How the UK’s vaccine rollout will cause a luxury property boom in Spain: study

A fast and effective vaccine campaign in the UK will result in a surge in sales of luxury properties in Spain, a new study by Rightmove suggests.

How the UK's vaccine rollout will cause a luxury property boom in Spain: study
A luxury home in Marbella. Photos: Francisco Rodríguez/Unsplash, Claudia Stekelenburg/Pixabay

It may seem like a far-fetched conclusion but recent news developments suggest that when confidence rises in the UK, Spain profits from it.

Only last Monday we saw how Boris Johnson’s announcement that UK nationals would potentially be allowed to fly abroad on May 17 led to a surge in holiday and flight bookings to Spain, as high as 630 percent in Easyjet’s case.

A new study by British property portal Rightmove, together with Spanish consultancy firm Arum Group, points to another spike in spending in Spain as a result of good news in the UK.

The interest in luxury Spanish properties by British buyers has stayed high during the pandemic but paused as a result of the restrictions on travel and mobility, surveys conducted as part of the study found.

“We’ve seen a substantial increase in online searches and virtual visits for the acquisition of luxury properties” CEO of Arum Group Jesús Abellán said.

Lockdowns and travel restrictions, including the ongoing ban on non-Spanish resident UK nationals wanting to travel to Spain (currently until March 16), are what’s prevented 72 percent of luxury property operations from being closed, according to Rachel Beaton, Head of Overseas & Commercial Operations for Rightmove.

“The forecasts are that by May 9 the UK’s main priority groups (people over 50 years old) may be vaccinated and during the summer and until September the entire adult population of the country will be vaccinated,” Beaton said in reference to when business could take off again, adding that Spain’s luxury real estate sector must be prepared as clients “will seek to act quickly”.

The UK has currently given 25 vaccine doses per 100 people, the third highest rate in the world after Israel and the UAE, whereas Spain is in 8th position globally with 6.2 vaccines per 100 people.

“The movers and shakers of Spain and Britain’s property market will be paying careful attention to how both countries’ vaccination campaigns are going over the coming months,” Abellán concluded.

On Wednesday February 24, it was reported that one of the most expensive properties in Spain, a villa in the upmarket Sierra Blanca area of Marbella in southern Spain, was sold for approximately €40 million.

RANKED: The most expensive places to buy or rent in Spain in 2021

While those kinds of prices are in a league of their own, it certainly suggests that Spain’s luxury property market is far from dead.

According to the study, the average buyer profile of British nationals looking for ‘propiedades de lujo’ in Spain are male (62 percent), over the age of 55 (68 percent), still working (64 percent) but looking for a property to enjoy the Spanish lifestyle (49 percent) or retire here (45 percent).

Forty-four percent of people surveyed wanted the property as a second home to enjoy during holiday periods, which suggests that there may not be so much interest in becoming residents in Spain for these British buyers, even though Brexit limits their stays in Spain to 90 days out of 180.

“They’re buyers with cash, without chains, and with a high degree of preparation”.

There is no indication to suggest whether Brexit was factored into the study.

The uncertainty surrounding the residency and health care requirements that Brits in Spain have to deal with as non-EU nationals has been around since the vote in 2016, but the interest in buying a home and spending time in Spain remains high.

BREXIT: What worries British second home owners most about Brexit

The study found that 48 percent of prospective UK luxury buyers in Europe had Spain as their number one choice, followed by France (31 percent), Portugal (18 percent) and Italy (12 percent).

The most evident recent setback Brexit has brought to British property buyers in Spain is the need to get a permit from the military if the property falls within their designated zones, an outdated measure which applies to non-EU nationals.

Property in Spain: What we know about need for military permits for British buyers after Brexit

There are also tax changes British buyers will have to deal with due to their new status, but there is hope among existing UK second home owners in Spain that a bilateral agreement between both countries will mean excess paperwork and strict stay times will be waived at some point.

 The number of British nationals who own a home in Spain is currently estimated at anywhere between 800,000 and 1,000,000, many of whom already spend only limited periods of time on Spanish soil during the winter months.

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REVEALED: The cheapest most in-demand areas in Spain to buy a house

If you're considering making the move and buying property in Spain, but don't fancy purchasing in a rural village in the middle of nowhere, you should know where the cheapest, most in-demand parts of the country are.

REVEALED: The cheapest most in-demand areas in Spain to buy a house

If you’re thinking about relocating, Spain is a fantastic place to do it. Foreigners have been moving to Spain for decades, not only for its fantastic food and weather, along with a laid-back lifestyle, but housing is generally affordable – if you know where to look.

Though the rise in the Euribor has sent interest rates spiking, house prices in Spain are expected to flatten somewhat in 2023 and it could be a good year to find a bargain, depending on your financial situation.

Knowing what type of house you want and where in Spain you want to live is one thing, but knowing the cheapest, yet most in-demand parts of the country could really help you narrow down your search.

Fortunately, Spain’s leading property website Idealista has put together a list of the most ‘in demand’ municipalities of Spain and where you can find the most expensive and, more importantly for the house hunters among us, the cheapest municipalities of Spain to buy property.

It’s based on data from the last quarter of 2022 and is the average price of housing in towns with more than 1,300 sale announcements and costs valued at more than €1,100 per square metre. 

You can find the ten cheapest areas of Spain to buy property by average price below, but it’s worth noting that Idealista did these rankings by average price across the entire municipality, so there are likely individual towns and villages dotted around Spain where prices are significantly lower.

That said, this list gives you a good idea of the areas to look out for.

READ ALSO:  What will happen with property prices in Spain in 2023?

The 10 cheapest municipalities in Spain to buy property 

Santa Pola (Alicante) – Santa Pola, in the Alicante province, is the cheapest most in-demand municipality to buy a house, according to Idealista’s rankings. The average price for a house in Santa Pola costs just €151,796, though this may come as a surprise given its prime location in a foreign hotspot on the sought-after Costa Blanca. The main town of Santa Pola itself is a small beachfront community with a population of around 35,000. It also has a large foreign population and is a short drive or bus away from both Alicante and Elche.

Ourense (Galicia) – Next on the list is Ourense in Galicia where the average price is €154,941. The municipality is home to several towns and villages, surrounding the main medium-sized town of Ourense itself in southern Galicia. The town has a population of around 105,000 and is a little over an hour’s drive from both Santiago de Compostela and the coastal city of Pontevedra.

Oviedo (Asturias) – Third on the list is the municipality of Oviedo where you’ll pay an average of €154,968 for a property. Another area in northern Spain, the main city Oviedo itself, which is the capital of Asturias and has a population of 220,000. It sits between Cantabrian mountains and the Bay of Biscay. It’s known for its picturesque medieval old town and impressive architecture. 

Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz) – Properties cost an average of €155,563 in the municipality of Jerez de la Frontera, or Jerez as it’s commonly referred to. It’s located in the Cádiz province of Andalusia and is a real piece of ‘traditional’ Spain. Jerez city is a decent-sized place with a little over 200,000 people and is known for horses, flamenco dancing and sherry, as well as the Alcázar de Jerez, an 11th-century fortress that harks back to Andalusia’s Moorish past.

READ ALSO: Is it better to buy or rent in Spain right now?

Torrevieja (Alicante) – Another municipality in Alicante and another incredibly popular with foreign homeowners. Properties here go for an average of €155,787. Torrevieja itself has a population of 82,000 and is another coastal town, but also has nature trails and salt plains nearby.

Murcia (Murcia) – Murcia is often overlooked, wedged between Alicante and Andalusia, but you could grab a bargain here with average prices of €157,119. Murcia capital is a bustling city of almost 450,000 people, and is strategically placed for trips to the Costa Blanca, Costa Calida, Costa del Sol, and Costa de Almeria.

Parla (Madrid) – The municipality of Parla lies just 20km south of Madrid and the town of the same name is home to 130,000 residents. It’s a great commuter area for those who work in Getafe or the capital. A house here costs an average of €160,652. 

Salamanca (Castilla y León) – The municipality of Salamanca surrounds the capital of Salamanca in Castilla y León in northwestern Spain. Buying a property in this area costs an average of €162,909. The main city of Salamanca is known for its university, which is the oldest in Spain and dates back to 1218. Understandably, much of Salamanca’s roughly 150,000 residents are students, which gives the town a lively atmosphere.

Burgos (Castilla y León) – Another northwestern Castilla y León municipality, is Burgos has around, where you can buy a house for just €163,164. The city of Burgos has around 180,000 inhabitants and is known for its medieval architecture and grand cathedral. 

Dos Hermanas (Sevilla) – The second most populous municipality in the province of Seville, properties cost an average of €163.274 here. The Andalusian town is just 15km south of Seville, making it great for commuters or those who want plenty of culture nearby.