The so-called ‘Golden Visa’, aimed at attracting property investment from non-EU nationals, is already having positive implications on Spanish real estate.
Official figures suggest that interest from Middle Eastern investors has increased 2,500 per cent in 2013 compared to the same period last year, while from Russia and Lithuania buyers have increased 200 per cent over the same period.
• The visa, which came into force on October 1 of this year, grants automatic residency to any non-EU national who invests €500,000 or more into Spanish real estate as the country attempts to secure as much foreign investment as possible – and the figures so far would suggest it is working.
• The country has had little choice but to look abroad in an effort to resuscitate the property market as Spain continues to battle unemployment, meaning for so many Spanish nationals it’s still a case of tightening the belt. Confidence in the market has been one of the main stumbling blocks for Spanish nationals; even those with money remain sceptical in a market whereby the banks are not as keen to lend as they were some years ago.
• This in turn provides opportunities for cash-ready investors and for wealthy buyers from the Middle East, China, Russia and elsewhere, …it opens the door for a flurry of investment – especially when an automatic residency visa is part of the deal.
• It helps that the €500,000 property investment does not just have to be on one property; it can be spread out across a number of properties. You might wonder, how does this make any difference? What this does is it provides an excellent opportunity for non-EU investors perhaps wanting to make more of a business venture out of their investment, by creating their very own little property empire.
• Property investment is generally seen as a safe bet, and in a country like Spain which attracts so many foreign tourists this provides excellent buying-and-renting opportunities for investors looking to ‘make a return’.
• By being able to spread the €500,000 across more than one property, a savvy investor could realise the opportunities by snapping up homes across Spain’s most popular tourist areas.
• Regions such as the Balearic Islands, Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca and Canary Islands continually attract large flocks of tourists each year – and that in turn reflects on which areas in Spain have the most foreign property investment.
• Earlier this year official statistics revealed Alicante on the Costa Blanca, to be the most popular area for foreign investment, with nearly 2,500 sales in the first quarter of the year to foreign buyers; followed by Malaga on the Costa del Sol in second place.