According to a recent article published in El Pais, the Spanish government is worried about the consequences of Brexit to regions such as the Canary Islands, where the economy largely depends on British tourists and expat community. Could Brexit have an impact on the housing market here? Should that be reason enough for you to sell your villa in Canary Islands, Spain quick?
There is no question that the demand for Spanish properties from British expats is no longer as high as it was in the early 2000s. According to Professor Jose Luis Suarez of IESE Business School in Madrid, "The demand for British people to buy houses in Spain has fallen in the last year. 10 years ago, they (Britons) made up 45 percent of foreign buyers and now they are 10-15 percent."
However, Professor Suarez adds that the decline in interest from British buyers has not really affected the property market in Spain, especially in popular overseas property destinations such as Canary Islands, as the demand from other parts of the world have shot up during this period.
Consequently, there is a major increase in demand for properties for sale in Canary Islands, Spain, from countries such as Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and Germany. Germans, in fact, have been picking up where the Brits have left off. They are today among the most dominant foreign buyers of Spanish properties.
This is not to say that the demand for properties in Spain from British expats has declined precipitously since the June 23 Brexit vote. A British expat who works as a real estate agent in Spain, Graham Hunt told the Chinese news agency Xinhua that the demand from Britain has been picking up, despite Brexit.
Mr. Hunt says, "As the reality of the UK hit home, people were swarming to get out. Month on month, our enquiries have doubled, compared to pre-Brexit figures from UK clients and we are selling more properties to UK clients.”
Indeed, the number of British tourists that visited the Canary Islands defied expectations and hit a new record towards the end of 2016 – despite Brexit and the fall in the value of the sterling.
The early indications for 2017 are good as well. According to Reuters, there has been a 17 percent increase in the number of British tourists visiting Spain in the first quarter of 2017.
Cristobal de la Rosa, the Vice-Councillor of Tourism in the Canary Islands said, "We have been very happy with the figures - instead of a fall there's been a sharp rise.”
Canary Islands such as Tenerife remain very popular with overseas property hunters and tourists alike. Says British tourist Alison Moore, who has been visiting Tenerife every year since the 1980s: "Tenerife is the place we go back to every year for a January week and a bit of sun. It's a short flight and even with the pound, it's a relatively cheap destination."
The Canary Islands are a naturally beautiful archipelago, which is visited by millions of tourists every year. The biggest islands here are Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.
The region is blessed with a perfect climate, spectacular beaches and a high quality of living. The lifestyle here is decidedly relaxed and laid back, just as in the other popular regions of Spain such as Costa del Sol and Valencia.