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Russians snap up homes in EU country despite sanctions – RBK

Real estate purchases in Spain grew by more than 50% in the first half of 2023, according to data

Russians have stepped up purchases of real estate in Spain, RBK news outlet reported on Thursday citing data from Spain’s General Council of Notaries (Consejo General del Notariado).

According to the report, the number of properties bought by Russians in January-June rose by 50.2% compared to the same period of last year, and amounted to 2,137 homes. Sales to Russians exceeded 2,000 for the first time since 2014, when they bought 2,573 properties. Russian citizens accounted for 3.2% of the country’s total real estate purchases by foreigners in the reporting period.

The most notable increase in property demand came from Russian citizens who do not have Spanish residency, Anna Danchenok, head of Yakov and Partners consultancy, told RBK. Non-resident Russians made 690 real estate transactions in the first half of 2023, up 61% from the same period last year.

Historically, a property in Spain was viewed by Russian buyers as a holiday getaway, market experts say. However, buying a home in the country is also a way to obtain a residence permit under the Spanish golden visa program. The scheme allows any foreigner to obtain a residence permit when purchasing real estate worth €500,000 ($542,770) or more.

Russians have started to view golden visas as a route to free movement within the EU since their country was hit with sanctons last year, analysts say.

The Spanish authorities planned to double the investment threshold to €1 million or completely ban Russians from the program as part of Ukraine-related sanctions, but so far the conditions have not been changed.

READ MORE: Europe on verge of housing crisis – Bloomberg

According to the latest available data from the Spanish Ministry of Integration, Social Protection and Immigration, the country issued 738 golden visas to Russian citizens from January to October last year, a record-high.

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