The Increase of Digital Nomads Renting in Spain: A Look at the Numbers

Foreign demand for renting in Spain reaches record high. Most people who search for homes to rent in Spain do so from Germany and France. Where international demand is more significant is in the Mediterranean and on the islands. Foreigners are increasingly opting to rent homes in Spain in addition to purchasing them.

At the end of 2022, 14.9% of all rental housing demand, the greatest percentage in the historical record that began at the beginning of 2019, came from abroad, according to idealista/data.

To put this figure into perspective, it is enough to know that the average over the previous four years is 11.2%, which is 3.7 points lower than the most recent data, and that in December of last year (2022), foreign nationals’ demand for housing in Spain outpaced searches related to sales by four tenths (14.5%). In other words, the demand for renting already outweighs that for buying among foreign nationals.

With regard to the origin of the demand, there are also changes in recent years. If in 2019 the country from where the most searches were made to rent real estate in Spain was the United Kingdom, now they are Germany and France, while the British country is relegated to third place. The USA and the Netherlands, for their part, have taken the lead over Italy, which has gone from fourth to sixth position during this time. Check out our related article “What do you need to rent an apartment in Spain as an expat?

Other countries that have gained strength as applicants for rental housing in Spain in recent times are Poland, Canada and Norway, which have replaced Venezuela, Colombia or Morocco. The Dominican Republic has also left the list of countries from where the most searches are made to rent a home in Spain.

Specifically, these are the nationalities currently looking for the most apartments to rent in Spain and the most prominent in 2019.

Country of origin of the demand in 2022Country of origin of the demand in 2019
1GermanyUnited Kingdom
3United KingdomFrance
19BrazilDominican Republic

The increase in foreigners’ desire to rent homes in Spain is the result of a number of factors.

Some factors that stand out, such as the fundamental shift brought by the pandemic, with a push for teleworking and a growing interest in spacious buildings with an outdoor area, in addition to the traditional attraction stimulated by the climate, quality of life, culture, or Mediterranean gastronomy, and comparably more affordable housing prices than in neighboring countries. And also the rise of the so-called ‘digital nomads’, those professionals who can carry out highly-skilled work remotely, which allows them to change their place of residence easily.

The Spanish provinces with the most and least foreign demand for rent

Despite the fact that the interest of foreign citizens to rent homes in Spain is growing in the market as a whole, the truth is that the demand varies a lot depending on where the homes are located within Spain. In general terms, they want to rent a house in Spain in the same areas where they are looking to buy: coastal and tourist enclaves.

Do you want to know how much commission do I have to pay if I rent an apartment in Spain in 2023? Check out our article.

In some Mediterranean provinces and the archipelagos, without going any further, the demand to rent from abroad exceeds 20% of the total, while in the provinces located in the center of the peninsula and in some northern areas its weight does not even reach 5%.

Alicante heads the national ranking and is the only province where more than 30% of the demand for rental housing comes from abroad. The second most prominent province is Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where foreign demand to rent a house reaches 29.6%, ahead of the Balearic Islands (27.8%), Málaga (26.9%) and Las Palmas (24% ). These five provinces are the only ones in the country where searches by foreigners account for more than a fifth of the total.

Next on the list are Barcelona, ​​Valencia and Almería, where foreign demand for rent accounts for 19% of the total, followed by Girona (17.1%).

Already below the national average, but with a weight in double digits, are Huelva, Granada, Cádiz and Castellón (all of them with more than 14%), Tarragona (13.8%), Murcia (12.5% ), Melilla (11.1%) and Madrid (10.4%).

In the rest of the country, on the other hand, foreigners are less interested in renting a home and their weight in total demand is already down 10%.

In Jaén, Salamanca, Seville, Lleida, Córdoba or Badajoz, the demand moves above 7%, while in more than twenty provinces the weight of foreigners on the total rental demand moves below 6% . Most located in the center and north of the Peninsula. At the bottom of the table are, for example, A Coruña, Asturias, Navarra, La Rioja, Álava, Cáceres, Ciudad Real, Albacete, Cuenca, Zamora, Burgos, Segovia, Zaragoza, Ávila, Toledo, Valladolid, León or Huesca. Guadalajara It is the province that occupies the last position in the national classification, being the only one where foreigners less than 4% of demandto rent a home.

RankingProvinceWeight of foreign demand
2Santa Cruz de Tenerife29,6%
5Las Palmas24,0%

The predominant nationality in each Spanish province

Beyond the weight of foreign demand on the market as a whole in each province, there are also differences in terms of the nationality of foreigners who are most interested in renting a home in each province.

Residents in France, for example, are those who are looking for more homes to rent in Cantabria, Navarra, Álava, Zaragoza, Barcelona, ​​Girona or Castellón; provinces, in short, that are close to its borders. The same is true for searches from Portugal, which are the most prominent in provinces such as Ourense, Lugo, Pontevedra, Salamanca, Zamora, Cáceres, Badajoz and Huelva; and with the demand from Andorra, the most prominent country of origin in the case of Lleida.

In Malaga, on the other hand, the reference country is United Kingdom, while in Madrid, Valencia, Granada and other inland provinces close to the capital such as Toledo, Segovia and Guadalajara, most of the searches come from USA. Don’t miss our article “How is living in Spain compared to the US?

In the case of Germany, some of the provinces that brought the most interest are the Balearic Islands, Murcia, Almería, Cádiz, Jaén, Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

As a curiosity, in Teruel the country of reference in foreign demand for rent is Poland, while in Ávila it is Colombia and in Soria, Argentina. Searches coming from Italy, for their part, are the most prominent in Córdoba, Seville, Burgos and Valladolid, while Morocco is the great reference in the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla. In the case of Alicante, the province with the greatest demand, the country from which the most searches come is Netherlands.

The most and least popular Spanish provincial capitals

If we look at the demand in the provincial capitals, we discover that Alicante continues to lead the national ranking, since foreigners monopolize almost 26% of the total demand to rent housing. However, the next most prominent cities on the list are Barcelona, ​​Valencia, Palma de Mallorca and Malaga, which move in a range between 22.2% and 24.8%.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, whose province is the second in Spain with the most foreign demand to rent a house, falls to sixth position, with 19.7%; followed by Tarragona (17.5%), Girona (15.3%) and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (15%). Above double digits are also Cádiz, Granada, Madrid, Castellón de la Plana, Almería, San Sebastián, Seville, Jaén, Salamanca, Santander and the autonomous city of Melilla.

Instead, in more than half of the provinces the weight of foreigners in the rental demand is below 10%, with a total of 32 large cities. In this case, Soria, Guadalajara, Zamora and Huesca are the capitals where foreigners look for fewer homes to rent and account for less than 4% of the market.

RankingProvince capitalWeight of foreign demand
4Palma de Mallorca23,7%
6Santa Cruz de Tenerife19,7%
9Las Palmas de Gran Canaria15,0%
13Castellón de la Plana12,4%
15San Sebastián11,4%

In conclusion, according to Idealista/data, 14.9% of the total demand for rental housing in Spain came from abroad at the end of 2022, the highest percentage since 2019. The majority of the demand comes from Germany and France, while the UK has fallen to third position. Other countries that have gained strength in their demand for rental housing in Spain include Poland, Canada, and Norway. The demand for rental housing from foreigners is driven by several factors, including the attraction of the Spanish climate, quality of life, and culture, as well as the rise of teleworking and digital nomads. The provinces with the most foreign demand for rental housing are coastal and tourist enclaves, with the most prominent being Alicante, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the Balearic Islands, Málaga, and Las Palmas. The nationality of the foreign demand for rental housing varies depending on the province.