British expats discuss shop opening times in France
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British buyers in the area have fallen in number by half since the pandemic, according to Provia, an Alicante Province real estate promoters association. The group said British people bought 605 properties between April and June this year, a fall of 50 percent on the 2019 figure.
British buyers are still the top foreign purchasers in the Costa Blanca region but other international homeseekers are now close behind.
Belgian and Swedish buyers could soon overtake the number of British buyers on the Costa Blanca.
Buyers from Belgium are already bigger spenders than Britons and have purchased more expensive properties in the region.
Sales figures for properties on the Costa Blanca have risen since 2020 when travel restrictions were very strict.
Various factors have been blamed for the fall in British buyers looking to buy a property on the Costa Blanca.
New Brexit rules for Britons mean they can only stay in the EU for a total of 90 days out of 180.
For Britons without residency permits the new restrictions on length of stay can be off-putting.
If people want to spend the winter months in Spain, they will need a residence permit to stay longer than 90 days.
Property sales could also have been impacted by pandemic restrictions which saw Britons unable to travel without quarantine.
Provia warned in January that an old law could stall up to 800 property deals a year for British buyers.
The Franco era Spanish law stipulates that non-EU residents must apply for a Ministry of Defence permit to buy certain homes.
If the home is in a location classified as being of ‘strategic interest for national defence’, Britons would need a permit to purchase.
The 1975 law increases the red tape for Britons looking to buy in the Vega Baja area of Alicante.
Vega Baja includes the popular expat areas of Orihuela and Torrevieja and the law could have impacted sales to Britons this year.
As the number of Britons buying properties in the Costa Blanca region falls, British expats have expressed fears that their communities could shrink.
San Fulgencio in the Costa Blanca is extremely popular with British expats, many of whom moved there to retire.
Darren Parmenter is a councillor in San Fulgencio and has lived in Spain for 32 years. He told Express.co.uk about the “vicious circle” of expat numbers.
Darren said: “Certainly, we’re conscious of the fact that our community here is made up of a lot of retirees.
“For the last 35 years, we’ve had this steady number of people coming out and retiring here.
“But of course after the first of January, the fact is, it’s not so easy to come to Spain. So our fear is that people wanting to retire here will slowly start falling.”
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