Hey, big spenders

Spanish Notaries are reporting a big rise in foreign activity. The hidden surprise is how much overseas buyers are paying.

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2015 was a good year for overseas investment in Spain. Last week’s report from the Notaries showed international sales of private housing have risen for the eighth year in a row (up 12.9% in 2015) with foreign buyers now accounting for 1 in 5 house sales in Spain.

Over half of these sales were to non-residents:

International buyer activity, 2008 - 2015

If you already deal with overseas buyers – so far, so unsurprising. However, delving further into the data reveals much deeper insights than mainstream press coverage and offers up some gems for agents who market to international buyers.

The first surprise (even to us) was just how much international buyers are prepared to spend:

What international buyers pay for Spanish housing

With overseas buyers paying 46% more than the national average, further investigation reveals foreigners are also a very colourful group: Brits buy a lot of property, Germans outspend them and the Irish are Europe’s greatest bargain hunters:

Top international buyers in Spain, 2015

If you’re planning a marketing push for 2016, this data provides an invaluable insight into national characteristics.

Growth continues to be driven most by the western European countries with two notable exceptions: The French are not only dropping in number, they also ended 2015 paying around 8% less per square metre than at the start.

The big story is an exodus of Russian money. With Putin’s economy stalled by low oil prices and sanctioned oligarchs, high spending Russians are getting harder to find:

Changes in buyer activity, 2015

Regional summary

There has been little change in where overseas buyers like to buy and the coast and islands continue to dominate demand. There were some large headline rises in other regions, although the base is still so low it’s hard to see any longer term trend.

Sun, sea and sand remains an irresistible combination:

House sales to foreign buyers, 2015

House sales to foreign buyers in 2015:

Region 2014 2015 Annual change % change Avg. €/m²
Andalucía 13,861 15,750 1,889 13.6% 1,545
Aragón 701 980 279 39.8% 797
Asturias 243 285 42 17.3% 1,133
Cantabria 157 197 40 25.5% 1,133
Castilla y León 524 702 178 34.0% 695
Castilla-La Mancha 665 1,046 381 57.3% 599
Cataluña 11,212 11,762 550 4.9% 1,867
Comunidad Valenciana 19,781 21,208 1,427 7.2% 1,270
Extremadura 133 146 13 9.8% 608
Galicia 456 562 106 23.2% 823
Illes Balears 4,597 5,621 1,024 22.3% 2,604
Islas Canarias 7,059 7,783 724 10.3% 1,531
La Rioja 181 288 107 59.1% 745
Madrid 5,083 6,185 1,102 21.7% 1,907
Murcia 2,479 3,118 639 25.8% 1,162
Navarra 224 317 93 41.5% 1,077
País Vasco 505 660 155 30.7% 2,106
TOTAL 67,915 76,680 8,765 12.9% 1,614

The full report is available at www.notariado.org.

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