The true story may surprise you?
There are some spectacular homes in Catalonia and there are many properties which are bought for rental as an investment.
Should I buy a property with the Inheritance I have just received?
By Barry Davys
This article is published on: 18th July 2023
The true story may surprise you?
If you are coming from a home owning country such as the UK (63% homeowners in 2020)¹ or Romania (a remarkable 92.9% homeowners in 2021)², it is only natural to think of property as a good idea. We may have experienced significant gains on a property and we probably know others who have done so. Most of these cases will be people who have bought their property as a home. We may have also seen the headlines about the “Buy to Let” boom in the UK. Bear in mind the boom was helped by very, very low interest rates which are most unlikely to be repeated.
Now we are seeing headlines such as ‘Lots of us are very anxious’: why Britain’s buy-to-let landlords are selling³. A reminder that like most investment markets the value of your investment can go down as well as up.
Investing in property can be effective. It should be considered like any other investment and not with the bias in our decision making that can come with having been brought up in a home owning country.
Here we help you to view an investment in property in Catalonia with data.
The first item to understand is that there is a property purchase tax of 10% of the purchase price. Other costs, such as lawyers and notary fees, are typically total 2% of the purchase price. This is an assessment of the impact of costs and taxes and what it can do to your investment return.
¹www.gov.uk – Home ownership
²European Union (Euro Stat) Home or Flat – Owning or renting
³Guardian newspaper 24/02/2023
|The true cost of a house for renting in Spain||Return on investment|
|Purchase tax||10.00||Annual yield Barcelona||5.7|
|Lawyers, notary etc||2.00||Less|
|Property registration fee||1.5||Tax at say 33.8% of 5.7%||1.93|
|IBI (council tax)||0.6|
|Total cost of buying||13.50||Community charge||0.3|
|Furnishings and white goods||0.75||Total ongoing costs||3.33|
|Total Costs||14.25||Annual Net Return||2.37|
|Number of years to recover cost of purchase||Total Costs ➗ Annual Net Return||=||6.01|
In summary, total acquisition costs are typically 14.25% of the purchase price. The buyer has to have this amount of cash in addition to any deposit as the mortgage is based on the value of the property.
The rental property rate of return (yield) is shown for Barcelona. Anywhere outside of Barcelona will likely give you a lower rate of return.
Annual net returns after ongoing taxation of property tax (IBI) and income tax (rental income is added to employment income). The example uses a tax rate of 33.8% income tax on your rental but the top rate of income tax in Catalonia has recently risen to 50%.
This means it will take you just over 6 years to cover your costs from rental income.
Of course, with a bit of luck, the property will increase in value. There is an oft repeated mantra that “Oh but the property will increase in value”. It may well do, especially if you keep the property for many years. However, here are some other points to be aware of before buying a rental property for profit.
- You benefit from the increase in value when you sell the property
- Yet the true benefit is only the increase in value above inflation; not the difference in buying price and selling price but only the bit of profit above the revised value caused by inflation
- Capital gains tax is payable on the increase in buy to let property value, even if you are over 65. Inflation is not taken into account by the tax man so you pay tax on the full difference between buying and selling
- Capital gains tax in Catalonia is between 19% and 26%
- Estate agent fees in Catalonia are typically 5% of the sale price
- A further tax is called Plus Valor. Raised by the local council the tax is based on the increase of the value of the land that the property is built on. This applies to freehold properties too
- The property is part of the assessment for Inheritance Tax in Catalonia even if you return to the UK or your home country
Property investment works best when expectations and reality are matched. Knowing realistic figures, based on data, is very important. We hope that this article provides some insight and helps you with your assessment of whether it is right for you.
Are there alternatives? There are and one or two that are very tax efficient. In some cases a combination of property and other investments can work well.
For more information on these elements of investing in property in Catalonia you can book a call with the author Barry Davys. Please use his online system so you can choose a time that is convenient for you for the call. The call can be a video call or a telephone call.