There is a lack of information available online for overseas property investors looking to purchase Spanish property.
For example, the British HM Land Registry has published data sets of prices paid for properties since 1995. This information is readily available for viewing and is supplemented by other websites that can provide sale information.
However, in contrast, although the Spanish land registry collects similar information, little of it is available to the public and would-be investors. It cannot be searched for via the internet, a government site or any private sources. This raises tricky questions, such as how anyone is able to consider an accurate property valuation.
One of the key reasons that the information is not widely available is due to the fact that there has historically been a significant disparity between a listed price and the price that is eventually paid, often due to much of the Spanish negotiation being done ‘under the table.’
This means that any historical data actually bears little resemblance to the reality of the market. The practice is now far less common, however it does affect the accuracy of records that span back from a decade or more.
This has caused some frustration from Spanish property professionals, due to the fact that the lack of information available for their clients makes their own job far trickier. In order for the country to truly join the league of professional international property markets it must release accurate information including specific breakdowns of its costs.
If Spain was able to provide easy access to property sales the market would become far more transparent and therefore more appealing to foreign buyers. Currently, buyers from other nations tend to blame estate agents for an apparent lack of knowledge when in reality the issue is in fact far more widely spread.