The luxury end of the market will be mainly affected. | Archive

Figures from the College of Registrars indicate that almost two per cent of homes bought by foreigners in Spain in 2021 were purchases by Russian citizens - there were 1,280.

The Russian share of the market has fallen over the past several years. In 2012, there were 3,399 purchases. Real-estate experts accept that there will now be further contraction, but as noted by Ferran Font, the director of studies for the property website, "the Russian client has very little exposure in the Spanish market". The majority of the buyers, he notes, are in coastal tourist areas and the major cities.

Among Russian investors in the Spanish real estate market is Vladimir Putin: or said to be anyway. Several properties in Spain have been linked with him. One was a mansion in Marbella with its own golf course and shooting range. However, it wasn't his property, but that of a Russian businessman with the same initials - Valeri Ponomarev.

Back in 2006, the Russian market was 1.24% of all foreign purchases. This was just ahead of Ukraine with 1.12%, but Russian buyers had a preference for larger properties - over 100 square metres compared with between 60 and 80 by Ukrainians.

By 2008, the market was above four per cent - with 1,270 purchases, 64% of them new properties. Two years later, the share was seven per cent, while that of Ukrainians was still around one per cent. The peak was reached in 2012, when Russians accounted for 9.62% of purchases by foreigners.

The most popular region for Russian buyers has been Valencia. This was the case in 2020, for instance. Catalonia was some way behind and then came Asturias and Cantabria.

Although Russian involvement in the Spanish market is limited, the deputy CEO of Don Piso, Emiliano Bermúdez, says that it is the luxury end of the market that "could end up losing one of its best customers".

At the Idealista property website, the view is that "the market takes it for granted that home purchases by Russian citizens will practically disappear", with the impact being felt in those parts of Spain preferred by Russians, such as the Alicante coast.

The Fotocasa website believe that sanctions will affect investment, "as happened after the invasion of Crimea", thus exacerbating a downward trend that has been observed for several years.