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Canary Islands expats could be 'banned' from buying holiday homes in radical plan

The President of the Canary Islands stated the time has come to introduce restrictions on property purchases by foreigners in the archipelago.

The President, Fernando Clavijo said he understands the “discomfort and unease” felt by the Canary Islands population due to the demographic increase that has not been accompanied by a proportional development in services and infrastructure.

This declaration was made during a parliamentary session last week, in response to a question raised by his own party. 

The Canary Islands, found off the northwest coast of Africa, are an autonomous community of Spain. Of its seven islands, the most famous are Tenerife and Lanzarote.

The archipelago offers a diverse blend of cultural heritage, including Spanish, African and Latin American traditions. 

It also offers beautiful beaches, volcanic landscapes and warm Mediterranean climates. Five of the seven islands are considered “Biosphere Reserves”, and the islands boast four national parks. 

Properties in the archipelago can sell for as little as £223,000, making it a very tempting location for holiday homes or a place to retire to. The islands host a large community of British expats in particular, making it a very attractive destination to live post-retirement, with excellent healthcare amenities. 

Anyone with a sufficient motive or connection can become a resident by applying for a permit, and it comes with some significant financial advantages including 75 percent discounts on scheduled airfares as well as on local transport, museums and tourist attractions. 

With such attractions, it is therefore unsurprising that the archipelago has witnessed an increase of over 500,000 people so far in the 21st-century. This, according to the President of the Nationalist Group, David Toledo, has brought negative consequences for locals. 

He suggested that they could follow in the footsteps of countries such as Malta and Finland, which have implemented restrictions on property purchases by foreigners. He proposed this to be a “task” for the next EU Commission, arguing that the region cannot make these decisions alone and that it is necessary to coordinate actions both at the national level in Madrid and at the European level in Brussels. 

President Clavijo also emphasised the importance of finding a balance that allows for the appeal of the Canary Islands to tourists to be maintained while also improving the quality of life of its residents.

The regional government has already begun to prepare the necessary legal studies to formulate a proposal to the new European Commission that will be formed after the European elections to take place in June. 

Despite initial opposition from other political parties, the decision to proceed with such studies illustrates an openness to exploring policies that could moderate property purchases by non-residents, in an effort to protect access to housing for residents and preserve the island’s standard of living. 

The President’s proposal, although only in the early stages, reflects a significant attempt to address the concerns brought by an increasingly challenging globalised landscape. 


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