Brexit Affect on the Spanish Property Market
On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom voted with a 1.9% margin for ending its membership of the European Union. Specifically, 17.4 million Britons voted for Brexit and 16.1 million voted to stay. The referendum campaign was tense, emotional, full of opinions and contradictory information. The result led to the resignation of prime minister, David Cameron, and the appointment of Theresa May as the new prime minister. For Theresa May, ‘Brexit means Brexit’, but what is Brexit and how does it affect the Spanish property market?
It is curious that in 2017, 81.8 million tourists arrived in Spain in a record year. Of these, 18.78 million were tourists from the United Kingdom, equating to 23%, followed, to a lesser extend, by Germans with 11.89 million. The picture was similar in 2016 with 17.8 million British visitors and 15.5 million in 2015. If we put this in context, Spain received more British tourists in 2017 who voted in favour of staying in the European Union. This bullish course has not stopped since the referendum and there are no indications that it will regress.
The British have been visiting Spain for many years and between 300,000 and 700,000 reside here. They usually buy their second home on the Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca and the Balearic and Canary Islands. In 2017, foreigners bought 61,000 properties in Spain, 13.11% of the total amount sold according to the Property Registrars. The British led the foreigners buying in Spain with 15.01% total property sales, despite Brexit, and the adjustment in the value of the pound with a fall of 12% compared to the euro since the referendum.
Those who live in Spain are mainly worried because Brexit can affect their way of life and because they will not be able to enjoy access to Spanish healthcare. For the time being, the European Union and the United Kingdom have agreed that the right of access to healthcare for Europeans and the British will continue, so this should reassure the British population in Spain.
British peoples who are thinking of buying a property in Spain are aware of the Brexit issue but conclude that Brexit will not affect their purchase decision – Why? Well, because the British, as we have seen with the number of visitors, are in love with Spain due to its climate, culture, gastronomy and the kindness of the Spaniards. This does not change with Brexit; it is a dream of the British to have a house in a country where there are more days of the sun than in their own country. It is true that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union and there will be changes, but the British will continue to visit and buy houses in Spain and the Spanish will continue to welcome them.