Who are the foreigners buying properties in Spain in 2018? Our detailed analysis

20 Nov
Who are the foreigners buying real estate in spain? Infographic

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Who are the foreigners buying properties in Spain in 2018?

Which nationalities are active? Are they resident or not? Where do they buy? What price do they pay?

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A quick reminder before starting this interesting subject, please remember that if you want to buy a property in Spain, you need a NIE number, read our detailed article for more information: Your ultimate guide to your Spanish NIE number. Another interesting article we would recommend: How to buy a property in Spain as a foreigner?


1. Which nationalities are buying properties in Spain?

The Statistical Information Center of Notaries in Spain has just released its last report of Foreigners activity on the property market.


What was the activity on the Spanish real estate market up to June 2018?

  • 539.970 property transactions for the last 12 months to June 2018: +12% yearly growth 
  • property activity by Spaniards accelerated by 13% year-on-year to 437,729
  • property activity by foreign buyers accelerated by 9% year-on-year to 102,912
  • This equals to 19% of all the property transactions that occurred in Spain.
  • 45.4% of the transactions were carried out by non-resident foreigners and 54.6% by foreigners living in Spain!


Spaniards and Foreigners are very active: both are buying the most since 2008:

Quarterly statistics of the “Ministerio de Fomento”.


Which are the most active nationalities within EU?

In the second half of 2018 the most active nationalities were :

  • the British (14.4%),
  • the French (8.1%),
  • the Germans (7.9%),
  • the Romanians (7.0%)
  • the Italians (6.6%),
  • the Belgians (5.7%).
  • and the Swedish (5.3%)

Representing 55% of all the real estate transactions purchased by foreigners in Spain for the last 12 months to June 2018 or 102.912.

Check our foreigners profiles: What are the ideal Spanish properties for Belgians  Chinese Dutch English French Germans Italians Moroccans Romanians Russians Swedish?


Discover the best new build projects in Spain available right now


Most active nationalities outside EU

The proportion of purchases was also high by foreigners outside the EU:

such as Morocco (6.1%), China (4.6%) or Russia (3.1%).

If you want to live in Spain, have a quick check at our interesting article on the Golden Visa: Golden Visa in Spain: Your ultimate guide!

Don’t forget to hedge your currency smartly if you are buying from outside the European zone.




Here you go, a quick check of all the nationalities:


Which nationalities are buying more properties in June 2018 vs 2017?

  • Morocco +32%
  • Denmark +23%
  • Ecuador +21%
  • Ireland +20%
  • Romania +17%
  • Russia +16%
  • Portugal +15%
  • Sweden +11%
  • United States of America +10%
  • United Kingdom +8%
  • Argentina +7%
  • Netherlands +7%
  • Germany +6%
  • Italy +6%
  • China +5%
  • Ukraine +5%
  • Belgium +5%


Decreasing activity

  • France -1%
  • Norway -1%
  • Switzerland -9%


Here is the evolution of the purchases done by each nationality since 2008



This was the situation end 2016: we keep the same top 3 nations.

Who are the foreigners buying real estate in spain? Infographic

Foreigners living in Spain are more active

  • Foreigners living in Spain recorded 56.195 operations, 14.7% more than in 2017.
  • Non-resident foreigners bought 46.717 properties, an increase of 3.8% year-on-year.

This is quite a strong vote of confidence by foreigners living in Spain! Of course, they work there and it is easier for them to buy than non-resident foreigners. But HowtobuyinSpain is there to help you!


1. Best Professionals 2. Follow up 3. Competitive pricing 4. Partners 5. Qualitative Check


Check our chart analysing who is more active on the Spanish property market: Foreigners or Spaniards with the evolution since 2007 (year before the crisis):




2. Where are foreigners buying properties in Spain?


What are the main regions for foreigners – representing 87% of transactions?

  • Valencian Community with 29%
  • Andalusia with 18%
  • Catalonia with 14.5%
  • Canary Islands with 9.7%
  • The community of Madrid with 9.3%
  • Balearic Islands with 6.6%




What is the evolution for each region in Spain during the last 12 months?

Check the property transaction growth for each region in Red (right scale) with the number of transactions in Blue (left scale)


Most active regions – Biggest activity of foreigners vs Spaniards?

According to the “Colegio de Registradores de la Propiedad”, the Autonomous Communities with a greater weight of foreigners’ transactions vs Spaniards in the third quarter 2018 are

  • The Balearic Islands with 27.9% of all transactions,
  • The Canary Islands with 25.3% of all transactions,
  • The Valencian Community with 25% of all transactions,
  • Murcia with 18.9% of all transactions,
  • and Andalusia with 12.4% of all transactions.

Check our interactive chart on that:


Most active cities – Biggest activity of foreigners vs Spaniards?

According to the “Colegio de Registradores de la Propiedad”, the cities where foreigners are the most active (vs Spaniards) in the third quarter of 2018 are:

  • Alicante
  • Tenerife
  • The Balearic Islands
  • Malaga
  • Girona
  • Murcia
  • Las Palmas
  • Almeria
  • Castellon
  • Tarragona
  • Soria

Check our interactive chart on that:


Which Spanish regions are the most popular for which nationalities?

We did the ranking for the 12 most active countries in Spain.


Check the evolution of the foreigners’ activity per region since 2007 (year before the crisis):

Remember the infographic we did on the subject last year, it remains nearly the same in 2017!

Where are foreigners buying in spain? Infograhic


3. What price do foreigners pay to buy a property in Spain?


Check the evolution of the price paid per region since 2007 by foreigners (year before the crisis):

The average price per square meter of operations carried out by foreigners accelerated 1% year-on-year. The acceleration of prices was recorded both among non-residents (2%) and residents (1%), although the former paid higher prices than the second ones, € 1.984 / m² against € 1.426 / m², respectively.

This price discrepancy between foreigners living in Spain and not living in Spain could come from many factors:

  • Non-resident are buying a second home at more expensive locations
  • Non-resident who are buying have a higher purchasing power
  • Resident foreigners could decide to reside due to the low cost of real estate in Spain

You can check the evolution of the price per square m paid by foreigners (resident or not in Spain) and Spaniards (resident or not in Spain) since December 2007 (year before the crisis) on this chart:


In terms of levels, the average price per square meter for foreigners continued to register strong differences for autonomy. During the first half of the year, it was below the average (€ 1,687) in 12 of the 17 Regions.:

Regions under € 800:

Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha, La Rioja, Castilla y León or Aragón.

Regions between € 800 and the national average € 1,687

Galicia, Murcia, Asturias, Navarra, Cantabria, Valencian Community and Andalusia.

Regions above the national average € 1,687

  • Canary Islands (€ 1,865),
  • Catalonia (€ 1,931)
  • Madrid (€ 2.178),
  • Basque Country (€ 2.100),
  • and Baleares (€ 2,790).

Interesting to note, all those regions are in the areas of interest from foreigners apart from the Basque Country.


Let’s have a closer look at current property prices (value written in Blue on the chart) and at the price evolution (left scale) for each spanish region since one year. The regions are Alphabetically sorted.


As you can see on the chart we just showed: prices are increasing everywhere apart from 3 regions.


Spanish regions with the fastest increasing prices for foreigners

  • Estremadura 30%
  • Madrid 12.8%
  • Basque Country 11.4%


Spanish regions with decreasing prices for foreigners

Prices are recovering in 2018, however, prices fell in three Autonomous Communities: Galicia (-12%), the Navarre (-6%), Calonia, (-2%) and Castilla and Leon (-3%).


If you want to read more on the subject and you missed our paper of last semester: Which are the top 10 Spanish cities where foreigners are buying properties NOW?

Source: Read the full paper in Spanish here.



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