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Number of Americans buying property in Spain soars

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Number of Americans buying property in Spain soars
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Capitalising on favourable visa rules, new data has shown that the number of Americans coming to Spain and buying property has increased by almost 37 percent.


Spain has been a desirable location for potential foreign property buyers for decades. Historically, the bulk of these foreigners came from neighbouring European countries like the UK, Germany, Sweden, and Holland.

However in recent years the number of Americans coming to Spain to buy property has increased significantly, and forms part of a trend not only of property purchases made by foreigner buyers in Spain more generally, but of Americans taking a specific interest in Spain.

In 2022, home sales and purchases by foreigners increased in Spain by 9.7 percent compared to the same period in 2021, according to figures from Spain's General Council of Notaries cited by property website Fotocasa.

READ ALSO: Why Spain is second favourite country for Americans to move to

But among foreigners, Americans in Spain increasingly stand out as one of the fastest growing groups, with a 36.64 percent increase in transactions in the second half of 2022 alone.

This jump in the number of Americans buying property forms part of broader underlying growth in the number of Americans living in Spain. Digging back into the data, this number was growing even in the pre-pandemic period, jumping by 13 percent from 2019 to 2021, while home sales to Americans jumped 88 percent from the first half of 2019 to the first half of 2022, according to a report cited by Telemundo.

But the trend of more and more Americans taking an interest and coming to Spain is not only limited to the property market. Both the number of tourists to Spain (54.7 percent) and in tourist spending (60.8 percent) both also increased year-on-year, according to data from Turespaña. 

So what explains this surge, and where do most Americans in Spain buy property and eventually settle?

READ ALSO: 10 things I found shocking as an American when moving to Spain


Where do Americans live in Spain?

According to Spain’s national statistics agency (INE), in late 2022 there were 41,953 US nationals officially residing in Spain.
The figures show that Madrid is home to more Americans than any other region, making up more than a quarter of the total.

READ ALSO: Where in Spain do all the Americans live in 2023?

There are 11,570 Americans who officially live in the Madrid region. That’s roughly the same amount as the number of Britons in the capital (11,831), even though there are ten times as many UK nationals across Spain. Americans in Madrid considerably outnumber other nationalities such as German, Belgian, Irish or Canadian residents.

Barcelona came in second, with 8,156 US nationals residing there in 2022. In third and fourth place were Málaga province in southern Spain with 2,692 US nationals, and Valencia province on the east coast with 2,549. Completing the top five is Alicante province, long popular with foreigners, with 1,714 American residents.

In terms of property purchases, the General Council of Notaries data cited by Fotocasa shows that the Madrid market seems most attractive to Americans, topping the list of transactions, with the Andalusia region coming in second and picturesque cities like Seville and Granada proving popular.


Americans - big spenders

With the surge in Americans arriving in Spain, they are also bringing significant purchasing power with them. Americans are among the buyers who paid the highest average prices per m2 in Spain in 2022. With an average spend of €2,809 €/m, Americans came fourth on the list of nationalities, behind only Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark, according to data cited by Fotocasa from the General Council of Notaries report.

In many parts of Spain, the property market, in particular the rental market in cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante, has seen sharp price rises after a post-pandemic influx of foreign money, making it difficult for many locals to afford to live in their own neighbourhoods.

The American attraction to Spain


The attractions of Spanish living are clear. We don’t need to go over the multitude of factors that draw foreigners to Spain. The fact you are reading The Local Spain means you are likely already familiar with them. But generally speaking, the climate, cuisine, comparatively affordable cost of living and slower-paced Mediterranean lifestyle is attracting Americans to Spain, as it has so many other foreigners over the decades.

But so too are Spain's increasingly varied and accessible visa options available to Americans. One of these is Spain's Golden Visa, which offers residency to those who buy one or more properties worth €500,000 or more.

Another is the newly introduced digital nomad visa, something that allows freelancers and remote workers from non-EU countries to gain residency rights and tax breaks as long as no more than 20 percent of their income comes from a Spanish company.


Two types of Americans?

Owing to these two popular visa routes into Spain, we can broadly define two types of Americans that might make up the bulk of this recent wave of arrivals and property buyers.

Firstly, the retirees who want to come and enjoy their later years in the Spanish sun and at the gentler Mediterranean pace of life. Most of these sorts of Americans will likely have some savings and enter the country on the Golden Visa.

Many other, younger Americans, however, will likely arrive on the Digital Nomad visa, and live and rent in Spain while working remotely for an American company.

READ ALSO: US-Spain city comparison: A guide to help Americans decide where to move to


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