New figures released by Spain’s Land Registry has shown that for the first time ever there are more Germans than Brits buying Spanish property. This has bucked the trend that has existed for many years as Brits have always been the biggest foreign owners of homes in Spain.
During the third quarter of 2021, German buyers overtook the British in an unprecedented move, not seen since records began in 2006. The German market accounted for more than 10% of the foreign property sales in that time period.
The main cause of this change in numbers is obviously the departure of the UK from the European Union due to Brexit. The demand from British buyers has been on a downward trend since the result of the referendum in 2016 and as the restrictions around what this means for non-EU second homes owners becomes clear, more people are dropping their Spanish dream.
Brexit has meant that Schengen zone restrictions have come into force for British tourists and second homeowners, leaving them with only 90 days in any rolling 180 days to be present in Spain without a visa. As non-EU citizens, they now have to pay 25% more tax on their properties in the country and have no rights to offset any running costs if they choose to rent their homes out when they are not there.
As the Covid pandemic hit, Brexit also had an impact on the restrictions the UK had to follow as non-EU members. They are generally much harsher than the rules that countries that still belong to the bloc have to adhere to.
Nick Ball, of Atlantico Homes, an estate agent based in Lanzarote, speaking to The Leader Newspaper said e isn’t too worried about the drop in Brits buying Spanish property. “Around one million British nationals still own a property in Spain, making them the largest group of foreign owners by some distance. And they still account for a sizeable, if secondary, market of current property purchasers. So, there is no question of the British vanishing from the Spanish property market altogether.”
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