British buyers of Spanish property surge 48pc

The UK may be considering cutting ties with the EU, but Brits are still in love with Spanish property, with sales of property surging 48 per cent in the first four months of 2016.

The statistics are even more striking when you consider where they come from: homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España. Indeed, Spain’s construction industry is enjoying a strong start to the year that may surprise some, with licences for new homes up 57.1 per cent in Q1 2016 year-on-year – the best quarterly result since 2011.

Taylor Wimpey attributes the boom in residential construction directly to the “significant return” of overseas buyers to the Spanish market. The Costa del Sol is reportedly proving most popular, with almost half of buyers choosing to purchase their property in that region.

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director for Taylor Wimpey España, believes it will be a scorching summer for the Costa: “Construction within Spain’s residential sector is rising once more, as the demand from overseas buyers continues to strengthen the market. The Costa del Sol has always been a prevalent destination for Spanish holiday homes and is fast becoming the favourite once again amongst British second homeowners. As British buyers choosing Spain’s southern coastline increases, so too does the optimism surrounding the market and we would expect this positive trajectory to continue throughout the rest of the year.”

It is not just on the coast that buyers are returning in big numbers, though: Barcelona is also enjoying its own burst of interest, with sales in the city rising enough to prompt Cluttons to open its first Barcelona office this month.

Lucas Fox, which specialises in luxury property, says the high end of the market has also been enjoying strong demand, with the agency selling in excess of 150 million Euros of Spanish property since the start of the year, mostly based in Barcelona.

The value of sales was up by 37 per cent in the Catalan capital compared to the same period in 2015.

“We’re already seeing much more movement in the market during the first half of 2016, thanks to growing confidence among both local and overseas buyers, despite the political uncertainty in Spain,” says Lucas Fox co-founder Alexander Vaughan.

“The product available this year also appeals to a broader spectrum of buyers – New Developments such as JA48 in Madrid, Marlet1 and Casa Bures in Barcelona are attracting buyers not just looking for a principal or secondary residence but also private investors and those buying for lifestyle purposes. We are hoping that, by the end of 2016, Lucas Fox will have sold more than 375 million Euros worth of property throughout Spain, up by 50 per cent on last year’s figure.”

Lucas Fox also highlights the ongoing growth in the number of so-called “lifestyle investors” – overseas buyers who see capital growth, rental yield as well as lifestyle benefits in purchasing a property.

Former Wall Street trader Amy Lerner, for example, recently bought through Lucas Fox in Barcelona’s Eixample district.

“We always had a vague idea that we’d spend some of our early retirement time in New York City but after visiting Barcelona, that plan changed,” she comments. “We love the dynamic, international flavour of the city and that even though it is so global, Barcelona still retains a very strong culture and outlook. Of course, the proximity to the sea, the mountains and a great airport help a lot (not to mention the food and wine!)”

“Barcelona has become a major hub for this growing breed of demographic,” adds Lucas Fox partner Tom Maidment. “They are not just focused on the potential appreciation of a property purchase but also all the extra lifestyle benefits that it can bring, especially when located in a prime area.”