Spanish agent “concerned” about Golden Visa buyers

Photo: Klimenko

The country’s housing market introduced its Golden Visa scheme last year in an attempt to attract wealthy international buyers to Spanish shores, boosting demand and investment in its real estate market, which is failing to see much movement among domestic buyers.

The scheme offers residency to non-EU investors who spend a minimum of €500,000 on property. While Costa Blanca estate agent Tony Barnes, of Immobilier Javea, is pleased to have sold more properties to non-EU buyers last thanks to interest from countries such as China and Russia, he is also “concerned” about the affect these foreigners are having upon the Spanish resort scene.

“The Chinese have bought several properties on an urbanization located just outside the town of Javea, and although they are typically purchased by an older person with a business-like aspect, within no time many occupants arrive,” he says.

“In some circumstances, it appears as though dozens of Chinese are sharing a property with only two or three bedrooms. Rubbish accumulates in the gardens, and there appears to be nobody taking responsibility for the upkeep of the properties, which lowers the tone of the urbanisation.”

Chinese shops are now springing up across the Costa Blanca, selling inexpensive articles, such as electronic devices and toiletries, which are mainly manufactured in the country. However, they “frequently do not work as they should or break after a few uses”, says Barnes, who also complains that the Russian community do not integrate with the community.

His comments arrive as new statistics reveal that Spain’s Golden Visas have been nowhere near as popular as those offered by Portugal, with the number of non-EU buyers actually investing in Spain far lower than expected.

Nonetheless, Mr. Barnes hopes to see a rise in the number of purchases made by Spanish nationals and European Union residents in 2014 to balance out the large number of non-EU nationals arrived in the area during the last 12 months. If recent figures are to be believed, that may not require very many.