14 Feb, 2024 @ 14:00
2 mins read

Can I get a 100% mortgage in Spain if I’m British or from the USA? All you need to know about the new ICO scheme

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BUYING property can be inaccessible for many, with the financial burden of putting down a deposit too heavy for some would-be-buyers to bear.  

However, thanks to a new mortgage scheme enacted by the Spanish government last year, legal residents of Spain – no matter where they are from – will soon be able to apply for a government guarantee program that covers the 20% deposit required by most banks, opening the possibility of a 100% mortgage.

The ICO mortgage scheme, as it’s called, is not available to everyone, as it is specifically meant to help young, lower-income people access homeownership, although both foreigners and citizens with legal residency who meet certain income and age criteria are eligible to apply.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced the new scheme on May 7, 2023.

In Spain, it is recommended that you save 30% of the full price of the home you want to buy. Of this, 20% is to secure the mortgage, while 10% is for administrative bills and legal fees.

Organised through the Spanish Official Credit Institute (ICO), the new scheme will cover the 20% needed to secure the mortgage on the homebuyer’s behalf, effectively removing the need to save for a deposit and in effect securing a 100% mortgage.

Through a government mortgage scheme announced last year, qualifying homeowners can get 20% of their mortgage guaranteed. Cordon Press image

Before the ICO scheme, 100% mortgages were difficult to obtain, as few banks are willing to provide them, and those that do have strict criteria making it almost impossible for most prospective homebuyers to qualify. 

But with an ICO guarantee, banks will now be able to provide 100% of the home’s price, 20% of which will be guaranteed by the government.

It should be noted that because the 20% offered by the government is not a loan but a guarantee, those who receive the ICO guarantee must eventually pay it back with interest, in addition to the entirety of the mortgage loan provided by their bank.

As the bill has only been recently approved and is still in its development phase, details of the application process have yet to be formalised, although the government has confirmed that applications will be open until at least the end of 2025. 

Once the process is finalised, ICO mortgage guarantees will be widely available, with 30 of Spain’s most well-known banks, such as Santander, Sabadell, BBVA, Caixa already offering ICO loan services. 

Who is eligible to apply for a 100% mortgage?

In order to qualify for the ICO scheme and have access to a 100% mortgage, applicants must meet the following criteria:

You must be under the age of 35, or be a member of a family with dependent minors, in which case there is no age limit to qualify for the ICO mortgage scheme. 

The mortgage you’re applying for must be your first home, and you must intend to live there for most of the year. 

In order to qualify, your family’s annual income per person must be below €37,800, as the program is intended to help younger and lower income residents purchase their first home. 

For families with dependent minors, household income cannot exceed €83,000 per year, while for two individuals taking out a joint mortgage, this income threshold is €75,800.

And applicants must be legal residents in Spain. That is, they must have either a DNI (national identity document) or NIE (foreigner identification number). 

Additionally, the price of the property in question cannot exceed a certain eligibility threshold. 

This limit varies between autonomous communities, so applicants should consult their given community’s rules before applying. 

Finally, in addition to the requirements for the ICO scheme listed above, applicants must also meet the standard requirements necessary to apply for a mortgage in Spain.

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