Where Do Expats Invest in Property on the Spanish Coast?

This post was originally published on idealista’s website and has been translated and adapted.

The slogan “sol y playa en España (sun and beach in Spain)” continues to attract people from all over the world to buy or rent a property in the Iberian Peninsula. So much so, that 19% of web traffic to real estate listings for Spanish coastal property come from foreigners, vs 81% from a national audience. Using geospatial analysis we decided to take a more visual look at the data and were able to identify some interesting trends.

According to the data, the British, Germans, French & Americans were the most prolific visitors to adverts for coastal homes for sale or rental during June. Specifically, the British are the most interested, being the predominant nationality in 193 coastal regions. They are followed by the Germans, who dominate in 127 regions, and the French, in 54. Americans, Dutch, Swiss, Italians and Swedes are also among the nationalities with the most interest in buying a beach property.

Where does each nationality prefer?

The following map shows where the main nationalities look for a property on the beach:

As you can see, the British dominate foreign demand for property in both Muxia (La Coruña) and Rubite (Granada). Unsurprisingly, the British seem to show most interest on the Costa del Sol (Malaga). The most in-demand regions are Estepona, Torremolinos, Marbella and central Malaga. Property for sale in Ibiza is also attractive to the British, in regions such as Santa Eulalia del Río.

Map showing British interest in Costa del Sol

Germans search mainly on the island of Mallorca and specifically in regions such as Deya, Canyamel, Cala d’Or, Santanyi and Cala Ratjada. In fact, within these areas the German interest in property outweighs that of the Spanish; more than 60% of the visits to advertised properties located in Cala d’Or, Cala Ratjada and Santanyi are attributed to Germans.

Map showing German interest in Mallorca

Germans also look in other coastal areas of Spain such as the island of La Palma, where the most popular region to buy a house is Puntagorda, or Gran Canaria.

Map showing German interest in La Palma

As for Americans, they focus on properties in various regions of Barcelona, such as El Masnou or Sant Andreu de Llavaneres and in various towns of Vizcaya (Barrika or Bermeo), Cádiz (Rota, El Puerto de Santa María or Chipiona) or La Coruña (Rianxo, Boiro or Arteixo).

Remarkably, more than 50% of visits to property located in Los Silos (Santa Cruz de Tenerife) are from the United States, compared to 43% from nationals.

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The French seem to have have a preference mainly for Roses, Tossa de Mar, L’Escala or Sant Feliu de Guíxols, all regions located in Girona. They also look for property in Valencia (Meliana, Miramar or Cullera), Alicante (Peñíscola, Benicarló or Almenara) or Pontevedra (Vilagarcía de Arosa, for example).

Map showing interest in area around Barcelona

Italians continue to show their preference for the Balearic Islands. Specifically, they focus their search in Formentera and Ibiza. However, they are also searching in Fuerteventura, in regions such as La Oliva, San Bartolomé or Puerto del Rosario.

As for the Dutch, Alicante proves to be a popular destination. In fact, they are the majority in regions such as Benissa or Jávea.

Map showing Dutch interest in Alicante

Interestingly, the Swiss seek cooler climates in La Coruña. Specifically, the most popular towns are Cabaña de Bergantiño, Camariñas and Fisterra. The region of Gualchos (Granada) also stands out, since there is more demand there from Swiss visitors than Spanish nationals.

Map showing Swiss interest in La Coruña

Finally, Swedes are mostly interested in property in Nerja (near Malaga), accounting for 63% of visits to properties in this area in June, compared to 37% of Spanish nationals. Torrevieja is also a favored area for Swedes, since 50% of visits to property in this area during June are attributed to them.

The most expensive and cheapest coastal regions to buy property

Formentera, favored by the Italians, is the region with the most expensive property sale prices, with an average of 7,736 euros per square meter. Cadaqués (Girona), most popular with the French, is next with an average sale price of 6,145 euros per square meter. In third place is property for sale in Sant Joan de Labritja (in Ibiza) with an average price of 5,992 euros per square meter.

The cheapest property is located in the region of Xove (in Lugo), most popular with the British, with an average cost of 476 euros per square meter. Next is Sanlúcar de Guadiana (Huelva), also favored by the British with an average square meter price of 527 euros. Completing the shortlist is Ponteceso (La Coruña) where property costs an average of 583 euros per square meter. Rather than the British, those most interested in buying a property in this area are Russian.

Completing the picture

Having reviewed the main nationalities interested in buying property in Spain, we also took a look at trends from some other nationalities. For example, we can see that Russians are most interested in Ponteceso (La Coruña). Visitors from India also have an interest within La Coruña, with the highest number of visits to Outes. Those from Hong Kong favor Pontejo and Camargo, two towns located in Cantabria.

The Portuguese search predominately for property in Huelva, in regions such as Ayamonte, Islantilla or La Antilla. Uruguayans show interest mainly in two regions of Vizcaya: Ibarranguelua and Sukarrieta. Finally, we can identify a cluster of buyers from Singapore who want to buy a house on Isla Cristina, in Huelva.


To carry out this study, we have used the location determined by the IP address of visitors to idealista adverts for sale or rent. Therefore, it is not necessarily the nationality of the visitors but the country where the search has been performed. For example, there may be searches made by foreigners from within Spain or by Colombians or Venezuelans living in the US and looking for a property to buy or rent on the Spanish coast.

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About the author
Paloma Martínez-Almeida
About the author
Daniel del Pozo Salinas

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