For many years, Spain was shunned by overseas property investors. Dogged by scandals, oversupply and plunging prices, it was shrouded by a dark cloud of doom and gloom. How things change, however. The Spanish economy may still be some way to being back on track, but the country’s property market appears to be firmly camped in positive territory again. And investors are returning in their droves.
Data from Spain’s Property Registrars shows that property prices increased by 1.15 per cent in the third quarter of last year when compared with 2013. Not a spectacular rise, but pretty significant when you consider the market’s recent history, with prices in some of the most desirable areas having fallen by up to 50 per cent since 2007. And when you combine this with the Registrars’ data showing that the number of property transactions increased by 1.4 per cent between the second and third quarters of last year, it’s a big step in the right direction.
The proportion of properties bought by foreigners has also increased in the third quarter, rising to 30,708 of all properties bought over the previous 12 months and representing a 13.1 per cent market share, an annual rise of 19 per cent and a new record for the sector. British buyers have been leading the pack, purchasing 1,886 Spanish properties in the third quarter, up by 37 per cent on the same time in 2013, followed by the French, Russians, and Germans.
In terms of foreign market share, British buyers represent 18 per cent of total purchases by foreigners, and 20 per cent of key markets. In the boom years foreign buyers, led by the British, accounted for between 8 and 9 per cent of the market, according to Spanish Property Insight. That fell to a low of 4.24 per cent in 2009, at the lowest point of the financial crisis, but has been steadily increasing since then alongside the slowly recovering property market.
After a turbulent few years in the eye of the euro zone storm, Spain appears to be making a turnaround at last. It accounted for almost half (49 per cent) of enquiries received at Conti last year, and the volume of Spanish mortgage enquiries increased by more than half (54 per cent) compared with 2013.
Confidence has returned. And Spain is back on the map.