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Buying Property in Spain

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Property Sales 4th Quarter 2020 in Spain

Real Estate Registry Statistics 4Q 2020

• Preference for family home, normally with larger average surface area and open spaces (terraces and gardens).

• During 2020, 419,898 registered home sales were down 16.7% on 2019, falling back to mid-2017 levels

These Land Registry Statistics for the fourth quarter show the demand for housing during the course of the pandemic. The analysis focuses on the proportion of flats and single-family homes, the average surface area of the new sales, and the proportion of house sales in capitals compared to the total of their respective province.

4th Quarter Sales Compared 2012 – 2020

Between 2012 and Dec 2020 you can see in the graph below a tailing off of apartment sales from 84.1 in the 4th quarter of 2012 to a drop by 6.6% to 77.5% in December 2020. It is clear that 6.6% is the same amount by which single occupancy home sales have increased. Detached properties have had buoyant sales – the best since 2005. People are also opting for more land where possible and bigger surface area builds including terraces and gardens.

Regional Variations and Similarities

The following table gives the figures for the different autonomous communities within Spain where a clear pattern is repeated.

Looking at the National Average you can see the size of the property purchased is that little bit bigger, up almost 1% on the third quarter. In apartment blocks people have opted for that little bit more space where possible and where affordable a modest increase of 0.9% compared to the previous quarter with the average space being 102.1 m2 in shared complexes. The surface area for New Builds has increased to 110.9 m2, beating the previous best of the third quarter of 2020 by a very modest yet still significant 0.5 m2 taking them up to an average of 110.4 m2. With regard to Resale Properties these also have an increase in square metres with an average of 100.7 m2, an all time high. The facts bear out the hypothesis that most of us predicted: people want as much space as possible for their families to guarantee a safe environment for loved ones during the pandemic. Where possible, their preference is for individual homes versus communal gardens and pools. A bigger terrace is far more important than before, especially when buying an apartment rather than a house. In addition, with more time spent indoors it is clear that ‘size matters’.

If we look at the increase of about a metre squared in only 3 months and compare it to the increase over 12 months of 2.2%, it highlights the tendency to look for properties that offer more space.

in the following graph, in the fourth quarter 52.4% of apartment purchases have a surface area of ​​more than 80 m2, registering a very significant increase of 1.9 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of the previous year (The grey line on the graph). The floors between 60-80 m2 stand at 28.0% (yellow), those with a surface area between 40-60 m2 are 16.4% (navy blue) and those with less than 40 m2 the remaining 4.2% (red).

Capital Cities Versus Rest of the Province

Capital cities are usually the most popular location choice within the province. This continues to be the case but with fewer sales relative to the rest of the province. Of the eight provincial capitals with the highest number of inhabitants, six of them are lower than numbers sold in their province compared to the previous quarter. Taking, for example, the five major provincial capitals, Madrid has registered 42.7%, while in 2015 it accounted for 57.7% of the sales of the province and the previous quarter 47.3%. In Barcelona the balance is 22.2%; in mid-2014 it represented 36.1% of purchases in the province and the previous quarter showed 23.8%. Valencia repeats this trend with number of sales weighing in at 25.7%. At the end of 2016 it was at 37.3% and the preceding quarter at 28.1%. Seville has registered 34.6% of housing sales in the province, while in 2016 it exceeded 50%, and the previous quarter 36.8%. Finally, Zaragoza totalled 66.9%, compared to 75.4% 12 months ago and 72.2% the previous quarter.

These figures bear out the popularity of property searches further afield. People are recalibrating their needs placing more emphasis on greater space and a better lifestyle / work balance. People are opting for less densely populated cities, towns and villages where property is that little bit cheaper so they can trade up to a bigger home than what they could afford otherwise in the capitals.

Registered Property Sales Down by 3.1%

This statistic is driven by 2 equally strong factors: the economy and the pandemic. These are clearly intertwined and their impact is to some extent predictable. The Land Registry collated statistics of sales year on year with and without mortgages for residential and non residential property to highlight the current evolution of this 4th quarter of 2020.

In the comparison of the fourth quarter with the same period of 2019, the economic impact of the pandemic takes its toll, yet with a somewhat more positive evolution in this fourth quarter, showing a slight increase of 0.3% in total sales, and a decrease of 3.1%, in house purchases. It is worth underlining that this is better data than that of the third quarter, in which it fell 16.6%.

Turning now to the financing for the properties, there was a greater drop in the number of mortgages offered overall compared to those offered overall for residential properties. Total number of mortgages down 10.1% and those for residential properties down 5.8%.

Total Conveyances Registered

Between October and December there were 113,799 residential property transmissions registered. This is an increase of 11.4% over the previous quarter.

New Builds totalled 22,842 purchases registered, growing 0.9% over the third trimester. The Resale property market, with 90,957 sales, grew 14.3% quarterly

Year on year and quarter on quarter the fourth quarter has never traditionally been the most popular buying period. This continues to be the case with an inter-annual decrease in the 4th qtr compared to the 4th qtr of 2019 of 16.7%. In absolute numbers 419,898 dwellings were sold, falling back to those seen in the first half of 2017.

Buyers from Abroad

In the fourth quarter, home purchases by foreigners stood at 10.7% of the total home purchases, below the 11.4% seen in the third quarter.

In contrast, there has been an increase in the total number of sales compared to the previous quarter. The volume of purchases by foreigners was more than 11,800 operations, compared to the nearly 11,400 registered during the third quarter. The nationalities that head the purchases have been British (14.5%), French (8.3%), Germans (8.1%), Moroccans (7.4%) and Belgians (6.1%).

Nationality of Non Spanish Buyers
Percentage Foreign Buyers 4th Qtr 2020

Brits Continue to Lead the Way

Foreigners are buying properties despite the lockdowns. (TMTSPAIN would like to add that the British continue to lead the way despite BREXIT – and this continued interest is good to see). The Balearic Isles are definitely attracting keen interest with 32.7% of the sales being conducted by non Spanish. Second in popularity is The Canary Isles (22,5%), then Valencia (21,7%), followed by Murcia (19,4%). Finally, the Catalan region (11,4%) and Andalusia (11,3%) in 4th and 5th place.

This has been translated and the figures analysed by Tracy Thomson with all stats taken from the Land Registry Official Figures and Commentary

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Buy Sell Properties Spain

Buying and Selling homes in Spain

Protect Yourself with those Property Bargains in Spain.

It can be nerve racking or a breeze buying a property in Spain. We are an agency in Andalusia and different autonomous regions have slightly different taxes but all require 3 main things: a foreigner’s tax number called an NIE number, Title Deeds signed before a Notary and Land Registry of the property purchase.

An NIE number is something you get from the Police Station. If you use a lawyer for your purchase they will get this for you or you can apply yourself. Here are a couple of examples of how to fill the form out and each line translated. The reason for needing an NIE must also be stated.

English instructions how to fill out NIE form

NIE form translated

Title Deed Price and Amount Paid

There was a time when properties were sold for two different prices, coyly known as ‘A’ and ‘B’ monies. The ‘A’ price was on the Title Deeds and the ‘B’ was cash in hand counted with spit dampened fingers far from the Notary walls. Even today the Spanish tax office turns a blind eye on a 15 – 20% difference plus or minus from the normal market price. Don’t be tempted though. In general, they don’t trust you and suspect something is afoot if you get too much of a good deal or agree to a bad bargain on your part. A Buyer will end up paying tax on the amount the government thinks the property was really sold for, the imputed amount. The only way to avoid it is to get a property valuation done and take your claim to court. Costly and time consuming if you lose.

For those of you interested, the imputed amount or REAL VALUE is based on coefficients from town halls, the Title Deed Price and the Cadastral Reference – based on sometimes outdated surveys of land boundaries. By or before July 2018 a land law reform is being introduced. Current recommendations by a government commissioned think tank is to change the REAL VALUE to reflect only the Title Deed Price. Another idea being mooted is to start charging a local capital gains tax on rural properties as well as the current policy of applying it to urban properties on gains from selling your property.

As we’ve seen, sales have picked up, still not a high percentage of conveyances, although slowly improving. The years of recession from 2007 hit Spain well below the belt with repossessed properties and ghost towns of brand new housing estates. In the noughties so many people were dependent in one way or another on the construction industry. When it ground to an almost complete halt, so too did the country. Fortunately, people and things evolve; no-one wants to return to those dark days, but the unscrupulous soon left the industry – why would they stay? There were no longer any rich pickings. The agents and agencies that managed to hang on in there during the lean times came through with a limp and a smile. Many, like TMT Spain Real Estate, offer more to Buyer and Seller as a matter of course. We feel we have a duty to explain and inform, both to our clients selling and the applicant looking to buy. Clearly, both form part of the same process. Naturally, we believe we always have done and our team have transferred skills and knowledge accrued in other professions as well.

What is an Agent?

An agent is just that, an entity acting on behalf of another. When it comes to properties the relationship is a tad contrived. The Buyer is usually an interested party whilst our client is almost always the Seller – but both come together in a bargain of offer, acceptance and consideration. The process can be incredibly fast or proceed slowly and cautiously. We don’t mind, we’re there to help however long the journey. Our local knowledge and connections are relied on by Seller and Applicant alike. Whether it be by acting merely as a de facto tourist information service – every Estate Agent recognises that function, or making sure you understand how properties are bought and sold. Our neck of the woods is the autonomous region of Andalusia, Spain.

Buying & Selling Resale Properties in Andalusia.

There are many more Resale properties on the market than new builds, but you can once more see cranes along the skyline. This is happening because of unfinished promotions being revamped and also due to brand new green field sites being built – both courtesy of new Land Law Legislation for Developers and Promoters to take the plunge and invest in Spain.

If the house you want to buy has had others living there already, a Resale, termed ‘second-hand’ in Spain, you need to check the following documentation:

  • Title Deeds. Make sure the person selling the property really is the owner or authorised to sell. We check this as part of our general due diligence when we list a property.
  • Ownership and status of housing charges. (Simple Note of the Property Registry). For this you need to ask for ‘Datos Registrales’ which give ‘Finca, Tomo, Libro & Inscripción’ stating what the property registration number is and where it is filed – both literally and in which district. This information is on the Title Deeds or a copy of a ‘Nota Simple’
  • Last annual IBI receipt (Council Tax or Urban Tax, Impuestos Bienes Inmuebles).
  • Community of Owners’ receipts proving that the seller is up to date with payments of shared community expenses. (It’s a proprietor owned management company.)
  • Latest receipts of utilities: water, electricity, gas, etc.
  • Completion on Property. If the conveyance follows the normal convention the Seller pays the costs of cancelling his/her mortgage and the bulk of the Notary costs for drafting the new Title Deeds. The Buyer pays for the Title Deed copies, registration fees and, as appropriate, VAT or Property Transfer Tax. However, it is not mandatory to follow that convention although common.
  • The Seller needs to make sure they have a certificate of the energy value which they hand to the notary before sale.

The Buyer should allow approx. 12% – 15% on top for costs. You pay Stamp Duty, Transmission Taxes, Notary Fees and Land Registry Fees. Plus, lawyer’s fees should you decide to instruct one. (It is not obligatory.) In the past, you also had to pay the mortgage lenders’ Notary and Stamp Duty costs for putting the mortgage in place – which with the admin fee added up to about 4% of the amount borrowed. But this practice has been ruled out by the Supreme Court as an unfair contract term and now you only pay an admin fee on taking out the mortgage, the valuation and any costs that fall directly to you. Those who paid this in the past can claim back these costs providing the mortgage is still in place or was paid up in the last four years. Refunds in Andalusia are on average 4,313 € according to the property portal Idealista and Legal Services Provider, Reclamador. (a ‘crowd complainer’ platform,). The protection available for the consumer does serve to underline how the legislature has acted to inject confidence in the property market once more.

Property Taxes are levied against the price of the property as stated in the Title Deeds. At the time of writing, assuming no special cases, THE BUYER pays 8% ITP on a property up to 400,000 €, 9% from 400,001 € up to 700,000 € and 10% thereafter.

Garages and Parking Spaces in Underground Garages can either have a separate Property Title Deed or be annexed to the Residence’s Title Deed. For separate Deeds it’s 8% tax up to 30,000 €, 9% to 50,000 € and 10% thereafter for a maximum of 2 garages or parking bays. Make sure you know which parking space belongs to the house or apartment that you are buying, it’s an area that can sometimes be overlooked. The applicable Property Taxes are the same as for properties when sold in the same Deeds.

como comprar a una casa en España

Property Sellers are responsible for:

  • Certificate of Energy Rating. ‘Calificación Energética’. Drawn up by an architect evaluating the energy consumption of the dwelling. In Andalusia, almost all resale properties rate as Grade E, with Grade A being the highest, it may not be perfect, but it is normal.
  • Town Hall Capital Gains Tax – Incremento del Valor de los Terrenos de Naturaleza Urbana (IVTNU), more commonly known as plusvalía municipal. The clue should be in the name – you have to make a capital gain to pay this. But many local authorities have been exacting payment form Sellers even when they sold at a loss, basing the value on the cadastral reference as well as the old inflated market prices and opting for whichever price was higher. Note, a Supreme Court decision enshrined in law 15th June 2017, has tried to make it illegal for town halls to invoice Sellers for this if they have sold their home at a loss. People who were forced in the past to pay it despite making a loss can now claim this tax back from the Town Hall. It’s an odd remedy called a revocation process (Procedimiento de revocación.) What makes it strange is how the decision to go ahead with the claim lays in the hands of the local authority. (IKR.) Court decisions are now starting to create their own precedent. And yet, we are still awaiting legislation that stops town halls from invoicing. This is the complication. They have up to 4 years to do so. This means that in practice the Seller needs to file claiming 0€ owed. But at present the town hall could challenge this in that 4 year time frame. Really not acceptable in our opinion when people have sold at a loss and it shows this on the title deeds.

Buying Off Plan or New Builds confirm the following:

  • Works Licence in place
  • Bank Guarantee to protect in case developer goes belly up
  • Occupancy Licence issued before completion
  • Building Specifications have been adhered to
  • Stage Payments where appropriate coincide with actual completion of construction stage as described
  • Snagging List done and signed by both parties
  • Utilities supply and connection paperwork formalised
  • Value Added Tax is 10%

Other than that, enjoy your home in the sun, next to a pool in summer and a wood burning stove in winter.

There’s never been a better time this decade to move home or shuffle portfolios.

And if you are looking to buy or sell a property in Southern Spain, get in touch with TMT Spain Estate Agents – we’re happy to help.

(Article updated 5th April 2019 to reflect changes in the mortgage law.)

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nov 2018 housing sales Spain

Property Transactions November 2018

Transfers up 9.4% Sales up 2.8%

The Spanish Statistics Institute has released figures for November 2018 Housing Sales. Nationwide, the Land Registries have been more active than the same time last year. Up by 9.4% on figures for November 2017. Of this number, sales have increased by 2.8%.

Winners and Losers

The highest number of transfers of ownership / title, (measured per 1,000 inhabitants), were in Rioja (723), Castilla y León (718) and Valencia (610). Whilst the highest variations in rates occurred in Madrid (21.7%), Cantabria (19.6%) and La Rioja (19.4%). Conversely, Aragón (-11.7%), Illes Balears (-6.0%) and Extremadura (-4.4%) registered the lowest annual rates. With respect to registered housing sales, the Autonomous Communities with the highest number of transfers per 100,000 inhabitants were Valencia (168), Rioja (144) and Cantabria (128). The Balearics (-7.2%),
Andalucia (-5.9) and Extramadura, (-5%) all performed lower in November 2018 compared to the same month in 2017.

Andalucia November 2018 29,318  properties transferred
Andalucia November 2018 29,318 properties transferred

Stats for Andalucia – Gifts and Inheritances

Overall transfers were up 10.6 % in Andalucia compared to November 2017, but as this includes all transfers including gifts and inheritances as well as life interests and such, the increase is to be expected.

Andalucia November 2018 4,323 rustic properties acquired
Andalucia November 2018 4,323 rustic properties acquired

Changes in Inheritance Tax exemptions introduced in January 2018 created a sea change where beneficiaries could afford to accept their inheritance.
Statutory Succession Laws apply in Spain for Spanish nationals – both intestate estates and for those who leave a Will. Spanish law assesses the estate of the individual who will receive the post humous gift. Unlike in the UK, for example, where it is the state of the deceased that is assessed.
Andalucia has increased its exempt threshold for beneficiaries closely related – for example children. In such cases, the first million euros of personal assets are exempt now when assessing tax liability for the inherited asset. This, unsurprisingly, has led to many more individuals taking on their bequests.

Andalucia November 2018 24,995 urban properties acquired
Andalucia November 2018 24,995 urban properties acquired

Andalucian Property Sold November 2018

The figures for sales in Andalucia are down 5.9% on November of last year. Some of the absolute bargains have been mopped up – although there are still more out there. The most likely reasons for the fall in sales are Global rather than National. Uncertainty with the tariff import wars between the US and China and, of course, the UK leaving the European Union (Brexit). However, in general terms, the outlook is positive. The month of November 2018 saw 13,202 sales of land and urban property and 1,774 in rural areas of Andalucia. The total number of dwellings sold was 7,950, of which 1,516 were new builds.

This property in Jimena village comes complete with furniture and is a real bargain. This rural country home is also a fantastic opportunity.

Andalucia November 2018 15,322 dwellings acquired
Andalucia November 2018 15,322 dwellings acquired
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Land Registry Figures 2018 July

Property Sales Registered July 2018

Property Sales Nationwide Buoyant

The national statistics for all of Spain are again positive news for the ongoing recovery of the property market. In July, 169,683 properties were registered at land registry, 14.5% up on the same month of 2017.

Of these the number of property conveyances was 89,092, which is an annual increase of 13.5%.

Sales registered at Land Registry

The breakdown of rural and urban properties shows a high percentage of urban property sales in July of 87.8% and 12.2% for rustic properties. Among urban properties, 58.7% were housing sales.
In July, the number of rustic property sales was up by 8.3% year on year, while that of urban properties rose by 14.3%. This was an annual increase of 16.2% for urban property.

Council Owned and Private Property

In July, 90.5% of the dwellings transferred by sale were free-market dwellings and 9.5% had protected affordable housing status. In annual terms, both the number of free-market dwellings transferred by sale and that of protected dwellings increased by 16.2%.

New and Resale Properties

In July, 16.9% of the dwellings transferred by sale were new and 83.1% were used. The number of transactions on new dwellings increased by 11.4%, while that on used
dwellings increased 17.2% as compared with July 2017.

Figures for Andalusia July 2018

There were 27,743 property transfers recorded in the land registries for July 2018 and of these, 8,730 were free market sales. In percentages, this shows an increase year on year of 20.4%. This equates in Andalusia to 132 transfers per 100.000 inhabitants for sales. And 421 per 100,000 for transfer of title as a result of inheritance, free market sales, and other changes in property title. Andalusia came just a little above the national average, significantly below Aragón (32%) but only 6 – 7 percentage points lower than the next top performers Galicia (28.6%) and Castilla–La Mancha (27.1%).

July 2018 Housing Figures INE July 2018 Housing Figures INE July 2018 Housing Figures INE July 2018 Housing Figures INE

The figures for June 2018 are available here:

Source INE

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holiday makers short term lets

Holiday Makers Spain & Andalusia June 2018

Non Hotel Tourist Accommodation in Spain

These statistics show the supply and demand for holiday accommodation in June 2018 both nationwide and in Andalusia. More than 12.2 million overnight stays are great news for property owners interested in short term lets. This is slightly down on last year, but still shows strong demand.

Broad Stroke Figures Nationwide

The national statistics for overnight stays in non-hotel tourist accommodation are down by 3.8% in June compared to the same month of 2017. Yet, even so, numbers exceeded 12.2 million in June 2018
Figures may be marginally lower for several reasons including staff strikes at airlines and the heat wave which is affecting many countries this year.

Tourist apartments

Overnight stays in tourist apartments decreased by 8.1% in June. Those of residents decreased by 5.2% and those of non-residents by 9.0%. The average stay was reduced by 4.8% compared to June 2017, standing at 5.3 overnight stays per traveler. In June, 37.9% of the places offered by the tourist apartments were occupied, 7.1% less than in the same month of 2017. The occupancy rate by beds on weekends stood at 41.2% , with a decrease of 5.8%.

Touristic Apartments – INE Spain and Andalusia

Tourist Accommodation 2018
Spain 2018

Tourist Accommodation 2018
Andalusia June 2018

Resident and Non Resident Overnight Stays

These figures are further broken down into Resident and Non resident occupancy of accommodation.

Overnight stays of residents decreased by 0.3 % and non-residents 6.0%. The average stay is 4.3 overnight stays per traveler. During the first quarter of 2018, overnight stays decreased by 2.9% with respect to the same period in the previous year.

Visitors to Andalusia – both Residents in Spain and Non Residents in Spain showed healthy figures in June 2018, up year on year to those of 2017. 2018 has been a success for many owners who offer short term lets.

It goes without saying that our advice when buying a property is to also take into account the short term holiday market and depending on where you buy your investment property, also consider the business community who make overnight stays for business purposes.

Rural Tourism Inland Andalusia

Statistically, the Spanish National Statistics Institute looks at 2 categories that affect ordinary small investors: Tourist Accommodation which is coastal usually – for example Sotogrande, and the rural sector, such as Jimena de la Frontera.

Tourist Accommodation June 2018
June 2018 Spain

Tourist Accommodation June 2018
June 2018 Andalusia













Contact us to buy or sell properties. We also offer long term lets for rental.

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