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PROPERTY

Spain property roundup: Calls for new visa for home owners and what’s residential tourism

In this week's Spanish property news roundup we look at the predicted slowdown in sales in 2022, a campaign for a Spanish visa for non-resident second-home owners, why Spain is a leader in 'residential tourism' and plenty more.

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Valencia is the most popular region with foreign buyers. Photo: Rubén M. i Santos / Pixabay

Valencia region is again the most popular region with foreign buyers

According to the latest figures from the College of Notaries of Spain, the region of Valencia is the most popular with foreign buyers representing 26 percent of the market (29,019 buyers), followed by Andalusia with 20 percent (22,625 buyers), then Catalonia about 16 percent (17,493 buyers).

2021 was a record year for foreign buyers in Spain, representing 16.5 percent of property purchases. 

However, only nine of the 50 provinces of Spain attract 90 percent of foreign demand.

READ MORE:

Spain is a world leader in ‘residential tourism’

According Ángeles Serna, president of Spanish real estate group TM Grupo Inmobiliario, “Spain is in style and has been a leader in residential tourism for a long time”, now so more than ever. 

For those of you not familiar with the term residential tourism, it essentially refers to second home owners, foreigners who buy a property in Spain to spend extended periods of time in it.

In 2021, non-resident foreigners bought 43,827 Spanish homes and foreign residents bought 59,168, taking the total of Spanish property purchases in 2021 up to 102,995.

But it’s the sheer number of people who choose to invest in a home in Spain without living in the country that continues to stand out.

During a speech at the Real Estate Exhibition of Madrid (SIMA), Serna said for non-resident second-home owners some of the essentials they need to decide to buy in Spain are having internet broadband or fibreoptic installed, a terrace, proximity to the coast, an extra room to use as an office, an international airport nearby and a good cultural and leisure offering.

For José María Esteban director of Real Estate Promotion company Ores&Bryan, Spain has a real opportunity of positioning itself as the ‘Florida of Europe’. 

The average house price in Spain has increased by 31 percent in the last seven years

In the last seven years, the average price of new and used housing in Spain has increased in value by 31 percent. The minimum was reached after a financial crash, in February 2015. Therefore, housing in Spain continues to be a good investment, for those who can afford the increasingly expensive purchase.  

The average price of new and used housing rose 1.1 percent in May 2022, compared to the previous month and 8.4 percent compared to the same month in 2021, with which it already accumulates eleven months of year-on-year growth, according to the appraiser Tinsa. 

Growth continues to be largely driven by the evolution of prices in capitals and large cities, which maintains an intensity similar to that registered in April. In metropolitan areas prices are on the rise, while the prices of housing on the Mediterranean coast and the Balearic and Canary Islands remain stable.

Experts anticipate a slowdown in housing sales and prices in Spain in 2022 

Spain’s International Financial Analysts (AFI) and Bankinter’s research departments predict that over the course of 2022 the housing market in Spain will begin to slow down.  

Forecasters anticipate a drop in sales and a slower growth in average prices compared to 2021, a year in which transactions reached their highest since the real estate boom, and residential properties became more expensive on average by six percent.

AFI estimates that housing transactions will decrease “around 15 percent year-on-year in 2022”, but will grow steadily. They also predict that there will be moderate growth in 2023, but far below the levels of 2021, when sales soared more than 38 percent and hit 14-year highs. 

Rental demand is increasing in Spain

Around a quarter of the population in Spain rents (24.9 percent), according to Eurostat data, a figure that’s lower than across most of Europe but that looks set to increase due to the current lack of supply of new housing and a rise in property sale prices.  

According to a study on the sustainability of demand for housing in Spain by real estate companies Solvia and Fotocasa, 66 percent of people looking for housing choose to buy, while 34 percent are looking to rent. 

It’s no much that an increasing number of Spaniards would prefer rent rather than buy – as this is a country that values the stability of owning a property in the same light as having a job for the State – it’s rather a case of people not being left with another choice. 

Unfortunately, increased demand for rental properties is resulting in a sharp rise in rental prices again (+8.4 percent compared to May 2021), after two years of stagnation and price drops during the pandemic, particularly in big cities.

How inflation in Spain is affecting the real estate market

Spain’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) in May was 8.7 percent, four-tenths higher than the previous month, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE). And the annual rate of core inflation increased one point, to 4.4 percent. Experts believe that this will cause housing prices to rise between 1-2 percent.

It is also making it harder to get a mortgage as interest rates on financing are increase too. Most Spanish mortgages with variable rates normally vary based on a variety of factors, but this number has been rising and in May 2022 saw figures of 0.240 percent, well above the average. 

READ ALSO: What the Euribor rise means for property buyers and owners in Spain

The Bank of Spain has estimated that the increases could range from anything between €35 a month to an additional €400. Bankinter predicts the Euribor rate will finish the year at a staggering 0.40 percent, but, more encouragingly, Caixabank’s prediction puts it at just 0.13 percent by the end of 2022.

Spanish lawyers create a petition to introduce a new visa for property owners

The latest stats show that non-resident property buyers account for around 19 percent of all purchases in Spain and this percentage is considerably higher in many parts of the country, particularly those popular with tourists and foreign residents such as the Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca, Balearics and Canaries.

As a result of this and the fact that Britons represent around 12 percent of foreign buyers, Costaluz Lawyers have created a proposal for a new type of visa: the Spanish property owners visa.

Following Brexit, British nationals can now only spend 90 days out of 180 days in Spain and there is a lack of visa options for those wanting to buy a property. Anyone hoping to gain residency through buying a property currently has to spend over €500,000 to be eligible for Spain’s Golden Visa.

A petition has been created in order to gather support for the new visa which you can sign here.  

READ ALSO: Valencia region pushes to give Brits more than 90 days in Spain

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SPAIN AND THE US

Spain and the US to exchange more language assistants in bilingualism push    

The governments of Spain and the United States have agreed to recruit more English and Spanish-language assistants from each other’s countries as a means of bolstering bilingual education in the two nations.

Spain and the US to exchange more language assistants in bilingualism push    

Spain’s Education Minister Pilar Alegría and US ambassador to Spain Julissa Reynoso met on Wednesday to sign a memorandum of understanding which will reinforce educational cooperation between the two countries. 

The agreement had been previously signed by Miguel Cardona, the United States Secretary of Education, who tweeted: “This week, alongside [Spanish] Ambassador [Santiago] Cabañas, I signed a memorandum supporting the study of Spanish language & culture in the US, and the study of English in Spain”.

It is in fact a renewal of a memorandum between the United States and Spain which has facilitated mobility of both conversation assistants and students between the two countries in recent years.

The aim of this newest memorandum of understanding is to further strengthen student and teacher exchange programmes and promote bilingual and multicultural teaching in both educational systems.

No exact details have yet been given about how many extra language assistants will be given grants to join the programme. 

Several teacher recruitment sources suggest the current number of North American language assistants (including Canadians) heading to Spain every year is between 2,000 and 2,500. 

The Spanish government has stated that in 2023, this figure will be around 4,500, which represents a considerable increase in the number of US and Canadian citizens who can apply through the NALCAP programme, which stands for North American Language and Culture Assistants in Spain. 

According to Spain’s Foreign Ministry, the following requirements must be met by US candidates in order to participate in the programme:

  • Be a U.S. citizen and have a valid passport
  • Have earned a bachelor’s degree or be currently enrolled as a sophomore, junior or a senior in a bachelor’s programme. Applicants may also have an associate degree or be a community college student in their last semester.
  • Have a native-like level of English
  • Be in good physical and mental health
  • Have a clean background check
  • Be aged 18 – 60.
  • Have at least basic knowledge of Spanish (recommended)

NALCAP recipients receive a monthly stipend of €700 to €1,000 as well as Spanish medical insurance.

Application dates for 2023 are usually announced in late November. See more information on the NALPAC programme for US nationals here

According to The Fulbright Program, one of several US cultural exchange programmes that organises the recruitment of US nationals for Spain: “English Teaching Assistants assist teaching staff at the early childhood, elementary, middle school, high school, vocational and/or university level for up to 16 hours per week, with an additional two hours for planning & coordination meetings. Responsibilities include assistant-teaching, in English, subjects such as social studies, science and technology, art, physical education, and English language.”

READ MORE: The pros and cons of being an English language assistant in Spain

There are also currently more than 1,000 Spanish teachers working as visiting teachers in the United States, Spain’s Moncloa government has said, without adding yet how many more will be recruited in 2023.

Additionally, more than 1,000 North American students now take part in the Spanish Language and Culture Groups managed by the Spanish Education Ministry’s Overseas Education Action (or Acción Educativa Exterior, AEE).  

Canadian applicants can find out more about working as language assistants in Spain by visiting the NALCAP Canada website.

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