If there is a clear indicator of the consequences of the economic crisis, it is in the immigration stats. In 2011, more than half a million people (507,000), left the country to find a place with more opportunities for a better life. Only 62,611 were Spaniards, whereas the rest (445,130), were foreigners.
Nevertheless, British expats are still increasing their presence in Spain, despite the turmoil. According to the National Statistics Institute (I.N.E.), a total of 391,000 Brits are living in Spain. In 2011, 24,815 Brits decided to move to Spain which is encouraging for the property market, both in terms of sales, and rentals.
I.N.E. statistics include expats, both registered and non-registered, as residents in Spain.
According to a survey due to be published on 24th January in A Place in the Sun magazine's annual 'Ten Best Places to Buy Abroad', traditional sun-seeker's favourite, Spain is still the number one destination that Brits buy homes overseas.
The poll, conducted at the two most recent A Place in the Sun Live exhibitions at Earls Court London and the NEC Birmingham, sees buyers stick with old favourites, and France with its enviable lifestyle and accessibility, maintains second place. Golfers' favourite Portugal came in third and is followed by Italy, where Brits have been snapping up traditional farmhouses for years.
Seven of the top ten destinations are within the Eurozone, with Greece and Malta performing consistently on the wishlists of UK residents looking for a home abroad, and nearby Turkey still popular.
Outside of Europe, USA's popularity increases with the influx of foreclosed and bargain basement homes available in Florida especially.
The only new entry into this year's top ten is the Caribbean, previously the haunt of the rich and famous, with celebrities such as Wayne and Colleen Rooney and Catherine Zeta Jones owning homes there. It seems double-dip recessions don't dent our enthusiasm for a home in a palm-fringed paradise with Barbados seeing nine per cent more arrivals year on year in the first nine months of 2011.
Says Liz Rowlinson, Editor of A Place in the Sun magazine: "What's really interesting about our annual 'Ten Best Places to Buy Abroad' survey is that it shows UK buyers as sticking to tried and tested European countries – yet also willing to travel further to destinations such as Florida and the Caribbean to find their perfect holiday home location."
The UK's ten best overseas property destinations according to A Place in the Sun in 2012 are: