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If you are buying in Spain, why do not buy in Pounds?


I am seeing how the GBP is falling in relation to Euro, and hope it does not fall down more. I am seeing it at 1,20 EUR/GBP today.

I remember hard days for Spanish propety sales to British  in 2009-2010, where the exchange rate arrived down to 1,06 EUR (0,9 GBP/EUR). On those days, UK investors, when buying in Spain, they were thinking twice (or more) to buy. But, even with that scenario,  they continued.

For those UK investors who want to buy properties in Spain now, with Brexit in our heads, there are several points to consider, as pensions, liberty of movements, etc. All these concepts, unfortunately, are “in the air” right now, and, from my personal opinion, it will take LONG TIME  to resolve,  because, for this, UK Parliament must approve the “divorce”, and then, it will be a process with no limit of time (2 years is not the “maximum”) to decide about questions of Health, Pensions, Residence, etc.

In my opinion, I am sure that, at the end, even UK out of Europe, a so strong market for Spain as UK tourist and property buyers will be defended and protected. I recently published an article supporting this argument. Brexit long term conclusions and scenarios

But, what’s the matter meanwhile?.

I have received dozens of queries from our clients, friends, and contacts,  asking us for advice for those who want to buy properties in Spain NOW, and they do not know what to do. The majority of them are retired,  and they cannot be waiting till UK-EU, politicians, etc,  arrive to a long way of solutions in what, 3 years?, 5 years?, 10?.

These friends and contacts cannot be waiting so long to enjoy their deserved time in their “Place in the Sun”. They argue things as that they were saving for long time to get a house in Spain and use the excellent quality of life with lower costs than UK, with better food, better clime, and better assistance. And, now, they see that they have to wait even more…

When answering petitions of advice in this way, and after the last Brexit developments, we conclude with two main group of  worries affecting investing in Spain:

– Long term worries: These are questions about how will be my pension affected?, could we be living in Spain and move freely to UK?, how will be Health care assistance?, etc.

For those questions, I use a rapid an easy example:

Switzerland and Norway. They are non EU countries, but they are really important for EU. So, they have free movement of people inside EU, and the only they have to do is that they need Private Health assistance in Spain.

Frankly, the 70-80 % of the UK residents in Spain,  now, I know have some kind of private assistance. So, in the very worst scenario, UK would be treated as Switzerland and Norway. The importance of UK is even higher, no?. Do not you think so? .

So,  are we right if we think that the worst  consequence from the UK divorce will be the private health?. 

And this, when, in 5 years?, 10 years?.

– Short term worries: Exchange rate.

As explained above, GBP is getting devaluated in respect to Euro. But the Euro is going down too. So, UK is being affected by Brexit, but, EU too!.

So, a solution for this short time worry is to buy now in EUROS.

But, there is a solution which, in the hard years 2009-2010 our company was recommending to avoid the exchange risk:


In our company,  the 90 % of the property transactions in the recent years have been with a British vendor, overall in touristic areas. So, in 9 from 10 cases, the vendor is British. In this way, vendor wants, at the end of the process, Sterlings.

So, now we have the formula:

British buyer has Pounds – British vendor wants Pounds = Let’s do the transaction in Pounds!.

Is this possible?- Yes. It is absolutely possible. The Spanish system admits this way.

Buyer avoid GBP exchange risk, and also Vendor.

In fact, during 2009-2010 with low GBP/EUR rates, our office was recommending this solution and a high number of transactions were processed in this way.

In less than 2 days, our office has unlocked several transactions where the buyer wanted to pull out the sale option due to Brexit. Vendors were British and accepted to turn the price in Pounds as before Brexit.

So, for those who have the option to buy in Spain, and that, after these crazy days of movements, just take into consideration that, if the GBP rate is the problem, in UK-UK transactions, we will avoid this risk.

Juan Carlos Marhuenda Gomez

Senior Lawyer

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