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Real Estate

Spanish Real Estate is Bouncing Back

Spain has no restriction on foreigners owning property.

Spain has long been one of the world’s most sought-after property destinations thanks to its great weather, relatively low cost of living, and friendly atmosphere. It was hit particularly hard by the last recession and after a deep, dark downturn that kicked off in 2008, the market is finally bouncing back… and savvy property buyers have been watching closely for signs of a turnaround. Spain’s pariah status is gone and the country is awash with real estate bargains.

Now the official data on property sales show that the recovery is in progress… and buyers and investors are making their moves.

Unlike resort destinations like the Balearics (and other coastal and island locations), Spain’s big cities have diverse economies that are not reliant only on tourism.

Barcelona is a dream location, not just for the 1.6 million locals but clearly for the tourists and business visitors who flock there by the millions each year (over eight million in 2013). This is a strong short-term rental market and a great opportunity for buy-to-let investment.

Property in Madrid can appeal to tourists, expats, and locals, and this helps buttress investors in a market, which at this early stage still carries an element of risk. However, in Madrid foreign buyers make up a far smaller proportion of the market. Real estate here is dependent on Spain’s locals. Meanig a full recovery and return to growth will come to Madrid more slowly than to the tourism hotspots, like Barcelona. But when that growth does come, it will be less vulnerable to the ebb and flow of interest from fickle international buyers.

If you’re more interested in the resort towns, the Balearics are where to look. Majorca is the grand dame of the Balearics. Despite being a hotspot for tourism for so many years, when you know where to look, you’ll find that the 1,405-square-mile island has managed to cling to much of its charm.

The island gets an impressive 8 million visitors a year, mostly during high season. While this renders some beaches extremely busy, it brings some key advantages. For one, the island’s infrastructure is superb. The road network is excellent and the airport is large and extremely well connected, especially for an island of this size.

And while prices are inevitably pushed upwards by the number of visitors, they drop down to the range paid by Spaniards elsewhere in the country when you move towards the center of the island.

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