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Rise in estate agent enquiries from UK residents seeking post-Brexit move to Spain


Estate agents serving every level of the Spanish property market - including ourselves here at IQ Marbella, with our specialist interest in the highest-end real estate - have inevitably been watching the EU referendum result, and its subsequent impact on our sector, very closely.

This is why it especially interested us to read reports of one international estate agency claiming to have received a higher number of enquiries from UK-based clients contemplating a move to Spain, following the British vote to leave the EU.

Widespread disillusionment with the referendum result

While key cities like Madrid, Barcelona and Spain have attracted particular interest from prospective movers on account of their recovering local economies and associated increase in job opportunities, the recent vote would also seem to provide the perfect opportunity for Britons contemplating a new life in Marbella or another Spanish resort area to firm up their plans.

One of the estate agency's partners in Spain said that they had feared an immediate impact on pending deals as a consequence of the referendum result, but that this did not appear to have been the case, with a greater number of enquiries from UK buyers and UK-based EU residents looking likely to more than compensate sellers.

According to studies, Spain trails only Australia and Canada among the most popular locations for British expats. With the London School of Economics having also conducted research in the wake of the Brexit vote finding that about 10% of 18 to 25-year old 'Remain' voters were contemplating a move abroad, it seems that demand for prestigious and lower-end properties alike could soon be on the up in Spain.

Prospect of a Spanish lifestyle attracting British 'Remain' voters

One disenchanted 'Remain' voter quoted as considering a Spanish relocation in the aftermath of the referendum result was 22-year old Sebastian King, who works in Financial Services in the South of England. It took only a few days after the referendum outcome for him to get in touch with an estate agency, claiming that the vote had persuaded him to "get a move on" with existing plans to relocate to Spain.

King cited the Spanish climate, history and culture among the reasons for his decision, adding that Spain also represented "an ideal place" for his business to expand on account of a less expensive workforce. "When I compare the UK to Spain, I see Brits simply surviving whilst the Spanish are really living."

Spanish property sector still robust post-Brexit

While there have also been some fears that a Brexit vote would presage uncertain times for the Spanish property market given the weaker pound and how dependent the sector has previously been on British buyers, the evidence would seem to suggest that this is much less the case than it once was.

In the words of the aforementioned estate agency partner, "the high-end Spanish property market relies far less on the British than it used to - our buyer profile is diverse and includes French, Dutch, German, Swiss, Swedish, Norwegian, US, Russian, Middle Eastern and Asian buyers to name a few nationalities and buyer groups."

Furthermore, with Spanish mortgage packages remaining competitive and the country's property as a whole still attractively priced at 30-35% below its 2007 peak, there seems to be no shortage of reasons for British buyers interested in the most luxurious and desirable Marbella villas, apartments and penthouses - whatever their views on the referendum result - to start making serious enquiries.