Ban on the purchase of property by foreigners in the Canary Islands

Ban on the purchase of property by foreigners in the Canary Islands

What's happening in real estate in the Canary Islands?

When the electoral rounds are approaching, politics always begins to give its best (a statement to be read in an absolutely ironic way, obviously).

For a few days now, there has been countless news circulating on the web about the possible ban on the purchase of properties by "foreigners" in the Canary Islands.

But how much truth is there in all this?

As I always say, to better understand the problem it would be useful to take a step back.

And to take a step back on this topic, just go back to March 5th of this year, when the Consejería de Turismo y Empleo del Gobierno de Canarias, signed by its General Director Miguel Angel Rodriguez Martinez, officially responded to a similar proposal from a citizen.

Let's see the proposal:

The proposal, collected together with other similar ones under the heading A.18, was summarized as follows in the document: “Included in this group are proposals that suggest limiting and/or prohibiting foreigners without permanent residence in the country or islands (or with a minimum period of residence) from purchasing and/or renting homes. Control of foreign investors. Curb speculation by foreigners”.

Below is the response from the administration: “As already expressed in relation to previous proposals, establishing discrimination or restrictions based on nationality or residence is not compatible with either the constitutional system or the European Union system. Therefore, the draft legislation will not include any determination to this effect”.

Please note that we are talking about an official document, not the indiscretion of any official.

In short, two months ago the Government rejected this citizens' proposal, arguing that it was unfeasible for regulatory reasons and today, magically, he himself proposes it as the mother of solutions to the social problems of our archipelago.

“It's a sin to think badly…” someone said: but isn't it because there will be elections for the European Parliament in June?

In any case, apart from this pathetic electoral act on the part of the President of the Government, a series of issues remain on the table which should be further clarified. before thinking to undertake a path of this type.

Is the proposal compatible with current regulations?

Obviously, in the first instance there is the compatibility of a solution of this type with the regulations in force, both at a national and European level. The usual barroom "simplifiers" already have the answer ready, copy-pasted as always, appealing to the existing cases of the Aland Islands (Finland) or Malta.

In fact, some limitations have been introduced in these contexts for foreigners, which however concern on the one hand a "borderline" situation (the Aland islands have 30,000 inhabitants, about a third of the inhabitants of the island of La Palma) and on the other a series of restrictions amply compensated by as many "countermeasures".

Net of regulatory compatibility, one might then ask what meaning one wants to give to the term "foreigner". It is enough to read a few articles online to realize that sometimes we talk about "foreigners" and sometimes about "non-residents", using these two terminologies as synonyms. It is clear that this misunderstanding is the result of the mental confusion of those who write the articles and, often, of the same political representatives who fuel the debate.

I therefore wonder what the level of seriousness of this debate could be, if it is not clear even to its supporters what the nature of these limitations should be.

Will these “limitations” really bring benefits?

Ultimately I believe it is right to ask ourselves whether and to what extent these "extreme" solutions can actually bring the advertised benefits.

Beyond the usual propaganda soup, I have not seen market studies produced capable of supporting these benefits; reason why we should, until proven otherwise, consider this proposal for what it is: a hypothesis based on someone's belief.

Canada's recent experience could be our "case study" in this sense, but unfortunately at the moment we can only evaluate its short-term effects, which however do not appear to be particularly encouraging.

In short, in light of the above, do you think we are faced with a real possible solution to the housing problem or yet another electoral gimmick, destined to vanish into thin air the day after the polls?

Write it in the comments!

Article by Marco Sparicius Canary Islands Real Estate Consultant

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