The influx from the USA

A new American demographic is flocking to Mallorca

June 3, 2022. Two hours before flight UA236 departed from Newark, New York, an unusual scene was playing out at gate C136. In honour of the first-ever nonstop service from the US to Mallorca, four smart pilots and seven glamorous flight attendants smiled for photos, set to a backdrop of blue-and-white balloons and flamenco music.

United Airlines had gone all out to make the event a big PR splash, handing out branded passport holders and making speeches about expanding connectivity. It wasn’t all manufactured gaiety. For some of the 204 passengers, a genuine sense of excitement arose not just from the idea of a new European getaway. If regular direct flights from the US to Palma were to stick, it would help further facilitate the possibility of grabbing a second home on the largest Balearic Island.

Fast-forward almost two years and North Americans are arriving to live on Mallorca in ever-increasing numbers. The new route, plus the familiarisation trip undertaken by US journalists earlier in ’22, were a sign of the coming times. Newark Liberty to Son Sant Joan (PMI) flights resumed in summer 2023, aided by strong performance the previous year, and United has announced plans to increase capacity this season. Reports suggest American Airlines is planning a direct route from Miami, too.

US-Spain shift

Artful Living

You don’t have to be an East Coaster to have jumped on the Balearic relocation wave. Canadian artist Julie Mai Haberstroh may face an indirect, longer and more expensive journey if she wants to go back to her homeland. But, the fact she’s now a short hop from grandchildren in Britain played a major part in her decision to move. Haberstroh has lived in several places around the world, but nowhere else ever met all her needs quite like Mallorca. “The island goes beyond meeting any expectations I had,” she says, citing climate, active lifestyle, international feel and variety as some of several sources of delight.

Rich Mallorcan culture and “endless” celebrations have been a welcome surprise, and the Fornalutx resident has fully embraced all of it. “I enjoy hearing a variety of languages around me, and find in general I’m more aligned with the European mentality,” she asserts.

“The familiarisation trip undertaken by US journalists was a sign of the coming times”

Financial Freedom

International Living (IL) positions Mallorca as a prime retirement hotspot by promising ‘Mediterranean Island Life at Half the Cost of the Caribbean.’ To those of us used to hearing how property prices are higher in the Balearics than anywhere in Spain, pitching Mallorca as a steal might seem like an outlandish claim.

For squeezed, strung-out Angelenos or Miamians though, where prices per square foot far outpace the national average, expensive European locations can present an opportunity for a markedly less stressful existence. Even IL contributor Christian Monson, who comes from unglitzy Arkansas, finds prices more reasonable in Mallorca, the place he now calls home. “I pay about $800 a month for my mortgage on a three-bedroom apartment,” he says. Broad influence-peddling publications like Forbes and Condé Nast Traveler fell under the island’s spell long ago. Alongside coverage of FC Barcelona and RCD Mallorca, Forbes is telling its 150-million- strong readership all about Palma’s food scene, ‘the other’ Mallorca, and expat options.

Positive Logistics

Uncertainties continue to swirl around the fate of the Golden Visa. If speculation that the required minimum investment could double to €1 million is proved right, numbers of investment visa applicants could, in future, be curtailed. From the first half of 2019 to the first half of 2022, sales of Spanish homes to Americans jumped by a staggering 88%, according to a report by the General Council of Notaries in Spain. A great many North Americans (76,628, according to official records) have already taken the leap and moved to Spain. Could concern around rising crime rates in North America be at play?

Canadian Nancy Michelle Côté, who was brought up in a quiet suburb on the outskirts of Montreal and now lives in Sóller, said in a 2023 interview that safety was just one of many reasons her family moved, “Mallorca is one of the safest places I have lived, although you do want to keep your eye on your bike!”

Palma’s “green, spacious” co-working spaces, great schools and opportunities for kids all factored into her and her husband’s choice. “Why wouldn’t you want to move to Mallorca, right?” Côté said at the time. Haberstroh wholeheartedly agrees, stating that for her personally, the island has a certain definable quality. “I like how Mallorca has cachet. It helps in my line of work; yet I can choose to live a simple lifestyle.”

Text by Anna Mason  |  Photos by Sara Savage