Sunday, 28 Nov 2021

‘Historic change’ as Germans OVERTAKE Britons as biggest Spanish second-home owners

Brits in France: Expats discuss pool maintenance business

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Official data from the Spanish Government’s Land Registry has held for years that Britons Around 360,000 Britons are registered as permanent residents in Spain, but visa costs and residency permits post-Brexit are causing some to rethink their stay in the country.

For the first time, Spain’s Land Registry sees Germans as the biggest group of people buying second homes in the country.

The group accounts for 10.4 percent, followed by the British at 9.9 percent.

The registry also said the French make up 7.8 percent, Moroccans make up 6.5 percent, Belgians make up 5.6 percent and Romanians make up 5.3 percent.

Overall, home purchases by foreigners reached 10.8 percent in the third quarter of 2021.

Spain’s Land Registry said there has been a “significant increase” in foreign purchases, with more than 16,100 homes bought in the third quarter of the year.

The Balearic Islands saw the most homes bought, accounting for 34.3 percent of purchases, with 23.6 percent in the Canary Islands.

Purchases by Britons slumped to a record low in the second quarter of the year to 9.5 percent.

The Land Registry suggests Brexit has accelerated the downward trend of Britons buying homes in Spain.

As post-Brexit rule changes come into effect in Spain, statistics revealed that 2,400 British residency applications were rejected in 2021.

UK citizens can now only visit Spain without a visa for up to three months for tourism and business purposes.

The Spanish government has also warned overstaying their welcome can be considered a “serious offence” by authorities.

The punishments range from fines of between €501 (£429) to €10,000 (£8,562), a possible expulsion from Spain as well as a potential ban from the Schengen area (Spain, France, Greece and Portugal) for six months to five years.

Leon Fernando Del Canto, founder of London-based tax set Del Canto Chambers, told Express.co.uk many Britons have sold their homes in Spain as a result of the tule changes, which could count as a human rights infringement.

He told Express.co.uk: “This is a serious issue for those not wanting to become tax residents in Spain and who bought their properties before Brexit.

“There is, from my point of view, a serious human rights infringement on those cases, as no one must be deprived from their rights to enjoy their property freely.

“The 90 days Schengen limitation should be waived on those cases.

“It is quite worrying for those who owned property in Spain before December 31, 2020, and who have not yet got a residency permit.

“Their rights are being infringed by the Schengen limitations in accordance with the European Human Rights Convention (EHRC), which states that individuals have a legal right to ‘peacefully enjoy’ the possession of their home and deprivation of possessions by states should be subject to certain fair and equitable conditions.”

Darren Parmenter, a British councillor in Spain, added expats were “panicking” over an October Brexit deadline, where British licences became invalid.

Mr Parmenter told Express.co.uk that he knew of some expats who tried to register their intent to exchange their licence but were unsuccessful.

He said: “I’m aware of people that did ask certain representatives to make their intention known.

“And for whatever reason, they didn’t do it on their behalf. So, they’re now panicking even though they tried to do it 100 percent correctly.

“They were let down by their legal representatives.

“I’ve actually had people in my office who said they spoke to their legal representative, who said ‘yeah, we’ll get it sorted’ and it wasn’t done.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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