First evidence that golden visa is attracting non EU buyers to Spain
US, Chinese and Russian buyers were among the most active foreign buyers in Spain in the first quarter of 2014, according to new data from the General Council of Notaries in Spain.
The number of Spanish properties bought by these nationalities increased by 88.9%, 83.1% and 62.6% respectively in the first quarter compared to the same period a year earlier.
Foreign buyers accounted for 19.4% of all Spanish property sales in the first quarter of 2014 and non-residents accounted for 47.9% of these.
The regions seeing the strongest rise in foreign buyers include The Basque Country with an increase of 43.3%, Catalonia up 41.1%), the Balearic Islands up 36.4%, Asturias up 34.8%, Andalucia up 32.5% and the Canary Islands up 23.8%. The number of purchases by foreign buyers in Madrid has also jumped significantly, up by 42.5% year on year.
Foreign property purchases are increasing with British buyers now accounting for 13.8% of all foreign purchases, French buyers account for 10.5%, Russians 8.4%, Germans 7.5% and Belgians 6.9%.
The average price of a property purchased by a foreign buyer continues to fall and currently stands at ?1,486 per square meter, a fall of 3.8% year on year.
According to Kate Everett-Allen, head of international residential research at real estate firm Knight Frank, the growing presence of US, Russian and Chinese buyers is a sign that the Golden Investment Visa initiative, introduced in September 2013 may be starting to have an effect.
The scheme, designed to attract non-European Union investors by offering a two year residency permit in return for a ?500,000 investment in real estate has already been effective in Portugal but until now there has been little evidence to judge its impact in Spain.
The Notaires report also shows which nationalities pay the most for their Spanish homes. Norway and Sweden came out on top in the first quarter of 2014, paying on average ?1,935 per square meter ?1,732 per square meter respectively.
Irish buyers paid more than British buyers, although both were around the middle. Romanian and Moroccan buyers paid the least, averaging ?800 per square meter and ?795 per square meter respectively.