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Chinese middle classes drawn by Spanish lifestyle and property

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As more and more Chinese tourists visit Spain, a growing number of middle-class investors are enquiring about Spanish property.

The lure of Spain’s golden beaches, glorious horizons, stunning weather and historically rich cities has long drawn tourists from across Europe, the USA and, increasingly, South America. But now it appears that citizens from the most populous country on the planet are also having their heads turned by Spain’s charms – a trend that could do wonders for the country’s property market and tourism sector…

Data from Chinese property portal website juwai.com has revealed this week that Spain is now the seventh-most popular location for private investors, reports Spanish daily El Pais. And while the typical Chinese property investor found in London is usually of the mega-rich, tycoon variety, it is China’s growing middle class that has set its sights on the splendour of Spain.

With affordable property prices when compared to the markets of the UK, the USA and Canada, as well as that famous Spanish lifestyle, the country is quickly becoming something of a hotspot for Chinese investors seeking a European bolthole.

“The most important thing for me was the return on investment,” Chinese businessman Hu Ning told El Pais. “Prices are low in Spain, but starting to pick up. This will be a safe investment: I might need seven or eight years, but after that the property will make me the profit I’m looking for.”

Currently, Chinese buyers account for less than 1% of foreign investors in Spanish real estate, but with the promise of residency offered by the Golden Visa system, and agrowing effort among Spanish hotels to train their staff to speak Mandarin, that figure is expected to grow sharply over the coming years.

Juwai’s Jan Kot said that Spain could do even more if it hoped to attract more Chinese investors.

“Spain needs to increase the number of flights with China, because many investors choose Spain only after they have visited the country.” The government could also begin offering translation services for would-be buyers, and the real estate industry itself could learn more about Chinese cultural practices and ways of doing business, Kot added, in order to “build relationships” and “win trust”.

According to Kot, it is mostly middle-class buyers searching for one of the 15,000 Spanish properties Juwai has listed on its website, with the majority of would-be investors those Chinese who have recently returned from a holiday to Spain.

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