MADRID, April 24 Britons are buying fewer houses
in Spain since last year's vote to leave the European Union, put
off by a slump in the pound and uncertainty about Britain's
future relationship with the bloc.
A Spanish property association said on Monday that the
British, tens of thousands of whom have retired to the sunny
Mediterranean coast, are still the biggest foreign buyers of
But, having accounted for more than 21 percent of purchases
by foreigners in 2015, they made up just 19 percent of 2016's
total, the Association of Land and Commercial Registrars said.
Before the Brexit vote, the relative strength of the pound
versus the euro had contributed to the market share rising every
quarter, the association said.
"Brexit had the opposite effect on currency performance.
Added to the uncertainty the decision produced, this is reducing
home buying from our main market."
Britons make up more than 2.5 percent of all home buyers in
Spain, well ahead of the second and third-placed French and
Germans who each have just over 1 percent.
Russia's share of the market also shrank in 2016, hitting
2.8 percent and continuing a steady slide since 2013, before the
EU imposed sanctions over Moscow's annexation of Ukraine, when
it accounted for 8.6 percent of foreign purchases.
British tourism in Spain unexpectedly hit a record last
year, remaining impervious to sterling's weakness, but some
emigrants are worried about losing free access to healthcare.
(Reporting by Robert Hetz and Isla Binnie; Editing by Tom