In this guest piece, Sascha Badelt, managing director of Cloverhut, outlines what investors should (and shouldn't) be doing when it comes to investing in Spain, a perennial favourite for British holidaymakers.
Spain is a popular destination for British tourists, with figures showing 18 million UK passport holders visited the country in 2019. Therefore, it’s unsurprising that buying a property in Spain is an aspiration for many.
However, Brexit has raised several questions for UK nationals about what their rights are and how the path to Spanish homeownership may have changed and, for those thinking about making an investment, it is crucial to understand the implications that must be considered.
Here are the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of investing in Spanish property post-Brexit.
Do know the rules
Even though the UK is out of the EU, Brexit hasn’t changed non-EU residents’ rights to buy in Spain. In fact, not only are UK nationals permitted to buy a house in Spain, but the Spanish government is actively encouraging non-EU residents to purchase Spanish property with deals like the Golden Visa scheme.
This is a more flexible residence option for third-country nationals who make a substantial capital investment in Spain. It provides the freedom to come and go as you wish, including access to public services, without having to become fully resident.
However, new rules do mean that UK nationals will no longer benefit from freedom of movement. While this doesn’t affect property investment or ownership, those who want to move to Spain permanently will have to get residency, or the length of time they can stay in Spain will be limited.
Don’t forget to thoroughly research locations
Doing plenty of research remains one of the most important steps to take before purchasing Spanish property post-Brexit.
For those unsure where to start, it can help to look at flights from the nearest regional airport to home and narrowing down the provinces that are easy to get to.
Then, search online to find out about each area and what they have to offer, before making a shortlist of the areas which tick the most boxes.
Do understand the costs
It is also important to understand that it does not necessarily cost more to purchase a property in Spain post-Brexit.
In Spain, all non-EU nationals pay the same fees as EU national buyers when they purchase properties. A property buyer in Spain will need to pay notary fees, property registry fees, NIE certificates charges, property purchase tax, legal adviser fees, stamp duty, if applicable, and other miscellaneous charges, including bank, courier, and translation fees.
However, UK nationals should still consider fluctuations in the exchange rate between the pound and the euro as the difference between the currencies and conversion charges may add to the cost of purchasing the property.
Don’t let Brexit deter you
There has been a lot of talk about the risks associated with buying and selling property in Spain throughout the media, especially since Brexit. However, most of what is being said is not true and it will take more than Brexit to stop Britain’s love affair with Spain.
Brexit need not deter anyone who has made the decision that owning a home in the country is for them. Afterall, almost none of the fundamental aspects of buying and owning property in Spain have changed as a result of Brexit.
In addition, there are even signals that the number of UK citizens making the choice to buy property and live in Spain has risen a lot due specifically to Brexit1, and the Spanish construction sector is moving once againi.
Undoubtfully, Brexit has sparked a lot of uncertainty among those wanting to purchase property in Spain but, for the most part, this worry is unnecessary.
Tourism is still one of the most important industries in Spain and the UK is the biggest source of this, so it is likely that the Spanish government will continue doing its best to make it as easy as possible for UK citizens to buy, visit or stay in Spain.
If do your research and are fully clued up on relevant changes, there is no reason why Brexit should be the end of your overseas property dreams.
*Sascha Badelt is managing director of Cloverhut