More than half a million Spanish homes changed hands in 2017, the most since the credit crisis began in 2008, according to the country’s official figures.

This was a 17 per cent increase on 2016, with British buyers the most active of all non-Spanish nationals, representing 14 per cent of transactions in the second half of 2017. French, German, Romanian, Italian, Belgian and Swedish buyers made up the top seven countries.

Acquisitions by overseas buyers rose by more than 14 per cent compared with 2016, accounting for more than 100,000 of the half-million deals in 2017, the figures showed.

‘The proportion of purchases from people outside the EU was also high,’ reported Euro Weekly News. It cited figures of Moroccan buyers making up 5.5 per cent, Chinese 4.9 per cent and Russians 3 per cent. Moroccan activity jumped by 36 per cent between 2016 and 2017.

Most popular areas for overseas buyers were Valencia, Andalusia and Catalonia, where Barcelona remains a huge attraction for second home buyers and investors.