Many people in the UK, hopeful of a life in sunnier climes, have put their dreams on hold as a result of the Brexit vote to leave the EU. One of the questions those hankering after a life in the sun want to know is, what will be different about buying property in Spain after the UK has exited the European Union?
With Brexit negotiations still underway the impact on those wishing to move to Spain from the UK is still unclear. How British citizens will be treated in Spain after Brexit is yet to unfold. Issues around the free movement of people between the UK and EU countries and trade agreements will no doubt play a part in shaping any UK citizen’s decision to make the move. Access to healthcare is also one of the current deal-breakers for those thinking of a move to Spain following the UK’s departure from the EU and is on the mind of many expats already living in Spain. According to the Office for National Statistics, there are 308,805 British citizens living in Spain, and just under a third are aged 65 and over.
Yes, you can still buy property in Spain after Brexit
What we can be sure of is the fact that it will still be possible to buy property in Spain after Brexit, even if the rules revert to those of non-EU citizens. The right to buy property in Spain isn’t restricted to citizens of the EU. Anyone who can pay the purchase price for a property in Spain is able to buy. People from all over the world buy and own property there.
Since Article 50 was triggered, Spain’s foreign minister Alfonso Dastis, reported on The Andrew Marr Show that he will ensure the lives of Britons in Spain are not disrupted if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal. To date, expats’ rights as part of the Brexit negotiations are no clearer.
Will buying a property in Spain cost me more money after Brexit?
The cost of buying property in Spain is the same whether you are a Spanish national, a citizen of the EU, or from anywhere else in the world. Your nationality doesn’t matter. You will still be subject to the same costs, which broadly speaking include the agreed purchase price for the property, plus purchase tax, the Notary’s fee, the property registry fee and other, smaller miscellaneous expenses.
Notary fees are set by the Spanish government and are based on the number of clauses in the property deeds and the declared value of the property. When you buy property in the UK, you exchange contracts, pay the vendor and the property is yours. You then have to register your title to the property in the land register. In Spain, you can’t add your title to the property register unless a Spanish notary witnesses the deeds of the sale.
While the costs in Euros for buying a property in Spain are the same to anyone, whatever their origin, Brexit may ultimately have an impact on the Spanish property market, and most certainly upon currency and how much your money is worth, so there will be extra costs to you in real terms. Always seek professional legal advice before investing in any Spanish property.
Can I still buy property in Spain and rent it out after Brexit?
Absolutely. Your nationality doesn’t matter. If you are a property owner in Spain you will be subject to the same rules as everyone else. You can still by to let, according to the rules applicable to the particular community where your property is situated.
The only likely change will be the amount of tax you pay for rental income from Spanish property. The rental income tax rate for Spanish citizens and residents of EU countries is 19 percent. After Brexit, it is likely you will have to pay the same tax rate as non-EU citizens (currently 24 percent).
One of the biggest likely changes to tax in relation to property is the inheritance tax. As part of the EU, British nationals currently pay the same inheritance tax rate as Spanish citizens. After Brexit, this could change significantly.
How easy will it be to travel to my property in Spain after Brexit?
The current arrangements within the EU for freedom of movement make it easy to travel without restrictions across the EU, including to Spain from the UK. After Brexit, it is still unclear how freedom of movement will be restricted. While it is unlikely there will be severe restrictions for short-term travel, such as holidays, there may be visa restrictions and complex rules for long-term stays or relocating to Spain after Brexit.
In summary, yes you will still be able to buy property in Spain after Brexit. How much it costs you, in view of the impact of Brexit on the Spanish property market and currency fluctuations, is as yet unknown. Taxes and restrictions on travel will also undoubtedly be affected. On the plus side, the fundamentals of buying and owning property in Spain will remain the same, so if it is your dream to own property in Spain, it will still be achievable regardless of the outcome of Brexit.