Spain still a magnet for expats

by Ray Clancy on March 6, 2013

Some 9.09% of expats in Spain use mobile banking frequently

Spain still a magnet for expats

There has been a rise in the number of European Union expats choosing to move to Spain with some 2.3 million now officially registered in the country. This amounts to around 5% of the total population in Spain and one of the most popular locations is the Balearic Islands where expats account for 12.5% of those living on the islands, some 133,740 people.

The total number of expats in the islands has increased from 130,385 in 2011 and 109,026 in 2010 and the latest 2012 census shows that almost 100,000 of those are living in Mallorca. The biggest expat population is German with 36,758 officially registered followed by the British with 23,804 and the Italians in third with 18,385.

According to Kate Mentink, founder and president of European for Spain (EporE) there has also been an increase in expats from Bulgaria and Romania since these countries became part of the European Union in 2007. She also pointed out that whilst the number of EU residents has steadily risen, the total of non-Europeans living in the Balearics has taken a tumble as financial pressures have made repatriation a sensible option.

Whilst 15 years ago most EU residents were retirees over the age of 60, that figure has now dropped to an average age of below 40. Of the British total, only 5,175 are of retirement age with over 15,000 being of working age. Daniel Chavarria Waschke, managing director of Sotheby’s International Realty with offices in both Ibiza and neighbouring Mallorca, says that the change is reflected in those buying property on the islands.

‘Traditionally our clients were wealthy discerning Europeans who were choosing to relocate for a peaceful retirement in the sunshine. Today, whilst that market of course exists, they are joined by younger couples or families looking for a change in lifestyle,’ he said.

Daniel believes that expats are attracted by low crime rates, good schools and a good sense of community as well as the year round warm weather. ‘Being able to enjoy an outdoor existence on the beach, golf course or out on the water is something most Northern Europeans crave and the Balearics offer all this and more,’ he added.

Quote from ExpatForum.com : “The number of people out of work in Spain has risen to more than 5 million people for the first time. The government said there was no quick fix, with the economy expected to slump even further this year.”

Organisations such as EporE, founded in 2008, work hard to secure equal rights for all EU nationals living in Spain, particularly in the Balearics. They understand that the arrival of European residents a whole generation younger than 15 years ago has an inevitable effect on education, health and other services provided by the authorities.

EporE acts as a lobby group at local, regional and national level, as well as in Brussels when necessary, and is currently working on projects as diverse as parity for all citizens with regard to inheritance laws and the right to vote in elections.

‘We admire the work of EporE and its ethos of promoting citizenship participation in the foreign national’s adopted town or region of residence. After all, many of our house buyers will end up spending many years living and working on the Islands, bringing investment with them and perhaps setting up small businesses. Their voices should be heard as much as those of their native neighbours,’ said Waschke.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ellen Rose March 26, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I am surprised to see an increase in the number of people moving to Spain-I thought it would be the opposite! Draconian tax laws, the regarding of ex pats as cash cows , the increasing bureaucracy, burglaries, distraction crimes, lack of regulation, the fact that it is not much cheaper and definitely not less stressful lifestyle, all contribute to the fact that Spain is a nice place for holidays but not to live there for the rest of your life!

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caroline hayling May 4, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Me too! Can't see what people like in a place like that. Going back to the third world fast!

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