Follow in the footsteps of the thousands of Brits that have bought a property in sunny Spain.

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  • The British have been buying property in Spain as second homes for many years. In fact, it's been the number one choice for decades. Spanish property prices are slowly on the rise, although there is still over-development in certain areas where you will be able to bag a bargain. The country still offers new property 'hot spots' to tempt the bargain-hunting overseas property buyer. These include the Atlantic coast of the Costa de La Luz towards the Portuguese border, the lush countryside of its northern regions and the rural hinterland stretching back from the established coastal resorts.

    Spanish property in cities such as Madrid and Barcelona bought for property investment is popular despite being expensive, although their historic siblings Cadiz, Granada and Seville, among others, are on the property radar now at a fraction of the price.

    From inexpensive renovation farmhouses to its island hideaways to the swankiest villas in the most exclusive resorts, there's something for almost everyone looking for property in Spain.

    The Spanish property market

    It is an increasingly common opinion that to talk of "the Spanish property market" is an oversimplification of a complex phenomenon. It is far better to talk of "the Spanish property markets" so as to distinguish between some very different geographical locations, buyers and economic factors. As with many countries, whatever is generally taken to be true for an area is subject to both vast and subtle variation at the "micro" level, even down to adjacent streets.

    Oversupply of homes in Spain and a more discerning type of buyer these days, combined with greater investment gains perceived in the so-called "emerging markets" of eastern Europe, central America and the Far East, have certainly put the brakes on rampant demand and large short-term increases in the value of property in Spain. But this ignores the fact that many people buying property in Spain do so as a lifestyle choice, lured by climate, amenities and culture rather than earning a prospective fortune on their home there.

    It remains one of the most appealing overseas home destinations. Those looking for the "quick buck" will rarely find it in Spain today, whereas those prepared to search for good property at a reasonable price will be well rewarded - whether as a holiday or retirement home, permanent relocation or long term investment.

    The process of buying property in Spain

    • Anyone wishing to buy (or sell) a property in Spain must first obtain from the state in person a fiscal number for foreigners known as NIE (numero de identificacion de extranjeros).
    • Once the buyer has received the NIE number, the buyer's lawyers can make an offer on their behalf. When a price has been agreed, it is recommended that both parties sign a preliminary agreement, which outlines details such as the completion date.
    • A deposit of 10 per cent is the usual amount placed to secure the deal. If the buyer pulls out they lose the full deposit but, should the seller decide not to go ahead, he or she must return double the amount of the deposit - 20 per cent - to the buyer.
    • If a property is purchased off-plan, it is usual for payments to be broken into stages, the balance being paid when construction finishes.
    • On completion, when all the necessary checks have been carried out, both parties sign the escritura (title deeds) in the presence of a notary. The buyer then pays the balance, plus all other fees and taxes. Copies of the deeds are sent to the Land Registry and the tax office.

    Buying property in Spain - top tip

    The much-publicised land grab scenarios are, for the most part, a thing of the past. However, it is vital that thorough checks with the land registry are carried out, and the issue of title is made clear from the start.

    Fees and taxes

    • Taxes and fees usually amount to around 10 per cent of the total purchase price of the property.
    • Taxes payable depend on whether the property being purchased is new build or re-sale. Currently, transfer tax of around 7 per cent is applied on re-sales, which includes Stamp Duty. For new build properties, VAT (IVA) of 7 per cent is payable in addition to 1 per cent Stamp Duty.
    • On top of this there is also Capital Gains Tax, which is set by the local authorities and depends on the area concerned and the amount of profit being made on the sale. This is usually paid by the seller.
    • If the buyer is purchasing land or commercial property rather than residential, VAT rises to 16 per cent. Stamp Duty remains the same.
    • Most Spanish lawyers charge around 1 per cent of the final purchase price, and notary fees are around 0.5 per cent.
    • Agent's fees can vary anywhere between 2 per cent and 15 per cent so be careful no to be ripped off.

    Spanish property hot spots

    Costa de la Luz property

    The Atlantic coast of western Andalucia has been a favourite destination for the Spanish for many years. Overseas buyers will be delighted with the culture, the climate and the property prices.

    Canary Islands property

    With a warm climate all year round, dramatic volcanic scenery and excellent value property, there's more to these islands than simply its stunning beaches and popular resorts

    Catalunya property

    The throbbing capital of Catalunya is a major city break destination and growing commercial centre, but even its high property prices don't detract from its continuing appeal to overseas property buyers.

    Costa Blanca property

    Although it's property market is reeling from one blow after another, it will recover, and will remain the first choice for British holidaymakers and holiday buyers for years to come.

    Costa del Sol property

    The Costa del Sol has long been a favourite with buyers. It's easy to reach, has a wonderful climate and lifestyle, sheltered beaches, top class golf courses and marinas, and continued investment in its infrastructure has been reflected in the capital growth and rental yields achieved from Costa del Sol properties in recent years.

    Key facts

    • Population: 46,507,760
    • Capital: Madrid
    • Languages: Spanish (Castilian), Catalan, Basque, Galician
    • Area (km2): 504,782
    • Currency: euro
    • Dialling Code: +34
    • Emergency services: 112
    • Embassy in UK:


    The Spanish healthcare system has improved dramatically over the last few years and generally has a reputation for being excellent. Even if you should choose at any time to go private, it will cost a fraction of what it would in Britain.


    The cheapest and quickest way to get to Spain is to fly. The majority of destinations on mainland Spain are only two hours away and there are plenty of budget flights available year-round to most regional airports. Charter flights can also offer good deals in high season, especially to the Canary Islands.

    Some information contained herein may have changed since it was first published. PrimeLocation strongly advises you to seek current legal and/or financial advice from a qualified professional.

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