Spain is one of the leading global economic powers: the 9th largest economy, the 4th largest recipient of FDI among developed countries1, and the dynamism of its economy remains unabated, as borne out by the fact that growth in recent years has outstripped the European average.
In addition, Spain commands a privileged geostrategic position: it belongs to the European Union and is the gateway to North Africa and Latin America (due to its strong economic, historic and cultural ties in this latter case).
Furthermore, Spain is a modern knowledge-based economy with services accounting for 71.74 percent2 of economic activity. The country has become a center of innovation supported by a young, highly-qualified work force and competitive costs.
In these pages you will find Spain’s vital statistics – the latest facts and figures which explain the demographics, the political framework and the economic structure of the country.
The Spanish tax system is modern and pro-business. The tax burden in Spain, (i.e. tax and social security contributions as a percentage of GDP), is approximately three points lower than in neighbouring countries.
Extra expenses: You need to take into account unavoidable extra expenses when buying a house in Spain. These include the services of legal advisors, translators, taxes, possible mortgage expenses and, most importantly, the services of a notary. The notario is the person responsible for drawing up the deeds (escritura), the tax due (registro catastral) and the registration of the names of the new owners in the Spanish property register (registro de la propiedad). and tax register (registro catastral); he charges fees to the vendor and purchaser, according to a fee schedule set by the government.
Translators: However much you fall in love with a property in Spain, you should avoid relying on the services of a translator provided by your Spanish Estate Agent who is keen to sell the property as quickly and at the highest price possible, and then move on to the next sale. Contact a local translation company and pay for your own translator – services are not expensive and are well worth paying for to protect your own interests.
The importance of the exchange rate. As long as Britain does not participate in the EURO currency, the rate of exchange between pound sterling and the euro will continue to give headaches to people considering buying or selling property in Spain. If you want to avoid having to check exchange rates daily, consider paying for the services of a professional exchange company that can get the best deal for you however you want to pay. In the July edition of its magazine, Easy-Jet recommend CurrenciesDirect.com, a company offering the following services:
- Spot transfers – ideal if the exchange rate is in your favour and you can get the money together quickly
- Forward transactions – favourable rates are guaranteed with a small deposit
- Limit order – you tell them what exchange rate you are looking for and they will tell you when it comes up so that you can make a quick purchase
- Regular currency transfers – transfers on a regular basis at commercial rates to cover loans or mortgages.
Let us know if you have used the services of a professional exchange company to purchase a property in Spain and your opinion of the service you received. And use this online tool to convert pounds to euros (or vice versa) according to today’s rate of exchange.
Legal advice: Take care and get legal advice before signing any documents. A lot of property in Spain is sold before building has even started, in which case you will need to get proof of planning permission and plans of the property itself, and often foreign people sign contracts thinking they are expressing a formal interest in building plans whereas in fact they are legally binding themselves to a house sale. If you want us to recommend a bilingual legal consultant, let us know.
How to save money: If you buy a piece of land in Spain and have a house built and intend, at a later date, to install a swimming pool in the garden, don’t wait. If you include the pool in the initial plans and have it built at the same time as the house, you will only have to pay 7% VAT. If you wait and have it built later, it will be considered as a luxury item liable to a 16% VAT charge. Quite a hefty difference.