OPINION: British demand for property in Spain appears indestructible

WHEN the 2016 referendum produced that famous shock result in favour of Brexit, the fear was that the longstanding love of British buyers for Spanish property would become a thing of the past. 

In the years leading up to the final divorce at the start of 2021, this proved not to be the case, though it did mute demand. What is the landscape like now that Brexit is a firm reality?

British demand for Spanish property was riding high when the Brexit referendum hit it in 2016. After a decline in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, buyers from the UK had resumed their prominent position among foreign property transactions in Spain’s coastal areas, but now uncertainty set in once again. 

Sales dropped noticeably in the following year, but one soon acclimatises to new situations, and by 2018 enquiries were back up.

Then the world was plunged into another bout of darkness, this time brought on by the Covid pandemic. 

It seemed fate was determined to sever the long-held relationship between Brits and Spain’s sunny coastal destinations, but as we pass the halfway mark in 2021 and analyse the figures for Q1 and H1 of the year, quite a different picture is emerging.

In reality, sales of Spanish homes to British buyers already began to rebound at the end of 2020, but that was put down to a late surge before the final Brexit deadline on the 31st of December. 

This would be an entirely feasible explanation, were it not for the fact that sales to Brits have continued to build over 2021.

Adam Column

While there was an initial Brexit impact in the years following the referendum, the element of fear and uncertainty seems to have disappeared now that it’s a fait accompli. 

As for Covid, the enforced lack of movement and economic activity over much of 2020 has resulted in pent-up demand now being released, and this is something being seen across the board. 

Sales are up 71% on this time last year, and with almost 65,000 properties sold in June, the market has returned to figures last seen during the boom of the 2000s.

This is not just a recovery from 2020 either, as current transactions are 41% higher than 2019 and 13% higher than 2018. 

The fact is, the Spanish property market is performing better than it has in almost 15 years, and while we don’t know how long it will continue to do so at this level, it seems clear enough that any talk about the effect of Brexit on British demand for properties in Spain can now be retired for good.

UK buyers are here to stay, as they have been throughout the ups and downs of more than half a century – it’s a relationship cemented over many generations that seems to be as strong as it ever was.


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