Immigrants in Spain boost the Spanish housing market

According to recent statistics published by Spanish newspaper El Mundo, 33.63% of people who take out a mortgage in order to buy property in Spain are immigrants. This figure is expected to increase in the future especially in the market for used properties.

José Luis Álvarez Arce a lecturer on the Spanish economy for the University of Navarra said that the Spanish property market is noticing the effects of large scale immigration which began around 7 years ago. However the habits of immigrants when buying a property in Spain differ to those of Spanish citizens.

According to the 5th report by Technocasa on the housing market in Spain carried out by the School for International Commerce in the University of Barcelona immigrants from Asia take out an average mortgage for 215.625 euros, those from China take out averages mortgages for 250.000 euros. South American immigrants take out mortgages for around 210.563 euros while African immigrants take out smaller mortgages on average for around 167.

892 euros. The average figure for a European citizen is 179.640 euros and the average age is 36 years old.

Another significant difference is the number of title holders of the mortgage. While 71.4% of Spanish nationals prefer to take out a mortgage individually only 40% take out mortgages in a couple.

However these figure contrast with those for immigrants who take out mortgages in Spain. Nearly 60% of these mortgages have 2 or more title holders while 30% have 2 title holders.

Between the first quarter for 2006 and 2007 Ecuadorians were the highest group of immigrants in Spain to take out a mortgage of one kind or the other (9.8%) followed by Moroccans (4.4%) and Rumanians (3.2%). Columbian, Bolivians, Nigerian and Senegalese immigrants have also shown great interest in acquiring properties.

According to Carlos Lles the professor of Urban Sociology for the University Carlos III in Madrid the number of immigrants buying properties in Spain will increase in the future.

Although many recent arrivals do not have the need or capacity to buy a property immediately, this changes once they have spent a few years in the country and have found their feet.

Lles predicts two different scenarios for the future. One that immigrants will require more properties in order to bring their families together, and the other that crises in sectors that traditionally employ immigrants (eg construction) could lead to unemployment which could, in turn, make it more difficult for immigrant mortgage holders to keep up with their payments.