Buying a property in Spain?

The economic uncertainty in Europe seems to be all I write about these days as it has had, and is continuing to have, a dramatic effect on property sales.

With the crisis continuing the cost of a home on the Costa del Sol has almost halved (compared to five years ago). Bargains can be found all along the coast from Gibraltar to Malaga and with the banks repossessing more and more properties the availability of these bargains seems unlikely to dry up.

As unemployment spreads (Spain currently has the highest unemployment in Europe at over 22%, the highest for 15 years) the banks are dealing with an ever growing list of defaulting clients who can no longer keep up with repayments. This is good news for buyers that are new to the market and who are looking to purchase a discounted property especially as a few Spanish banks are now beginning to lend again.

Bank repossessed properties can be offered for as much as 40% below market value although some banks have been accused of “marking up” prices in order to cover their own expenses. I’m not aware of any proof of these allegations, yet, and of course the banks deny this. Some banks will only agree to lend if you’re purchasing one of their properties. In this case I would suggest getting an independent valuation on the property to ensure the bank is playing it straight. Cash buyers are in a stronger position as they are not reliant on the banks to finance their purchase and therefore can receive bigger discounts. If you are a cash buyer my advice would be to keep this to yourself until a sale price has been confirmed or you may not get the level of discount you expected.

New properties don’t come with such discounts but with the reduction in VAT for new properties, introduced in August, you could still make substantial savings. The reduction from 8% to 4% was introduced to attempt to reduce the growing number of unsold properties and try to breathe life into the struggling market. However, the reduction is only temporary and the rate will revert back to 8% in the new year (newly elected Rajoy has made reference to extending this reduction but has not confirmed anything yet).

Regular “subastas” (auctions) are held in various locations along the coast and these are another good place to pick up a property bargain. Some banks send their properties for auction at these events but private sellers are also able to list their homes. There are many auction houses on the coast so the easiest way to find one is to do a web search for the town nearest to you for example “property auction Marbella”. Alternatively contact any Spanish bank to enquire about their repossessed properties.

If you decide to go down the auction route then beware – auctions can be a battlefield and spontaneous decisions can end up costing you more than you planned (Sit on your hands if you don’t intend to bid. A casual eye-scratch could cost you your life savings!). Fix a budget and do not exceed it. Be sure the property you’re bidding on is the right one, is in good condition, with all due diligence, licences and paper work in place and available to view. It’s not always possible to view a property prior to the event but if you can you most definitely should.

If you choose the real-estate agent route then remember that there are thousands of real-estate agents covering the Costa del Sol so be sure to look at as many as you can. Many agents use a system by which they share property listings so a property listed by Estate Agent 1 may well also be listed by agent 2, agent 3 and agent 4. Most agents do list a number of exclusive properties as well.

There are definitely bargains to be had at the moment. Follow my checklist to ensure you get the best deal:

  1. Decide what you want – apartment, villa, studio etc
  2. Where do you want to live? Coastal or inland?
  3. Where do you want to live? The Costa del Sol stretches over 200 kilometres and one end is very different to the other. The majority of ex-pats are to be found between Benalmadena and Estepona. This includes Marbella, Puerto Banus, Nueva Andalucia, Fuengirola.
  4. What is your budget? Decide and stick to it. Do not be pressured with sales tactics assuring you that an extra 10k will get you a palace.
  5. What is your time frame? Are you ready to buy now or is this a long term plan? The price of a property today is likely to be very different from the price next month or next year. Currently prices are steadily slipping but one month of good growth could bring enough encouragement and confidence to the market to increase prices.
  6. New or resale? Do you want to buy a new build or a resale? Following the many corruption trials that have taken place in Spain my most important advice would be to ensure the property has the correct licences in place, whether is it new or old. Older buildings in Spain tend to have no heating and, to be honest, pretty poor construction. Ensure you carry out the necessary surveys on any resale property. New properties are just that; new. Nobody has lived in them so there may be unforeseen problems. If there are occupied properties within the same development then try to talk to the residents – ask them about the property and any known issues.
  7. Fees. Be sure you are made aware (ask to be really sure) about community fees, and local taxes. Community fees are in place to pay for gardeners, refuse disposal, access roads, lighting etc. Costs vary from development to development. I would suggest including a figure of 100€ per month in your overall budget. It may be less, it may be more. Ask.
  8. Your signature. Many agents will ask you to sign a client agreement prior to viewing any properties. This is in case a property you view through them is listed by a third party (for example another agent) in which case they are likely to have to split the sales commission between them. You are the bread and butter for the agents. If you don’t buy they don’t get paid so remember that when you’re listening to the pitch.
  9. Your current property. If your purchase is dependent on the sale of your current home then be careful not to sign or commit to anything until you are sure your own sale is complete. It’s not uncommon for people to sign for a new property assuming that their own property deal is complete, only to be gazumped at the last minute leaving a rather nasty double mortgage payment.
  10. Payment. Are you a cash buyer or will you need a mortgage? Mortgage rates are not too favourable at the moment and getting a mortgage at all is not easy. There are some banks that are lending so shop around. Check the Euribor rate (http://www.euribor-ebf.eu) regularly as Spanish banks base their fees on this. Cash buyers will always be in  a better position to negotiate as they are not relying on anyone else for finance.

Buying a property in any country can be a long and daunting task. Be careful, be sure what you want and don’t be swayed. Look around and take your time. There are savings to be made!

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Sales figures lowest since 2005

Property sales fell in the third quarter of 2011 by 31.9% (84,852 transactions) compared to the same period of 2010, representing the lowest figures recorded by the Association of Property Registrars since 2005.

The agency noted that the decline was influenced by the ongoing economic crisis and record unemployment, despite reductions in house prices and mortgage availability.

Of the total number of residential properties sold between July and September less than half (41,734) were resale properties.

New home sales figures stood at 43,118. This is slightly higher than the figures for the previous quarter, which showed a record low, partly due to the reduction in VAT for new home purchases from 8% to 4% which was introduced in August

All the autonomous regions experienced a drop in sales figures, with the best results seen in Andalusia with 17,170 sales, followed by Madrid with 12,241. Valencia and Catalonia followed with  11,743 and 11,220, respectively.

La Rioja saw the biggest fall with a 58.6% drop. Galicia also fell by over 50%.

Many regions were below the national average including Basque Country (31.1%), Catalonia (30.4%), Madrid (29.7%), Extremadura (29.5%), Valencia (28.8%), Andalusia (28.6%), the Balearic Islands (27.7%), Cantabria (25.6%), Navarra (14.5%) and the Canary Islands (13.6%).

 

The Property Investor Show 2012 – Dates Confirmed

property investor show 2012Dates:  19 – 20 April 2012
Location:  ExCeL London

The major event of the 2012 Spring season will be The Property Investor Show at ExCeL London.

Since launch in 2002, this exhibition has established itself as “the benchmark event for the property investment sector” with a reputation for innovation – and this year will be no exception with a ‘live’ property auction and other first time features.

As always this exhibition will include a comprehensive programme of seminars and conferences presented by speakers recognized as experts in their respective fields.

As the ONLY major property investment event taking place in London during the first half of 2012- it is a “must attend” event in the diaries of the UK’s serious investors and trade professionals. While it’s international element attracts visitors from across the world.

Click Here for full details and booking information.

MIPIM – The world’s premier real estate event for professionals

mipimMIPIM is the world’s leading real estate exhibition and conference. It brings together the most influential real estate professionals to explore major international property development projects, connect with potential partners, and strike deals over 4 intensive days.

Dates: 6 – 9 March, 2012

Location: Palais des Festivals – Cannes, France

Register now to join over 18,000 real estate professionals expected to attend, MIPIM 2012 is going to be one of the hottest events of the year!

Visitor registration package includes:

  • Full access to the exhibition zone, conference sessions, networking events and matchmaking sessions
  • Access to the MIPIM online database from January 2012
  • Access to the Business Lounge
  • Listing of your company and delegates in the MIPIM event directory (for registrations received before January 31, 2012 only)
  • Free copies of the MIPIM Guide and MIPIM Preview magazine

Visitor registration

Exhibitors registration includes:

  • Registration for 4 full-time employees
  • Discounted rate for additional employees
  • Carpeting, partitioning walls, basic furniture, sign posting, electricity, basic lighting, power supply and daily cleaning
  • Full access to conferences and official networking events
  • Company and delegates listing in the MIPIM event directory (for registrations received before January 31, 2012 only)
  • Access to the MIPIM online database from January 2012

To book an exhibitor stand contact laurianne.dicecca@reedmidem.com

More information on the official website: MIPIM Website

Madrid Real Estate Exhibition – Winter Edition

SIMASIMA Winter Edition is a commercial show that lets exhibitors make contact with qualified and segmented buyers and small investors interested in buying residential properties.

Both consumers and private investors attend this show.

Dates: 24-26 February 2012

Location: Ifema – Parque Ferial Juan Carlos, Feria de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Official Website:
www.simaexpo.com

Info and registration:
SIMA ESPECIAL INVIERNO

3 Bed Apartment For Sale – Nueva Andalucía

3 Bed Apartment For Sale in Nueva Andalucía – Ref: MFSA444

3 Bed Apartment For Sale - Magna Marbella

Price: 585,000€

Spacious middle floor apartment for sale in Nueva Andalucía, Marbella. The property has 3 Bedrooms and 2 Bathrooms. The apartment is built to 135 m² with an additional 25 m² terrace. Setting : Frontline Golf, Commercial Area, Close To Golf, Close To Town. Orientation : East. Condition : Excellent. Pool : Communal.

View full property details and more photos

For more information or to arrange a viewing of this property please contact us using the details below.

Tel: +34 952 907 386 | Mov: 627 979 440
Property For Sale in Marbella
info@marbella-resales.com

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3 Bed Apartment For Sale – Bahía de Marbella

3 Bed Apartment For Sale in Bahía de Marbella – Ref: MFSA445

3 Bed Apartment For Sale in Bahia de Marbella

Price: 495,000€

All very spacious 3 bedrooms, two en-suite bathrooms, ample living room with lounge area and big terraces covert for everyday use, fully fitted kitchen with integrated appliances, alarm, safe, under-floor heating in all bathrooms and hot and cold air conditioning throughout. The wall, floors and roofs of the housing are perfectly isolated and all the rooms have big windows with a double soundproofed glass.

View full property details and more photos

For more information or to arrange a viewing of this property please contact us using the details below.

Tel: +34 952 907 386 | Mov: 627 979 440
Property For Sale in Marbella
info@marbella-resales.com

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Las Lomas de Magna Marbella

The development of Las Lomas de Magna Marbella comprises 18 luxury villas in Marbella located in the prestigious urbanization Las Lomas de Marbella Club, next to the palace of King Fahd, right in the Golden Mile of Marbella.

All the villas are fully equipped with the necessary details to ensure a secure and comfortable life: whirlpool, alarm installation throughout the home, safety glass, lift, etc.

Prices start from 1,450,000€

For more information or to view one of these wonderful properties please call Marbella For Sale now on +34 952 907 386 or email us at info@marbellaforsale.com.

Visit Marbella For Sale for more property for sale in Marbella.

Winter getaway to the coast

Costa del Sun
There's no frost here!

As Europe descends into winter many people are looking for some winter warmth.

Each year thousands of tourists flock to the Costa del Sol to grab a bit of guaranteed sun. With average winter temperatures around 18° C you are far more likely to get a Christmas tan on the Mediterranean coast than in most other European destinations.

Right now the weather is good – dry and sunny. During the day the sun shines warm through the clear blue skies. There is a chilly wind gently blowing but you only really feel it when you step out of the sun.

The beaches around Marbella are busy but not crowded. The soft sand of Marbella’s coast is always attractive to both tourists and residents alike and at this time of year, after a short lull, start to fill up with winter travellers.

Over the weekend I went for  a bike ride along the beach front from San Pedro de Alcantara to Marbella and it was perfect. The sun kept me warm while the sea breeze gently blew in. The waves lapped at the rocks and the sand and the sun glistened on the surface. I saw many occupied sun-loungers on the sand and even a few daring swimmers. I’m not going to pretend the sea is warm at this time of year, it certainly is not, but it’s tolerable for the hardy (or is that foolhardy?). The “paseo” (promenade) is very popular with walkers, cyclists and runners. It’s wide enough for two-way traffic and is good enough for older folk who enjoy a walk but need a level surface.

Life on the coast doesn’t stop just because it gets dark early (around 7:30pm) and Marbella and Puerto Banus continue to bubble throughout the winter. Some bars and restaurants close a little earlier but the majority do not. There is a huge amount of trade to be had over Christmas as the queues of planes deposit their sun-seeking cargo.

There is always a chance of rain during the winter months. We have already had some. Last week we had a months rain in one day (probably an exaggerated  estimate) causing flooding, and mess. When the rain comes it comes hard and fast and this often has an affect on everyone. The Spanish roads are not very good at coping with the sudden flow (even though it happens every year and is no surprise) and underpasses flood and many become impassable. If it rains while you’re here and you don’t have to go out then I suggest staying inside.

So choose – stay home, scrape the ice of your car before work, wear a scarf and gloves and trudge through the snow OR pack a bag, book a budget flight and come to Marbella. Spend your Christmas warm and relaxed. Enjoy your turkey on the beach front and start the new year relaxed and tanned.

The search for work leads out of Spain

The number of people leaving Spain to look for work is now greater than the number of immigrants who arrive in the country in search of a job.

The National Statistics Institute, INE, has calculated that half a million people have left Spain this year, of whom more than 50,000 are Spaniards. Meanwhile the number of immigrants to arrive in 2008 and 2009 was down by more than 50%. The general sub-director of the INE considers that the exodus will continue until 2020.

450,000 people are expected to arrive in Spain this year, compared to the 580,850 who will leave the country in search of work.

Since 2008 the deterioration of the Spanish labour market has been unstoppable, with unemployment reaching 21.52%, and few think that number has reached its peak.

Currently foreigners represent 10.28% of the total number of people affiliated to the Spanish Social Security system.

The Partido Popular is expected to overturn the legislation which allows an immigrant who has been in the country for three years to apply for residency. If the immigrant has been in an illegal situation for those three years, the PP plans to deny the residency option.

Currently there are 5,144,269 immigrants living legally in Spain with current residency papers. Of those 2,476,334 come from the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, and the rest, 2,667,935 come from countries such as Morocco, Ecuador, Colombia, China, Bolivia and Peru among others.

From Typically Spanish