Exchange rates and golden visa encouraging overseas buyers in Spain

Taylor Scott International News

Currency exchange rates are encouraging even more foreign buyers back to the Spanish property market and this is reflected in increased sales, especially in popular areas. New legislation to relax the requirements for Spain’s golden visa which allows non-European Union buyers to gain citizenship if they invest in the real estate market is also set to encourage more buyers from overseas. In the Balearics the currency rates are currently by far the biggest influencing factor in the property market, according to Alejandra Vanoli, managing director of Mallorca Sotheby's International Realty. ‘Thanks to negative interest rates, affluent Germans are currently paying to keep their money in the banks and some would rather see it being put to good use in real estate investment. Mallorca is an obvious choice, German tourists have been coming to the Island for more than 50 years and represented 38.6% of all foreign arrivals to Mallorca in 2014, they have their own weekly newspapers, radio station and Air Berlin dominates the Airport. There is a strong bond,’ he said. He explained that with the British pound is at a seven year high against the euro, a two million euro property would have cost £1.67 million a year ago, but just £1.44 million today, some 14% more affordable. Swiss buyers are in a similar situation. The Swiss Franc soared when the National Bank abandoned its euro peg in the middle of January and a property costing 2.54 million Swiss francs a year ago would now cost 2.11 Swiss Francs, a saving of around 17%. The golden visa, which was introduced in September 2013, has seen 530 foreigners granted a visa so far with the majority, some 490 people, doing this through putting at least the minimum of €500,000 into property. Most of the property investors have been Chinese, Russian or Arab with business entrepreneurs coming largely from the United States and it has earned the Spanish economy an estimated €700 million so far. Previously the visa was granted to the applicant, their spouse, children under the age of 18 and disabled children of any age. This has now been extended to unmarried couples, economically dependent relatives and children of any age. Also, while the economic criteria remain the same, the path has been made smoother with applicants able to start the process upon arrival in Spain rather than applying from overseas. The visa will also be given within six months even to those who haven't formalised a property purchase, provided they've signed a contract and paid a deposit. ‘We are expecting more non-European purchasers but at the moment Mallorca is still very much dominated by British buyers who have been coming en masse since the 1960s, the Germans, and the Swedish who also have a long standing love affair with the Island,’ said Vanoli. ‘Mallorca is reported to be the most popular holiday destination for Swedes in 2015. Like the Germans, they have… Continue reading →

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