In an attempt to kick-start the sale of its stagnant housing stock, the Spanish government has announced that it is to begin offering foreigners residency permits if they buy homes worth more than €160,000.
The scheme will especially appeal to buyers from outside of the EU, especially those from Russia and China, who currently have to apply for a visa every time they travel to Spain, even if they own property there.
Investors who take up residency under the scheme will have to prove that they have sufficient health insurance to not be a burden on the Spanish medical system and will also not be allowed to seek work, so must have savings or pension funds.
Barbara Wood of The Property Finders, the leading property search agent in Andalucía, says: "Non-EU citizens who buy property in Spain haven't had it easy until now, so it is excellent news that Spain intends replacing the existing visa system with a fast-track, one application only for a resident's visa to all purchasers of property over €160,000. Spain's Business Secretary makes no secret of the fact that this move is aimed squarely at the growing Russian and Chinese markets and has set a relatively low entry price level to widen the market and try to mop up Spain's unsold stock."
The Russian market now accounts for 8 per cent of foreign property buyers especially in the Costa del Sol and the Chinese, 4 per cent.
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