Brexit came into full force on January 1, 2021, but Britons now looking to move to Spain and other countries in the European Union are faced with meeting certain conditions to gain resident status, including financial means and health cover. More than 350,000 Britons are registered as permanent residents in Spain, but visa costs and residency permits are starting to drive them out of the country. The number of new British home buyers dropped to a historic low, according to official data from Spain’s Land Registry, which saw them account for just 9.5 percent of all purchases.
Ferran Font, from pisos.com, told Spanish newspaper 20minutos the UK leaving the EU has hurt sales.
He told the outlet: “Brexit is undoubtedly a factor that affects the sale and purchase of homes in Spain, but above all, because it is perceived that the British have stopped buying homes in Spain.”
Mr Font said “since 2020, also coinciding with the coronavirus pandemic, the representation of the British in the sale and purchase in Spain has plummeted to minimums, while the French remain and the Germans even rebound”.
But he added he has not seen “a large increase in British retirees who have put their homes up for sale in Alicante, an area with many Brits”.
Spain has now been brutally mocked by Express.co.uk readers and reacting to our initial story, Danny Watson said: “Spain picked their side, and they lost.”
Express reader Backagain wrote: “Not just the purchasing of properties, the lack of prosperous British retirees will have an even bigger negative impact on the Spanish local economy.
“The Spanish are fools to themselves.”
TimSouth1 commented: “While Spain beats the golden goose with a big stick wrapped in Brussels red tape Portugal capitalises on Brits seeking sunshine by not following orders from Brussels and making up a very attractive deal for ex pat property buyers.
“How long before Spain loses so much income that it follows suit?”
Express.co.uk reader Reasonable added: “Childish behaviour by the EU relative to Brexit will hurt The Spanish financially.
“Talk about cutting of your nose to spit your face.”
Emiliano Bermúdez, deputy general manager of the real estate agency donPiso, noted there had been “a slow and steady trend down of house sales by British people since last Easter, but not en masse”.
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He said there has been “a very marked drop in purchases by the British, who historically, and by far, have been the foreigners who have bought the most homes in Spain”.
Mr Bermúdez noted “this consequence of Brexit will affect the real estate sector in the Mediterranean Arc, the coastal provinces of Andalusia and the Canary Islands”.
But he also said the impact “will be less in the Balearic Islands, where the weight of German buyers is bigger”.
Property expert and real estate managing director Robert Barnhardt had told Express.co.uk many Britons in Spain are now starting to sell their properties because of post-Brexit difficulty.
He said: “A lot of retired British people are starting to sell up.
“They used to come down here in September or October and then stay until April/May for the six months of better weather.
“But now they can only come for 90 days and also a lot of them used to drive down. The Spanish are now getting pretty strict on foreign plated cars and mainly British cars.
“Down on the rural roads, where I live out in the sticks, a lot of people have been driving around in the same English cars.
“I mean I’ve certainly seen them for 10-15 years with the same vehicle. And now it’s against the law and they’re being impounded.”