As the December 31st 2020 deadline approaches, what are the implications for Brits wanting to invest in Spain?
We are often asked whether Brexit has led to a fall in Spanish property prices? The simple answer is no.
Overall, Spanish property prices have risen every year since Brexit although on the Costa del Sol we have seen a decline in demand from British buyers. However the Spanish property market has held up because demand has been strong from other nationalities, such as Belgian, German, Scandinavian, Irish and Chinese buyers who have not been affected by Brexit.
Below is the annual change in Spanish property prices since the referendum deciding the UK’s future in the EU was announced in February 2016 which suggests that Brexit has not affected prices at all. Covid-19 has had a more widespread effect on the Spanish property market than Brexit, although its impact has been far less than we expected.
2020: +1.1% (6 months to 30 June)
What about my rights after Brexit?
No doubt, Brexit has created uncertainty about the future rights of Brits living in Spain. People are naturally concerned about whether they will be able to freely access their Spanish property whenever they like following Brexit.
However if you are already a legal resident of Spain, you have little to worry about as your current rights are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement under which, if you register as resident in Spain before December 31st, you can continue to live, work (or study) in Spain with the same rights as EU citizens from January 1st 2021 onwards.
THIS IS IMPORTANT: The number one priority for Brits buying a property in Spain is to be officially registered before the end of December 2020. You will need to get a TIE residence card (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero) which is a simple enough process your lawyer will be able to help you with.
Can I still buy a holiday home in Spain?
If you are looking to buy a holiday home in Spain, I can't really see how Brexit will be an issue.
At the time of writing (September 2020) the British and Spanish governments have come to no firm decision regarding visas for British nationals travelling to Spain. It is generally believed that the two countries will work towards an agreement that favours both. Spain is particularly keen to attract British tourists and property buyers – some 17 million Britons visit Spain in a normal year and between 800,000 and 1 million own a home there.
The worst case scenario is UK citizens receive the same rights as citizens from other non-EU countries like the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand meaning you can visit Spain without the need for a visa, but would be restricted to a 90-day limit every 180 days.
So over the course of a full year, you could use your Spanish property for 180 days (half the year). There aren't many second home owners that use their Spanish property more than 6 months a year so Brexit shouldn't impede the use of your Spanish property.