The number of Britons seeking a second home in Spain soared in the first week of January as more families cast their sights to the European country
The number of Britons seeking a second home in Spain soared in the first week of January as more families cast their sights to the European country amid the lockdown, property experts said.
The real estate company Taylor Wimpey Espana found interest in Spanish properties rose by 39 per cent during the first week of 2021 when compared to the first week the year before despite post-Brexit travel restrictions.
They also reported a surge in would-be UK buyers using their virtual tours to view properties in areas including Alicante, Mallora and Costa Blanca.
It comes after travel restrictions, which came into force on January 1, stated that Britons would be prevented from spending more than three months at a time at a holiday home in the EU after Brexit.
The restrictions mean that Britons will only be allowed to stay in a European country without a visa for a maximum of 90 days in every six month period.
A three-bedroom apartment in Mallorca, Spain, which features three bathrooms, a fitted kitchen and laundry room, is on sale with Taylor Wimpey Espana for £426,838.99
The luxury property also comes with a spacious dining and living room area and a private parking space
People who exceed the 90 day limit could face the threat of a fine or even be banned entry to the EU’s Schengen travel zone.
Despite the extra hurdles involved after Brexit, Taylor Wimpey Espana also reported that interest from other European countries was also on the rise, with web visitors from Germany up 51 per cent and those from Belgium up by 44 per cent.
Domestic visitors have increased too, with website visits from Spain up 15 per cent on the year before.
Marc Pritchard, sales and marketing director for Taylor Wimpey Espana, said: ‘Unfortunately, both the UK and Germany are in lockdown right now, while Spain, France and a whole host of other countries have extensive restrictions in place.
‘But that doesn’t mean that would-be buyers aren’t dreaming of owning a home in the sunshine. The appeal of Spain’s golf courses and expansive beaches is only emphasised by stay-at-home orders.
‘Families are itching to return to normality with a new found zeal for travel and leisure time.’
Among the properties currently available with Taylor Wimpey is a private three-bedroom development in Alicante, which is currently priced at £169,846.35 (€191,000).
The property features a fully-fitted kitchen, a garden, private parking, gas central heating and sits just a stone’s throw away from the Alenda Golf Cours
Also on sale are new La Recoleta apartments in Punta Prima, Torrevieja, which are on sale from £160,064.62 (€180,000) and three-bedroom apartments in Mallorca which are on offer for around £426,838.99 (€480,000).
These La Recoleta apartments located in Punta Prima, Torrevieja, are near the beachfront and provide access to the sea. It is currently priced at £160,064.62
The property comes with two or three bedrooms, a spacious living room and a private terrace
Also on offer is a private three-bedroom development in Alicante, which is currently priced at £169,846.35
The apartment features fully fitted kitchens, air conditioning and a spacious living room
The company said both mainland Spain and Mallorca are the most popular places to buy.
It said the mixture of affordability and sunshine that the Costa Blanca delivers has long been a favourite with British buyers.
Mr Pritchard said: ‘We are delighted that interest in Spanish second homes has grown considerably in the past year, despite the many challenges that the pandemic has delivered.
‘Being able to travel freely and enjoy unrestricted second home ownership is going to feel so incredibly welcome after the events of 2020.’
There are an estimated 500,000 Britons who currently own a holiday home somewhere in Europe.
However anyone who now wants to stay in an EU country for longer than three months will likely have to apply for a visa.
Campaigners are calling for the rules to be changed to allow people to use their 90 day allocations continuously.
This would allow them to spend six months in a row at their holiday home so they could take full advantage of the Spring and Summer months.
In November David Young, who set up campaign group 180 Days in Greece to fight the new rules, told The Telegraph: ‘Like me, many Brits divide their lives between two countries, but after Brexit – unless they apply for full residency in the EU country where they’ve bought their property, pay taxes there, and lose their NHS provision back home – second-home owners will be limited to stays of a maximum of 90 days.’
He added: ‘Citizens from the EU, EEA and Switzerland who want to stay in the UK for up to six months will not require a visa post-Brexit. All we are asking for is parity.’
What are the new EU travel rules which will apply from January 1?
The UK’s decision to leave the EU means that freedom of movement will no longer apply to Britons travelling in Europe.
Britain and the bloc are currently in a ‘standstill’ transition period which will come to an end next month.
Travel rules will then change from January 1 as the two sides properly begin life after Brexit and the UK is treated like any other ‘third country’.
From the start of 2021, British tourists will be allowed to spend up to three months in any six month period in European nations.
Anyone looking to stay for longer than 90 days in every 180 days will have to apply for a visa, a work permit or for permanent residence.
The rules will mean that if someone stays in a country for three months continuously they will then not be allowed to return to that country for another three months.
Anyone who breaches the rules could face fines or a ban on entry to the EU’s Schengen area.
Travel rules are ultimately a matter for each European nation to decide.
For example, in France after Brexit if someone wants to stay for longer than 90 days they will likely need to apply for a so-called ‘Long Stay’ visa.
These visas can last for between three months and one year and it costs 99 euros to apply for one.
Applications have to be submitted to the French embassy with applicants often invited to attend an in-person interview.
There is a similar system in place in Spain where the application fee is 80 euros.