Spain’s “Golden Visa” through the purchase of commercial real estate

The Spanish “Golden Visa” (investor’s residence permit) opens up the opportunity to move freely in the Schengen area and gives many other preferences; One of the ways to obtain such a residence permit is to buy commercial real estate in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia or on the islands; Why is it often more profitable than investing in housing? What are the features of transactions? What type of object should I choose? What is the likely return? Let’s analyze it in the new material.

«Золотая виза» Испании через покупку коммерческой недвижимости

Investor’s residence permit

The Spanish investor’s residence permit program is still available to Russians and is in high demand. For 2023, statistics have not yet been published, but for 2022 the figures are known – Russian citizens received 1942 “golden visas”, taking third place in this indicator after the Americans and the British. In general, from March 2022 to August 2023, the Russian diaspora grew from 7.5 thousand to 11.5 thousand people.

Wealthy Russians are attracted by the opportunity to travel freely in the Schengen area, live in any EU country, open accounts in foreign banks without problems and store funds on them without restrictions. We talked in more detail about all the advantages and conditions in the material “Golden Visa” of Spain. What gives and how to get it in 2024?” 

There are several ways to participate in the Golden Visa program, but most often applicants for a residence permit choose investments in Spanish real estate. According to the conditions, it is necessary to buy an object worth at least 500,000 euros.

The scheme of distribution of privileged visas in exchange for investments is one of the drivers of the market. Sales of apartments, houses and commercial premises to foreigners are close to peak. Sales to Russians broke the record. In the 1st half of 2023, citizens of the Russian Federation purchased 2,138 objects and ended up in 4th place in the overall ranking among all foreign buyers.

You can invest in both residential and commercial facilities. Moreover, statistics show that demand is gradually shifting towards the latter. According to GSNI, of the 2,138 properties that Russians bought in the 1st half of last year, 1,447 were commercial, that is, 67% of the total.

Let’s figure out what is the reason for such dynamics.

Commercial or residential?

Investing in an office, store or restaurant space is the best option if your goal is to obtain an investor visa, and you do not need to move to Spain in the near future.

«Золотая виза» Испании через покупку коммерческой недвижимости

The main arguments:

  1. Commercial real estate provides passive income without risks and additional hassle. The facilities have been generating profits for years without the participation of an investor. The management company takes care of everything for a nominal amount, within 5% of the rent.
  2. Commercial premises are invulnerable to “payoffs” (everyone knows this problem in Spain). In almost one hundred percent of cases of seizure of other people’s property, we are talking about residential real estate. Obviously, it is extremely difficult to occupy an existing supermarket or pharmacy, and it is unlikely that you will be able to live there comfortably.
  3. It is easier to part with the tenant if there are reasons for that. If your tenant stops paying, then he can be evicted from the commercial premises within a maximum of two months. In the case of residential real estate, such a trick will not work. Courts often turn a blind eye to problems with payment and, to the surprise of the owner, side with the tenant.
  4. The opportunity to save on taxes when buying commercial real estate with an existing lease agreement. At least 7.5% of the cost of the object.

As for the complexity of the procedure, there is no fundamental difference between the purchase of residential and commercial premises. Technically, the transactions do not differ much from each other. More worries arise if the client does not have an alternative residence permit or citizenship other than Russian. It is even more difficult if there is no foreign account. And it is almost fatal if a buyer with a Russian passport cannot confirm his income or is on the sanctions list. It is almost impossible to make such a deal.

Selecting the type of object. Office, restaurant or pharmacy?

Supermarkets and pharmacies, pet stores and veterinary clinics have been in the greatest demand in recent years. Today, they account for more than half of transactions with private investors. The trigger for this trend change was the 2020 pandemic, when many tenants were unable to maintain their business due to lockdown. The owners of the premises suffered heavy losses at that time. The owners of offices and restaurants, of which there are more than ten thousand in tourist Barcelona, were particularly affected. The owners of office space had a hard time.

For this reason, the premises in which tenants sell basic necessities have become particularly in demand among investors. The planning horizon has been greatly reduced in recent years. Powerful new risk factors have emerged. In such circumstances, people prefer to buy properties where the tenant will continue to work under any circumstances.

«Золотая виза» Испании через покупку коммерческой недвижимости

It cannot be said that the profitability of real estate in the Spanish metropolis strongly depends on the type of tenant. The classic risk-return formula works everywhere. The better the facility is located and the more prestigious the tenant in it, the lower the yield and the greater the liquidity. In Spain, we are talking about a profitability of 3-5% per year after paying all taxes and transaction costs (NETTO).

You can significantly improve your income with the help of various development stories. It is preferable to buy proven properties with good characteristics and with the potential for additional cost growth. It is capitalization combined with the stability of the European currency that allows investors to achieve good performance! Naturally, the planning horizon should be at least three, and preferably at least five years. Then, in addition to hedging, you can get an additional 30-50% capitalization at the exit.

Selecting an object directly

  • The most important characteristic of any commercial property is location! Absolutely all investors know about this.
  • A significant criterion, in addition to location, is the tenant: his presence and status. The duration of the contract and the period of mandatory execution of the lease agreement also matter, but this is not a panacea.
  • It is necessary to take into account some of the features of the building and premises itself: view windows, angular location, and the presence of a hood.
  • It is worth making sure that all the necessary permits and licenses are available or there are opportunities to obtain them
  • Of course, when buying, you need to pay attention to the cost per square meter in this particular place.  

If you do not have a link to any region of Spain yet, and you are just planning to enter this market, choose commercial real estate in a large industrial city, where there is no pronounced seasonality, and where life boils all year round. In Spain, Barcelona and Madrid are ideal for investment. You can also consider Valencia and Tenerife.


Commercial real estate in Spain can solve problems at several levels at once. With a competent approach, it will provide stable rental income and further capitalization growth. But, most importantly, investments provide access to a unique set of options, a privileged residence permit for an investor in Spain.

For the last six months, the Spanish authorities, under the onslaught of the European Union, have been actively discussing the issue of tightening or completely banning this immigration program (by the way, last October she turned 10 years old). Our recommendation is to make a decision promptly!

We thank Andrey Karachun, Managing Director of the investment consulting agency Decart Property Investments, for his help in preparing the article.


Leave a Reply

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. By clicking "Accept", you agree to our use of cookies.