New Brexit rules

Insights into what is involved in buying, selling & living in Portugal

When the Brexit transition period ends at the end of the year, UK residents won’t be able to come and go as they please, which is bound to affect demand for second homes in Spain.

As of the first of January 2021 Britons can only spend 90 days out of every 180 days in the EU without a visa. As the website explains “From 1 January 2021, you will be able to travel to other Schengen area countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa for purposes such as tourism. This is a rolling 180-day period.”

Many British residents with second homes in Spain like to spend just under half a year here, especially in the winter months. That will no longer be possible. Three months will be the longest you can stay.

I read in the press that Portugal has decided to allow the British visa-free visits of up to 180 days, but there is no sign that Spain will follow suit.

So, as things stand, British residents will not be able to spend more than three months in Spain in any six month period.

That will reduce the incentive of buying a second home in Spain for many British buyers. It might turn out to be a big disincentive.

You just have to look at the map below from the Association of Spanish Notaries showing foreign non-resident demand per region in the first half of 2020 to see how much damage this could do to the housing market.

![]( =1024x626)Non-resident foreign demand for property in Spain H1 2020 – market share by nationality. Source: Spanish Notaries’ Association

The British are the biggest group of foreign buyers of second homes in Andalusia, Murcia, Galicia, and the Valencian region, and second biggest in the Canaries, the Balearics, and three other regions. They are the biggest or second biggest group of buyers in more than half of Spain’s regions.

Many of those buyers are people near or in retirement who like or plan to use their second homes for more than three months at a time. Take that benefit away, and it follows that some of them will decide not to go to the hassle and expense of buying a second home in Spain. Better go to Portugal, where you can spend up to 180 consecutive days.

We won’t have any official data to see the impact until the second quarter of next year, but I fear this 90-day limit will hit British demand in a significant way next year.

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