Foreign investors started to return to the Spanish property market in 2014. In 2017, foreign homebuyers bought over 61,000 homes in Spain, up from about 53,500 from a year earlier, based on figures released by Property Registrars, representing about 13.1% of all home sales in Spain, from 13.25% in 2016, 13.18% in 2015, 13.01% in 2014 and just 4.24% in 2009.
Britons remain the number one foreign homebuyers, accounting for about 15.6% of all home purchases by foreigners in Q4 2017, followed by the French (8.2%), Germans (7.8%), Swedes (7.1%), Belgians (6.8%), Italians (5.2%) and Romanian buyers (5.1%). Chinese buyers are also increasing, with around 4.2% of total transactions.
The Golden Visa scheme, fully applicable since 30th September 2013, has resulted in increased interest not only from the Middle East but also from Asia and Russia. Under this system, any non-EU national bringing more than €500,000 (USD615,930) to invest is automatically granted a Spanish residency permit. In 2015, the laws were amended to make it even easier for applicants to obtain the Golden visa in Spain.
During the first three years, the Golden Visa scheme attracted 2,236 applicants, mostly Chinese and Russians. Spain received €2.16 billion in foreign investment as a result, with 72% invested in Spanish property, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais.
Chinese and Russian investors represent about 60% of all money invested in the said scheme. Since its introduction until early 2017, 714 Chinese nationals and 685 Russian investors were granted visas under the Golden Visa scheme.
The Balearic Islands are especially attractive to foreigners with about one third of total demand coming from foreigners, mainly due to its white-sand beaches and sunny Mediterranean landscape. It was followed by Canary Islands, Valencian Community, Murcia, and Andalucia.
Foreign demand is expected to remain robust this year.