (32.0%) and the Balearic Islands (30.4%) account for at least three out of ten sales.
In the neighbouring province of Murcia, international buyers represent almost a quarter of all real estate sales, accounting for 23.6% of all property sales.
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