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Can Foreign Non-Residents Buy Property in Barcelona? A Guide for Buyers

Are you considering buying property in Barcelona? Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate investor, this Spanish city offers an abundance of attractions and potential.

But, even though the streets are lined with charming restaurants, stunning architecture, and lively nightlife scenes – there’s one burning question on the minds of many visitors: as a foreign non-resident of Spain, can I buy a property in Barcelona?

Whilst various guidelines and procedures do apply for foreigners purchasing real estate in this amazing Spanish city, here at Mortgage Direct we are here to help guide you through the process. We have helped thousands of people, non-residents and residents alike, through the process of purchasing their own property here in Barcelona. However, for the purpose of this article, we will be focusing on the process for foreign, non-resident buyers.

To summarise:

Yes, foreigners can buy both commercial and residential properties in Barcelona. Foreigner non-residents must have the correct set of documents and have at least 30% of the purchase price (plus an estimated 11-13% to cover taxes and other expenses) to access bank loans.

If the property is being bought exclusively for commercial purposes, without the intention to use as a residence, a minimum of 40% of the purchase price would be required, plus an estimated 11-13% to cover buyer fees, including the property taxes.

So with the short answer covered, let’s start by understanding more about whether foreigners can buy property in one of Spain’s most iconic cities and discover why buying property here should be on your bucket list.

Why buy property in Barcelona?

Barcelona is one of the most popular cities in Europe for visitors and residents alike, and it’s quickly becoming a hotspot for property investors as well.

With the Brits currently hitting the top of the polls as the highest percentage of foreign home buyers in Spain according to recent statistics, it’s not surprising that there is so much demand to purchase property in this captivating city.

  • Location: One of the many reasons why Barcelona is such a great place to buy property is because of its convenient location – situated between the magnificent Pyrenees Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona is an ideal setting for urbanites who still want to enjoy nature.
  • Investment: Conditions in the city itself are perfect for investment. The rental yields are high and also amongst the most secure throughout all of Spain due to the sheer demand for both long and short-term accommodation in the city. Furthermore, there are a variety of residency permit laws in place which allow foreign buyers to achieve Spanish Residency. For example, the Golden Visa enables foreign investors to acquire permanent residency through real estate investments and purchasing a property in Barcelona could potentially grant you access to this. Note that a 500k euro down payment would be required for this – feel free to get in touch with me if you would like to find out more.
  • Growing economy: With excellent infrastructure and plenty of job opportunities, Barcelona also provides everything people may need when it comes to settling down. In short, this vibrant city has something for everyone – whether you’re looking to purchase property here as an investment or as a primary and secondary residence, Barcelona won’t disappoint!

With its Mediterranean climate, world-class cuisine, vibrant nightlife, awe-inspiring architecture and stunning beaches, the Spanish city has it all. Whether you’re looking for an apartment in the city centre or a cozy house hidden on the outskirts in the mountains, the possibilities are endless.

With relative affordability (especially when compared with many other top European cities), low rate of crime, and beautiful views, purchasing property in Barcelona can be an attractive investment that combines wealth-generating potential and real lifestyle benefits.

Plus, with a variety of high-quality international schools available, there’s no need to worry about providing for your children’s education needs in the event you decide to relocate permanently.

If you’ve been wanting the luxury of owning your own ‘place in the sun’ in Spain and you’re not sure where to buy – Barcelona should undoubtedly be in contention!

“Barcelona is a highly coveted destination for property seekers and foreign buyers.”

Can foreigners buy property in Barcelona?

Yes. Although there are restrictions to consider, foreign non-residents of Spain can purchase property in Barcelona and the surrounding area.

Property ownership laws vary widely across Europe, with some countries being much more open to allowing non-residents to buy real estate than others.

Foreigners may purchase both residential and commercial property for personal use or investment purposes with little difficulty, although certain factors should be taken into account when doing so.

What should foreigners consider before buying property in Barcelona?

Before making any purchase, it is crucial to consider the cost of the property (which will vary considerably depending on size and location), as well as any additional taxes (set at 10% of the value of the property throughout Catalonia) and additional fees that may apply.

To purchase property in Barcelona, it is also essential to be aware of the legal requirements and restrictions pertaining to buying property.

First and foremost, you must have the correct identification documents – this includes both a passport (or ID card) issued by your home country and a NIE number.

The NIE is a legal requirement when purchasing a property in Spain. Alongside our trusted legal contacts, we can guide you through this process.

As a foreign non-resident of Spain buying a holiday home, you’ll also need at least 30% of the total cost of the property as a down payment, alongside an additional 11-13% to cover taxes and other fees, to be granted a mortgage from a Spanish bank.

If the property is being purchased solely for investment purposes, without the intention to use it as a residence, a minimum of 40% of the purchase price would be needed, plus an estimated 11-13% to cover taxes and other expenses.

In addition, all real estate purchases must go through a closed national registry that is only accessible to registered professionals.

Foreign buyers should also make themselves aware of local regulations regarding ownership and occupancy, such as restrictions on subletting and Airbnb/holiday lettings.


It is essential that prospective buyers obtain a NIE before making the purchase, and ensure that the NIE is correctly registered at the tax office. Otherwise, the purchase will not be able to take place. The buyer cannot sign the property (and mortgage) deeds at the notary without a NIE.

The NIE can be obtained remotely using Power of Attorney from a qualified, licensed Spanish lawyer. It can also be obtained physically in Spain, or at a Spanish consulate.

It is possible to apply for official residency further down the line after purchasing the property. This is a significant benefit for anyone who wishes to purchase a property promptly, but does not yet have this residential status.

Taxation in Spain

When making a purchase, it is essential for foreigners to remember that all real estate transactions are subject to taxation in Spain.

This includes VAT (IVA) and stamp duty (AJD).

It is also important to note that capital gains tax may also apply if the buyer decides to resell the property at a later date.

Help available for foreigners to buy in Barcelona

Fortunately, numerous resources are available for foreigners looking to buy property in Barcelona – ranging from government agencies providing advice and support to international mortgage brokers such as Mortgage Direct, who specialise in helping foreign buyers navigate the process.

By conducting thorough research and getting the correct advice from experienced professionals, purchasing property in Barcelona can be a smooth, stress-free process.

Overall, while there are some additional hurdles that foreigners must navigate when buying property in Barcelona, by understanding the legal requirements and seeking professional advice where needed, foreign purchasers can ensure that their purchase goes through smoothly and with minimum disruption.

Once the property (and mortgage) deeds are signed, and the purchase is complete, foreign buyers can benefit from all that Barcelona has to offer.

When it comes to finding suitable properties, Whether you’re looking for a quiet apartment away from the hustle and bustle of city life or something more centrally located with access to all of Barcelona’s entertainment options, there’s something for every taste.

Overall, with proper research and knowledge of potential pitfalls, purchasing property in Barcelona can be a rewarding experience both financially and personally.

With its rich culture and diverse city life, Barcelona could be your perfect home away from home!

Can foreigners buy property in Barcelona? – To end

From its vibrant culture to its beautiful architecture and stunning beaches, Barcelona offers a unique combination of attractions for visitors from around the world.

Since 2006, we have been using our expertise to help simplify, what can be, a complex Spanish mortgage and real estate buying process.

Our bi-lingual team of qualified Mortgage Direct advisers provide fantastic personalised advice on international property investments with exclusive mortgage conditions – making sure your money is safe as well as profitable!

If you have any questions about purchasing property in Barcelona or would like to discuss a tailor-made solution for yourself, then feel free to get in touch with me today.

Will Roberts Mortgage Adviser

Originally from the UK, Will has been based in Barcelona since 2019. He holds a diverse range of financial qualifications and has experience in numerous international roles in the financial sector, along with a managerial position in a FTSE 100 organisation. Fluent in English & Spanish.

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Mortgages taken out in currencies other than the currency in which you earn are considered Foreign Currency Mortgages. Changes in the exchange rate may therefore increase the equivalent value of your debt. Under the Mortgage Law 5/2019 banks in Spain have introduced mechanisms to protect consumers from exchange-rate risk. For more information, please speak to your broker.

Mortgage Direct, S.L. is a company registered in the Registro de Intermediarios de Crédito Inmobiliario del BdE with the nº D108.

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