The demand for mortgages among foreigners in the Canary Islands accounts for 7.7% of the national total, making it the fifth-highest rate by region in Spain. This rate is only surpassed by Valencia (28.4%), Andalusia (20%), Catalonia (15.9%), and Madrid (9%), as reported by Idealista.
At the national level, there has been a shift in the nationality profile of those applying for mortgages in Spain during the third quarter of the year. German nationals have now overtaken the British as the foreign nationals with the highest number of mortgage applications for home purchases, constituting 13.1% of all applications, according to Idealista.
This summer marked a notable change in the composition of foreigners securing mortgages in Spain. For the first time, German citizens claimed the top position in the nationality ranking for mortgage applications, while the British, who had previously held the top spot, now occupy the second position with 12.9% of mortgage applications.
Following closely behind are the French, who have regained the third position in the ranking after a year and a half. They have surpassed the Americans and Swiss, who had alternated in third place, accounting for 11.2% of mortgage applications for home purchases in Spain.
Other nationalities, as per data from Idealista’s mortgage study, represent less than 10% of the demand for home purchase mortgages in Spain.
THE PROMINENCE OF THE UNITED STATES
The United States ranks fourth in the list with 9.8% of the total, followed by Switzerland (7.5%), Ireland (7%), the Netherlands (6.1%), Belgium (4.9%), Sweden (3.6%), and Italy (2.6%). These ten countries collectively account for nearly 80% of all mortgage applications by foreign nationals during the third quarter.
Idealista also points out that the demand for mortgages has set records for three countries in particular: France, Ireland, and Sweden. Conversely, the Netherlands has seen a decline since the beginning of 2020, reaching its lowest levels.
It’s noteworthy that, despite not being the largest group, U.S. citizens have the highest income and request the highest mortgage amounts. The average monthly income for U.S. households obtaining a mortgage for a home in Spain during the third quarter was 9,090 euros, well above the foreign average of 6,425 euros per month. Switzerland ranked second, with an average income of 8,414 euros per month, followed by several countries with incomes above the 6,000 euros per month mark: Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden. In contrast, Italian and Belgian applicants had average incomes of less than 5,000 euros per month.
In addition to income, U.S. applicants also lead in terms of the average property price they seek to purchase and the average mortgage amount. They aim for properties with an average price of 272,211 euros and seek mortgages averaging 200,030 euros. In comparison, the foreign applicant average is 216,426 euros for the property’s purchase price and 153,250 euros for the average loan amount.
Citizens from the Netherlands rank second, targeting properties with an average price of 251,658 euros and seeking mortgages averaging around 170,300 euros. Conversely, the Irish aim for properties priced at 153,250 euros and request mortgages averaging just 109,500 euros.
71% FINANCING IN SPAIN AND AN AVERAGE AGE IN THE 40S
In terms of financing, foreign buyers in Spain typically need an average of 71% of the property’s cost, which is slightly above the range typically offered by Spanish banks for second-home financing (usually between 60% and 70%). Swedes and Italians require the highest proportion of bank resources, around 74-75%, while the Swiss and Dutch need approximately 67-68% to complete their transactions.
The average age of foreign applicants is around 40 years old, with Swedes being the oldest among the main nationalities at 43 years old, and the Swiss being the youngest at 38 years old.
THE SEASIDE, THE PREFERRED FOREIGNER’S PREFERENCE
The coastal regions continue to be favored by foreigners in terms of location. The Valencian Community leads the ranking, accounting for 28.4% of all mortgage applications, followed by Andalusia and Catalonia at 20% and 15.9%, respectively. Idealista’s quarterly mortgage report emphasizes the trend of non-residents seeking mortgages in coastal areas.
Madrid (9%), the Canary Islands (7.7%), and the Balearic Islands (5.9%) are also prominent areas, surpassing Murcia and Galicia, both at 2.7%. In contrast, several autonomous regions in Spain see foreign demand for mortgages represent less than 1% of the total, including Castilla-La Mancha, Navarra, Extremadura, Aragón, and La Rioja.
FIXED-RATE MORTGAGES CONTINUE TO REIGN SUPREME ON THE MARKET
Fixed-rate mortgages remain the preferred choice in the market, with 73% of foreign buyers opting for them, while 15% choose mixed-rate mortgages, and the remainder go for variable-rate options.
The average mortgage amount for non-residents in the third quarter was 195,241 euros, marking a 9.7% increase compared to the same quarter in 2022. Additionally, the purchase price of properties sought by foreigners was 33% higher than the general average, reaching approximately 350,000 euros.
THE BRITISH, THOSE WHO BUY MORE HOUSES IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE YEAR
In the first half of 2023, the British led the way among foreigners buying homes in Spain, accounting for 9.6% of total transactions. They were followed by Germans (8.1%) and Moroccans (7.3%). The data, compiled by the Consejo General del Notariado (General Council of Notaries) and reported by Idealista, translates to 6,498 units, 5,519 units, and 4,931 units, respectively. The French (4,926) and Romanians (4,336) also featured in the top rankings. Notably, transactions by Russians (50.2%), Ukrainians (41.6%), Americans (13.6%), and Chinese (11.8%) saw the most significant year-on-year growth, defying the overall decline in foreign property purchases (-7.5% year-on-year in the first half of the year).
Idealista highlights that some of these nationalities had never purchased so many homes in Spain in the periods analyzed by notaries. Americans, in particular, reached 1,339 sales and purchases, doubling the figures from the first half of 2021 and setting a new record. This was attributed to factors such as the euro-dollar exchange rate, climate, lifestyle, and real estate taxation.
The average price paid by foreigners for properties in Spain was 2,095 euros per square meter, marking a 1.4% year-on-year increase and reaching the highest level since the end of 2008. This surpassed the average price paid by Spanish nationals, which stood at 1,574 euros per square meter.
Among nationalities, buyers from Sweden (3,036 euros per square meter) and Denmark (2,930 euros per square meter) paid the highest prices per square meter, both achieving all-time highs. They were followed by buyers from the USA (2,921 euros per square meter), Switzerland (2,812 euros per square meter), Germany (2,724 euros), and Norway (2,584 euros).
Finally, Idealista noted that, except for the Norwegians, these nationalities recorded some of the highest prices in their respective histories during the first half of the year, according to historical data dating back to 2007.