EXCLUSIVE: Ending the golden visa in Spain is a ‘big blow’ to British and US buyers, say property experts – as political leaders brand it ‘senseless’ and ‘anti-business’

THE ending of the golden visa scheme in Spain has been met with a wave of criticism, particularly in high-value areas like the Costa del Sol.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced yesterday that the programme, which grants foreigners residency when they buy a home for €500,000 or more, is to be scrapped.

The socialist PSOE leader cited ‘too much property speculation’ in the biggest cities, amid fears that the scheme allowed ‘dirty money’ to flood the market from the likes of China and Russia.

But property experts have since said such views are misguided, given the fact that there have been less than 1,000 golden visas granted each year since it was introduced in 2013.

CEO of Cloud Nine, Sean Woolley, told the Olive Press the scrapping of the golden visa will be ‘big blow’ to US and British clients

Sean Woolley, CEO of Cloud Nine Properties, based in Marbella, told the Olive Press: “When you consider that fewer than 10,000 Golden Visas have been granted in Spain in the last 10 years, it really is not a policy that needed adjusting.

“Some 1,000 across the whole of Spain each year is really a negligible amount, and hasn’t really had an effect on the housing market in any way.

“I think the problem for the current socialist government is what the policy stands for – i.e. wealth creation instead of wealth distribution. This doesn’t sit well with their coalition partners.”

He added: “Also, most people believe that we are seeing an influx of Russian and Chinese people taking advantage of the Golden Visa.

“Whilst these may have been the main GV clients at the start of the scheme, all of our GV clients in the last 2 years have been Brits and North Americans… not exactly enemies of the state!

“It’s an especially big blow to these nationalities. We have been warning for some time that the scheme would likely come to an end, and we will be actively encouraging clients to speed up their GV applications in the coming weeks.

Scott Marshall Driving
Scott Marshall branded the move ‘nonsense’

“I think we will see a glut of demand until the scheme officially comes to an end, especially from Brits and North Americans.”

Meanwhile, British tourism councillor in Benahavis Scott Marshall branded the scrapping of the golden visa as ‘nonsense’.

He told EFE that it was “a decision made without consultation and without any basis.”

He added: “The problem is that, whether the initiative goes ahead or not, it contributes to creating uncertainty in the foreign investor… foreigners cannot be blamed for the price of housing and rents.”

Conservartive Marbella mayor Angeles Muñoz, said: “It is a decision that will most certainly be negative for the economy and the development of the city.”

In Malaga, the president of the city council Francisco Salado (PP) was left fuming.

He said the Government ‘is once again trying to cover up its incompetence and lies with demagogy’, having been ‘incapable of fulfilling its promises on housing’ and having caused ‘the opposite effect’ by increasing purchase and rental prices.

He added: “Now they try to hide their investment neglect in public or protected housing by attacking, once again, tourism… an enormous source of income and employment for the country and the Costa del Sol.”

He said residents with high purchasing power pay ‘many taxes’ here.

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