Wealthy expats are turning Spain into the costa fortune as they snap up new homes under a popular golden visa scheme.
The scheme to allow wealthy foreign investors the chance to live in Spain if they invest in property and business has triggered a huge rise in the sale of new homes in popular coastal towns and cities.
The golden visa is also pushing up the price of homes.
Homes in Barcelona have surged in price by 27% since June 2018 – from an average 850,840 euros to nearly 1.1 million euros, according to estate agent Lucas Fox.
And nearly one in three of these homes went to Middle Eastern buyers on a golden visa.
House sales and prices up
Besides Barcelona, golden visa sales are driving markets in Marbella, Sitges and Valencia, says the agent.
Foreign buyers accounted for 60% of the estate agents’ sales. Most come from the Middle East, followed by Britain, the USA, and Latin America.
One in four bought a property as their main home, while one in three invested in a second home or property to rent.
Official statistics show home sales up 7% this year compared to last across Spain, while prices increased by 6%.
“It has been an exceptionally encouraging first half of the year for our new homes division,” said Joanna Papis, Lucas Fox Head of New Developments.
British take expat buyer top spot
“Many construction projects in Barcelona have finally finished and we’ve seen a big rise in the number of completed sales in the city consequently. Most new homes sales in Barcelona were for properties in the Eixample district in the city centre and the beachfront areas of Poble Nou and Diagonal Mar, areas consistently popular among foreign buyers. Most of these sales were to obtain the golden visa, especially for our Middle Eastern clients.”
The agents explained British expats are the largest group of foreign buyers in Spain – accounting for around 15% of the foreign market, which has a share of one in eight house sales. The number of British expats buying homes has recovered to pre-Brexit vote levels after falling following the June 2016 referendum.