Foreigners pay record prices to buy property in Spain

Average property prices exceed 2,000 euros/m2, the highest since 2008, while the average price for non-residents is at a record high of 2,480 euros/m2.

Foreigners have made a strong comeback in the housing market in Spain and have regained pre-pandemic levels when it comes to both sales and purchases.

According to statistics from Spanish notaries, foreigners carried out 63,934 property transactions in the second half of 2021, 41.9% more than in the second half of the year of the pandemic in 2020. Furthermore, foreigners accounted for 18.6% of all sales and purchases nationwide, in line with the average for the period between 2012 and 2019. Between July and December, more than half of the transactions were formalised by foreign residents.

All autonomous regions in Spain have recorded an increase in transactions, led by the Balearic Islands (81.5%), the Canary Islands (57.1%) Andalusia (55%), Cantabria (50.5%) and the Valencian Community (44.9%). At the other end of the table are Galicia and Castile and León, with increases of less than 10%.

But if there is one striking figure in the notarial statistics, it is the average price paid by foreigners when buying property in Spain. On average, foreigners paid 2,016 euros per m2 in the second half of 2021, up 14.3% compared to 2020. Cheap Spanish property can be harder to find these days, and this is the highest figure since the second half of 2008 (2,125 euros/m2) and 31% higher than what they paid on average in the second half of 2013, which remains a historic low (1,540 euros/m2).

This average price includes purchases made by non-resident foreigners and foreign residents. And in the case of non-residents buying property in Spain, the average price has reached an all-time high of 2,500 euros/m2. Specifically, notaries put the average price at 2,481 euros, up 11.8% year-on-year, renewing the record already set in the first half of the year (2,452 euros/m2). In the case of foreign residents in Spain, the average price stood at 1,567 euros/m2, the highest figure since the first half of 2011.

In any case, both averages are above what national buyers paid in the second half of last year (1,503 euros/m2), the highest in exactly a decade.

The nationalities that pay the most 

Which nationalities pay the most to live in Spain? And who buys the most properties? British expats have once again become the foreigners who have been the main protagonists in home sales and purchases in Spain, regaining the top spot they had lost in the first half of 2021 for the first time since notaries have been collecting data, and which had been occupied by Moroccans. Specifically, Brits formalised 7,560 transactions between July and December (11.9% of the total), followed by Germans (10.4%) and French buyers (8.3%). The group of nationalities comprising all other non-EU foreigners accounted for 11.4%.

In terms of year-on-year variation, the sales and purchases that grew most strongly were those of the Dutch (104.1% year-on-year), Irish (99.3%) and Germans (84.9%).

In terms of prices, the highest average prices per square metre were paid by buyers from Sweden (2,752 euros/m2), Denmark (2,750 euros/m2), Germany (2,741 euros/m2), the USA (2,601 euros/m2) and Switzerland (2,479 euros/m2). The average price paid by foreigners as a whole (2,016 euros) was also exceeded by buyers from Norway, the Netherlands, Russia, France, Italy and Belgium, while the lowest prices were paid by Moroccans (688 euros/m2), Romanians (990 euros/m2) and Ecuadorians (1,087 euros/m2).

The prices that grew the most were those paid by Americans (23.4%) followed by Argentinians (19.6%). Only prices paid by nationals of China (-5.2%) and Russia (-1.6%) fell.

Source: Idealista.

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