Spain outlines €20 billion of savings in budget

Social spending is the biggest casualty of Spain’s latest raft of austerity measures, announced in the budget.

As many as 43 new laws to reform the economy will be pushed through in the next six months in an effort to find €20 billion of savings, including measures to limit early retirement.

Spain’s finance minister Luis de Guindos confirmed the gap between legal and actual retirement ages will be reduced as the pension system adapts to longer life-spans.

The government will also take €3 billion from the pension reserve, with 60% of the savings expected to come from spending cuts.

Spending at government ministries is to be slashed by 12.2% in order to save €4.3 billion, while public sector wages will be frozen for a third year.

Debt servicing costs will be €38.6 billion in 2013, while tax increases will include a 20% gambling tariff.

De Guindos insists the budget measures exceed EU expectations, and added that Spain will continue to analyse the conditions of the ECB bond buying programme before making a decision on a bailout request.

Article source: The Olive Press

Hotel Bookings down 2.1% in August

Overnight stays in hotels in Spain registered a decline of 2.1% in August, despite the record increase in the number of foreign visitors. 40.8 million bookings were made in the eighth month of the year, which was 2.1% less than the same period of 2011, due to the fall in domestic demand.

The 3.5% rise in overnight stays by foreign tourists could not compensate for the 10% decrease in those made by residents, the National Statistics Institute reported on Monday.

Last month, the average stay was four nights per traveller, with a rise of 1.1%, despite the 0.8% annual increase in the Hotel Price Index, which took the revenue per occupied room to an average value of 84.6 euros (2.8 euros more than last year) and revenue per available room to 59.7 euros (0.4 euros more).

In August, 70.7% of the places available were booked, which was 2.6% less than a year earlier, while weekend occupancy was 72.6%, down 3.6%.

Foreign tourists accounted for 25.25 million of the overnight stays in August, compared with 15.56 million made by Spanish residents. The United Kingdom and Germany lead the ranking, with more than 12.5 million stays in August, making up 49.6% of the total, and Russia has now become the fifth source market, with a 29.7% increase in overnight stays, and 6.1% of the total.

El Pais reported that the Balearic Islands were confirmed as the main destination chosen by non-residents, with an increase of 4.5% compared to August 2011, followed by Catalonia (+6.4%) and the Canary Islands (+0.3%).

Travellers resident in Spain mostly chose to go to Andalusia, Valencia and Catalonia, although these regions recorded year-on-year declines in overnight stays of 6.9%, 4.7% and 11.9%, respectively.

Article source:

Average mortgage value fell 10.5% in July

According to figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), the average value of mortgages  for homes approved in July fell 10.5% to an average of 98,892€, compared to July 2011.

Overall, the average value of all mortgages constituted in Spain during July decreased 19.4% in the inter-annual rate with the average falling to 99,157€.

The main points of the press release are below.

During the month of July, the average amount of mortgage constitutions recorded in the land registries stood at 99,157 euros, a figure 19.4% lower than the same month the previous year and 19.0% lower than that recorded in June 2012.

In the case of mortgages constituted for dwellings, the average amount was 98,892 euros, 10.5% less than in July 2011, and 8.0% lower than that registered in June 2012.

The value of the mortgages constituted on urban properties was 3,858 million euros in July, indicating an interannual decrease of 28.9%. In dwellings, the capital loaned exceeded 2,402 million euros, 26.2% less.

Mortgages by institution

Banks were the institutions that granted the largest number of mortgage loans in July (74.3% of the total), followed by Savings Banks (10.2%) and Other financial institutions (15.5%).

Regarding the capital loaned, Banks granted 71.9% of the total, Savings Banks 11.1%, and Other financial institutions 17.0%.

Mortgage interest rates

The average interest rate for the total of mortgage loans was 4.27%, indicating a 0.2% less than July 2011. Regarding dwellings, the average interest rate was 4.24%, representing an annual variation of 1.8%.

By institution, the average interest rate of Savings Bank mortgage loans was 4.34%, and the average term was 22 years. Regarding Banks, the average interest rate for mortgage loans was 4.38%, and the average term was 21 years.

92.1% of the mortgages constituted in July used a variable interest rate, as opposed to the 7.9% that used a fixed rate. The Euribor was the reference interest rate most used in constituting mortgages, specifically in 85.4% of new contracts.

You can download the full press release here: Mortgage Statistics – July 2012

Mortgage and finance update

IMS - International Mortgage SolutionsThis week has seen a number of mixed messages coming out of Spain.

On a positive note Q2 saw the highest amount of property sales to foreign buyers recorded for 4 years.

On a more negative note,( dependant which side of the fence you are on), house prices continued to drop reaching 2004 levels, with an expectation prices will drop further over the next 12 months. It has always been my personal view that prices would need to drop to 2002 levels before any sort of recovery happened and we are looking very much like we are heading this way.

The Spanish independent Bank audits are due out this week with the Spanish Government stating that the amount of cash required will be in line with the previously expected 60 billion however other sources are rumoring the situation has worsened since the initial figures were published and that the amount of extra capital required could be as high as 120 billion Euros.

The 12 month Euribor for September for mortgage completions and reviews dropped to 0.87% the lowest ever recorded level with all indications suggesting a further drop in October.

Mortgage pricing has remained stable since the last round of increase in margins which took place late July and early August. Average margins above Euribor being granted are around 3.25%.

There has been no visible relaxing of criteria’s by the Banks and in the medium term this is highly unlikely to happen particularly given that part of the deal for releasing emergency capital includes a change to their overall regulation.

The Bank of Spain requirements on due diligence of mortgage applications remains historically high. Paperwork requirements for “ know your client rules” and the level of evidence a Bank must hold on file to justify lending is extreme even for low loan to values. Mortgages are still being granted but applicants can expect to be requested to supply extensive evidence of affordability including what appears to be various duplication in paperwork requirements.

International Mortgage Solutions

Things to do on your Spain trip

Guest post by Andy Butler

Spanish tapas
Tapas are very popular across Spain

If you have decided to head to Spain on your next holiday, here are few ways that can make your Spain trip easy, fun and memorable. Spain, being home to some popular cities of Europe, has all the ingredients for that perfect holiday. Madrid, Barcelona, and Cordoba are some of the few beautiful places to see in Spain. A lot of planning must go in the trip to Spain to explore its beauty to the fullest. Here are few things you could do in Spain.

Traveling around Spain

Buses and trains are a great way to travel inside the cities. In Madrid and Barcelona, the underground metro systems are safe and easy to use. They are pretty cheap and quick too. Use this mode of public transport to get to your destinations safely and quickly in Spain. The metros also have easy-to-understand maps which can guide you easily. Moreover, trains and buses are the best way to explore a new city.

Must see places

Though there is plenty to do in Spain, here are few places you just cannot afford to miss. ThePlaya de Las Catedrales Beach in Galicia has beautiful rock formations along its shores. The Sitges offers a beautiful beach and some great nightlife spots around the beach. The Alhambra Palace in Granada with its red-bricked walls is a fantastic sight. Costa Brava houses the Salvador Dali Theatre Museum which is famous for its interesting architecture.

Food habits in Spain

The Spanish believe in a modest breakfast and an enormous lunch. Coffee is almost like a morning ritual and can be found easily in any of the coffee shops which open by 7 in the morning. The famous term ‘Tapas’ owes its origin to Spain. Tapas is a small dish served with a drink. The dish could be just anything. A cheese and ham toast with a fine tasting glass of wine is tapas. ‘Go for Tapas’ is a famous term in Spain. So do not look confused if you hear it too often.

Art and culture

Flamenco is a form of art that combines dancing, use of guitar, singing and handclaps. Make sure you witness one of these finest forms of art unique to Spain. There are events which organize these or you could find it happening in any of the restaurants.


There are some very famous festivals that take place in Spain. So you could plan your holiday around that time to witness some unbelievably beautiful customs. The Semanta Santa, Pamplona Bull race, and the La Tomatina are some major events that take place which one has to experience in a lifetime.

Speak Spanish

Learn a few common Spanish phrases. They could be useful in restaurants and shopping areas and at the same time fun too. Hola is used for greeting people. Si, Gracias, and favor are used mean yes, Thank you and please respectively. Spanish people are very polite and would love to have you greet them this way.

Author bio: Andy Butler is an expert associated with Burger Davis SIR, an international realty company that offers a range of luxury real estate in France and worldwide. If you are looking for luxury villas for rent in France Burger Davis Sotheby’s International Realty offers great deals for holiday homes.

Fancy a holiday in Mauritius?

MauritiusLong haul luxury travel company, Hayes & Jarvis, are offering a prize of a 6 night holiday in Mauritius.

To win, all you need to do is send them your best holiday photos and they will select a winner from all submissions they receive.

Here is what you need to know…

Share your holiday experience and win a holiday

  • The holiday is 6 nights for two people in the four star Maratim hotel in Mauritius, return flights with Air Mauritius are included
  • Photos should be sent to
  • Photos should be at least 1MB in size
  • Photos should include a brief description including the location and date the picture was taken, also your address, name and telephone number
  • The closing date is 31st December 2012
  • The winner will be notified within 30 days of this closing date

Good luck!


Top Tourist Attractions in Malaga, Spain

Guest post by Irina Chirilov

MalagaMalaga is one of the largest Spanish cities; it is located in the South of Spain, in Andalucia, being the capital of the MalagaProvince. The entire Costa del Sol has a Mediterranean climate and for this reason a lot of tourists come and spend great summer vacations there.

Malaga is a city that was built by the Phoenicians close to 3,000 years ago; during the Roman Empire it was one considered a confederated City of Rome. Nowadays it is one of the top world tourism capitals, and its importance is growing continually.

Malaga attracts tourists with its beaches, the possibility of hiking, its architecture, the art museums, the great places for shopping and the excellent cuisine. You can get to Malaga by bus, by train, by car, by plane, by boat or even by taxi. In fact Malaga has the third biggest airport in Spain.

What is there to see and visit?

1. One of the most recommended places to go to is the Alcazaba Fortress. It was built in 1040 by King Badis from the Zirid dynasty, who was thus trying to protect his family from invaders. The fortress was raised up on a hill.

2. Castillo de Gibralfaro represents the ruins of a Moorish castle, which has an unknown origin. It was built during the Phoenician Punic period and it is open for visitors between 9:00 and 18:00, the price for the entrance ticket being just under two Euros.

3. Another top tourist attraction in Malaga is the RomanTheatre, which was raised in the first century B.C. and is located close to the Alcazaba Fortress. The Theatre was used for entertainment for about four centuries now, even though the Moors used some of the remains of the theatre to build some fortresses nearby. The theatre ruins were found in 1951, when the authorities were planning to build a new garden in the region.

4. The Museum of Glass and Crystal in Malaga is located in an 18th century palace and contains a private collection of artistic glass and crystal pieces coming from various historical periods and cultures. The entrance fee is 4 Euros, and this guarantees you the possibility of touring the museum with the help of a certified guide.

5. The Cocodrilos Park is the place where you will have the chance to see about 300 crocodiles of different species. The Park is open all year long and it consists of eight lakes, an African village, a museum, an audiovisual room, a nursery for baby crocodiles, a fortress that was built using the African Sahara style and a playground for kids.

6. The natural monument Canyon of Buitreras is a spectacular narrow gorge that has been formed due to the action of the river Guadiaro. This natural marvel has its origins in the Jurassic period, and the tourists visiting it have all talked about the awe that the canyon inspires. It is the perfect place to go if you are looking for spectacular, natural landscapes that are both wild and awesome. A lot of accommodation possibilities are offered to tourists coming to visit the canyon and the prices start from few Euros per night for a regular bedroom.

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, besides all these unique and wonderful places to visit while in Malaga, you will also be charmed by its excellent cuisine; you will have the opportunity to eat not only special Malaga dishes, but also some of the best international ones.

Author bio: Irina Chirilov is a blogger for Thrifty Bucharest Romania, a car rental agency that represents Dollar Thrifty Car Rentals in Eastern Europe.

Spain’s Top 5 Music festivals

Guest post by Jonathan Gordon

Whilst Spain is a country that is very wealthy in both culture and tradition which has been well-preserved over the years to honour their heritage, one area which has been adapted and improved is music. Here is a quick list of some of the music festivals in Spain you may want to attend.

Festival # 1 WoMAD Festival in Caceres, Extremadura
WOMAD Caceres 2012Spelled out as World of Music, Arts, and Dance, WoMad is an international music festival that is commonly celebrated in over twenty-seven countries and islands all over the globe including Spain. It is usually held in May of every year. It is considered as one of the best music festivals in Spain because of its wide variety of music artists and dancers all over the country to make this event the one of the greatest music festivals in Spain. Almost one thousand artists perform in the festival for about 1,000,000 people that celebrate this festival. Attendees include the citizens naturally living in the country as well as tourists from different countries who want to explore the wonders of Spain.

Festival # 2 Viña Rock in Villarobledo
This music festival may be considered as another one of the best music festivals in Spain. One of the things that make this festival great is that this is mainly a local festival for the local people, so it is teeming with local culture. It is usually held in the month April. It can be described as a mega rock and pop music festival that is attended by thousands of people that enjoy the fun and excitement of a festival that they can truly call their own. Tourists are welcome to attend and experience a truly one-of-a-kind festival.

Festival # 3 Festimad in Madrid
Usually held during the late part of April and in early May, Festimad can be considered as one of the most popular music festivals in Spain. This alternative rock festival is attended by hundreds of music artists that come from Spain and from other countries. It also features different artists in that are involved in cinema, graffiti art, and talent performances. The festival is a combination of diverse talented artists from all over the world, even though it primarily focuses on performers of the Spanish culture. Attended by approximately 25,000 people each year, this is a music festival that is worth attending.

Festival # 4 Primavera Sound in Barcelona
Every year, approximately 100,000 to 500,000 people, this music festival is also one of the best in Spain. With such diverse music genres that can be enjoyed, people of all ages have come to love this festival. It is usually held in late May or early June. This festival is full of big acts that the people of Spain never get tired of and it happens just before the Benicassim International Music Festival.

Festival #5 Benicassim International Music Festival in Benicassim (between Barcelona and Valencia)
Also known as Festival Internacional de Benicassim (FIB), this festival is one of the best music festivals ever held in Spain. The Benicassim music festival is usually held in July and boasts some of the biggest rock and pop bands. Dance acts as well as various other artist performances can also be experienced during the festival. This is why almost 50,000 people attend the music festival every year and continues to attract many more thousands of people.

Author Bio: Jonathan is a freelance copywriter who writes for a variety of websites and organisations including providers of cheap European flights.

Immerse into the Hypnotizing Festival of the Flowers in Cordoba

Great care is taken on all the displays
Great care is taken on all the displays

Spain is the most flamboyant precious gem in the glamorous crown of Europe. Spain is like colourful fireworks in the night sky – warm, fragrant and mesmerizing. They say that people living in the south know better how to appreciate life and how to bring out all the delights of it. If you are hungry for unique impressions that an unfamiliar culture will heap you with, Spain is your alluring destination.

If you happen to be in Spain during the glamorous and reviving spring, in May to be more precise, you should definitely include Cordoba in your tourist route. May is the month of the endless festivities in Cordoba, abundant with countless relishes for the senses. Patios, facades and balconies are splendidly decorated with literally tons of flowers, the air is filled with music and the restaurants are serving delicious Andalusian dishes. Spring is at its height, addictive as an opiate for all the guests of the vibrant city. Especially hypnotizing is the night Cordoba – breezy, with illuminated patios and walls, pulsing and alive.

May is the month when in Cordoba four festivals dedicated to flowers and spring are held annually. Concurso Popular De Patios chooses the most beautiful patio and lasts for 10 days. The participants, the local citizens, decorate their homes, the patios and the streets with various flower compositions. Part of the inner courtyards are open to the public only during the festival days. In order to understand the essence of this celebration, you need to know more about the specific architecture of the city. Due to the hot and dry climate, all the Andalusian houses have patios (inner courtyards) – a practice which had been started in Roman times and continues today. Filling these patios with lush greenery, pools and fountains was the way that people kept themselves cool during the harsh heat. This is how the patios have turned into a genuine oasis of beauty.

Financed by the Cordoba Municipality since 1918, this tradition makes Cordoba look like a fairy tale, bathed in flowers and light. Flowers are everywhere: hanging in pots, crawling on the walls, decorating the balconies, along the streets and the cafes, looking like colourful explosions and making you feel dizzy from their bright beauty. Cordoba in May is the Garden of Eden on Earth – you simply can’t stop contemplating the eyeful. Can you imagine a more romantic place to ask your girl to marry you? There is no reasonable explanation why flowers create such a sensuality in women, yet one thing is certain – flowers are the obligatory company for every special moment, expression of gratitude and metaphor for loveliness and delicate beauty of women.

The culture of Spain is strongly intertwined with flowers – these lovely magical plants, reminder of nature’s majesty and power to create perfection. And if you want to demonstrate your fond feelings for someone, to express this wide and rich palette of kind feelings, like love, care, wishes, politeness, appreciation and so on, flowers are playing the role of your personal expression; the message cannot be misinterpreted being more clear than anything else.

Statistics on transfer of property rights – July 2012.

In July, the number of property transfers registered at notary was 133,144 which represent a 3.9% increase over the same period last year.

This is according to figures released by the National Institute of Statistics which also showed that the number of homes transferred in July was 2.5% lower than in the same month last year.

The press release is below.

The number of property transfers recorded in the land registries, from public deeds previously registered, was 133,144 in July, that is, 3.9% more than for the same month in 2011, and 2.2% higher than in June 2012.

In the case of registered merchantings of property, the number of transfers was 57,344, representing an interannual decrease of 0.6%, and an increase of 5.3%, as compared with the previous month.

Merchantings recorded in the land registries

86.5% of the registered merchantings corresponded to urban properties and 13.5% to rustic properties. Among the urban properties, 55.2% were merchantings of dwellings.

The number of merchantings of rustic properties increased 1.2% in the interannual rate in July, while that of urban properties decreased 0.8%. Within the latter, merchantings of dwellings decreased 2.5%.

Registered merchantings of dwellings, by protection system and status

87.6% of transfers of dwellings by merchanting in July were free housing, and 12.4% were protected housing. In interannual terms, the number of transfers of free dwellings by merchanting decreased 2.5%, the same figure than protected housing.

48.5% of the dwellings transferred by merchanting in July were new, and 51.5% were used. The number of transactions on new dwellings decreased 0.2% and the number of used dwellings decreased 4.6%, as compared with July 2011.

You can download the full press release here: Statistics on Transfer of Property Rights – July 2012