Advertisement

Visas For Members

Chinese investors rush to buy properties before Spain's golden visa ends

The Local Spain
The Local Spain - [email protected]
Chinese investors rush to buy properties before Spain's golden visa ends
Chinese nationals have been the biggest beneficiaries of Spain's golden visa scheme together with Russians. (Photo by ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP)

With Spain phasing out its golden visa through property, Chinese investors are rushing to buy Spanish flats and houses in order to get residency before the scheme officially ends.

Advertisement

Chinese investors are increasingly buying up property in Spain before the golden visa scheme ends. The golden visa is the only way that Chinese nationals, and indeed any non-EU foreign nationals, could have all the benefits of Spanish residency without having to actually live in the country or be a tax residents.

In April the Spanish government shocked many by announcing plans to get rid of the property-based golden visa scheme, which grants non-EU nationals residency in Spain when they buy real estate worth €500,000.

Advertisement

It can also be obtained by investing €1 million in shares in Spanish companies, €2 million in government bonds, or transferring €1 million to a Spanish bank account, options which are likely to remain available to wealthy foreign investors.

READ ALSO:

The scheme has long been controversial. Many viewed it as essentially selling Spanish (and therefore European) residency, and it has been blamed by some for creating a tiered immigration system.

Described as a "European disgrace…which creates first and second-class citizens" by Spain’s Culture Minister, the golden visa has become increasingly questioned by the EU and eliminated or amended by a number of European countries in recent years.

However, despite the announcement in Spain it remains unclear when exactly when the scheme will end because the government has not announced a date, so it is therefore is not yet in force.

READ MORE: When will Spain's golden visa scheme officially end?

But with a deadline looming somewhere down the line, Chinese investors are now purchasing properties before it's too late and speeding up the processes to do so.

Long Fang, CEO of Bafre Inmobiliaria, told Spanish state broadcaster RTVE that demand among Chinese buyers has grown since the announcement. "We've noticed growing demand," she said, adding that the number of Chinese golden visa purchases handled by the company has quadrupled. 

INTERVIEW: 'There are three main alternatives to Spain's golden visa'

Chinese buyers, Fang says, are not looking solely for property but also a visa "that facilitates entry and exit when travelling for business or tourism with the family." In the long term, they often end up renting the properties they buy.

Advertisement

Spanish daily El País has reported on the types of properties Chinese investors purchase through the golden visa scheme, and it varies.

Many will buy several cheaper flats to reach the €500K mark and then rent them out, whereas some will purchase industrial properties in order to set up businesses, and others will buy luxury properties, such as one buyer cited in the piece who recently bought a €975,000 chalet in Madrid.

According to Foreign Ministry figures cited in a report on golden visas by Transparency International, the Chinese benefited most from the golden visa scheme, with a total of 2,712 visas issued since 2019 . Of these, 99.33 percent were via property purchases.

Russians were the second most common recipients of golden visa, with a total of 1,159 visas, 94.65 percent of which were via property acquisitions.

More

Comments

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also