- Are you a non-EEA citizen and have you bought or are you thinking of buying Spanish property?
- Would you also like to live in Spain but are frustrated by the lack of visa options for non-EEA nationals?
Then, read on to find out more about the Costaluz Lawyers proposal for a new type of visa: the Spanish property owners visa.
And if you like the sound of the idea, please sign our petition, let’s get the Spanish government to introduce this new visa!
But before you click to sign our petition, let’s look at why we think this visa is so necessary.
Favourite for investment
Spain ranks among one of the world’s most popular places for foreign property investment, particularly among northern Europeans. In fact, non-resident property buyers account for around 19% of all purchases in the country. This percentage is considerably higher in many parts of the country, particularly those popular with tourists such as the Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca, Balearics and Canaries.
Did you know? To qualify for a Golden Visa, you need to spend at least €500,000 on property in Spain.
Who buys in Spain
The majority of property purchasers come from the EU. Prior to 2021, the British accounted for the largest group of EU buyers – for example, in S2 2018, they represented 24.3% of the market share. The figure dropped slightly to just over 20% in S2 2019 where it stayed even during S2 2020 when lockdowns and travel restrictions meant few buyers could visit Spain.
Buyers from outside the EU have traditionally represented a much smaller percentage (around 12% of the market). The Chinese, Argentinians and Russians tend to take the lion’s share with a smaller presence of Americans and other South Americans.
However, the non-EU market share has changed since January 2021 when the UK left the EU. The figure is now considerably higher since British buyers form part of the non-EU statistics. For example, had the UK not been part of the EU in 2018, 38.3% of buyers would have been from outside the EU.
Did you know? Now that British nationals are no longer part of the EU, they can only spend 90 of every 180 days in Spain without a residence permit.
Property investment figures
Between them, the thousands of foreigners who buy property in Spain contribute hundreds of thousands of euros to the Spanish economy. Not just in the purchase price itself, but in related taxes and fees and then in maintaining the property while they own it. Their purchases benefit the country as a whole and its workforce.
Non-EU nationals spend more on property
And the biggest contributors to the Spanish economy via property purchases are non-EU nationals. The average for all non-resident buyers in the second half of 2018 was €2,080 per square metre but those from outside the EU spent €2,846. In the second half of 2019, the spending was even higher (€3,049).
Nowadays, buying a home in Spain is clear-cut and relatively simple if you take independent legal advice. And foreigners have the same ownership rights and obligations as Spaniards.
Read our free guide to buying property in Spain.
Not easy residency
But while it’s easy to buy a property and a huge benefit to the economy, Spain does not make it easy for non-EU nationals to become residents. While EU nationals can obtain their residence permit quickly at little cost, non-EU nationals face a mountain of paperwork and if they do not intend to work, need considerable funds.
Current options for non-EU nationals
If you plan to retire to Spain to enjoy your property, you currently have two options, both of which involve wealth:
Golden Visa – to qualify for this visa, you need to invest at least €500,000 in Spanish property. Once you have done this, you and your dependents are automatically entitled to a residence permit in Spain. This visa entails a number of advantages, but many would-be homebuyers do not qualify because of the required investment level – half a million euros is a lot of money not to mention the additional 8-12% in associated taxes and fees!
Non-lucrative visa – there are no property requirements for this visa, but you do need to show proof of funds to qualify. In 2021, the minimum requirement was €2,259,60 a month plus extra for your dependents. As is the case with the Golden Visa, many would-be homebuyers from outside the EU do not have this sort of monthly income.
Our proposed solution
As we have seen, non-EU buyers (including the British) now form the backbone of foreign property investment in Spain. They also spend more than their EU counterparts and have the same property rights. BUT, getting a residence permit is far from easy.
At Costaluz Lawyers, we think that it’s about time this situation changed. And to change it, we propose a new type of visa to cater for non-EU property buyers who want to live in Spain but don’t have the wealth required by the current visa options.
Requirements for the Spanish property owners visa
We’d like to make it very simple with just two main requirements:
- Applicants would have to show that they have owned a property in Spain for at least three years.
- And applicants would have to show proof of income of at least €1,130 a month, roughly half the funds required for the non-lucrative visa.
Obviously, they would have to fulfil conditions for health insurance and a non-criminal record, standard practice for most visas, but the main condition would be property ownership and sufficient funds.
We believe that this visa is a win-win for both sides:
The Spanish economy benefits from increased investment from motivated home buyers from outside the EU and from money spent by non-EU nationals who are able to become residents as a result of the visa.
Non-EU nationals benefit because they obtain a Spanish residence permit easily and without the need for large funds.
We would love to make the Spanish government sit up and notice this petition. If enough of us sign it, we should be able to achieve that objective. We’d therefore request you do two things:
- Sign the petition (it’ll take just a few minutes of your time).
- Share this article and the link to the petition with anyone else you know who also believes that it’s time that non-EU property owners in Spain had access to easier residence permits.
We’ll keep you posted on the results and if you subscribe to our newsletter link, you’ll be the first to know!
All data on purchases by non-residents come from the Notaries Association.