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Brexit? Brits Still Dominate Sales to Foreigners

Sun, sea and sand still attracting British buyers
British buyers still dominant despite Brexit

Sun, sea and sand still attracting British buyers

The purchase of housing in Spain by foreigners continues to gain weight, according to data from property registrars. However, the results of the Brexit referendum appear to have reduced the number of sales to British buyers.

In 2016, foreigners acquired more than 53,000 homes, representing the highest figure in the historical series (starting in 2006), and accounting for 13.3% of total property sales.

Brits do, however, remain the dominant foreigners buying property in Spain with more than 10,000 transactions in 2016. They are followed by the French with almost 4,400 transactions, and the Germans, with a little over 4,000 transactions.

The year-end confirms the drop in British buyers with little more than 2,000 transactions in the fourth quarter. The year began with 2,800 transactions in Q1.

“The consequences of Brexit and, especially with regard to the behaviour of the pound, are being noted in the relative weight of the British in the number of transactions”, say the registrars.

Despite the fact that fewer Brits bought in the second half of the year, the number of British buyers still grew by a little under 2%, when compared to 2015. Those nationalities to increase the most in terms of property purchases are Moroccans (+49%) and Romanians (+40%), when compared to 2015.

Meanwhile, the fall of the Ruble against the Euro has meant a continuation in the fall of the number of Russian buyers. In 2013 there were over three thousand sales to Russian buyers, which fell to 1,500 in 2016, and continues to fall.


The main destinations for foreign buyers remain the same with Malaga, Alicante and the islands attracting the most foreign buyers.

In 2015, foreigners accounted for 42.5% of properties purchased in Alicante. They were followed by Santa Cruz de Tenerife where foreign buyers accounted for 35.8% of sales. On the Balearic Islands foreigners made up 35.6% of sales. Malaga, Girona and Las Palmas all saw foreign buyers account for more than 20% of property sales. In Barcelona, the number is 9%, while in Madrid, 5% of buyers were foreign.

British buyers were dominant in Valencia, Andalucía, the Canary Islands and Murcia. They were second in the Balearic Islands, surpassed by the Germans. In Catalonia, the French have been the dominant foreign buyers for years, followed by the Chinese and Russians. Meanwhile, in Madrid, the Chinese, Romanians and the Italians are the biggest foreign buyers.