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Homes in Malaga city. Ñito Salas
Foreigners account for one in every five homes sold in Spain
Property

Foreigners account for one in every five homes sold in Spain

Non-Spanish buyers were responsible for 21.4% of total sales and purchases, the highest figure on record, according to the latest data

Amparo Estrada

Madrid

Tuesday, 17 October 2023, 10:23

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Property transactions carried out by foreigners in Spain accounted for 21.4% of the total number of sales and purchases at a national level in the first half of this year, the highest figure on record. However, foreign purchases and sales of freehold housing fell by 7.5% year-on-year in the first half of 2023, breaking the positive trend seen in the previous four half-year periods, with continued rises following falls in 2019 and 2020 (the second half of 2022 saw a 9.8% increase). But as home sales and purchases by Spaniards have also fallen due to the rising cost of mortgages and housing, the weight of purchases by foreigners in the total is at an all-time high.

Non-Spanish people carried out 67,983 transactions between January and June this year; 56.8% of these were made by resident foreigners, a fall of 3.4%, while purchases by non-residents fell by 12.4%, according to data from Spain's General Council of Notaries.

The sale and purchase of free market housing by foreign buyers increased in only four regions and decreased in the remaining thirteen. The increases occurred in Asturias (27.7%), Galicia (14.8%), Murcia (5.5%) and Valencia (1.3%). And the following regions performed better than the national average (-7.5%) but with declines: Castile and Leon (-4.8%), Catalonia (-4.2%) and Aragon (-3.3%).

The biggest falls were observed in the Balearic Islands (-32.0%), Navarre (-19.7%) and Andalucía (-15.3%), while the Basque Country (-13.3%), the Canary Islands (-12.6%), Castile-La Mancha (-12.5%), Madrid (-11.5%), La Rioja (-11.1%), Cantabria (-9.9%) and Extremadura (-9.2%) recorded more controlled decreases.

British buyers tops

By nationality, the group of foreigners who bought the most homes was British, with 9.6% of the total number of transactions (6,498), followed by Germans (8.1%) and Moroccans (7.3%). The group of nationalities comprising all other non-EU foreigners accounted for 12.8%. Although for the first time in two years, sales by foreigners of all nationalities decreased year-on-year, purchases by Russians (50.2%), Ukrainians (41.6%) and Americans (13.6%) increased compared to the first half of 2022.

Average price

The average price per square metre of transactions carried out by foreign buyers in the first half of 2023 stood at 2,095 euros per square metre. The evolution of prices registered an increase in fourteen regions and decreased in the remaining three. Increases reached double-digit rates in Extremadura (12.3%), Cantabria (11.1%) and Murcia (10.2%). The following regions saw more moderate growth above the national average (1.3%): Canary Islands (8.4%), Catalonia (7.9%), Madrid (7.7%), Castile and Leon (6.1%), Valencia (5.2%), Basque Country (4.2%), La Rioja (4.1%), Andalucía (3.2%) and the Balearic Islands (1.9%). On the other hand, Galicia (1.0%) grew less than the national average but more than Aragon (-7.4%), Navarre (-2.6%), Castile-La Mancha (-1.5%) and Asturias (-0.4%), which recorded falls.

Prices for non-resident foreigners

Non-resident foreigners continue to pay higher amounts for their homes (2,598 euros per square metre) than residents (1,676 euros per square metre) and nationals (1,574 euros per square metre). The average price paid by non-resident foreigners increased by 2.8% year-on-year and that of residents by 2.9%. Domestic buyers lagged behind both with an increase of 0.7% in the first half of the year.

The highest average prices per square metre were paid by buyers from Sweden (3,036 euros/m2), Denmark (2,930 euros/m2), USA (2,921 euros/m2), Switzerland (2,812 euros/m2), Germany (2,724 euros/m2) and Norway (2,584 euros/m2). The average price paid by foreigners as a whole (2,094 euros) was also exceeded by buyers from Russia, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland. The lowest prices were paid by Moroccans (689 euros/m2), Romanians (1,086 euros/m2) and Ecuadorians (1,335 euros/m2).

The French overtook Germans and Americans in this first half-year and led the share of sales among non-resident foreigners in Aragon, Castile and Leon, Catalonia, Extremadura, Galicia, Navarre and the Basque Country. Germans were the main buyers in the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and tied with Americans in Cantabria, who were also the leaders in home purchases in Castilla la Mancha and La Rioja. The British were the main buyers in Andalucía and Murcia, while in Asturias, Valencia, Madrid and Galicia, Argentinians, Belgians, Chinese and Portuguese were the main buyers.

Among resident foreigners, Moroccan and Romanian nationals were the main buyers in most of the country, except in Galicia and the archipelagos, where the share of Portuguese, German and Italian buyers was higher.

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