Market has collapsed! Exodus of British expats from Spain as Brexit fees spark meltdown
Boris Johnson 'needs to step up for British expats' says expert
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Since the UK left the EU on January 1, Britons looking to move to Spain and other countries in the bloc must meet certain conditions to gain resident status, including financial means and health cover. Around 360,000 Britons are registered as permanent residents in Spain, but visa costs and residency permits are causing some to rethink their stay in the country.
According to official data from Spain’s Land Registry, the number of new British home buyers dropped to a historic low.
The registry saw Brits account for just 9.5 percent of all home purchases.
While British expats are still the leading demographic for buying the most houses, traditionally the group leads others by a wide margin.
Germans and Moroccans are now buying more, with Germans now accounting for 9 percent of home purchases.
Ferran Font, from pisos.com, told Spanish newspaper 20minutos the UK leaving the EU has hurt sales.
He told the outlet: “Brexit is undoubtedly a factor that affects the sale and purchase of homes in Spain, but above all because it is perceived that the British have stopped buying homes in Spain.”
He also stressed that “since 2020, also coinciding with the coronavirus pandemic, the representation of the British in the sale and purchase in Spain has plummeted to minimums, while the French remain and the Germans even rebound”.
However, he added he has not seen “a large increase in British retirees who have put their homes up for sale in Alicante, an area with many Brits”.
Emiliano Bermúdez, deputy general manager of the real estate agency donPiso, agreed there has not been a large spike in Brits selling their homes in Spain.
However, he noted, “a slow and steady trend down of house sales by British people since last Easter, but not en masse”.
He said there has been “a very marked drop in purchases by the British, who historically, and by far, have been the foreigners who have bought the most homes in Spain”.
In his opinion, “this consequence of Brexit will affect the real estate sector in the Mediterranean Arc, the coastal provinces of Andalusia and the Canary Islands.” On the other hand, he points out that the impact “will be less in the Balearic Islands, where the weight of German buyers is bigger.”
Javier Castellano, Director of Communications at the real estate company Gilmar, rubbished claims houses are being sold en masse by British residents.
He said: “We are selling a lot of new construction, especially in municipalities such as Estepona.
“There may be some British retirees returning to their country for sentimental reasons, but they are not leaving en masse.
“I’m sure the London taxi driver who dreams of retiring to Marbella, where the weather is fantastic, is going to do it even if the UK is no longer part of the EU.”
But he also added there are changes in the number of property buyers in the Costa del Sol, “with a significant increase in Dutch, Danish, Swedish and also Russian buyers, who were moving to the north of Morocco”.
It comes after Robert Barnhardt, property expert and real estate managing director, told Express.co.uk many Britons in Spain are now starting to sell their properties because of post-Brexit difficulty.
He said: “A lot of retired British people are starting to sell up.
“They used to come down here in September or October and then stay until April/May for the six months of better weather.
“But now they can only come for 90 days and also a lot of them used to drive down. The Spanish are now getting pretty strict on foreign plated cars and mainly British cars.
“Down on the rural roads, where I live out in the sticks, a lot of people have been driving around in the same English cars.
“I mean I’ve certainly seen them for 10-15 years with the same vehicle. And now it’s against the law and they’re being impounded.”
Additional reporting from Maria Ortega
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