• A Francoist law has been revoked that stopped the sale of homes to British in the Vega Baja and Costa Calida

The Ministry of Defence has removed the obligation that foreigners from outside the EU must request permission to buy a house in parts of the Vega Baja and Costa Calida, after pressure from developers

As of 2 July Spain no longer requires non-EU buyers to seek a special permit from the Ministry of Defence in order to buy property within areas considered to be within strategic defence points.

The announcement was made on Friday by the Alicante Association of Promoters (Provia), which last January denounced the regulations saying that they could stop at least 800 annual purchases in the Alicante Province alone.

A spokesman for the group said it had been made possible thanks to the joint efforts of the General Directorate of Tourism, the Alicante Chamber of Commerce and Alicante socialist deputies, who have managed to convince the Ministry of the negative impact that the procedure had, both economically and on the image of the country.

The law was drafted in the last year of the Franco regime as a way to protect national security by preventing strategic sites being bought up by foreigners. It came into effect under Royal Decree 689 published in 1978 and has only now been revoked.

Locally, the areas affected included Torrevieja, Orihuela Costa, San Miguel de Salinas Pilar de la Horadada, and much of the Vega Baja, along with the Costa Calida and Mazarron, which, due to their proximity to the naval base in Cartagena all fall within the military zone.

The order, issued by the Ministry of Defence, now establishes that in those municipalities affected by the regulation, even if the land has been approved in a partial plan or is classified as urban land, it will no longer be necessary to apply for a military permit. Only those homes that are on undeveloped land will now have to request this permit.

Until now, for non nationals and non EU members, the obligation to obtain authorisation meant providing a whole battery of documentation, including a police clearance certificate from the purchaser’s country of origin, and usually much more. All needed to be duly translated and, at least in duplicate, with many buyers having to wait between 6 and 8 months to complete the sales process.

After the UK left the EU on 1 January following BREXIT, Spanish Promoters and Realtors quickly realised the catastrophic effect that the legislation would have on their principal market and although Provia have been contesting the regulations for many years, added pressure from the Ministry of Tourism saw the Ministry of Defence recommend the retraction of the Royal decree.