San Sebastian Spain Real Estate: the profiles of foreigners buying luxury homes in San Sebastian

Home purchases in Spain by foreigners have risen sharply in the first half of the year. According to data from notaries, foreigners bought 72,987 homes throughout the country between January and June, which represented 20.3% of the total number of transactions registered in the country as a whole. This is a weight that marks an all-time record, equalling the result of the second half of 2015. And these purchases are not just focused in common expat areas such as the Costa del Sol, as many of these operations have been carried out in the Basque Country, in San Sebastian in particular. These are the profiles of foreigners buying luxury homes in San Sebastian, Spain.

In the Basque Country, transactions carried out by foreigners have broken records in provinces such as Guipúzcoa, thanks to “the great demand that exists in the market and the growing tourist attraction of San Sebastian“, according to Areizaga Real Estate.

The company assures that “Americans, English, Canadians and French are the most interested in buying a property in San Sebastian and tend to focus on beachfront properties, with sea views, luxury and that allow them to walk to all parts of the city”.

Location is one of the determining factors for foreign buyers. The real estate agency stresses that foreigners “highlight the beauty, the gastronomy and something very important for them, the convenience of a small city to move around on foot without the need to use the car. They also value the fact that Donosti has beaches and mountains. They usually tell us that it is the perfect city for retirement”.

Specifically, most of the properties purchased by foreigners have views of La Concha and are located in the streets Hernani, Zubieta, Miramar, Andia or Miraconcha. They usually have a surface area of between 170 and 190 m2 and are priced between 14,000 and 18,000 euros/m2; well above the national average. In fact, notaries put the average price paid by foreigners to buy homes in Spain in the first six months of the year at 2,062 euros/m2, the highest amount in the historical series that began in 2007.

As far as the profile of buyers is concerned, the real estate agency has identified three very specific profiles: gastronomy lovers, Basque descendants and those buying a home as a gift for their partner.

Areizaga states that “San Sebastian’s gastronomy is one of the city’s main attractions”, which makes ‘foodies’ one of the most common foreigner profiles among homebuyers. And he gives a specific example: “a North American couple used to visit Donosti every year and knew practically all the bars and restaurants, but they had visa problems so they decided to buy a house to get a residence permit and be able to enjoy the city for as long as they wanted”.

There is also a proliferation of foreign buyers who know Donosti because they were born and have lived abroad, but are of Basque descent. In the first half of the year, for example, the agency has brokered a transaction involving a young couple from London, who bought a property in Calle Zubieta for more than 2.6 million euros in order to be able to return with their children to their family’s city”.

Finally, the real estate agency points out that in recent months they have also been detecting buyers who buy a property as a gift for their partner. “It is not very common for a property to be a wedding present, but this year a Russian buyer bought a property worth more than 2.5 million euros with views of La Concha as a gift for his partner so that they can enjoy the city when they come on holiday,” Areizaga concludes.