Americans Focus on Spain: Record-Breaking Home Purchases

Americans have discovered Spain, and the number of home purchases by US citizens is increasing throughout the country, particularly in major cities such as Madrid and Valencia.

Spain has become a hotspot for American homebuyers. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article titled “Americans Are Buying Homes in Spain More Than Ever Before” discussing the surge in real estate transactions in Spain by American citizens. This trend, as noted by the newspaper, is breaking all records.

According to the General Council of Notaries, in just the first half of 2022, Americans purchased 1,162 homes in Spain, a 75.5% increase from the first half of 2021. Not only did this make it the sixth-highest growth by nationality, but it also marked the largest volume of operations in the historical series. 

Additionally, Americans are paying the highest prices per square meter, surpassed only by buyers from Denmark.

This trend has gained momentum over the years. Since 2019, home purchases have increased by almost 90%, including both permanent and vacation homes. The trend shows no signs of slowing down at the moment.

At least, that’s what the data from the Property Registrars suggest. 

According to the Real Estate Yearbook of the previous year, during 2022, the number of home purchases by American citizens increased by 0.29 percentage points to represent 1.19% of foreign operations during the year and 0.16% of total transactions in Spain. Real estate agencies have also reported an acceleration in demand in the luxury market in recent times.

Albert Milián, spokesperson for Sotheby’s International Realty Barcelona and Costa Brava, confirmed this observation. He explained that “currently, Americans are the star customers in high-end housing in Barcelona, although it is true that Sotheby’s International Realty has a great reputation in the United States. Since 2021, we have noticed an explosion in demand, and in 2022, American buyers represented more than 30% of our operations in Barcelona.”

So, what has caused this recent surge in interest in Spanish real estate among Americans? Experts say that behind the upward trend are structural factors such as climate, culture, gastronomy, or low property prices compared to those in major cities of the world’s leading economy. Other more important factors include the exchange rate between the dollar and the euro or the war in Ukraine.

Felice Tufano, Vice President of FIABCI Spain and President of FIABCI Europe, said in recent years, “there has been an increase in the sale and purchase of properties by American citizens in Spain. Among the reasons explaining this phenomenon is the tourist and cultural appeal of Spain, as well as its warm climate and quality of life. 

Furthermore, the price €/m2 of cities like Barcelona, Madrid or Marbella remains much more affordable when compared to other cities in the world and, in particular, with cities in the United States such as New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles.”

According to the latest ranking by The Economist-EIU, these three cities ranked among the ten most expensive cities to live in worldwide in 2022, after analyzing over 400 prices of products and services in a total of 172 cities. 

The price of luxury homes in San Francisco and Los Angeles is more than double that of Madrid or Barcelona, while it is more than three times higher in the case of New York, as per data from real estate consultant Savills.

According to Juan-Galo Macià, president of Engel & Völkers Iberia, “within the main Spanish cities, it is worth noting the increase of Americans, particularly in Valencia and Madrid.” For example, in Madrid, the number of foreign buyers has increased from 16% in 2021 to 23% of the operations managed by Engel & Völkers.

Mexicans (3.45%) made the most purchases among these international customers, followed by Americans (2.12%) and French (1%). It is worth noting that Americans prefer Chamartin, where they dominated  with 6.82% of the purchases.

In Valencia, the percentage bought up in some of the city’s districts, such as L’Olivereta, has been very high, with 33% of foreign purchases made in that area by customers from the US. The Americans have shown a huge interest in Ciutat Vella, making 8% of the total foreign purchases, followed by Benimaclet and Quatro Carreres (7%), and they have a significant presence in Eixample and Extramurs.”

Beyond the major urban and coastal tourist hubs, attention is shifting to other inland and more rural areas.

“The majority of their property purchases in Spain are made in coastal areas such as the Costa del Sol and in cities such as Madrid and Barcelona,” says Felice Tufano. However, there is an increase in interest in rural properties and in Spain’s interior, such as in Andalusia and the wine region of La Rioja.

This article is brought to you by Expat Hub Valencia, a property buying agent  in Valencia. Using the Expat Hub’s services, you will be able to successfully navigate Valencia’s complicated property market in no time.

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