Brits race to buy Spanish and Portuguese property – but can you live in EU after Brexit?
Lord Frost grilled on rights of British expats in the EU
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Overseas property portal Kyero.com reports record interest in Portuguese and Spanish property this year as Britons seek a new life in the sun. Enquiries jumped 16 percent in Spain and 26 percent in Portugal in the three months to September, compared to the same time last year.
Kyero founder Louise Dell said this is not just due to pent-up demand following last year’s Covid lockdowns.
Enquiries for properties in Spain are up 10 percent on two years ago, and 55 percent in Portugal.
Brexit is not deterring sun-seeking Brits, Dell said. “Mediterranean hotspots continue to draw a huge a growing level of interest.”
She added: “Amidst the British winter of discontent, with high energy bills, petrol shortages and unpredictable weather, more and more people are making their dreams of moving to Europe a reality.”
Kyero’s research shows that three quarters of Britons are interested in moving to Europe for better weather, while one in six want cheaper living costs.
Dell said Brexit has made securing EU residency harder but British buyers refuse to be deterred.
After the UK left the EU on January 1, 2021, British citizens became third country nationals, and cannot spend no more than 90 days in any 180-day period in any country within the EU’s border-free Schengen Area.
That makes longer stays more challenging but Dell said Brits can apply for something called a non-lucrative residence visa.
This allows non-EU citizens to live in Spain but they cannot do any economic or professional duties while there.
Alternatively, Brits can apply for a Golden Visa, provided they can afford to buy a Spanish property for at least €500,000 (£425,000).
This opens up the entire Schengen Zone to them once more, Dell said.
Portugal also operates a Golden Visa scheme for those buying property with a value of at least €500,000.
Similarly, the Portuguese D7 Visa, also known as the Retirement Visa or Passive Income Visa, allows non-EU citizens to apply for residency, provided they have reasonable net regular income from their pensions and investments.
Britons looking to move to the EU must show that they and their dependants have sufficient income not to be a burden on the state.
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Rules vary according to the country. In France, expats need to show they can at least match the local minimum wage,
For 2021 this is €18,655, but falls to €14,667 once social insurance charges have been deducted. The French authorities will use that figure, which works out as around £12,550 a year.
That is above today’s new basic state pension of £9,339 a year, so expats must show they can generate income from investments and retirement savings.
Portugal also demands Brits have enough income to match its national minimum wage, currently €7,980 (£6,838 a year) for an individual and €11,970 (£10,250) for a couple.
Rules are tougher in retirement hotspot Spain, though, where single people need £23,578 a year and couples £29,473.
A life in the sun can still be yours, if you have enough money and learn the rules.
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