Posted on May 17, 2016 in Analysis

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

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:

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:

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:

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:

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 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.