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The government includes a section to attract foreign investors in its law to support entrepreneurs. The increase in the minimum purchase price makes the Costa del Sol the area most likely to benefit from the measure
03.06.13 - 13:24 -
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Buying property for half a million euros will give residence rights
An estate agency advertises its properties in Russian in the centre of Marbella. :: Josele-Lanza
The Council of Ministers has just given the go-ahead to a measure which has been anxiously awaited on the Costa del Sol. Foreigners who buy a property for at least half a million euros will be able to apply for a resident’s permit.
The measure is included in the proposed law of ‘Support for Entrepreneurs and their internationalisation’ , in the section which deals with attracting talent and investment through a new regime of visas and residence permits.
The law, which the government hopes will come into force on January 1st next year, will make it easier for residence permits to be granted for reasons of economic interests “through a quick and easy process and involving just one authority” for those who meet the criteria, according to information which was given to the press after the Cabinet meeting had finished.
The measure had already been mentioned last November by the Secretary of State for Commerce, Jaime García-Laga, although on that occasion he referred to a figure of 160,000 euros as the minimum investment. Now that sum has been increased to half a million euros, which is the same as that stipulated in similar laws in Portugal and Ireland. It will also apply to those who buy Spanish public debt for a minimum of two million euros.
The increase to a minimum property purchase price of 500,000 euros puts the Costa del Sol at an advantage compared with other areas of Spain which would also benefit from the measure, because along the coast of Malaga province, in contrast to other areas of the Spanish Mediterranean, there is still a large stock of unsold properties in the higher price range.
The vice-president of the government, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, defended this measure by arguing that it is necessary to be competitive in order to attract investment, and that it is an initiative which already exists in other countries close to Spain.
The law, which also includes those who bring investment which creates employment or which brings scientific and technological innovation, will make the administrative processes simpler for a non-European who wants to live in Spain. Until now, foreigners from outside Europe who owned property had two ways of enjoying it: either by obtaining a tourist visa which gives them the right to spend 90 days here a year or a permit which obliges them to spend six months of the year in Spain and send their children to school here. In recent months, foreigners’ associations and business professionals in the province have been complaining that the procedures to renew these permits had become more difficult, especially in cases where it is almost impossible to prove that somebody has effectively been resident in the country for six months of the year, or people whose children are at schools abroad.
Support on the Costa del Sol
The approval of this government measure has been welcomed by business professionals on the Costa del Sol. The president of the Federation of Developers, Ricardo Arranz, was pleased that the minimum amount of investment had been raised to half a million euros, because in his opinion this means support for the Spain brand abroad and also means that the country can compete on equal terms with neighbouring countries. For example, he explains that in Portugal they are already considering raising the limit to one million euros because the stock of lower priced properties has already been covered. Ricardo Arranz says it is a shame that the measure has arrived late, but he does think it will attract capital from emerging markets and healthy economies.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Estepona, José María García Urbano,also praised the measures which have been approved by the government, because “ they will help people who want to do business and not those who want to live off the taxpayer”. Specifically, he believes the move will attract capital to the property market and he points out that the Costa del Sol will be especially attractive to purchasers because of the stock of properties which have not yet been sold, many of which are valued at over half a million euros.
The mayor of Marbella, Ángeles Muñoz, was also pleased that the new law will not only favour those who come here to buy a property, but also those who do so to create employment. “It is a regulation which supports innovation, the creation of wealth and the attraction of talent”, she stressed. “A town as dynamic as Marbella will clearly be attractive and will benefit”
The measure was also applauded by the president of the Association of Foreign Residents on the Costa del Sol, Ricardo Bocanegra, in whose opinion it will be successful as long as the new regulation can exist alongside the law which is currently in force, under which anyone who can demonstrate that they are financially solvent can reside in Spain. This lawyer pointed out that the profile of a foreign resident has changed because now the majority of these residents are not retired, but are professionals who still maintain their business in their countries of origin and who travel continually. For that reason, he believes that the obligation to reside in Spain for at least six months of the year ought to be withdrawn.


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