Esteve García-Ossorio: « The Housing Law (Ley de la Vivienda) can benefit foreign buyers »
The Commercial Director of IAD’s network of real estate consultants in Spain assures that this law can increase the offer and, therefore, reach more interesting prices for the buyer.
The real estate professional emphasizes that Castellón has ideal conditions to attract foreign buyers, who are mainly looking for holiday properties.
What is the profile of the foreign buyer?
In this case, in the province of Castellón, the foreign buyer is interested in a holiday property. They are mainly families with children who are looking for flats to spend their holidays, taking advantage of the climate and the culture and the gastronomy that the province offers. In terms of nationalities, we find English, German, French and Belgian buyers. In addition, the French buyers are more and more numerous.
What does Castellón have to offer to promote such interest?
Castellón has an excellent offer in terms of sun and beach. In terms of gastronomy, we find a good range of top quality products at very reasonable prices. And, for people who are going to buy a house to live in the area, I think it is attractive.
What has driven Castellón's position among the top 10 provinces in Spain with the most real estate transactions by foreigners?
There are several interesting points to answer this question. The first is price. Nowadays you can get holiday flats with excellent conditions to enjoy the sun and the beach at very affordable prices, between 100,000 euros and 200,000 euros. Compared to other areas or provinces, the cost is much lower. And this factor helps to attract foreign buyers to the region. Moreover, Castellón has a great variety of properties compared to other areas. Forecasts indicate that it will continue to improve its offer, which will increase its attractiveness even more. And finally, another interesting aspect is accessibility. This area has very good road and airport connections. In fact, Castellón, apart from having its own airport, is also approximately one hour away from Valencia airport.
What type of property predominates among foreign buyers in Castellón? And, above all, in which municipalities?
The most attractive municipalities continue to be the ones we have known so far: Peñíscola, Benicàssim, Alcossebre, Oropesa del Mar and Vinarós, all of them located on the seafront. As for the type of housing, we are talking about two or three-bedroom flats, thinking of those families who come in search of rest, sun and beach to enjoy the surroundings.
Has the current cost and interest rate crisis affected foreign buying and selling?
No. It is true that we are facing a serious inflation problem throughout Europe, but we continue to be a very attractive real estate destination for foreign buyers. Spain offers legal certainty to property owners, and this is a differentiating element compared to other countries with attractive real estate. Our notary and registry system guarantees the success of operations, offering absolute transparency in transactions and avoiding subsequent complications, especially concerning the ownership and the charges. Furthermore, they are guarantors of the application of the current legislative framework.
Does the foreign buyer pay more than the Spanish buyer or is it comparable?
It depends on the situation, but usually the foreign profile may be willing to pay a little more. The local buyer knows his market very well, the offer and can therefore manage better when it comes to buying a property. The international buyer, on the other hand, who does not have as much time because of distance, may be willing to pay a little more. However, this does not mean that they will invest twice as much, but they will assume the extra cost if the transaction matches what they are looking for.
How has Brexit affected property sales for the British?
Especially in municipalities such as Alcossebre, where there is an abundance of English people. With Brexit there was a process of disinvestment that has now been revalued. It is true that nowadays, for a UK citizen, coming to buy in Europe or Spain is much more complex. However, the fact that we offer the legal security we mentioned earlier and that it is a very interesting destination for them, means that they continue to do so. In fact, it is still the international profile that is buying the most properties in this area.
How can the Housig Law (Ley de la Vivienda) affect these operations and the lack of definition from the current central government?
The Housing Law will not have a negative impact on the international client. If we take into account the measures that are being taken, especially in areas where it is more difficult to find housing and especially in the area of renting, the one who will be most affected is the Spanish tenant. I don’t see any difficulties for foreign buyers. On the contrary, I think it could even benefit them. On many occasions, when faced with measures of this kind, there is a rebound effect which, instead of improving rental conditions and increasing opportunities, reverses the scenario. In other words, there are fewer options and the owner tends to decide to put the property up for sale. This fact increases the supply and therefore prices become more interesting for the buyer. This is why we can find ourselves in a situation in which the foreign buyer can have even better conditions in the acquisition of housing because of this oversupply of product, unlike the rental property, with which, far from fixing the situation, there will be greater pressure on the market with many fewer units available.
Is this an upward trend or could this situation be reversed at some point and Castellón could lose positions in this ranking?
Personally, I think it will be an upward trend. However, it will also depend on how Castellón carries out the investment processes to improve communications and its transport network, precisely to make it easier for the new owner to reach his destination. I believe that Castellón is set to continue to grow in order to continue to offer very interesting properties.