Spain’s Great Recession 2008-2014 Reply

youth unemployment protest

Curious about the Spanish economic crisis? This Wikipedia article will bring you quickly up to date. One of the most egregious consequences of the recession is the 50% youth unemployment rate.

Wikipedia.org–The Great Recession in Spain[1][2] began in 2008 during the world financial crisis of 2007–08. In 2012 it made Spain a late participant in the European sovereign debt crisis when the country was unable to bailout its financial sector and had to apply for a €100 billion rescue package provided by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). The main cause of Spain’s crisis was its enormous housing bubble and the accompanying artificial and unsustainably high GDP growth rate. One side effect was that ballooning tax revenues (from the artificially high GDP growth rate) concealed the Spanish government’s expenditures, which were unsustainably high, until 2007.[3] The Spanish government supported the critical development by relaxing supervision of the financial sector and thereby allowing the banks to violate International Accounting Standards Board standards. So the banks in Spain were able to hide losses and earnings volatility, mislead regulators, analysts, and investors, and thereby finance the Spanish real estate bubble.[4] The results of the crisis were devastating for Spain, including a strong economic downturn, a severe increase in unemployment, and bankruptcies of major companies.[5]

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Podemos Targets Goldman Sachs’s Speculation in Social Housing in Spain 2

Podemos vs. Goldman

Estéban Duarte writes for Bloomberg.com–The anti-austerity party Podemos, leading Spanish polls less than a year before the next election, is targeting Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)’s purchase of social housing in Madrid, saying it’s a predatory type of investment that should be stamped out. Podemos is highlighting transactions such as Goldman’s 201 million-euro ($234 million) acquisition of rent-protected apartments as it works out policies to reduce inequality in Spain and draw millions of unemployed workers back into the labor force after a seven-year slump.

“They know that at a certain point the protected rents will expire, and when that happens, they will throw the tenants out,” Juan Carlos Monedero, a member of Podemos’s executive committee, said in an interview. “They are enriching people who already have more money than they know what to do with, and in turn they are forcing people to live on the streets.”

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Putin, Luxury Wine Producer in Spain Reply

Hacienda Putin Spain

Christian Gysin writes for the Daily Mail.co.uk–Russian president Vladimir Putin can now toast his own success on the international stage – after planting a vineyard in the grounds of a stunning Spanish mansion he has reportedly bought and developed for some £15 million. Putin’s grand home near Marbella is in the Malaga pueblo of Benahavis and comes complete with stunning northern views of the Serrania de Ronda mountain range.

Meanwhile, to the south the wealthy Russian leader can enjoy an unspoilt Andalusian outlook across the Mediterranean sea towards both Gibraltar and the coast of North Africa. Putin – who has always revelled in his hard-man bare-chested ‘hunter’ image – has clearly now decided he might enjoy the finer things in life. For the Daily Mail has learned that the 62-year-old insisted on 25 vines from the top Burgos-based Bodega ‘Pingus’ – some 500 miles from the Costa del Sol – to be planted into a series of sun-soaked terraces surrounding his new mansion high in the Marbella Hills. The Russian President is understood to have hired the famous Valladolid province vineyard owner – Danish oenologist Peter Sisseck – to oversee both the production of the wine and the later bottling process.

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Spain: Artist Unveils Royal Portrait after 20 Years Reply

Spain Royal Portrait

A portrait of the Spanish royal family which took two decades to complete has been officially unveiled at the Royal Palace in Madrid.

BBC.com–Artist Antonio Lopez, known for his meticulous approach to work, says the painting took so long because he’s used to working on several pieces at once. “I wouldn’t want you to think I’m lazy”, he jokes in an interview with the Spanish daily El Pais. The life-size canvas shows former King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia with their children, King Felipe VI and Princesses Elena and Christina.

The painter hasn’t quite caught up with the royal family’s most recent changes, so Queen Letizia doesn’t feature. Mr Lopez says he never felt any pressure from the royals while painting, and that they just asked to be “portrayed like a Spanish family. Nothing more”. But he admits that while the criteria and composition didn’t change much over the years, he did get “stuck for a while on the clothes”.

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Living in a Cave in Rural Granada Reply

Cave home Baza

Andrew Allen writes for NY Times.com, BAZA, Spain — It was a desire to experience what Danielle Dupeux called a more “primordial” way of living that prompted her and her husband to create a cave house in rural Granada. Primordial it may be, but it is hardly cramped. The house sprawls across more than 800 square meters, about 8,600 square feet, on two levels underground. Ms. Dupeux, an artist and a native of France, and her husband, Andre Malby, an alternative-medicine practitioner, were already living in southern Spain when Mr. Malby convinced his wife that they should look for a cave house.

While such dwellings exist throughout Europe, they are particularly common — and in demand — in Granada Province. A 2007 report by the provincial government, the most recent official tally available, said that in 2002, there were 11,795 such properties in the province and 5,838 of them were occupied.

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Public Land Sale: Not All of Spain Is Buying Reply

La Almoraima Spain

Raphael Minder writes for NYT.com, CASTELLAR DE LA FRONTERA, Spain — La Almoraima, a farming estate at the edge of a nature reserve, is prized by environmentalists. Home to one of Europe’s largest cork forests, it is a rare place where deer and boar roam wild within sight of the Rock of Gibraltar. The Spanish government, which owns the land, wants to sell it for as much as 300 million euros, or about $376 million, pitching it as a perfect spot for a luxury resort, including a five-star hotel, a small airport, two golf courses and a polo grounds.

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Spanish Government Criticized Over Housing Crisis Evictions Reply

eviction in Spain

A Spanish citizen movement has accused the conservative government in Madrid of failing to tackle the housing eviction crisis, as the number of people being removed from their homes continues to rise.

Press TV.com–The Mortgage Victims’ Platform (PAH) made the accusation on Sunday, saying the measures imposed by the ruling People’s Party led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have had no positive impacts on the crisis and have instead worsened the situation. The PAH called for a number of measures, including a halt in evictions and the creation of a social rent pool. In addition, the group called for the penalization of financial entities and big owners that are holding empty houses despite the housing crisis.

The comments come as official figures by the country’s Judicial Power General Council earlier this week showed that, in the third quarter of this year, 13,341 evictions took place, up 7.3 percent compared to the same period in 2013. Of those who were evicted between July and September, 43.3 percent were forced out of their homes due to falling behind on mortgage payments, and 51.3 percent for unpaid rent and the remaining 5.2 percent for other reasons.

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Top 5 Retirement Cities In Spain Reply

Alhambra Granada Spain

Each year, International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index ranks and rates the best retirement destinations in the world, taking into consideration real estate, retiree benefits, cost of living, ease of integration, entertainment and amenities, healthcare, retirement infrastructure, and climate. Spain ranked number five in this year’s Index, scoring well across the board, and especially in real estate (with a score of 91 out of 100), entertainment and amenities (96), healthcare (91), and retirement infrastructure (93).

Spain is a popular tourist destination because of its climate, natural beauty, warm and engaging people, cuisine, festivals, and miles of coastline.  Retirees can enjoy these benefits, plus a low cost of living and a well-developed national health system. Here, we take a peek at five of Spain’s top retirement cities.

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Hope of Spain’s Housing Market Revival Kick-Starting the Economy Is Misplaced Reply

Spain property revival

Recent months have seen house prices in Spain rise for the first time in six years, after the housing sector was badly hit by the financial crisis. José García Montalvo writes that one of the most damaging aspects of the crisis in Spain was that the housing bubble experienced during the 2000s was also accompanied by declining productivity.

LSE.ak.uk–It is well known that one of the culprits of the Spanish economic crisis was the housing sector, as was the case in many other countries such as Ireland and the United States. The size of the Spanish housing bubble was huge: in just a few years the ratio of housing prices over household disposable income doubled from 4 to close to 8. But the worst part of the housing bubble and Spain’s “marvelous decade” was the decreasing productivity of an economy concentrated on building houses, alongside the institutional corruption tied to the development of land and the housing business. In fact, an important part of the current corruption problem in Spain stems from the easy money of the prodigious years of the housing bubble.

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Why Madrid’s Poor Fear Goldman Sachs and Blackstone Reply

Raquel Mejias

Raquel Mejias, 39, who is HIV positive and has one lung, waits before learning that her eviction was suspended in Madrid, in this October 2, 2014.

Reuters.com–Last year Madrid’s city and regional governments sold almost 5,000 rent-controlled flats to private equity investors including Goldman Sachs and Blackstone. At the time, the tenants were told their rental conditions would remain the same.

But as old contracts expire, dozens of people have received demands for higher rent, been told their rents will increase dramatically, been threatened with eviction or moved out to escape the insecurity. Thousands of Spain’s poor now depend for their homes on the generosity of private equity.

Jamila Bouzelmat is one of them. The mother of six lives in a four-bedroom flat on the outskirts of the Spanish capital that was bought jointly by Goldman and a Spanish firm.

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