Can Foreigners Buy Property in Europe?

10 mins read

Despite Europe’s open-door policy, we still receive many website visits asking can foreigners can buy property in Europe. Yes, they can. The complex process requires adherence to various laws and regulations for non-EU citizens. But understanding the rules and average prices can make purchasing a home in Europe easier for wealthy investors and budget first-time buyers.

The most important thing to know is that Europe is vast, and the rules regarding real estate purchases vary from country to country. From plots of land to city centres, the red tape is essential to know before purchasing.

Foreign investors may consider using a local real estate agency specialising in helping foreign citizens purchase property abroad. Our services are available, and we can advise on countries, local laws, purchase prices and also the purchasing procedure.

One main advantage of Europe is affordable housing options available due to demand from native citizens and expatriates alike. Also, rental yields are typically higher than those in many other countries. However, research property taxes before investing in a property as they can vary significantly from country to country and even within the same region. Beachfront properties will usually have higher taxes due to their prime location.

The real estate market in Europe is constantly changing, so potential buyers should stay informed about current trends and prices. With the correct information and support, buying European property is an exciting and rewarding experience. Let’s look at what you need to know?

Tips for Foreigners to Buy Property in Europe

can foreigners buy property in europe

Definition of Europe

The Europe continent sits primarily in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. This large continent, with fifty countries, covers approximately 10,000,000 square kilometres of land with a population of over 740 million. Europe is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to its west, the Arctic Ocean to its north, and the Mediterranean Sea to its south.

The countries that make up Europe include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden, and many more. Each country has unique features that give each distinct character, from vibrant cities to quaint villages.

Property Purchase Tips for Foreign Real Estate Investors

Research the Market: Take the time to research the real estate markets of specific countries or regions where you intend to buy property. Understand market trends, property prices, and local regulations that may impact your purchase.

Engage Professionals: Seek the assistance of local professionals like real estate agents, lawyers, and tax advisors with expertise in local property markets. They can guide you through the buying process, provide legal advice, and help with negotiations.

Visit the Property: Whenever possible, visit the property in person to assess the condition, location, and surroundings. This will help you make an informed decision and assess whether the property meets your requirements.

Understand Legal Requirements: Familiarise yourself with the legal requirements for property ownership in specific countries. Be aware of residency permits, taxes, and any restrictions on foreign ownership. Consider consulting with a local lawyer to ensure compliance with all legal procedures.

Financing Options: Explore financing options, like local mortgages or international financing. Compare interest rates, terms, and conditions to choose the most suitable financing option.

Consider Location: Location is crucial in property investment. Evaluate the neighbourhood, proximity to amenities, transportation links, and potential for rental income or future resale value.

Due Diligence: Conduct thorough due diligence, including obtaining a professional property survey and reviewing all legal documents, permits, and certificates. This will help identify potential issues or liabilities associated with the property.

Language and Cultural Considerations: If you purchase property where the primary language is not your native language, consider language and cultural differences. Ensure you can access reliable translation services and understand local customs and laws.

Tax Implications: Understand the tax obligations associated with owning property in Europe. This includes property, capital gains, and other applicable taxes. Seek advice from tax professionals to ensure compliance with local tax regulations.

Insurance and Property Management: Consider obtaining property insurance to protect your investment and ensure you have property management plans if you are not planning to reside there full-time. Property management services can help with maintenance, rental management, and other related tasks.

view of beautiful landscape with mediterranean luxury resort.

Why Buy European Property

Lifestyle and Mediterranean climate: Europe is known for its rich history, diverse cultures, and high-quality lifestyle. Owning a house in Europe allows you to immerse yourself in European culture.

Investment Potential: Europe’s strong and stable real estate market makes the continent attractive for property investment. In many European cities, average prices per square meter have shown long-term appreciation, offering the potential for capital gains. Additionally, some European cities have high rental demand, allowing property owners to generate rental income.

Travel and Accessibility: Enjoy easy access to various countries and destinations. With well-connected transportation networks and low-cost airlines, you can easily explore neighbouring countries and enjoy diverse landscapes.

Residency and Citizenship: Some European countries offer residency or citizenship opportunities. Some countries have investment programs that provide residency permits or citizenship to property owners who meet specific criteria.

Education and Healthcare: Europe has world-renowned educational institutions and top-notch healthcare systems.

Stability and Rule of Law: Many European countries are known for their political stability, robust legal systems, and respect for the rule of law. This creates secure environments for property owners and ensures property rights and protections.

Diverse Property Options: Europe offers many property types to suit different preferences and budgets. Whether interested in historic city apartments, charming countryside cottages, or luxurious coastal villas, options cater to various tastes and lifestyles.

European Countries and Property Rights

Regarding European property rights, the laws and regulations vary from country to country. Generally speaking; however, most European countries offer excellent protection for buyers that ensure fair treatment and prevent fraud or abuse. In some countries, these protections may include the right to receive full disclosure about a property before signing contracts. Additionally, buyers may be able to access detailed information about the seller’s financial position to make an informed decision when purchasing real estate.

Average Prices for European Property

Property prices vary widely throughout Europe, depending on location, size, type of property, and condition. The average square meter price ranges from €1,500 in Bulgaria to €7,300 in Monaco for residential properties. Affordability can also be an issue. Due to high demand, buyers pay exorbitant fees in some countries like Italy or Spain. However, other countries like Portugal offer more affordable housing options with rental yields that can make buying housing worthwhile.

Property Taxes and Other Rates for Foreigners

In addition to the property purchase price, buyers will pay associated taxes and fees when buying real estate in Europe. The taxes paid will depend on the property location and the purchased property type. For example, in countries like Italy or Spain, taxes on residential properties are typically much lower than those for commercial properties. Buyers should also pay an annual tax based on the value of their property.

cardedeu town aerial view

Specific Permissions for International Real Estate

The permission rules and regulations regarding foreign property ownership vary from country to country in Europe. While most European countries allow foreigners to buy property, some may have restrictions or limitations. Here are a few examples of countries where restrictions on permission may apply:

Switzerland: Non-residents generally face restrictions when buying Swiss property. The Swiss government has strict regulations to limit the number of second homes foreigners own in certain regions.

Denmark: Foreigners need permission from the Danish Ministry of Justice before purchasing property in Denmark. Approval is typically granted for specific properties, like primary residences or properties used for business purposes.

Slovakia: Non-EU citizens are subject to certain restrictions when purchasing property in Slovakia. They must obtain permission from the Ministry of Interior, and there are limits on the amount of land foreigners can own.

Croatia: Non-EU citizens face restrictions on purchasing agricultural land in Croatia. However, they can still acquire other property types, like residential or commercial properties.

Agricultural Land and Beachfront Property

Additional considerations must be considered when buying agricultural land, forest land, or beachfront property. Many governments also impose restrictions on beachfront properties with regulations designed to protect public access and preserve natural habitats. Buyers should know all applicable laws before purchasing such properties in Europe.

Laws Regarding Non-EU Citizens

When buying European property, buyers from a non-EU country may be subject to different laws depending on where they are looking to purchase a home. For example, non-EU citizens need a permanent residence permit before submitting an offer for a property. Additionally, non-EU citizens may require evidence that they have sufficient financial resources to cover the property’s costs. Furthermore, certain countries may restrict foreign buyers for agricultural land, beachfront properties, or homes near military bases.

Residency Permits and Permanent Residences

Residency permits are typically valid for a fixed period and may be renewable. Depending on the country, applicants may need to prove sufficient financial resources and demonstrate their ties to the country they plan to purchase the property. Permanent residency, is usually granted after a certain number of years spent living there and provides foreign buyers with more long-term security.

Average Real Estate Prices and Rental Yields

Average property values in Europe are a mixed bag. On the one hand, countries like Monaco and Italy boast the highest property values. Countries like Bulgaria and Portugal boast much more affordable housing options with higher rental yields. Regarding rental products, you can expect to earn between 3-7% depending on the country and location of the property. For instance, rental properties in Spain yield higher returns than those in France or Germany. Before heading to one country, review the average cost of properties across the board to determine which suits your budget best.

Property Types Available for Sale/Rent

Whether you’re looking for a cosy apartment in Paris, a beachfront villa in Spain, or an imposing castle in Germany – there’s something for everyone! Residential properties like apartments and houses are the most popular choice. Still, many commercial properties are on offer, including office buildings and retail spaces. Agricultural plots can often be found in rural areas for those looking to invest in land. In contrast, beachfront strips can be found along the Mediterranean coast. Whatever type of property you’re looking for, you should have no trouble finding something suitable in Europe!

Golden Visa Schemes in Europe

Golden Visa Schemes in Europe are a popular way for non-EU citizens and real estate investors to gain residency rights within the European Union. These schemes provide incentives for investors, including fast-track residency applications and preferential tax rates. Countries like Portugal, Spain, and Greece are the most popular destinations offering these investment opportunities.

To qualify for a Golden Visa Scheme in Europe, applicants invest a certain amount of money in real estate or business within the country. In return, they receive multiple benefits, including access to healthcare and education systems and the right to live and work. Depending on the country, applicants may need to purchase property over a specific value or actively contribute to the economy through job creation or other investments. Golden Visa Schemes only apply to non-EU citizens, not EU citizens or legal residents.

typical basque farmhouse with sheep grazing on a cloudy day

Easiest Countries to Buy Property in Europe

Buying real estate in Europe is complicated, but certain countries make it much easier for foreign citizens or real estate investors. For instance, Portugal and Spain have favourable conditions for non-EU citizens looking to purchase real estate. In Portugal, you can buy a property with no minimum purchase price and only pay an average of 0.8% of the property’s value in taxes. Spain also has attractive conditions, offering foreign investors access to square meter prices at around €2,000. Additionally, both countries provide lower residency permit requirements and access to other benefits.

France: France appeals to many buyers across the board. France ticks many boxes for overseas investors, from city centre apartments to French Alp ski chalets or countryside chateaux to frontline beach villas. France is conveniently situated in the heart of Europe, a well-known holiday destination and sightseeing spot. It is one of the world’s most visited countries, with 89 million visiting yearly. Its fantastic architecture, romantic lifestyle, and pleasant weather lure tourists and holiday home hunters to this lovely country. The best time to visit is anytime!

Spain: Firstly, Spain boasts wonderfully diverse and pleasant climates, with mild winters and long, sunny summers. Whether you want to retire in warm and relaxing environments or enjoy regular vacations, Spain’s many coastal and inland regions offer unique charm. Unlike other popular European destinations, like France or Italy, real estate in Spain is often more affordable. Additionally, Spain’s well-established and transparent property market makes buying relatively straightforward for residents and non-residents.

Portugal: It’s an intelligent decision to buy a property in Portugal as a vacation home, a saving, to rent it out short or long-term, or as a potential retirement home. This lovely country has maintained its laid-back and traditional way of life while providing upmarket lifestyles with fantastic food that will enrich your days and evenings all year. Places to consider in Portugal include Bairro Alto, Baixa, Chiado, Estrela, Liberdade, Lapa, Marvila, and Principe Real.

The Alternative to Europe for More Affordable Options

Turkey offers blended Eastern and Western cultures, creating fascinating and vibrant atmospheres. The country’s rich history, diverse landscapes, and warm hospitality make it an attractive destination for vacationers and property investors.

Secondly, Turkey provides excellent value for money for real estate investments. Compared to many European countries, property prices in Turkey are often more affordable, allowing buyers to get more for their money. Additionally, the cost of living in Turkey is relatively low, making it an attractive option for those seeking an affordable lifestyle.

Furthermore, the Turkish government has implemented various initiatives to attract foreign property buyers, like offering citizenship through property investment programs.  Turkey’s growing economy and expanding tourism industry also contribute to the potential for solid returns on investment in the real estate market.

Major City Centres and Prime Locations in Europe

Europe is home to numerous major city centres renowned for their historical significance, cultural attractions, economic prominence, and vibrant urban life. These city centres bring in investors from near and far. If urban living is what you want, try looking at major city centres like the capital city of Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Rome, Athens or Amsterdam. All are popular locations for foreign house buyers.

Real Estate Agents in Europe

If you want to buy European property, find reliable real estate experts to help you navigate the process. Working with a real estate agent will ensure all paperwork is completed correctly and that your interests are represented relatively throughout the transaction. That is where we step in as an international real estate agency. We can advise on legal entities, property purchase specifics, property laws, housing prices, major cities, etc. Email or call us today and chat with an agent about the process for foreigners buying property in Europe. We can also send through a portfolio of properties suiting your budget and requirements or you can see our portfolio here of properties that foreigners can buy in Europe.

About Natalie

Natalie is a dedicated real estate professional currently working at Spot Blue International Property. With over a decade of experience in the industry, she has acquired a wealth of knowledge and expertise regarding global properties.

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