What lies behind the increased sales of inherited properties in Spain?

by Lorraine Williamson
inherited properties


MADRID – The housing market in Spain is seeing an interesting development. According to recent research, inherited properties now make up 17% of the total supply on the housing market. This is an increase of two percentage points compared to 2022. 

The same research shows that 23% of sellers are selling properties they inherited. But why do so many heirs sell such a house again? There are mainly two reasons why heirs choose to sell their inherited home. First, there are personal motives. For example, they do not want to live in the inherited house. Second, many want to avoid the hassle of collecting rent. Concerns about rent collection have increased noticeably, from 14% in 2020 to 27% in 2023. 

Also read: Exceptional British will writing service now available in Spain

Lost opportunities for the rental market 

Despite the increase in inherited houses on the owner-occupied market, their presence on the rental market is decreasing. According to experts, this may be a missed opportunity to increase the supply of rental properties. Heirs often avoid the problems that can come with renting out a house. 

Role of the government 

María Matos, Director of Studies at Fotocasa, emphasises that there is an urgent need for stable regulations in this regard. She says both the public and private sectors must work together to ensure owners can rent out their homes safely. Many fear that they will also have to deal with the problem of squatters (okupas). Once they are in your home, it turns out to be very difficult to get them out in Spain. 

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Tax implications 

Another detail is that heirs who are ‘distant’ relatives pay more inheritance tax. This can also be a motivation to sell the house faster. The research shows that 16% of heirs cannot bear the costs of maintaining an inherited house. 

Challenges in sales and rental 

Despite the urge to sell, heirs experience challenges. The most important are the high prices and the intervention of real estate agents who charge high commissions. Both factors were mentioned by 22% of respondents. The location of the inherited home also appears to be a challenge for 14% of the heirs. 

The most important reasons for renting out an inherited property are as a source of income (45%), wanting to occupy the house (38%), and the profitability of the rental (31%). Distrust of potential tenants is the main obstacle for heirs considering renting, followed by the operation of real estate agencies and the time required to show the house. 

Also read: More than half of houses in Spain bought with no need for a mortgage 

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