Here is everything you need to know about moving, buying, or renting a property in Spain if you are a German national.
Table of contents
This article aims to cover the main questions that might arise when choosing whether to move to Spain being a German national. Furthermore, our main objective is to help foreign German citizens, among others, to understand the current market conditions better.
The Spanish Real Estate market is among the most attractive in the EU, but some may wonder if this is the right time to move to Spain. We’ll explore some of the questions on the minds of those considering moving to or investing in Spanish real estate.
Germans moving to Spain: immigration statistics
There are around 120,000 people of German nationality who have moved to Spain.
Most of them reside mainly in the Balearic Islands, Cataluña (Barcelona), Canarias (Santa Cruz de Tenerife) and Comunitat Valenciana (Alicante).
What do these autonomous regions have in common? The weather, the landscape and the wide range of air connections to Germany.
Barcelona is the most attractive place for Germans moving to Spain. As many as 6.4% of Germans living in Spain residing in the Catalan capital.
Continuous Census Statistics, Germany, Communities, Both sexes, 2020. National Statistical Institute.
Lawful immigration: Germans moving to Spain
Lawful immigration: residence in Spain
To visit or to live in Spain, an immigrant must follow Spanish laws. These laws vary depending on whether the person belongs to the European Economic Area (EEA) or, on the contrary, has a passport of a third country.
European Union citizens or those from an EEA country enjoy greater flexibility to travel and residence in the EU. Therefore, Germans will find the process of moving to Spain reasonably easy!
if an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen resides in Spain for more than three months, must request an EU registration certificate. This simple document certifies that you are registered in the Central Register of Foreigners in Spain.
The process explained:
Any EU or EEA citizen can reside in Spain for more than three months if:
a. They are an employed worker in Spain.
b. They are a self-employed person in Spain.
c. They have sufficient resources to support themselves and their family members. They must also have Spanish health insurance or coverage that is valid in Spain.
d. They are a student enrolled in an academic institution and have Spanish health insurance.
In some instances, their family members can also reside in Spain with them if they meet the following definitions:
a. For a student’s family member – their spouse or registered domestic partner or the children of the student and their spouse or dependent partner.
b. In all other cases – the spouse or registered domestic partner, their children and those of their spouse or partner under 21 years of age, and their parents or those of their spouse or registered partner who live in their care. These criteria are extended to children over 21 years old and need special care.
So, if you are German and you meet any of these requirements, you will have the possibility to apply for the certificate of registration as a EU citizen and come to live in beautiful and sunny Spain.
EU citizens or those with permanent residency in an EU country enjoy greater flexibility to travel and live throughout the bloc. Therefore, Germans will find the process of moving to Spain simple.
However, EU citizens can only reside as tourists in Spain for three months, so you need a visa for more extended stays. Also, you will need to meet some requirements such as proof of sufficient financial funds, health insurance, or a clean criminal record.
Housing in Spain: buying or renting
Finding an accommodation of your choice can sometimes be tricky. Therefore, this section might interest you if you are a German who is moving to Spain and willing to buy or rent a property.
The first step to follow is to choose the type of house or apartment you are looking for. To do so, you can contact Real Estate Agents. Most don’t speak English or German, so we recommend working with English-speaking lawyers. They can help you with Real Estate Agencies and work with them through the whole process.
To buy a property, you need an NIE. This is a unique number to everyone that enables you to execute financial transactions in Spain.
We recommend opening a Spanish bank account as it simplifies most formalities, though it is not compulsory.
The Process explained:
The process differs for the type of asset you are buying or renting but, generally, it’s as follows:
- Budget planning: in Spain, the costs may vary depending on the Autonomous Community. Taxes and other fees assumed by the buyer may include
- Property transfer tax: usually, it is 10% of the property’s value (ITP or IVA depending on whether it is an existing property or a new one).
- Notary costs, title deed tax and land registration fee 1-2.5%
- Legal fees can go around 1-2% of the property’s value.
- Obtain your NIE and open a bank account.
- Make a reservation agreement of the property with the vendor.
- Conduct Due Diligence to uncover any critical issues with the property.
- Possible “Arras Contract”: This is essentially a deposit to buy the property. The buyer or seller can be penalized for breaking this agreement.
- Deed of purchase and sale with notary assistance.
- Post-sale services: These include changing the ownership of water, electricity and gas supply contracts. It may also include informing the City Council of the change of owner and settling any corresponding taxes.
Our Real Estate Lawyers are more than used to dealing with this process and are here to help Germans move to Spain.
Taxes when coming to live here
The buying or renting a house usually involves paying taxes. That’s why it is strongly advisable to open a Spanish Bank Account. The truth is that Spain’s best banks offer accounts for residents and bank accounts for non-residents. It’s easy to convert your account once you receive residency.
However, both residents and non-residents need to file an annual tax return. We recommend working with a tax lawyer on these matters.
Spanish Real Estate market after the coronavirus
It is true that the COVID-19, and specifically the mobility restrictions and confinement measures, have had a worldwide social impact, of which the Real Estate market has been no exception.
The truth is that the Spanish Real Estate market has been moderately affected, with a slight decrease in prices and transactions. However, sales have recovered since early 2021, new building permits have picked up more gradually. Therefore, we expect home prices to continue to post moderate but sustained gains overtime in the coming quarters.
Currently, investing in a property in Spain is still a profitable asset, as it is a country that offers very varied and unique opportunities. However, it is crucial to have the proper guidance and legal assistance from experienced lawyers who thoroughly know the Spanish Real Estate sector. At Lexidy, we always have the client’s interest as our main priority during the whole process of buying, renting, or investing in a property.
What we can do for you?
At Lexidy, we specialize in all services required when investing in Spanish real estate. We draft reserve and arras contracts perform due diligence and other essential property checks before purchasing, like settling taxes. We aim to provide a complete service to our clients for a smooth, efficient, and safe purchase, always focusing on proximity and communication with the customer.