So it’s here again! Another Christmas on the Costa del Sol.
Although this is my seventh Christmas in Spain I never can get to grips with it. It’s been warm and sunny throughout December and it’s hard to get into the Christmas spirit when it’s not snowing and cold.
There are illuminations hanging in the streets and shop windows are adorned with trees, tinsel and the usual “grotto” displays but with the sun on your back it all feels out of place.
One thing I have got used to is not having to scrape ice off my car windscreen in the morning. Good luck with that my English friends!
2011 Real Estate Market
The real-estate market has suffered terribly during the last few years but has shown some small signs of recovery in 2011, nothing of significance though. It’s been tough for me to write anything positive over recent months, I hope I didn’t bring any of you down!
Some banks have begun lending again, property prices crept up slightly and Spain saw record numbers of tourists.
Spain elected a new leader – Mariano Rajoy – and I look forward to him doing some good work for the country. Let’s be honest, he couldn’t do much worse than Zapatero did! I hope he keeps the tax on new builds at 4% rather than reverting back to 8% and I hope he doesn’t increase property tax, there are rumours that he will, and this would be devastating for an already wobbly market.
Unemployment in Spain rose to record levels this year and urgent action needs to be taken to stop it continuing. A good suggestion I have for Rajoy is to stop charging a “self-employment tax”. In case you’re not aware, if you want to help yourself out of the crisis and take the initiative to start your own business the Spanish government will charge you around 260€ per month, every month, regardless of your earnings. So if you start a business today but don’t earn anything for the first three months you still have to pay the 260€ per month. It’s a stupid tax that discourages new business. There is no justification for it. You still have to pay income tax and social security on any earnings on top of this tax so what is it for exactly?
The banks in Spain are looking forward to a hard year too. They have assets to move, debts to pay and defaulting loans to claim. They have work to do and with government pressure on them to behave 2012 will surely be a year that the banking industry wont forget in a hurry.
My friends in the mortgage world have hinted at some good news coming early in the new year and I look forward to spreading some positivity.
I will also be publishing some interviews in the new year from people within the real-estate market including agents and developers and I’ll try for some councillors too. If you think you have something to say that is relevant to the market, or you know someone that has, please let me know. I’m always looking for new content and this blog reaches thousands every week (which surprises me!) so send me stuff.
I am on holiday from 6pm today until Jan 3rd so there wont be many posts over the next 10 days. I will try to write some though and if anything important happens I will definitely post. However, not much happens in real-estate over the holiday so don’t hold your breath!
So I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year! See you in 2012!