The news is likely to go down well with affluent Russian and Chinese property buyers, who are already the third and eighth biggest foreign homeowners in Spain.
“Obtaining the right visa permits and documents for Spanish residency in China and Russia is known to give anyone a bureaucratic headache,” Alex Vaughan, partner at luxury Barcelona-based estate agency Lucas Fox, told The Local.
“Although the new law hasn't been passed yet, it’s likely to make it a lot more straightforward to obtain a permanent residency permit, rather than the temporary one that non-EU nationals have found so difficult to get up to now.”
Back in November, the Spanish government set the property investment hurdle at €160,000, a figure many believed made Spain look cheap when compared to the €400,000 sum demanded by Portugal and Ireland for non-EU residency permits.
They have since been drafting new legislation which, according to inside sources, will set the bar at half a million euros for prospective buyers looking to gain official Spanish residency.
“The only strings attached are, to our knowledge, no criminal record, proof of your ability to support yourself financially and private health insurance,” says Vaughan.
Under the draft new law, foreigners who obtain residency in this way won't be able to work in Spain, or access the country's health and social security systems, sources from Spain's Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness told El País newspaper on June 3rd.
Approximately 90 percent of Lucas Fox sales come from foreign buyers, 40 percent of whom are either Russian or Chinese.
“We've had increasing interest from prospective homeowners from South East Asia, but also from Australia, the US, South Africa.
“People from overseas are attracted by the quality of life over here, and Spain has far better infrastructure, health care and transport than countries like Cyprus and Portugal that have introduced similar legislation.”
Vaughan told The Local that once the new law is put in place in June, it could only be beneficial for Spain’s ailing property market, despite the fact that demand for luxury homes like the ones Lucas Fox sells has continued growing throughout the crisis.