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Estate agents offer homes to non-EU foreigners who have the new incentive of residential status announced recently by the government
14.12.12 - 17:28 -
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Chinese are drawn to Costa properties by new promise of residency for buyers
The Chinese would benefit from being given residency. J.L.
At the moment it’s nothing more than a declaration of intention by the government.
Nevertheless, since the announcement of the plan, three weeks ago, to give residency to non-EU foreigners who buy a home in Spain for more than 160,000 euros, the stagnant property market on the Costa del Sol has started to move a little.
With around 15,000 new homes without buyers, a national property market paralysed by the crisis and Europe on a go-slow, estate agents see this new measure as their last chance to offload stock and to get things moving again.
Although there’s no fixed date for the measure to be put into practice yet, those in the property market are already using it as a sales tool. The Russian market, which has become the largest on the Costa, with five per cent of all house sales, is an obvious target but so too is China where the desire to live in Spain has grown enormously. But, because of the bureaucratic obstacles in visiting the country, potential Chinese buyers are insisting on one condition - the proposed residential status.
Property group Grupo Peñarroya have already hooked up with an agency in China to secure around a hundred Chinese buyers interested in some of the 260 empty homes in La Reserva de Marbella, a luxury estate with a total of 700 properties varying in price from 218,000 to 400,000 euros. Last week the first group arrived to look round. Though they were urged to buy before the end of the year, in order to avoid next year’s steep rise in VAT (from four to 10 per cent), most insisted that they wouldn’t purchase any property without a guarantee of residential status.
“They are interested in our homes but contracts are not being signed because they are dependent on this new measure, to the point where they are asking us to agree to refund their money if it doesn’t happen” said Josefa Peñarroya about the Chinese visitors. She stressed that China and Russia are both strong markets with more disposal income than most others at the moment whilst adding that the government really needs to get a move on.
The ‘Asociacíon de Constructores y Promotores’ (ACP or association of builders and developers), for their part, has great hope in the planned measure although its president, José Prado, recognises that “it’s a very complicated matter which needs time to be resolved before it becomes a reality”.
At the moment a non-EU resident who wants to buy a home in Spain and, naturally, spend as much time in it as possible has two options. The first one is to arrive on a temporary tourist visa which lasts for a maximum of 90 days after which you have to return to your country and apply for a new one. The second is to obtain a temporary resident’s permit, which lasts for a year and carries all sorts of obligations with it, like having to spend six months of the year in Spain, having private medical insurance and schooling children in your care.
The new measure will extend this permit to two years but it’s not a blank cheque to take advantage of Spain’s social services. Those who have it will have to fulfill the existing requirements and prove that they have enough income to support themselves and their families while in Spain.


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