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Holidaymakers favour private rental market - is now the time to buy that Spanish buy-to-let?

14th September 2015 Print
Spanish property

The rise in popularity of private rental properties is leading many investors to take a long, hard look at Spanish property. According to a study by Esade, Fevitur and Salvetti & Llombart, 14% of tourists who visited Spain last year stayed in private houses and villas. This equated to some 3.7 million individuals, who between them spent €900 million on their accommodation. The survey further revealed that a third of tourists would not consider holidaying in an area that did not have holiday homes available.

Martin Dell, Director of Spanish property portal, which lists more than 200,000 homes from 3,000 estate agents, observes,

“Hotels still take the top spot when it comes to tourist accommodation, but there’s no question that holidaymakers are becoming increasingly enamoured with rental properties. Renting a villa or an apartment provides you with a real home from home, with so many more features than a hotel. Having full kitchen facilities while on holiday is a must for many families and the added privacy that a villa provides over a hotel is a real attraction.”

Investors looking at buying a rental property in Spain are advised to do their homework. Recent changes to rental licences have led to a rather patchy regional approach to the regulations. Richard Speigal of Espana Breaks explains,

“There were big problems with holiday rentals being unlicensed, untracked and (ultimately) allowing a situation where foreign owners paid no tax on their income. Central government pushed responsibility for licensing to the regions and we’ve ended up with a very mixed picture. Some regions are doing a great job, making it easy for owners to register their property and creating good schemes to get some uniformity into accommodation standards. Some less so.”

When implemented well, licensing can be excellent news for holiday rentals market, as shown by the French gîte system. The Spanish system has some way to go, but buyers who do their research and opt for areas with well-run licensing systems can look forward to the prospect of healthy returns.

According to, median long-term rental prices have reached €650 per month, while weekly rental rates stand at €550 per week across Spain nationally. At the ultra luxury end of the market, prices have been seen rising to €60,000 per month and €40,000

per week, though the standard of property that can command such income is rather beyond the reach of the average investor!

To show investors the kind of properties that tourists are demanding, has prepared a quick round of available properties up and down the country, based on the best locations to go for popular holiday activities, where tourists can rent their way around Spain to enjoy the best of everything that the country has to offer.

Crisscross Spain for the best of the best

For the best tapas, head to Madrid. A stylish, two bedroom/two bathroom apartment with shared pool in the city can be picked up for €399,865.

For both the best architecture and the best shopping, it has to be Barcelona. A five bedroom/two bathroom apartment in the Gothic Quarter is available for €510,000.

Seville is home to some of the very best Flamenco in Spain. A six bedroom/six bathroom villa with private pool will set you back a cool €2,500,000.

The best sherry is to be found in Jerez de la Frontera, where tours of sherry bodegas abound. A front line townhouse with terrace and roof terrace costs just €74,000.

Asturias is home to some of Spain’s best beaches and beyond the sights of the hordes of tourists who head for the Costas without considering the alternatives. A cliff top villa overlooking the sea is available for €260,000.

Valencia is the (very much debated!) best location to go for truly authentic paella. A designer penthouse with roof terrace can be purchased for €600,000.

For further details on properties to rent and buy across Spain, visit

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Spanish property