UK expats choose Spanish citizenship as Brit interest in Spanish property crashes

Published:  17 Mar at 6 PM
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A new study, released at the same time as news of a fall in British enquiries on Spanish property, has revealed Brits are now reluctant to choose Spain as their retirement. destination.

For many would-be expats, Spain is no longer the favoured choice for a comfortable retirement due to fears over Brexit’s effects. According to a new study, the number of British citizens at or over the age of 55 enquiring about purchasing homes in the former favourite retirement destination has fallen to zero as potential buyers are scared off by thoughts of being poorly treated by the Spanish government.

Although traffic on Spanish real estate websites has remained positive, the usual follow-ups and personal contacts have fallen to an all-time low. Richard Spiegel, head of the real estate agency responsible for the study, believes British buyers are now stuck in a holding pattern waiting for concrete news about the effects of Brexit on the country’s expat lifestyle. However, it’s not all bad news for the Spanish property market, as interest from other EU member states including Germany has increased by 25 per cent.

As the likelihood of a hard Brexit becomes more a reality than a possibility, UK long-term residents wishing to stay in Spain are facing the dilemma of renouncing their British citizenship or returning to the UK. Spain does not allow dual citizenship, leaving just the two equally traumatic options, neither of which may turn out to be the answer.

Although the numbers who’ve decided to give up on the UK are low at present, there’s been a considerable increase from 70 in the first half of 2016 to 423 since last June’s referendum result was announced. Other EU member states including Denmark, Sweden and Ireland have also noted increases in the numbers of British citizens applying for citizenship but, unlike Spain, all allow dual citizenship.

It’s true to say the majority of Brits see the decision as an emotional one, but the choice in Spain is even more stark in comparison with that in other EU states. One British expat who’s lived a village life outside Madrid for three decades and has a Spanish partner has now decided to apply for citizenship as she feels her own country has betrayed her. According to a Financial Tomes article, another British academic working in the capital feels much the same. He’d made his application before the referendum took place, but was rejected and is now reapplying as he feels the Brexit vote has alienated him from British society.
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