Spain is a popular destination for ex-pats looking for a pleasant climate, a high standard of living, and, of course, delicious food. Whether you are thinking of working in one of Spain's major cities (Malaga, Madrid, or Barcelona) or retiring to the Spanish coast, you will need to find somewhere to live.
While renting in Spain is certainly an option, many foreigners opt to buy a property if they are staying long-term. Over 75% of people own their own homes in Spain, and the large expatriate communities spread across the country mean that a high proportion of properties are already foreign-owned.
Generally, Britons have been the largest group of ex-pats investing in Spanish property, and this has continued even after Brexit-related changes. In fact, around 13% of foreign-owned homes in Spain were in British hands in 2020.
If you're thinking of joining the many British ex-pats enjoying life in Spain, read on. We've put together an essential guide to buying property in Spain for foreigners, which includes all the important information you need to know. Let's get started!
What is the real estate market like in Spain?
The Spanish property market was hit hard by the global economic crisis of 2007-2009, and the recent coronavirus pandemic has also had an impact. But despite these setbacks, the property market in Spain has stabilized. Figures suggest that it is already recovering from the global health crisis, with average sales prices rising by 2.1% in the second part of 2020.
Is it easy for foreigners to buy property in Spain?
There are no special requirements or formalities for foreigners wishing to buy property in Spain, so you should not have any problems. In fact, foreign investment in Spanish property has traditionally been encouraged by the government.
All you need is a tax identification number (NIE), which you can obtain at a Spanish police station by presenting your passport. However, for non-EU nationals, such as UK buyers, obtaining this number can take a few weeks.
There is a special Golden Visa program for foreigners, as mentioned in our past content, whereby you can obtain a residence visa if you buy a Spanish property worth more than £500,000.
How much does it cost to buy property in Spain?
If you are thinking of buying a property in Spain, the price you pay will largely depend on where you want to live. Some of the most expensive properties in the country are in Barcelona, while prices in central Madrid are a little lower.
In other areas of the country, such as the coastal regions, the wide variety of housing on offer means that you can find something to suit almost any budget.
The best places to buy property in Spain
Ready to start looking for a property? Here's some destination inspiration based on some of the most popular places to buy property in Spain among UK ex-pats:
Alicante. The region and the city of Alicante are well-known thanks to the sandy beaches, palm-lined boulevards, traditional Spanish influences, and lovely warm climate.
Costa del Sol. It's easy to see why so many British people flock to the Costa del Sol, both for holidays and to relocate. The southern coast has many more hours of sunshine than the UK, as well as beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, and stunning Andalusian scenery.
Valencia. An attractive location, the city is also a great place for Brits to buy property. You'll find modern architecture, a rich cultural scene, and some of the best paella in the country.
- Benidorm. This party town has been popular with British holidaymakers and retirees for decades, thanks to its sandy beaches, good transport links, and wide range of shops, bars, and restaurants. There are also quiet spots in Benidorm if you know where to look.
How can I find a property in Spain?
There are several options you can choose to find a property in Spain:
Through a real estate agency.
An online portal that puts owners in direct contact with potential buyers.
Word of mouth, or through advertisements in the place you are interested in.
How to buy a property in Spain: a step-by-step guide
Choose where to buy. You can research on the Internet, but it is often useful to take a trip to Spain to get to know the area and see the properties in person.
Find an estate agent from Target Estates.
Get your finances in order. It can be a good idea to get an offer in principle from a mortgage provider before you start looking for a property.
Make visits and choose your dream property.
Make an offer through the seller's real estate agent. You can negotiate, as in other countries. Once an agreement has been reached, a notary can summarise the offer in writing.
Consider arranging a survey. It is not mandatory, but a home inspection can help detect any serious problems.
Once the offer is accepted, you and the seller will sign a private purchase contract and pay a deposit, usually 10% of the purchase price.
Seek out a property lawyer. It is important that all documents are reviewed by a registered legal professional who will also register the property and carry out due diligence on the transaction.
Finalize your mortgage.
- Sign the purchase contract.
What are the legal requirements for buying a property in Spain?
A notary will prepare the contracts and make sure they comply with local laws. However, you will also need your own property lawyer to help you with other aspects of the sale, such as making sure that the person proposing the sale is actually the legal owner of the property and that there are no debts against the property.
This is especially important in Spain, as debts are attached to the property and are transferred with the title. If there is an outstanding mortgage on the place in the name of the previous owner, you could be liable for it if you do not check properly.
Buying a home is an important and exciting decision, but navigating the system in a new country can be a challenge. Luckily, purchasing your dream home in Spain should be pretty simple by following the tips and steps we have just seen and seeking the right help if you need it. For more information, don't wait to contact us! We will help you find your new home in Spain.