As the UK property market slows down, savvy investors could do worse than looking over to sunny Spain: house sales reached the highest volume since 2008 last year, and even the number of British buyers is up. And if you’re moving here permanently, don’t stint on the good food: Bloomberg’s named our diet the healthiest in the world!
Healthy outlook for Spanish property market
The property market here is looking healthy, with a leading Catalan institute, the ITEC, repoting that house sales are expected to rise for another three years at least. Both new-build and resale property sales have risen, the former by 15% and latter by 17%. Overall, nationwide, house prices have reached around €1,590 – a strong recovery, but yet to hit the highs of pre-2008. This could be a great time to buy to take advantage of the rising market.
Looking at individual regions, British buyers continue to dominate, regardless of Brexit. Perhaps they’ve read our advice on how to move to Spain in the case of a no-deal Brexit? Murcia remains an extremely popular choice, with its low property prices, beautiful coastline and year-round sunshine. Around 15% of international property purchases in the region came from UK buyers. Even abandoned towns haven’t passed unnoticed: 70% of ruined pueblos (like the one recommended by Gwyneth Paltrow as a good Christmas present!) go to British people, according to Aldeas Abondonadas.
The price of land has also fallen – which is a key factor in the cost of new builds. According to Idealista, prices have fallen by 57%, to around the mid €200s per m2.
Spain’s diet named best in the world
It’s not just the property market that’s in rude health here in Spain, as Bloomberg has named the local diet the healthiest in the world (so take that, Italy). It cites the Mediterranean influence, with plenty of vegetables, oily fish, olive oil and nuts, which, according to the University of Navarra, can cause ‘a lower rate of major cardiovascular events’.
All this comes on the back of recent news about how Spain enjoys the best healthcare system in Europe, as decided by none other than the WHO. To find out more about the quality of medical attention in Spain, don’t miss our columnist Sally’s experience in Catalonia.
British ambassador assures expats of new ‘Brexit laws’ in Spain
At the British ambassador’s Q&A session in Madrid last week, he assured the audience that Spain’s government was planning a contingency law around Brexit in the event of a no deal. In theory, it should be finished before 5th March, when Parliament will be dissolved and we’ll be heading to the polling booths a month later.
Don’t miss your free tickets to Your Overseas Home. You’ll be able to connect with specialists in real estate, finance, law, currency exchange, removals and more. It’s the perfect show for a serious buyer!
Likely provisions include a ‘grace period’ in which British citizens can apply for a TIE, or Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjeros (Foreigner’s Identification Card). However, for Britons already legally resident here, the process should be quite ‘painless’. In the meantime, anyone not registered in Spain is urged to do so. You can make your application at a police station or oficina de extranjería.
A new agreement is also likely to recognise social security arrangements between our two countries, as well as pensions. Healthcare is still not entirely certain: a deal will need to be worked on.
Meanwhile, the Spanish Secretary of State for Commerce Tweeted on Tuesday morning that they were ‘…sure that Spain is and will continue to be an attractive place for British businesses to invest; we are working together to preserve the existing strength of the commercial and investment relationship between the UK and Spain’. A positive sign of post-Brexit openness, if nothing else.
Snap election to be held in April
Pedro Sanchez, the Prime Minister, has called a snap election for 28th April. The move follows a failure to get his budget through Parliament, with Catalan parties refusing him their support. The electoral campaign, the third in four years, will kick off on 13 April. Sanchez himself only came to power a few months ago, after Rajoy lost a vote of no confidence.
Find out more about access healthcare in Spain with our guide, Healthcare Abroad 2018.
Sanchez, announcing the election, said, “Spain must continue to progress, excluding the politics of tension, creating quality employment, expanding rights and freedoms, and guaranteeing social protection”.