Spanish Property News Roundup 1

Spanish Property News

This Spanish Property News Roundup is designed to give ¡Alegria! readers a quick overview of recent developments in the Spanish property market as reflected in both the Spanish and foreign media. We’ll be updating it regularly and we hope you find it helpful.

Note: After reading each article, click on the “back” arrow (top left) to return to ¡Alegria!

Spanish property developer Martinsa files for bankruptcy

Business, March 2, 2015–Madrid (AFP) – Spanish property developer Martinsa Fadesa said Monday it would file for liquidation bankruptcy in one of the country’s biggest insolvencies, which comes as the sector shows signs of recovery from a 2008 real estate collapse.

The company, a symbol of the excesses that led to the country’s property sector collapse, said in a regulatory filing that its board had decided on the move after failing to win support from banks for its latest debt repayment plan.

Martinsa Fadesa, a builder of homes, malls and golf courses which is active mainly in Europe, said Friday it holds assets worth 2.4 billion euros ($2.7 billion) to meet debts worth 7.0 billion euros, making its collapse one of the biggest bankruptcies in Spanish history.

The company sought voluntary creditor protection in July 2008 after it failed to get a loan to refinance its debt and became the first major casualty of the crisis in Spain’s housing market.

It spent almost three years under creditor protection before reaching an agreement with its lenders in March 2011.

As part of the accord, the company agreed to make annual debt payments for eight years and sell assets, but it has struggled to make payments.

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Foreign buyers eye luxury homes in Spain, February 25, 2015–Foreign buyers of homes in Spain once seemed to focus more on the coastal towns there, but now they’re starting to buy up properties in the capital of Madrid. Real estate agents helping buyers from China and Russia said they see a big demand. “Madrid is one of the favorite places in the world because of the safety and stability we have now. Fifty percent or sixty percent of our purchasers are Spanish and forty percent are international buyers,” Alberto Costillo at Knight Frank LLP said.

Other than wealthy investors who are increasing their housing portfolio, financial institutions are also buying bulk property in Madrid from failed Spanish banks. Many in Spain are finding that along with the high rate of unemployment there, many properties dramatically fell in value. In Spain, if a home is repossessed, the owner is still liable for the outstanding debt.

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Surprising Year for Spanish Market, February 17, 2015–MADRID, Spain—Spain’s CRE investment sector grew to approximately $10.25 billion (€9B) in 2014, exceeding the most optimistic forecasts,  according to a new report by The Carlton Group.
2014 was the second best year within the last decade in terms of volume for Spanish commercial real estate investment, (surpassed only by 2007 when the value of each asset was significantly higher), the report said.
“Spain has once again become a relevant destination for real estate investors and the positive trend is expected to continue over the next few years,” said Javier Beltran, managing director of Carlton Iberia (Spain and Portugal) and head of Carlton’s Madrid office.
The report cites the “unparalleled arrival” of a very large number of international institutional and “off radar” investors from Asia, Middle East, Latin America, North America and Europe, along with the new Socimi, the Spanish REITs, that have contributed to the increased volume and value of commercial real estate transactions in Spain.
In 2014, the most desired Spanish assets for investors were prime office buildings and shopping centers, (two of the largest shopping centers in Spain were transacted during 2014), along with hotel, logistic and park lot sectors, the Carlton report said.
Many investors have also started to buy “well located land development sites” in Madrid, Barcelona and Spain’s Southern coast. This has contributed to an increase in construction activity that is also expected to rise in coming years.
The report points to the increased number of international investors, the general improvement of the Spanish economy, along with the renewed interest in Spanish banks’ lending capacity as contributing factors to a revaluation of real estate assets that is expected to continue during the next few years.



Plunging rouble sinks Russian property spree in Spain, February 15, 2015–MADRID, Feb 15 — Spain was counting on rich Russians to help revive its stricken property market by buying homes on its sunny coasts — until the rouble collapsed on falling oil prices and the Ukraine crisis. The sharp fall of the Russian currency, driven by slumping oil prices and sanctions over Moscow’s backing for separatists in Ukraine, knocked some Spanish estate agents back down just as they were staggering to their feet.

“Russians are not buying right now,” said Ramon Riera, president of FIABCI Espana, a grouping of 120 property specialists. “What’s more, some Russians are actually getting rid of their properties here in Spain. There were some deals that were about to go through but the Russians have disappeared.” Purchases of properties in Spain by Russians were already declining steadily last year, according to the College of Registrars.

They fell from 8.8 per cent of the total in the first quarter of 2014 to 7.5 per cent in the third quarter, according to its latest figures.

And that was before the sharpest plunge in the rouble in mid-December.

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Gonzalez: U.S. firms buy housing in Spain, raise rent and evict tenants

Major U.S. firms like Blackstone Group, Goldman Sachs, Apollo Management and Cerberus have been quietly buying tens of thousands of residential properties in Madrid and Barcelona at low prices. In New York, advocates for tenants in Spain plan to protest at the headquarters of Blackstone Group.

NY Daily, February 11, 2015–It’s not just inner city neighborhoods like Harlem and the South Bronx where giant hedge funds have amassed breath-taking numbers of housing units in recent years, then sent rents soaring and sought to evict tens of thousands of longtime tenants.

Major U.S. firms like Blackstone Group, Goldman Sachs, Apollo Management and Cerberus are on a mission to conquer the housing markets of other countries as well, hoping to reap huge profits in the process.

In Spain, for instance, these firms have been vying quietly for two years to gobble up tens of thousands of residential properties in Madrid and Barcelona at fire sale prices.

None has moved more quickly than Blackstone, which is why a group of Spanish emigres in this country has joined with local housing advocates for a planned protest Wednesday outside Blackstone’s Park Ave. headquarters.

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Spanish house sales rise in 2014 for first time in three years, February 10, 2015–Spanish house sales rose 2.2% in 2014 from a year earlier, the first annual increase since 2010, official data showed today. This was the latest sign that the battered Spanish property sector could be turning a corner. Around 319,389 homes were sold last year in Spain, the National Statistics Institute said.

That was less than half the 775,300 sold at the height of the housing boom in 2007, a year before the bubble burst which sent Spain’s economy into a six-year slump.

House values continued to fall but last month they fell by just 2.7% nationwide from a year earlier, the smallest decline since 2008, separate data from real estate surveyor company Tinsa showed.

House prices have fallen by more than 40% across Spain since the height of the market in 2007.

Spain’s economy returned to growth in 2013 after the prolonged downturn, lifted by strong exports and expanding domestic demand, and is expected to grow by more than 2.5% this year.

However, the housing sector remains depressed as banks, struggling to rebuild capital, are just returning to the mortgage market after a glut of cash from the European Central Bank and record low interest rates helps jump start the market.


Spain RE investment at €23bn as Sareb offloads 15,000 assets, February 8, 2015–More than €23bn of capital investment poured into Spain’s real estate last year, helping the state-owned Sareb bank workout unit to report sales of 15,000 distressed assets. It said it has now completed its primary mission.

Read more on (subscription): Sareb Offloads 15,000 Assets


Spain’s American-Style Fixed-Rate Loans Break the Mold, February 5, 2015–Spanish banks are trying to persuade homebuyers to change their habits by taking out American-style fixed-rate mortgages for as long as 30 years.

Banco de Sabadell SA, Spain’s fifth-biggest bank, in January began marketing a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 3.95 percent. CaixaBank SA, the No. 3 lender, offers mortgages of up to 10 years at a rate of 2.5 percent to 3 percent. They’re breaking the mold in a country where 90 percent of outstanding mortgages are variable rate.

The banks are trying to bolster income from mortgage lending amid signs that Spain’s housing market is emerging from a seven-year slump. The euro-area interbank rate known as Euribor, used to price most floating-rate Spanish mortgages, has plunged to less than 0.3 percent from more than 5 percent in 2008. That’s stripped banks of the revenue earned on the 13.8 million mortgages they made during the 10-year real estate boom that ended in 2008.


BRIEF-Pierre et Vacances and Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing to collaborate on property development, January 22, 2015 – Pierre Et Vacances SA :

* Strategic partnership agreement signed between the Pierre & Vacances-Center Parcs Group and Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing

* Pierre & Vacances and Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing have signed partnership agreement for property and tourism development in Spain

* Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing is to acquire existing tourism property in Spain

* Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing fund plans to acquire between 3,000 and 8,000 apartments and homes in Spain

* Pierre & Vacances to search for and select property assets

* Pierre & Vacances to undertake delegated prime construction for renovation, extension or construction of property assets, property marketing to individuals in Spain and europe.


Spain’s Top Cities Show Signs of Housing Recovery, January 20, 2015–Spain’s residential real-estate recovery is a tale of two cities: Madrid and Barcelona.

Barcelona is the only city in Spain to post an annual increase in home prices during 2014. Prices in the city rose 2.8%, with some neighborhoods gaining as much as 8%.

Madrid, too, has fared better than most. While it hasn’t enjoyed price gains, Madrid’s decline of 4.9% last year was better than the 5.7% drop for Spain overall, according to, a Spanish property website.

The price performance in Madrid and Barcelona helps explain why Spain’s construction sector is expected to make a comeback in 2015 after seven comatose years, as demand grows amid a modest economic recovery. Most of the building will take place in Spain’s two biggest cities.

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Is the Spanish Property Market Returning to Glory?, January 15, 2015–After the global downturn hit in 2008, Spain rapidly fell in popularity with property investors amid plummeting prices and shrinking demand. However, 2014 saw the country’s property market and wider economy embark upon an apparent comeback which has grabbed back the attention of the world’s buyers.

One factor that made 2014 such a positive year for Spain was a record-breaking tourist season. The country is a major tourist destination, and remains particularly popular with tourists from the UK. As such, Tourism makes up a significant portion of Spain’s economy – around 10% of its GDP – and a strong economy is naturally good news for the property market. From an investment point of view, there is also a more direct relationship between tourism and property, as many investment properties take the form of holiday homes and other forms of tourist accommodation. A strong tourist season makes for higher demand, increasing values, and more investor attention.

Read more on Is the Spanish Market Returning to Glory?


BRIEF-Spain’s bad bank sells 237 mln euros worth of loans to Blackstone, January 9, 2015–* Spain’s bad bank Sareb says it has sold a portfolio of non-performing loans with a nominal worth of 237 million euros ($280.02 million)

* Also says has sold Barcelona office block to Colonial for 10.4 mln euros Further company coverage: ($1 = 0.8464 euros) (Reporting By Sarah White; Writing by Paul Day)


Spanish tax authorities chase Britons for ‘underpaid’ property tax going back years, January 7, 2015–British expats who bought homes in Spain at knocked down prices in recent years may face retrospective tax bills. The Spanish authorities are combing historic property deals to evaluate whether properties were reduced artificially. The government is investigating tens of thousands of house sales that took place over the past four years, according to the Daily Mail.

Spain’s equivalent of stamp duty, the Impuesto de Transmisiones Patrimoniales (ITP), is paid as a percentage of the value of the house. It varies by region but is generally around 7pc. Some regional authorities have increased the rate in recent years. Tax officials are now examining the declared sales prices of past transactions to compare with what they perceive to be the real value. If sale price does not match with the taxman’s own official valuation of the property, the owner is asked to pay the difference.

Read more on Spanish Tax Authorities Chase Britons


How to prevent housing bubble trouble

Business, January 8, 2015–The main features of boom-bust cycles in housing markets are by now all too familiar. During booms, conditions such as lax lending standards and low interest rates help drive up house prices and with them mortgage debt. When the bust arrives, over-indebted households find themselves underwater on their mortgages, owing more than their homes are worth.

Feeling the pinch of reduced wealth and access to credit, households, in turn, rein in consumption. At the same time, lower house prices cause investment in new houses to tumble. Together, these forces significantly depress output and increase unemployment. Non-performing loans increase, and banks respond by tightening credit and lending standards, further depressing house prices and adding to the vicious cycle.

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Spain’s Return to the Halcyon Days

Property, December 19, 2014–2014 has been an astonishing year not only for Spain’s economy but its property market, boosted by a record-breaking year for tourism. Spain remains Britain’s top holiday destination and as the UK economy stutters its way through recovery, more families are returning to the perennially popular Costas, with significant uplift seen also in the Spanish islands.

With British family holidays on a generally tighter budget in recent years, 2014 has seen a distinct shift towards self-catering holidays with the expense of getting the family to its destination in the peak season being such that there are limited funds available for accommodation. In August, an unprecedented 9 million visitors flocked to Spain, an increase of 8.8% on August 2013. The most popular destinations recorded were Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Andalusia’s Costas. In the first 8 months of 2014, Spain was visited by 45.38 million tourists and more than 60% chose to stay in self-catering accommodation.

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Losses at Spain’s ‘bad bank’ raise prospect of slow turnaround, December 19, 2014–Falling property prices in 2014 are likely to drag Spain’s “bad bank” to its second annual loss in as many years, raising concerns that a clean-up of the country’s financial sector could take longer than expected.

Two people familiar with the situation said fresh charges linked to weaker asset values in 2014 would likely push the vehicle into the red, disappointing initial expectations of a profit in its second year.

The bad bank, known as Sareb, holds 50 billion euros ($62 billion) in land, buildings and loans inherited from bailed-out banks. It was set up to draw a line under Spain’s banking and property woes.

But, as it enters its third year, bankers and real estate experts familiar with operations at Sareb say they are concerned that falling property prices are eating into its capital — prolonging the turnaround and potentially even forcing the bank to turn to shareholders for a capital boost.

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Spanish mortgage changes tempt foreign buyers to purchase Iberian dream homes, December 15, 2014–Spain’s mortgage rate is making headlines at present with Euribor (the rate usually used to set mortgage interest payments in Spain) falling to 0.335% in November with this record low leading many buyers to act fast in order to purchase the property of their dreams. In fact Spanish mortgages have been on a positive trend for some months with data from the National Statistics Institute showing that the number of mortgages constituted in September was up 29.8% on the year before. This follows year-on-year increases in June, July and August 2014, of 19%, 28.8% and 24% respectively.

So what does this mean for those considering heading off to Spain for a new life? Martin Dell, Director of Spain’s leading property portal,, which lists over 175,000 properties from 2,500 estate agents, explains,

“Quite simply, better access to finance means more sales to both domestic and overseas buyers. More than 90% of Spanish mortgages are based on Euribor which is at its lowest ever rate. This means huge savings for long term borrowers, tempting many to take out mortgages to buy their dream home.”



After seven dormant years, Spain tiptoes back into house-building, December 14, 2914–MADRID (Reuters) – On a street in central Madrid, Juan Jose Perucho points to where he is going to build one of the capital’s tallest residential blocks after buying a site bigger than five football pitches from the state-owned metro network. “We’ve sold faster than ever before on this development,” says the head of unlisted real estate company Grupo IBOSA of the project, which will feature a 25-floor tower with swimming pool and hanging gardens.

“I’ve seen nothing like it in all my 24 years in this business.” Spain is building again after seven years of a crushing downturn in the construction sector with investment in house-building registering its first quarterly rise since before the crisis in the three months from June to September.

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Demolitions Show Andalusian Nightmare Lingers

NY, December 4, 2014–ALBOX, Spain — Driving through the Andalusian countryside, Maura Hillen pointed past groves of olive trees to small clusters of white houses on a distant hillside. “Those homes are all illegal and could be demolished,” said Ms. Hillen, who moved here from Britain 10 years ago with her husband, John.

More than 5,000 homes in this rustic valley are illegal, part of the more than 250,000 homes built in Andalusia without proper planning permission during the Spanish construction boom of 2001 to 2008. Thousands were sold, some to locals and many to international buyers, including the Hillens, who wanted to retire amid the region’s picturesque landscape of palms trees and farmhouses of crumbling stone.

Instead they have been embroiled in a 10-year battle over the future of their retirement homes, a struggle many believe will not be settled soon. Officials and developers have been sent to prison for their roles in the scandal, but there has not been any decision on what to do about the houses, which have no legal status and could be torn down at any time.

Read more on NY

Spain’s realty market gets a welcome break

Gulf, December 12, 2014–Madrid: When Spain’s property bubble burst in 2008, the country was plunged into an economic crisis that threw millions of people out of work. Now after six hard years, and even though hundreds of thousands of properties stand empty, building has restarted in the country.

The decade before the crash saw an all-out building frenzy in the Eurozone’s fourth-largest economy. Around 700,000 houses were built each year during the 2000s until the bubble burst, more than in Britain, France and Germany combined.

At the same time municipal and local governments, flush with cash in part from the sale of building licences, undertook massive infrastructure projects, such as Huesca airport in the foothills of the Pyrenees in northeastern Spain, which opened in 2007 and is now mostly empty. Nearly 1.9 million people worked in the building sector before the economic crisis. Now the sector employs fewer than 700,000.

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Six years on: Spain starts building again

After six tough years, Spain’s ailing building sector is finally coming back to life, with public sector projects fuelling a lot of the new growth.

The, December 10,2014–When Spain’s property bubble burst in 2008, the country was plunged into an economic crisis that threw millions of people out of work.

Now after six hard years, and even though hundreds of thousands of properties stand empty, building has restarted in the country.

The decade before the crash saw an all-out building frenzy in the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy. Around 700,000 houses were built each year during the 2000s until the bubble burst, more than in Britain, France and Germany combined.

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Spain’s Bad Bank Picks Apollo, TPG and Cerberus to Sell Assets–MADRID, December 4, 2014—Spain’s “bad bank” said Thursday it had chosen major investment firms Apollo Global Management LLC, TPG Capital Management and Cerberus Capital Management LP to market and sell about €41 billion ($50.5 billion) worth of property assets on its behalf.

The job will give the three U.S. firms commissions and insight into Spain’s recovering real-estate market. The bad bank, known by its Spanish acronym Sareb, chose Spanish bank Banco de Sabadell SA last month to manage the disposal of assets worth about €7 billion.

Apollo, which bought Banco Santander SA ’s real-estate service in January, will manage the disposal and sale of 44,089 properties and real-estate loans worth about €14 billion over seven years, the bad bank said. Apollo’s portfolio includes real-estate assets that were transferred to Sareb by banks including bailed-out lender Catalunya Banc SA.



Spain’s Bankia offers 6,000 homes at knock-down prices, November 30, 2014–Nationalised Spanish lender Bankia has launched an end-of-year sale of homes it owns at up to half price, some for less than €80,000. It is offering 6,000 dwellings in a sales campaign lasting only until 31 December.

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Sharp rise in new build housing permits issued in Spain

PERMITS issued for building new homes in Spain have increased dramatically this year with 2,883 handed outin September alone, says the ministry of public works. By the end of the third quarter of 2014, a total of 27,598 new build licences were granted by the College of Technical Architects, compared to 22,817 in the same period last year. And the amount of permits issued in September this year was up 31.6% on the same month in 2013.

Although these figures are encouraging in terms of the housing market recovery, they remain a far cry from their peak in 2006 when over 600,000 were issued in the first nine months of the year. But the ministry says the upsurge of 20.6% so far this year is a positive sign that interest in buying property in Spain is on the up.

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Sacyr to Sell Real Estate to Bad Bank for $509 Million, November 28, 2014–Spanish construction company Sacyr SA (SCYR) agreed to sell real estate to Sareb, Spain’s bad bank, for 409 million euros ($509 million). The assets, owned by Sacyr’s Vallehermoso Division Promocion unit, include land and unfinished property developments, according to a regulatory filing today. The deal will enable the unit to cancel outstanding debt that it owes Sareb.

Sacyr is selling assets to reduce debt, which totaled 6.3 billion euros as of September. Spain set up Sareb in 2012 to absorb 50.8 billion euros of real estate assets from lenders including the Bankia group that took state aid after the property market crashed. Investment in Spanish commercial real estate more than doubled in the first half from a year earlier to 3.23 billion euros, according to data compiled by CBRE Group Inc. About 10.1 billion euros was invested in commercial properties when the Spanish market last peaked in 2007.



House prices: Is now the time to buy that holiday home in Spain?, November 20, 2014–Sun-seeking Britons are buying up holiday homes in Spain as the Mediterranean country’s property market – battered by the eurozone crisis – begins to look brighterAccording to new research sales have soared by 56pc this year, compared to 2011, and are up 25pc on 2013.

The strengthening pound combined with cheap Spanish property prices have made villas in areas such as Andalucía attractive to increasingly confident Britons, according to Currencies Direct. Phil McHugh, trading floor manager at Currencies Direct, cited the general improvement in the UK economy as a driver, along with low interest rates which are still pushing people to invest in property rather putting money into their savings.

Tax break for second-hand homeowners in Spain

The Olive, November 13, 2014–PROPERTY owners selling second-hand homes have been given a break by the Spanish Government’s new tax reforms. An amendment to the Income Tax bill will see sellers pay less tax and receive more money for their homes.

The Ministry of Finance approved the Partido Popular’s bill amendment to reduce capital gains tax rates for homes under €400,000. The bill comes into effect on January 1, 2015.

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New Spanish government figures point to gentle housing market recovery, November 10, 2014–Figures released by the Housing Department within the Ministry of Public Works show that expats living in Spain spent 36% more on property in the first half of the year than they did in the same period last year. According to the same source, foreign residents buying homes in Spain spent a total of €4.2 billion on Spanish property in the first six months, compared to €3.1 billion last year.

The majority of this expenditure, 88%, was on resale property, totalling €3.7 billion, up 43% compared to last year. In contrast, investment in new property fell by 2% to €469m.

According to, the Valencian Community attracted biggest share of expatriate investment, around €1 billion, of which €889 million went to Alicante, home of the Costa Blanca. Next came Andalusia (home to the Costa del Sol) with €975 million, and Catalonia (home to the Costa Brava), with €817 million.



Property prices in Spain poised to bottom out

Trading, November 7, 2014–The Spanish property boom and its subsequent crash has been among the most spectacular ever witnessed. Since the peak in late 2007, house prices have dropped more than 40%. In comparison, the price of US homes fell by 35% but has climbed to more than 20% since the trough in 2012*. Spain’s depleted market is even more severe when measured in terms of sales and construction. However, there are tentative signs of a bottom forming.

House prices

New Home Permits Increase As Spanish Market Heads To Recovery

Property, November 7, 2014–The number of applications or building permits to construct new homes in Spain rose by 3.3% in the first eight months of 2014, compared to the same period in 2013. The Ministry of Development issued data showing that it had received a total of 24,696 requests, the second consecutive improvement noted since the continuous declined precipitated by the 2008 crash which drove Spanish house prices through the floor.

Much of the appreciation is isolated in the third quarter of 2014 – what appears to be a gradual increase over several months when you first look at the figures is really a sharp upswing in Q3. In August alone, just over 2,000 requests were received for building permits, a 30% increase over the same month in 2013. If the current rate of applications to build new homes continues, the year could end with more than 37,000 permits applied for, slightly above 2013’s total but still below 2012’s.

Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported that up until August, 15,005 applications were received for permits for home reforms or restoration, a slight drop compared to the same period in 2013. This seems to indicate the switch from repair and improvement to purchase that would accompany a traditional recovery. Requests for permits for home extensions, the traditional alternative to buying a bigger house, fell sharply, by 20.4%.

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Spain’s bad bank outsources management of some property assets, November 3, 2014–Spain’s “bad bank”, which houses soured property loans and housing taken off bailed-out lenders during the crisis, on Monday said it was outsourcing the management of some assets to a company owned by Banco Sabadell .

Sareb, as the bad bank is known, is allocating contracts to manage its 50 billion euros ($62.44 billion) of real estate loans and repossessed buildings, which will entail sales fees and commissions for those who get them.

Solvia, a property management company belonging to Sabadell, will manage about 7 billion euros worth of assets over the next seven years, Sareb said in a statement. The portfolio, comprising housing that used to be owned by state-rescued Bankia and two other small banks, has nearly 43,000 assets in it.



The Brits who tried to cut their tax bills, but could now lose their homes

El Pais in English, October 31,2014–More than 20 British retirees resident in Spain are taking legal action against the Rothschild financial services group, accusing it of fraudulent advertising for complex financial packages designed to avoid paying inheritance tax on their homes, which they now stand to lose. A court in Denia has since summoned Baron David Rothschild, the chairman of Rothschild bank, to answer questions in relation to its investigation into the alleged fraud.

Between 2005 and 2008 independent financial advisers operating in areas such as the Balearic Islands, Alicante and Malaga, sold pensioners loans that would release equity on their homes and see the cash invested in a fund, allowing them to enjoy inheritance tax benefits. The products were provided by a variety of banks, mainly in Scandinavia, but also by Rothschild.

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Spain’s Glut of Unsold Homes Diminishing Fast, October 24, 2014–An increase in sales by foreign buyers and institutional investors has led to predictions that unsold homes in Spain will shrink to 563,000 units in 2015, a 40% decline from 2010.

Spain’s landscape has become well-known for being littered with unoccupied housing developments, neglected by an almost stagnant domestic market.  Meanwhile, foreign investment in Spanish property has increased exponentially in H1 2014, rising by more than 31% over the same period in 2013.

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Good News for Coastal Property Owners

Euro Weekly, October 15, 2014–AMENDMENTS to the controversial Spanish Coastal Act that will extend the concession for thousands of coastal properties and developments in Spain were approved by the government this week. The extension will come as good news to Costa del Sol property owners affected by the law.

The new regulation will extend the permit on the home from 30 years to 75 years, meaning the possibility of demolition of homes built in the coastal public zones and protection zones won’t arise until 2063. Houses, hotels, bars and restaurants on the Costa del Sol faced the prospect of demolition because they were built in the ‘public zone’ in close proximity to the seafront. The Coastal Act of 1988 gave a 30-year concession on such properties – of which there are an estimated 24,000 homes alone in Spain – and was due to expire in 2018. This new extension to the concession now gives costa homeowners an additional 45 years of security and will ensure that businesses catering to tourism will continue generating money for the region.

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Owners of Illegal Homes in Spain Win Reprieve and Cash

The overseas owners of homes built illegally on rural land in southern Spain have won a  landmark ruling hat not only means their houses will not be demolished, but also awards them compensation., October 6, 2014–A landmark ruling in Spain last week prevented the bulldozing of several houses belonging to Britons who bought the properties in good faith more than a decade ago. The houses later turned out to have been built on rural land rather than urban, and hence were going to be knocked down, with no compensation for the owner. However, now Judge Maria Teresa Vidaurreta Porrero has not only stopped the demolition but also award compensation totalling €142,800 to the owners for: “ten years of uncertainty over the future of their houses and the suffering which went with it.”

The ruling will, according to the government, affect 25,000 properties, which will now be regularised, but not legalised. The organisation that has led opposition to enforced demolition, Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora NO (AUAN) celebrated, its president Maura Hillen saying: “This is a victory because for the first time British homeowners have been awarded moral damages and saved their homes. It gives hope to other people.”



Spanish property sales now regarded as stable as they increase five months in a row

Property, September 23, 2014–Year on year property sales in Spain have increased for five months in a row, signalling that the residential real estate market is becoming more stable. The latest figures from Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE) shows that sales increased by 10% in July on an annual basis and by 9% on a quarterly basis.

‘After five consecutive months of annualised sales increases it’s clear the Spanish property market is starting to recover in volume terms, as more buyers enter the market. The figures confirm that overall sales are now stable, if not growing slightly,’ said Mark Stucklin of Spanish Property Insight.

‘Markets are all about transactions and prices, which determine volume and value. Increasing transactions are a sign of confidence that improve liquidity and reduce risk. When buyers outnumber sellers prices start to rise. After almost eight years of consecutive declines in home sales, that is welcome news for Spain but it doesn’t mean the Spanish property crisis is over,’ he warned.

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Squatters Welcome Blackstone’s Spanish Property Play, September 23, 2014, BARCELONA— Claudio Cattaneo lives in a six-bathroom house with two swimming pools on the outskirts of Barcelona—for which he pays nothing.

Mr. Cattaneo, who teaches ecological economics in Italy and at the University of Edinburgh, has been squatting in the home on and off since May. The 40-year-old professor joined others who moved in last year after they discovered a Spanish bank had repossessed the vacant house.

Militant squatters in recent years have been occupying foreclosed properties and bank branches to protest lenders’ roles in Spain’s housing bust.

Next in their cross hairs: Blackstone Group BX -2.68% LP, the world’s largest private-equity firm, which agreed in July to buy 40,000 mortgage loans in and around Barcelona.



Glimmer of hope for expats in Spain living in the dark, September 23, 2014–British home owners in Spain who have spent a decade living without grid electricity have been handed fresh hope by a promise of legal backing from the regional government.

Susana Díaz, the president of Andalusia’s Junta, has announced that her government will change the law in order to officially recognise the homes of thousands of Spaniards and expats whose houses were built on non-urban land.

“We just cannot leave these people in legal limbo,” she said. “For that reason, my government will propose to the Andalusian parliament a change in planning law which will make it possible to regulate these properties.”



EU court rules against Spain over discriminatory tax rules, September 18, 2014–The European Court of Justice has ruled that the Spanish authorities cannot charge different rates of inheritance tax for residents and non-residents.

Non-residents who have been discriminated against by paying more tax than Spaniards for inheritances or gifts of property are likely to be due a refund of the difference.

There is a complex range of tax relief options in Spain that can reduce the tax to almost zero for residents, but these have not been available to non-residents. Non-residents may be owners of holiday homes in Spain or expats who split their time between Spain and the UK.

The court ruled earlier this month that charging other members of the EU different rates to Spanish residents went against the spirit of the European Union. It said the Spanish legislation was discriminatory and there was no reason why inheritance tax should be charged at a higher rate for non-Spaniards than for Spaniards.



International investors flood the Spanish hotel market

Spain’s trip to the economic brink and back has made investments in its hotel market much more profitable than the frothy real estate markets in other countries., September 8, 2014–“I do not think there is a boom in the hotel industry in Spain. I just think the trend is changing,” says Jordi Badia Llorens, whose Barcelona real estate fund Emin Capital just paid 150 million euros for Barcelona’s iconic Torre Agbar building, in which it plans to invest another 50-60 million euros to refurbish it for use as a Grand Hyatt hotel.

One could be excused for disagreeing.



Spanish House Prices Rise for First Time Since Start of Crisis

El, September 8, 2014–The Spanish real estate market experienced its first good news after a slump lasting over six years in the second quarter of 2014. Between April and June house prices rose for the first time since early 2008, according to figures released by the National Statistics Institute (INE). The Housing Price Index grew an average 0.8 percent compared with the same period in 2013, the numbers show.

Broken down by type of housing, the price of new homes rose 1.9 percent while that for existing homes grew 0.2 percent. The drop in house prices had been slowing for several quarters, suggesting a gradual market recovery. The sharpest decline was registered in the third quarter of 2012, when prices dropped 15.2 percent compared with the same period in 2011.

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Spanish property prices rise for first time in six years

Real estate values in Spain have increased by around 1% and the percentage of overseas buyers has risen to a record 13.03%, according to the Association of Registrars, September 1, 2014–Prices rose 0.97% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2014 and were up 1.53% from the previous quarter, according to the El Índice de Precio de la Vivienda de Ventas Repetidas( IPVVR) price index from in the Estadística Registral Inmobiliaria, from the Association of Registrars.
A high of 13.03% of home purchases recorded in Spain were made by foreigners, led by UK buyers at 15.77%, followed by the French (10.11%), Russians (8.08%), Germans (7.53%), Belgians (7.26%) and Swedish (5.93%). But house sales fell by 5.49% over the previous quarter to 78,464, although it was significantly above the record Quarter 4, 2013, low of 72,560 purchases.



Las socimi animan el mercado con más de 1.600 millones en compras

El, August 30, 2014–Las socimi, las sociedades de inversión inmobiliaria, están animando este año la Bolsa y el sector del ladrillo. Estas empresas cotizadas, dedicadas principalmente a la compra de inmuebles destinados al alquiler y cuya regulación se renovó en 2012, viven una auténtica explosión. Las cuatro mayores —Hispania, Lar, Merlin Properties y Axia— se estrenaron en el mercado continuo entre marzo y julio. Y desde su salida a Bolsa, han realizado ya inversiones por valor de 1.638,5 millones de euros en total.

La primera regulación de las socimi, de 2009, perseguía facilitar en España la existencia de un sector de cotizadas muy desarrollado en países como Francia y en Estados Unidos. Sin embargo, no cuajaron. Los cambios normativos introducidos en diciembre de 2012 redujeron los requisitos (menos capital social, más posibilidad de endeudarse y menos exigencias sobre el número mínimo de activos, entre otros).

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Goldman New Madrid Landlord as Investors Return to Spain, August 29, 2014–Marcelino Calvo Sanchez and his wife, Maria Luisa, had never heard of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. until last year, when the global investment bank bought the four-building housing estate where they live in Vallecas, on the southern outskirts of Madrid. Marcelino, a 71-year-old retired truck driver, isn’t impressed by his new landlord.

Goldman Sachs picked up the 289-unit complex in August 2013 as part of its purchase of 3,000 low-income apartments from the regional government of Madrid for 201 million euros ($269 million). With the sale, some subsidies for tenants disappeared, and, according to Sanchez, a small problem with squatters has become a larger one.


Second Home Hunting In Spain

Property, August 26, 2014–A mere mention of Spain brings vivid images of Flamenco, Bull fighting, Picasso’s paintings, Football and ‘Tomatina’ festival before the eyes. But now onwards Spanish bungalows, villas, apartments and fincas too will vie for attention! Spain has an alluring charm over the international holidaymakers and now investors alike. What if I tell you Blnow you could even own your cool pad either on the Balearic island or Canary islands or can have your own villa amongst the undulating mountains or a large house by the sea side in Spain!

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Property sales up in Spain, but prices are still falling, latest data shows

Property, August 21, 2014–Home sales in Spain are increasing but price are continuing to fall with the latest data from the Notaires showing transactions up 16% compared to a year ago. But the same set of figures show that prices are down 5.7%, although the general opinion is that the Spanish property market is well on its way to recovery.

Apartments saw the biggest jump in sales activity with an increase of 11.6%. The average price per square meter was €1,214, a 5.7% drop from a year and 35.7% below prices in 2007. The Notaires said that the jump in sales is a normalisation in the wake of changes in tax laws, but it also represents a stabilisation of monthly sales. For example, the number of sales from January to June was similar to the number of transactions in the same period of 2013, at 29,171 in 2014 compared to 27,958 in 2013.

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Chinese investors interested in Spanish city of Barcelona, August 14, 2014–Chinese investors are showing a growing interest in the Mediterranean city of Barcelona, located in the northeast of Spain, the newspaper La Vanguardia reported on Wednesday. According to the report, the Chinese investors see in Barcelona “a good opportunity to buy at low prices and get high returns” as the housing bubble in their country has pushed up housing prices.

Also, Barcelona, a city built on the shores of the Mediterranean, is very attractive because of its beaches and good weather. “The Chinese are in love with Barcelona, for its location, legal security and health services,” Joan-Galo Macia, CEO of Engel & Volkers in Barcelona told La Vanguardia.



Survey reveals Spain as the UK’s most popular overseas retirement destination, August 11, 2014–New research has revealed that more than 6 million UK adults are planning to head overseas when they retire, with Spain’s sunny shores emerging as their destination of choice. The poll from MGM Advantage identified some 3.2 million adults looking to leave the UK in order to retire to European destinations, with Spain garnering 26% of the vote and topping the list of preferred destinations.



Spanish banks’ 1H home sales surge 10%, revenues up 20% – Expansion, August 8, 2014–Spanish banks sold around 40,000 homes in the first half-year, a 10% increase from 1H13, and in some cases reduced the accumulation of foreclosed assets, says a survey by the Expansion newspaper. Such revenues, including commercial real estate, rose 20% to €4.5bn.

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Secondhand home prices fall 7.5 percent in 1 year

The, August 6, 2014–The price of secondhand homes in Spain slipped 7.5 percent in the year to July, a slight improvement on the 10 percent fall clocked up in the previous 12 months, a study released on Wednesday shows. The report from online property portal Fotocasa shows the average price of Spain’s secondhand, or non-new homes was €1,641 ($2,193) per square metre in July 2014. That’s 0.9 percent down on June figures, and 7.5 percent below July 2013 figures, the report reveals. It is also 44 percent down on the April 2007 peak of €2,952 per square metre, achieved before Spain’s property bubble burst.

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Spanish house prices to climb in 2016: S&P

The, July 29, 2014–House prices in Spain will climb 2 percent in 2016 after hitting rock bottom in 2015, the ratings agency Standard & Poors predicts in a new report released on Tuesday. Properties in Spain have fallen around 30 percent since the country’s economic crisis hit in 2008, but ratings agency S&P believe the recovery is coming.  The credit ratings agency has stuck with its earlier forecasts that Spanish house prices will slip 2 percent in 2014, against a fall of 4.6 percent in 2013. They will then hit rock bottom in 2015 before stabilizing.

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San Sebastián: the most expensive place in Spain to buy a home

Homes on the prestigious seafront avenue of Paseo de Miraconcha average €9,453 per sq metre, July 25, 2014–The Paseo de Miraconcha in the city of San Sebastián in northern Spain’s Basque Country is a special place. The seafront avenue looks out over the beautiful, horseshoe-shaped Playa de la Concha. In summer, yachts anchor in the calm waters of the bay and parasols dot the sand. The Paseo de Miraconcha is the most expensive place to buy a home in Spain, according to data released in April by Spanish property website Idealista, with prices averaging €9,453 per sq metre, comfortably higher than the Passeig de Garcia Fària in Barcelona, another prestigious seafront address, which came second at €7,303 per sq metre.

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 Spanish Valley Investment Leaves Coast In The Shadows

Nuwire, July 22, 2014–When you think of Spain, one of your first thoughts may well be of its gorgeous beaches and plethora of delightful coastal retreats. It stands to reason, then, that much of the overseas investment in the country focuses on these stunning resorts and hideaways. Here lie numerous opportunities for investors to make tidy profits through holiday home rental income and other commercial properties. But a new trend is emerging that is seeing property investment in Spain move away from the traditional coastal areas, into the much less chartered territory of the valleys.

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Designer Mediterranean homes from £200,000

Homes and, July 21, 2014–Good modern design can be hard to find in homes overseas. New-build properties, especially in Spain and Portugal, often follow a well-trodden “golf villa” style of identikit square buildings with terracotta tiles on pitched roofs – and little architectural flair.

For buyers on a budget who crave open-plan design filled with light, choice can be limited. Ann Adenius co-founded Modern Homes Worldwide because of her own passion for modern architecture. Her website features cutting-edge design by notable architects with prices from £149,000 for a beachfront apartment, for instance, at Icon Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

“More and more buyers are designminded,” she says. “They like modern architecture’s looks, but also its functionality, with spacious and flexible spaces and good integration between indoor and outdoor living areas.”

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CatalunyaCaixa confirms the sale of its €6.4 billion high risk mortgages to US Blackstone

Catalan News, July 18, 2014–CatalunyaCaixa (CX) on Thursday confirmed the sale of its portfolio of high risk loans to US investment company Blackstone, consisting mainly of mortgages with a nominal value of €6.392 billion and provisions of €2.205 billion. The transaction involved the transfer of funds to a portfolio of asset-backed securities for an amount equal to its book value, €4.187 billion, with €3.615 billion supplied by Blackstone and Spain’s public  Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring (FROB) providing the remaining 572 million. With this divestment, the CX solvency ratio stood at 14.9% and coverage stands at 81.6%. After this sale, the liquid assets of CX will reach €16.848 billion and the company is now ready to face its full privatisation, after it was nationalised in 2012. Besides, in early June, CX completed the sale of its estate investment platform to the Blackstone Real Estate fund for as much as €40 million. The operation included a volume of loans and real estate assets worth €9 billion, owned by CatalunyaCaixa and Sareb, Spain’s public ‘bad bank’ managing toxic assets. June’s sale also agreed to maintain the 151 employees on the real estate platform, which became separated from the bank and was integrated into the investment company.

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Rise in property sales in Spain, according to latest monthly data

Property, July 18, 2014–Property sales in Spain increased by 12.6% in May compared with the previous month with the Balearics seeing the biggest increases, according to the latest data from the National Statistics Office. The data also shows that new home sales were down 8% from a year earlier and second hand homes up by 16% which could be good news for those who have been unable to sell.

The biggest annual increases in May were in the Balearics with a rise of 33.1, Cantabria was up 30.4%, Andalucia was up 10.7% and Catalonia was up 3.1%. The biggest decreases were reported in Castilla-La Mancha with a fall of 15.2%, Galicia with a fall of 6% and Comunidad de Madrid was down 5.5%.

Meanwhile, the latest figures from the General Council of Notaires shows a sharp rise in the number of Chinese buyers in Spain, suggesting that they are responding to the golden visa rules which grant citizenship to non European Union nationals who invest a minimum of €500,000 in real estate.

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Blackstone, Oaktree vie for Catalunya Banc’s mortgages, July 16, 2014–Spain is likely to sell Catalunya Banc’s mortgage portfolio this week to either private equity firm Blackstone or a consortium led by California-based Oaktree, three sources with knowledge of the matter said. The sale is aimed at slimming down Catalunya Banc as FROB, Spain’s bank restructuring fund, starts its third attempt to return the small Barcelona-based bank to private hands. The portfolio initially attracted 12 bids, including groups led by Goldman Sachs and Cerberus.

The package of mostly performing mortgages, one of the biggest of its kind ever sold in Europe, is worth 6.4 billion euros ($8.9 billion) and could be backed with state funds.



Balearic Islands see encouraging start to year for luxury property sales

Property, July 14, 2014–The luxury property market in Spain’s Balearic Islands has seen an encouraging start to the year with demand from wealthy buyers reported as being well up on 2013. Ibiza is seeing the biggest upswing, according to Glynn Evans, managing director of Ibiza Sotheby’s International Realty, with interest being generated by a constant stream of luxury lifestyle news items relating to the island.

He pointed out that Ibiza is now thought to have the most expensive restaurant in the world with the Sublimotion restaurant at the Hard Rock Hotel charging €1,500 euros per head for 20 courses. Also Michelin star chefs Ferran and Albert Adria of elBulli fame, have just announced that they’re opening a new restaurant in Ibiza in 2015. The 16th edition of the annual Gumball 3000 Rally concluded in Ibiza in June bringing supercars and supermodels to the island, the Class 1 World Powerboat Championship is on its way for a three day Grand Prix in September and the port of Ibiza it so have an €8 million facelift to create a much improved super yacht haven.

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Europe Needs $795 Billion Problem Property Loan Solution

Business, July 13, 2014–European banks and asset managers plan to sell or restructure 584 billion euros ($795 billion) of riskier real estate as they try to clean up their balance sheets, Cushman & Wakefield Inc. said. The region’s lenders, asset managers and bad banks, such as Spain’s Sareb, sold 40.9 billion euros of loans tied to property in the first six months, 611 percent more than a year earlier, the New York-based broker said in a report today. Transactions will reach a record 60 billion euros this year, Cushman & Wakefield estimates.

Lenders such as Royal Bank of Scotland Plc are accelerating loan-portfolio sales as borrowing costs fall from a year ago and economic sentiment improves. Lone Star Funds and Cerberus Capital Management LP are among U.S. investors that are taking advantage as sellers opt to offer bigger groups of loans, making it more difficult for smaller firms to make purchases, Cushman & Wakefield said.

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A Home On Spain’s Coast From Just $62,500

International, July 12, 2014–What’s not to love about cultural riches and cobbled charms? Throughout most of Europe, the property market remains in the doldrums, which means you can find bargains. From the Atlantic to the Mediterranean…from Ireland to Greece, there’s a tempting array of move-into properties that will leave you change from $137,000.

Pundits are divided on whether Spain’s property market will see further price falls. A huge overhang of unsold homes remains, but for the first time in seven years, sales in Málaga province showed an increase in 2013. Spain will always be a popular retirement destination for northern Europeans, and the number of U.S. citizens registered as living in Spain has increased, too. Just over 41,000 U.S. citizens were registered with Spain’s local town halls on January 1 last year—1,300 more than in 2012.

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Why are Russians replacing departing expats in Spain?

While more Russians move to Spain’s Costas, many British, Germans and French nationals appear to be returning home, concerned at potential new taxes. But are they really leaving?, July 9, 2014–The number of foreigners in Spain dropped by almost half a million during 2013 – a decrease of 7.8% – according to the Spanish National Institute of Statistics (INE).

And while the reduction is not entirely due to emigration – 230,000 foreigners acquired Spanish citizenship last year – the trend is clear. Britons, who still make it to rank three of the largest foreign communities in Spain, are leaving in high numbers.

There was a drop of nearly a quarter in the registered British population, 24% fewer Germans and 13% fewer French nationals, according to the INE data – but not all of them have actually left. Some British residents are taking their names off the padrón, the directory, because of a new obligation to declare their international assets, the Spanish newspaper El País reports.



First evidence that golden visa is attracting non EU buyers to Spain, July 7, 2014–US, Chinese and Russian buyers were among the most active foreign buyers in Spain in the first quarter of 2014, according to new data from the General Council of Notaries in Spain. The number of Spanish properties bought by these nationalities increased by 88.9%, 83.1% and 62.6% respectively in the first quarter compared to the same period a year earlier.

Foreign buyers accounted for 19.4% of all Spanish property sales in the first quarter of 2014 and non-residents accounted for 47.9% of these.



Yours for £11,000: Five-bedroom Spanish cave that ‘needs renovating’

The Spanish housing market really has hit rock bottom if this property is anything to go by. A five-bedroom cave, built into the rocks of a hillside in Andalusia, is on the market for less than the price of a family car. The unusual property, which includes a 700m-square plot of land large enough to build a swimming pool, has stunning mountain views.

The ‘Cave House’ – as it is being billed by sellers – is built into the rocks of Cuervas Del Campo near Granda – a popular holiday and retirement area in Spain. It’ll cost you 14,500 euros or £11,587 if you want to live like Fred Flintstone – a bargain compared to the average price for a family home in Britain of £250,000.

The blurb says the property needs renovation but enjoys ‘excellent views, good access’ and is ‘south facing.’ It also has its own private drive. Despite not having any windows inside, the property enjoys plenty of light through the currently exposed entrances.

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Spain’s Sareb shortlists eight to manage €50bn of assets, July 3, 2014–Spain’s state-controlled ‘bad bank’ Sareb is reported shortlisting eight bids to manage clusters of its €50bn of assets, mainly distressed property loans and real estate. Separately, it put another €1bn portfolio up for sale this week.

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Rash of new data shows property price declines in Spain have slowed considerably, June 26, 2014–Home prices in Spain fell 4% in May compared with a 10.4% drop recorded in May 2013, indicating that the market could be nearing the bottom. The data from the leading valuations company Tinsa index also shows that this was the lowest annual drop in May since 2008.

The biggest price declines were on the Mediterranean coast, down 7.9%, but even that was the slowest drop since 2010. Madrid saw the smallest fall at 3.3% and other large cities also saw smaller than usual price declines. Recently released figures from the National Institute of Statistics showed a 1.6% annual decline in prices recorded in the first quarter of the year compared to a 7.8% annual decline in the fourth quarter of 2014. On a quarterly basis prices fell 0.3% compared to a 1.3% drop in the fourth quarter.



Homes demolition threat in Andalusia

Euroweekly, June 25, 2014–THOUSANDS of homes could be at risk of demolition for being illegally built. Malaga provincial government has calculated that there are more than 90,000 homes in Andalucia that are incorrectly registered or that could not be registered due to being built illegally on land which was not for construction purposes.

Mayors from 10 of Malaga’s municipalities, among them Marbella and Fuengirola, have been given a list of buildings which should not have been built. It is now up to each individual council to decide what to do about the situation.

Just in the province of Malaga there are 3,101 constructions which may be deemed illegal and knocked down, as happened to the pictured house in the Andalucian town of Cantoria.

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Spain’s FROB head says no short-term plans for Bankia asset sales

(Reuters), June 24, 2014–The head of Spain’s bank restructuring fund FROB said on Tuesday there are no short-term plans to sell off another piece of bailed-out bank Bankia after 7.5 percent of the lender was sold to institutional investors in February.

After a three-month lock-up period that ended in early June, the state was allowed to sell more shares in Bankia, but FROB President Fernando Restoy told lawmakers at a meeting in Parliament that there were no plans at this time to do so.


Spain’s ‘Bad Bank’ president takes page from ‘The Godfather’

At Fortune’s Most Powerful Women event in London, Belén Romana explained how she dealt with aggressive American hedge funds in the wake of the country’s financial crisis., June 24, 2014–Belén Romana, the president of Spain’s “bad bank,” stood up to aggressive American hedge funds in the wake of the country’s financial crisis by sticking to one simple principle: It’s not personal, it’s business.

On Tuesday at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women international conference in London, Romana said she worked effectively with hedge funds when Spain’s real estate market was tanking by establishing strict rules before making deals with investors. Romana, who became president of government-owned Sareb in 2012 when plummeting Spanish home prices pushed many banks to the brink of collapse, is responsible for managing $50 billion in assets from Spanish banks that went belly up during the country’s housing crisis.



Housing Prices Hit Rock Bottom To Revive Lending In Spanish Real Estate

Property, June 22, 2014–The Spanish housing market experienced a major downfall, but is well poised on a recovery trajectory now. The worst housing crisis is over in Spain, with clear signs of recovery. According to the official data released by the government, the first quarter residential property sales figure of over 81,000 or 48 percent is remarkable.

Mortgage approval rates were higher for the first time in March this year since 2010. The last property boom was in 2007. Since then, the property market has fallen to a level of 47 percent. The Fitch rating in its June 5th report expected the values to bottom out by early next year.

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Spain’s Empty Housing Project Valdeluz

June 20, 2014–The first thing you notice in Valdeluz, Spain is the wind. It meets no resistance as it blows hard and loud across empty lots where apartment blocks were meant to stand. Roads that appear on Google Maps go nowhere and have no names. Some 40 miles from Madrid, Valdeluz was conceived at the height of what is sometimes called Spain’s economic miracle. In a Catholic nation, whose faith has declined substantially during its three decades of democracy, there is an increasing reluctance to believe in miracles of any kind.

Spain’s economic crisis now feels so deep, lasting and all-pervasive, it’s hard for many to recall how different the atmosphere was during the economic boom. A huge influx of immigrant labor, tourists and expatriate house buyers after Spain joined the European Union in 1986, and the launch of the euro, in 1999, helped the economy to soar. After decades of backwardness, Spain opened its cultural riches to the world, and the world came to visit: It is second only to the United States in revenue from international tourism.


Spain’s Sareb Is Said to Sell Land to Castlelake at 25% Discount

June 18, 2014–Spain’s bad bank sold plots of land to Castlelake LP for 60 million euros ($81 million), about 25 percent less than their face value, two people with knowledge of the matter said. The Minneapolis-based private-equity firm purchased sites that are part of a portfolio called Project Crossover, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The portfolio includes sites ready for construction in Madrid, Barcelona and on the Spanish coast.

Spain set up the bad bank, known as Sareb, in 2012 to absorb 50.8 billion euros of real estate assets from lenders including the Bankia group that took state aid after the property market crashed. Sareb plans to ramp up sales this year to an average of 30 properties a day.



EC chief Barroso: Bank of Spain’s poor supervision fueled the crisis

June 16, 2014–The president of the European Commission (EC), José Manuel Durão Barroso, on Monday blamed the Bank of Spain for making “very significant errors of supervision” that added to the Spanish banking crisis. Barroso, who is reaching the end of his term at the helm of the EC, said the Spanish watchdog’s mistakes contributed to the real estate bubble and ensuing property crash. He also rejected claims that Brussels holds some responsibility for the crisis.

In 2012 Spain accepted a European bank bailout to support a sector that was struggling from overexposure to non-performing real estate loans. Regional saving banks, known as cajas de ahorro, were particularly hard hit and forced to merge beginning in 2009.

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Spanish Lending Revives With Housing Prices Hitting Floor

June 13, 2014–Henar Molinero, a 40-year-old architect from Madrid, traded up to a five-bedroom house in February, two years after her second child was born. She and her husband said they delayed their move until Spain’s property market bottomed out and banks started lending again. “Prices had fallen a great deal, so with a decent deposit and us both working, getting a mortgage and buying a house finally became easier,” Molinero said. Several banks offered her a loan, she said.

After the worst housing crisis in the country’s history, signs of a recovery are starting to appear. Home sales jumped 48 percent to more than 81,000 in the first quarter, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Public Works and Housing. Mortgage approvals rose in March for the first time since 2010 as the property market starts to stabilize six years after triggering the most severe recession in five decades.

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Spain’s Cajamar draws foreign suitors for property unit, June 9, 2014–Spanish cooperative banking group Cajamar is in talks to sell its property management unit to U.S. investment firms, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday, as foreign buyers increase their control of the country’s real estate businesses.

Capital Management are in the running to buy the unit, the source said, adding the winner could be chosen as soon as this week.



Economists signal that Spanish property market is on the verge of recovery

Property, June 3, 2014–The downward trend in the property market in Spain is drawing to a close and it is unemployment that is hindering a full recovery, according to the International Monetary Fund.

With unemployment still hovering around 26% the real estate sector is unlikely to move into full recovery mode just yet, says the report author James Daniel, head of the IMF’s Spain mission.

But the report does point out that the country’s economy has ‘turned the corner’ after economic improvements took hold in the second half of last year and continued in the first quarter of 2014. Indeed, it adds that the Spanish economy is now growing at its fastest pace since 2008.

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Spanish Mortgage Lending Rises for First Time in Four Years, May 28, 2014–Spanish home mortgage approvals rose in March for the first time in almost four years, adding to signs that the property market is stabilizing six years after triggering the worst recession in the country’s democratic history.

The number of residential loan approvals rose 2 percent from a year earlier, the first increase since April 2010, the Madrid-based National Statistics Institute said today. The total amount lent rose by 16 percent, its first gain since 2007. House prices in the country fell 3.5 percent from a year ago in the first quarter, the smallest decline in over three years, separate data from the Public Works Ministry showed.



Spain’s “golden visa” scheme attracts just 81 investors in first seven months

El Paí, May 26, 2014–Fewer than 100 of the world’s super-rich have taken advantage of the Spanish government’s offer of a residency permit in return for investing in the national economy or buying property in Spain. The so-called “golden visa” scheme was introduced in September 2013, aimed at foreigners buying properties worth more than €500,000; investing €1 million or more in shares of publicly traded Spanish companies; depositing at least €1 million in a Spanish bank account; or making a major business investment leading directly to meaningful job creation, or having significant socioeconomic or technological impact.

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Spain Sees Embers Glow in Wreckage of Property Crash

Business, May 26, 2014–Within the ashes left by Spain’s real-estate crash, some embers are glowing. As the recovery in euro-region’s fourth-largest economy extends and its record unemployment subsides, the property market whose slump locked the country into a recession is showing signs of life. While home-price data isn’t yet signaling a turnaround, an increase in sales indicates values may be starting to stabilize.

The market is now safe enough for Stanislas de Bellescize, a 44-year-old computer programmer who recently took the plunge and bought a house two subway stops from the affluent Salamanca district in downtown Madrid. More such decisions would offer Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy the prospect of a further pillar on which to build Spain’s revamped economy after more than half a decade of misery.

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Retirees snapping up cut-price Spanish property, May 25, 2014–Swarms of British expats, who were drawn to Spain in the Nineties and early 2000s, found they could no longer sustain their life in the sun and packed up and returned to Britain. Nearly 90,000 abandoned their Mediterranean dream last year alone.

But some Britons are swimming against the tide, determined to forge a life in Spain despite the tough economic climate. Typically they are retirees who have no need to find stable work and many are snapping up homes at big discounts.



Coastal Development Revival in Southern Spain

Property, May 22, 2014–Southern areas of the Costa Blanca were amongst the hardest hit by the collapse in Spain’s residential property market however, according to Spanish newspaper ‘El Mundo’, construction of new developments has surged in the first quarter of 2014.

Developers have commenced construction of 52 urbanisations, with 1800 homes scheduled to be completed within the year in response to increasing interest from foreign investors, principally from Scandinavia, Belgium and Russia.

According to Spain’s most popular daily, new projects differ from the vast projects built around golf courses during the boom years. New developments are relatively small with less than 150 homes but the main feature is much better quality construction.

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Almeria illegal homes under the spotlight

Euroweekly, May 21, 2014–Spanish television cameras came to Albox on Friday morning to film part of a documentary about the problem of planning irregularities in Spain. The team from ‘Comando Actualidad’ were at the Parrilla Hotel to talk to people affected by illegal homes in the area. The hard hitting documentary programme is shown on prime time national television on Spanish Channel, La 1.

Members of the AUAN pressure group and people caught up in the illegality of their properties were present in large numbers to show their discontent with the ongoing situation. Monica Hernandez, the reporter from Comando Actualidad interviewed home owners who find themselves under threat of a demolition order, people with problems of land segregation or lacking the basic services such as water and electricity.

Two AUAN members present at the meeting were Alan and Val Boscott who purchased a property in Albox, starting the process in 2003 before moving over in 2005. They said: “Apart from the illegality of the house, it has been a dream.

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Spanish property sales up 26% but expert warns data is skewed by tax changes

Property, May 20.2014–The Spanish property market sales grew by 26% year on year in March according to the latest figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE). Coastal areas, where foreigners tend to buy holiday and retirement homes, posted particularly strong gains with resales up 36% and new sales up 7%, the data also shows.

But the positive figures are partly due to the government tinkering with the tax code per cent, according to Spanish property expert Mark Stucklin of Spanish Property Insight. ‘This dramatic rise in Spanish home sales can partly be explained by tax changes, which have been playing havoc with Spain’s property market statistics in recent months. The elimination of tax breaks for mortgage borrowers at the end of 2012 artificially inflated then depressed sales statistics both at the time, and now that year on year numbers are out,’ he explained.

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Commerzbank nears sale of Spanish property loans 

India Times.Com, May 20, 2014–FRANKFURT: Germany’s Commerzbank is close to selling a package of about 4.2 billion euros ($5.8 billion) in Spanish property loans at a discount to JP Morgan and Lone Star, financial sources said. The sale price is between 3.7 billion euros and 3.9 billion euros, the sources said. Spanish newspaper Expansion earlier on Tuesday reported that a sale agreement was in the offing, citing a sale price of 3.5 billion euros. 

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Costas still number one for overseas home buyers

The, May 18, 2014–The desire amongst British people to own an overseas home, in particular along the Spanish Costas, has surged in 2014, according to statistics from the Overseas Guides Company, who saw a 20 per cent year-on-year hike in enquires about foreign property ownership in the first three months of the year.  

The Overseas Guides Company, a free resource for overseas property-buyers, attracted 11,590 on-line enquiries, in the form of downloads of its free Buying Guides, during the first quarter (Q1) of 2014, compared to 9,685 in Q1 2013. Encouragingly, the first three months of 2014 were also busier than Q3 2013, historically the busiest period of any year, when 10,518 downloads were recorded. 

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10 Things You Need To Know When You Buy A Property In Spain, May 13, 2014–Buying a home in Spain is a dream come true for some, and an investment for others. Whichever camp you fall into, though, you need to make sure you do it right: there are potential pitfalls at virtually every stage of the process.  Fortunately, a Spanish property lawyer (who shall remain nameless) has volunteered this list.  Check every box and you’re home and dry!

1: The job of an estate agent

An estate agent’s role is to introduce you to the vendor: they help buyers meet sellers.  The rest of the transaction should be handled by taking your advice from someone without a vested interest.  In fact, you should…

2: Hire a lawyer

Your estate agent may tell you that you don’t need a lawyer to buy property in Spain; legally you don’t, and Spanish people can often get by fine without one.  If you don’t speak the language like a native and have a deep understanding of the culture, then a lawyer is a wise investment. There’s a big difference between the way business is conducted in Spain and in the UK.  A lawyer can help you navigate the process.


KKR Eyes Spanish Bank Investment, Managing Sareb Assets, May 13, 2014–KKR & Co. (KKR), the private-equity firm run by billionaires Henry Kravis and George Roberts, is interested in investing in a Spanish lender and may seek to manage assets of the country’s bad bank.

“We would very much like to share in the capital of a financial institution, and we are following the process of the restructuring of all the banks in detail,” Jesus Olmos, the firm’s Spanish head, said in an interview in Madrid. KKR would like to “be there” if opportunities arise in a second wave of consolidation among former savings banks, he said.


Benidorm is Back!

  • Benidorm is the most popular on Spain’s mainland for foreign buyers
  • A three-bedroom, two-bathroom villa with a pool costs £158,000
  • Name Costa Blanca invented by BEA when it began to fly to Valencia in 1957

Daily, May 11, 2014–From package holidays to second homes, Britons are now returning to Benidorm in droves. In the 1970s it was the holiday destination of choice for sun-seeking Britons.

The region is the most popular on Spain’s mainland for foreign buyers, according to land registry figures which show the proportion of villas and apartments bought by overseas buyers has almost tripled in the past four years to 11.15 per cent.

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Spanish price falls ‘opportunity’ for foreign home buyers

With property values still falling in Spain, growing numbers of foreign buyers, led by those from the UK, France and Russia, are taking advantage, says a top commentator, May 7, 2014–The Spanish property market is not expected to recover in the short-term and values are still falling – but foreign buyers see this as an opportunity, says a market expert.

The second quarter Sociedad de Tasación Quarterly Report on Spanish Real Estate Trends show prices of new and existing homes in Spain fell 6.3% on average in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same period the previous year.

The downward pressure of the prices is lighter but they are still decreasing, but for the fifth consecutive quarter the confidence in the evolution of the economy and in property sales is increasing, says the report.



Almeria Illegal homes pledge

A solution to the problem of ‘illegal’ homes facing the threat of demolition is near.

Euro Weekly, May 7, 2014–Esteban Gonzalez Pons, Vice Secretary General for research and programmes of the governing Partido Popular political party in Spain, pledged that the demolition of ‘illegal’ homes “will not happen again in the future.”

That drew rapturous applause from a packed meeting in Fines where he was speaking to members of AUAN (Association of Britons affected by planning irregularities in the Valley of Almanzora). In his speech, Pons spelled out several changes to the current system including changes in legislation.

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Look to Spain’s north east for a home in the sun

The, May 7, 2014–Our love affair with Spain has been a little tempestuous of late. Recent headlines of Britons leaving in droves, unable to maintain jobs and selling up their much treasured homes to return to greyer shores, have taken the shimmer from an otherwise sparkling relationship. But has the sun really set on the dream of owning a second home in Spain?

Rita Fryer has lived in Spain on the Costa Brava, near Begur village, for 25 years. She works for The Property Finders, and advises British buyers on how – and above all where – to invest. She has seen two recessions and the property market bounce back both times. “The last major one was helped by Spain joining the European Union. Interest rates came down and banks started offering 80-90 per cent mortgages again.”

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Brits to Meet with Spanish ruling party politician over illegal homes

Almanzora Valley residents to meet with PP politician next week over illegal house issues.

Euro Weekly News, April 30, 2014–The association of Britons affected by planning irregularities in the Valley of Almanzora, known as AUAN, is expected to meet with the Vice Secretary General for research and programmes of the PP in Spain, Esteban Gonzalez Pons, next Monday, 5th May at 7pm. The planned meeting will take place in the ‘Salon de Actos’ at the entrance to Fines and the meeting is open to the public.

Maura Hillen, President of AUAN said ‘We are grateful to Antonio Salas, President of the Mancomunidad of Municipalities of the Valley of Almanzora for organising this meeting. Sr. Salas has already raised his concerns about this issue as a result of the demolition of two more houses belonging to Britons last year.

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Spanish region to tax owners of empty homes

The, May 2, 2014–Spain’s Catalonia region is looking at taxing the owners of properties that have stood empty for more than two years in a bid to increase stocks of social housing.

Under the draft legislation, property owners would have to register properties that have been empty for more than two years as of January 1st 2015. They would then be taxed accordingly. The planned tax is targeted primarily at financial institutions and would be gradual, with annual taxes levied on each property of €500 ($690) to €16,500 depending on how many properties are owned.

The proposal will help breathe life into a market where 15,000 people lost their homes in 2013, Catalonia’s government said in a statement.

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Foreign buyers delight in the glut of Spain’s cheap Costa properties, April 28, 2014–Although hundreds of Spanish families are still being evicted every day for defaulting on their mortgages, foreign buyers have returned in force to the country’s depressed property market. New data from the Bank of Spain last week showed that foreign purchases in 2013 exceeded €6bn (£5bn) for the first time since 2004.

According to Knight Frank’s Global Property Search, online searches for properties in Spain increased by 29% over the first three months of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013. More than a fifth of all Spanish residential sales – 55,187 transactions – were to foreign buyers.

“Foreigners are the only dynamic segment of the market today,” says Mark Stucklin of Spanish Property Insight. “These are people buying on the coast and in cities like Barcelona.” And it is not just private buyers, he says: institutional investors are also in the market. “The likes of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Blackstone, George Soros and Bill Gates are all getting into Spanish real estate.”


Retirement or holiday home: hottest spots for buying a place in the sun

As property prices in many countries collapse, we ask: Is this the right time to try and bag a bargain?

The, April 26, 2014–Fancy a two-bed, two-bath villa in the Spanish countryside, not far from the beaches of Murcia: now £89,500 compared to £135,000 in 2006? International estate agents are talking up the property market in holiday hotspots, promising that the collapse in prices is over and that buyers need to act now to bag a bargain. But figures from Eurostat, the EU’s data agency, show that prices continued to fall throughout 2013 across much of Europe, while boom-time developments in Spain, particularly those far from the coast, may never find buyers at any price.

The British are the biggest foreign buyers of properties in Spain, owning an estimated 170,000 homes in the country, mostly along the Costas. But unlike Britain, the long fall in house prices that began in 2007 is not over; in March, Spain’s Instituto Nacional de Estadistica said they tumbled another 1.3% in the last three months of 2013, and that the annualised rate of price inflation was -7.8%. In Murcia, the south-east corner of the country, where over-building was most rife, prices are still falling at a rate of 12%-15% a year, with many homes at half of 2008 levels. At the peak of the frenzied construction boom, Spain was building 700,000 homes and apartments a year – around four times the volume in Britain – but after the developers went bust, many are now in the hands of the country’s banks and cajas.

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Good and bad news mixed as Spanish economy enters new phase, April 22, 2014–At the end of the first quarter of 2014 the general consensus between the Spanish government, the European Commission, the Eurozone countries and the IMF, as well as studies carried out by the major Banks is that the Spanish economy is starting the long awaited economic recovery. After five and a half long years of recession, the longest and deepest recession in Spain’s recent history is giving way to a new context which became visible at the end of 2013 and which could lead to job creation.

However, doubts remain over whether or not this reactivation of the economy will be sustained and strong, or whether or it could slide into another period of negative growth. A look at the areas of ‘light and shade’ in the current economic climate, could help us determine the answer to this question.


Bad Loans Falling at Spain Banks Show Property Crash Abating

Business, April 24, 2014–Two Spanish lenders said today their bad loan ratios fell in the first quarter, adding to evidence that the damage to bank balance sheets from a six-year economic slump is fading.

CaixaBank SA, Spain’s third-biggest bank, said its proportion of non-performing loans to total lending dipped to 11.36 percent in the first quarter from 11.66 percent in December, the first time decline since the end of 2006. Banco Sabadell SA (SAB), the country’s fifth-biggest bank, said today its ratio slipped to 13.57 percent from 13.63 percent.

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Spanish tax office closes inheritance tax avoidance schemes

The Olive, April 17, 2014–SPANISH inheritance tax (IHT) is once again a matter of controversy. According to El Pais newspaper, the number of people who have given up their inheritance has gone up by 21% since last year.

And there is only one reason cited for this increase: the inability of many potential inheritors to pay a tax bill unless they first inherit and sell the asset in question, generally a property, in a very challenging market.

Read more on The Olive

Spain Launches €7 Billion Property-Loan Sale

The loans are held by Catalunya Banc SA, a once-prominent regional lender that the government nationalized in 2011. Spain has struggled to return Catalunya Banc to private hands, and the loan sale is intended to make the bank more attractive to potential bidders. The sale will add to a bulging pipeline of loan sales in Europe.

Forty-three percent of the mortgages in the portfolio sale—code-named Project Hercules—are nonperforming, meaning the loans are more than 90 days overdue, according to a deal document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Another 15% are sub-performing, meaning they are up to 90 days overdue, the deal document shows.



PSOE in Almeria to help with illegal homes

Euro Weekly, April 15, 2014–The secretary general of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) in Almeria, Jose Luis Sanchez Teruel, stressed that the PSOE “will not look the other way” in relation to the ongoing problem of illegal housing in Almeria while also stating that they have “solutions on the table.” The PSOE is the part in power in the Andalusian autonomous community, to which Almeria belongs.

Sanchez Teruel spoke during a meeting with the Secretary of Planning and Housing PSOE Andalusia, Pedro Fernandez, and the Association Urban Abuses Almanzora (AUAN). They aim to provide a comprehensive solution to the housing situation, through the continued review of current planning regulations and guidelines, allowing greater flexibility in the interpretation of the legalities to serve the greatest possible number of people affected.

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Taylor Wimpey launches grand design on Costa del Sol

The Olive, April 14, 2014–UK real estate developer Taylor Wimpey is launching a brand new £10 million project on the Costa del Sol this month. The La Galera development, in Estepona, will include 36 luxury homes and will be officially launched with an event on April 30. Taylor Wimpey has built more than 2,500 homes in Spain over the last 15 years, including Los Arqueros Golf, in nearby Benahavis.

Read more on The Olive


Gay and lesbian old people’s home planned in Spain

Stephen Burgen writes from Barcelona for The Guardian, April 14, 2014–Spain‘s first old people’s home for gay and lesbian pensioners is to open in a converted hotel in Madrid. Federico Armenteros, president of the 26 December Foundation, which is behind the scheme, said that as far as society was concerned “elderly LGTB don’t exist”.

He said the home would not be exclusively for gay people. “We’re not going to ask you who you sleep with when you apply,” he said. “Anyone can come, the only thing to bear in mind is that it specialises in elderly LGTBs. As it is, there are homes for ex-servicemen, nuns or retired workers from specific companies and no one says they are being discriminatory.”



Now smart-homes to detect Alzheimer’s signs in the elderly, April 12, 2014–Researchers in Spain have developed an innovative new ‘smart home’ system that could allow seniors to live on their own for longer. The network of sensors detects changes in the behaviour of the home’s occupants and can signal potential signs of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

Tecnalia, an applied research center located in Spain, spent three years developing this smart home, which consists of a vast network of sensors found in each room. In addition to detecting the presence of its occupants and their time spent standing, sitting or lying down, the system tracks the opening and closing of doors, drawers and windows and the turning on and off of the lights, household appliances and the TV.



Eight in 10 homes are owner-occupied, April 12, 2014–NEARLY a quarter of Spanish homes are occupied by just one person – a total of 4.4 million, latest census figures show. And over a third of young people aged 25 to 34, who make up just under 6.4 million of Spain’s population, still live with their parents, or have moved back in with them due to financial hardship – in some cases, with husbands, wives or partners and children, too.

The younger the age, the less likely they are to have left home – between the ages of 25 and 29, nearly half – 48.5per cent – still lived with their parents, compared to 20.5 per cent of the 30 to 34 age-group.


Valencia leads home sales to foreigners, April 11, 2014–The Valencian Community has established itself as the leading autonomy in Spain for foreign home sales in the last quarter of 2013, with 33.6% of the national total and 13,436 transactions. Of these 13,436 housing transactions in the Valencia Region in the fourth quarter of last year, a total of 4,281 (31%) were acquired by foreign residents in Spain, with a total of 424 non-resident foreigners. A massive 83% of the sales were in Alicante province.Andalusia had the second highest foreign property sales with 19.9%, followed by Catalonia with 15.5%, the Canary Islands had 11.3% and Balearic Islands 6.5%. Citizens from the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, France, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Belgium and Russia, were the main foreign buyers for holiday homes or permanent residence.Read more on :

Golden visa schemes attracting foreign buyers to Spain and Portugal

Property, April 10, 2014–Real estate investor visas in Spain and Portugal have helped to revive some second home markets, according to a new analysis of their property markets. After a long recession in Spain and Portugal, there are signs that the second home market is starting to look brighter, at least in some places, says the report from international property firm Savills.

Prices for good quality second homes have fallen by between a quarter and a third from the peak of 2007 and this means there are still some bargains to be had. Properties at the top end of the market are still in demand and there has also been a resurgence in smaller town houses and the apartment market, the report explains. Residential markets in some parts of the Algarve remain extremely depressed. Portugal’s golden visa scheme has seen significant uptake from the Chinese but they have focused their buying mainly in Lisbon. This reflects the still dominant preference of many Asians for urban properties.

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3.4 million empty homes, falling prices and foreign money: the Spanish housing crisis by numbers

El Paí, April 7, 2014–Spain has the highest number of empty houses in Europe: 3.4million of them at a time when many are facing evictions for defaulting on their mortgages. House prices in Spain are also at an all-time low, according to Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) numbers for December 2013.

What is more with prices so low, record numbers of foreigners have been flocking to buy houses, with numbers tripling since 2009. These things in themselves are not news; we’ve know this for a while and it’s been well publicised in the press both in Spain and abroad.

What is an interesting exercise is to look at where these empty homes are and how much house prices have dropped in those regions. We don’t have the data for where exactly expats are buying the most houses, but we can make an educated guess that it will be on the Costa del Sol and the Costa Brava.  So first lets look at where the empty houses are. I’ve plotted them on a map, with the bigger red bubbles corresponding to larger amounts of empty homes:

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Spain ‘Bad Bank’ Set to Change How it Sells Property, Madrid, April 8, 2014–Spain’s “bad bank” is set to change how it markets and sells around EUR50 billion ($68.5 billion) worth of properties and real-estate loans, a move that could open the door for international investment funds to deepen their involvement in the country’s real-estate market.

No more than four investment firms will be selected in coming months to market and sell the pile of properties and real-estate loans held by the bad bank, according to an executive at the company, known by its Spanish acronym Sareb. The executive declined to be named. Sareb recently said it made a loss of EUR261 million last year.

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Spanish real estate prices fall up to 14.5% a year, April 8, 2014–Home values in Spain are still falling by up to 14.5% a year and look set to continue to decline, according to a report from the Sociedad de Tasación, but some Spanish overseas property professionals say they are seeing improved market conditions. Property prices are still falling in Spain by up to 14.5% a year, two new market indexes reveal.

But some Spanish overseas property professionals say they are seeing a growing demand and believe market conditions are improving. Data from Sociedad de Tasación show prices of new and existing homes in Spain fell 6.3% from January-March in 2014 compared to the same period last year , reaching €1,270 per square metre. This is around half (47.1%) of the peak 2007 values, which reached €2,400 per square metre.



Spain played down IMF fears of real estate bubble bursting

El País, March 31, 2014–“In these almost boring times of generalized growth, the press is particularly eager to look for catastrophic events in the perennial quest for the newest ‘sick man’ of Europe. Having read the Directors’ preliminary statements, I realize that we probably overstressed our disdain for this press coverage, which one could call the ‘momentum catastrophicum literature’.”

These were the words of the executive director for Spain, Ramón Guzmán, at a meeting of the International Monetary Fund executive board held on May 16, 2007 to analyze the Spanish economy, the minutes of which have now been declassified.

Read more on El Paí

More foreign buyers in Spain but fewer Brits, according to Spanish notaries

Property, March 28, 2014–More foreign buyers are buying property in Spain but the traditional purchasers from the UK are in decline, according to new data from property lawyers. According to a new report published by Spain’s Notaries the number of foreign buyers increased by 9.8% in 2013 but the proportion of British buyers continued to fall.

Foreign purchasers accounted for 21.4% of all Spanish residential sales or 55,187 transactions in 2013 and it also highlights the areas that are popular with overseas buyers. A breakdown by nationality showed the number of homes purchased by British buyers accounted for 14.7% of foreign purchases compared to 34.3% prior to the financial crisis in 2007.

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Home evictions averaged 184 a day in Spain last year

José Antonio Hernández writes for El País in English, March 28, 2014–The number of court-ordered home evictions for non-payment of mortgages, rent or other legal reasons reached 67,189 last year, according to judicial statistics released on Friday.

The number of open cases – pending eviction requests – stood at 82,860, which is 9.8 percent fewer than the previous year, said the General Council of Judiciary (CGPJ) legal watchdog in its annual report. Of the total number, 38 percent were due to non-payment of mortgages while 57 percent were for non-payment of rent. Another four percent were for other causes. The figures reflect an average of around 184 evictions per day in 2013.

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Spain’s ‘bad bank’ aims for higher margin sales after 2013 loss

(Reuters), March 27, 2014–Spain’s “bad bank”, created to help clean up the country’s finance sector, said on Thursday it would spend 100 million euros ($138 million) this year on finishing half-built properties to try to sell assets at higher prices. The bad bank, known as Sareb, which is partly backed by the government, last year took on about 50 billion euros of housing, land and loans from Spain’s bailed-out banks, which were crippled by a 2008 property crash.

Sareb’s success in selling off assets over a 15-year timeline will be key to helping Spain draw a line under the property crash that tipped the country into recession. It made about billion euros last year from selling flats and soured loans to investment funds and individuals. Total revenues, which also include interest earned on loans, reached 3.8 billion euros.



Spain Banks With $55 Billion of Property Seek Deals: Mortgages

Sharon Smyth writes for Business, March 27, 2014–Spanish banks burdened with as much as 40 billion euros ($55 billion) of repossessed real estate are under increasing pressure to sell as prices fall and investors return to the market.

Property sales will increase as Spain’s economy recovers from a five-year economic slump and banks seek to reduce the costs of holding the properties, said Fernando Acuna, founder of Aura Real Estate Experts, a company that advises investors on real estate purchases from Spanish banks. The firm’s estimate of banks’ bad assets is more than double the amount disclosed by lenders so far and includes about 400,000 homes, plots of land and commercial real estate.

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Spanish banks face fresh property reviews for ECB check-up

Reuters, March 19, 2014–Spanish banks, slowly emerging from a 2008 property crash, will have to revalue thousands of homes and commercial buildings to meet demands of European Union regulators who are assessing the sector’s financial strength, people familiar with the matter said.

Banks had been resisting fresh valuations, arguing previous estimates could simply be updated and fearing a costly and time-consuming reassessment that could lead to more provisions against soured loans, on top of multi-billion euro writedowns already taken in recent years. Yet European Central Bank (ECB) regulators engaged in the so-called Asset Quality Review (AQR) of banks across the euro zone have rejected such arguments and have demanded an up-to-date review of the worth of property portfolios, sources said.


Spain’s demolition threat homes saved

From, March 26, 2014–Thousands of home owners – including many expatriates- are breathing a sigh of relief after their seafront homes had a cloud of uncertainty lifted from them. Owners will be allowed to bequeath or sell homes and businesses that infringe Spain’s previous Coastal Law. The law was announced last year and the text has now been made public.

New regulations annul a clause in the 1988 law warning that buildings and businesses on the 100-metre strip measured from the high tide mark would be demolished in 2018. Under the new law the Environment Ministry confirmed that concessions are safe for another 75 years and authorisations for four more years.



Spain’s Caixabank selling 1.1 bln-euro loan portfolio

From Reuters, March 24, 2014–Caixabank is looking to sell a 1.1 billion-euro ($1.5 billion) package of troubled, small company debts to investors as Spanish banks step up their clear-out of problem loans, a source with knowledge of the transaction said on Monday.

The portfolio is being marketed to Spanish and international funds, the source said.

Caixabank, Spain’s third-biggest bank, declined to comment. Some of the loans are secured against industrial buildings, shops and other types of offices, the source added, confirming a report in newspaper Expansion on Monday.



Almost a Quarter of All Spanish Home Sales Are to Foreigners

Mark Nolan writes in The, March 23, 2014–Some 21.4% of all residential property purchased in Spain in 2013 was by foreign buyers, according to statistics released this week by the council of Notaries. In total, 55,187 homes were purchased last year by foreigners, representing a 9.8% increase on the figure from 2012.

The Valencia region has seen the biggest increase in the number of foreign buyers, with 16.9&, followed by the Canary Islands with 15.7%, Andalucía with 15,6 %, Murcia at 15,2 % and Cataluña with 7,7 %.

Read more in The


Gains in Spain: Is now the time to invest in Spanish property?

Jane Lewis writes for The Week, March 21, 2014–If history is, as Thomas Carlyle contended, “the biography of great men”, to what extent are global markets shaped by outsized individual investors? It’s a topical question when it comes to Spain – the hitherto despised European “Piig” now apparently basking in the sun as the favoured destination of some of the biggest beasts in the money jungle.

Billionaires George Soros and John Paulson are both renowned for making bold calls. The enigmatic Hungarian émigré, best known for his giant punt against the pound in 1992, currently reigns as the most successful hedge fund manager in history, measured by investment returns.

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Spain still hotspot for bargain properties

From Euro Weekly News, March 18, 2014–Global property prices shot up 8.4% in 2014 but Spain is still at the foot of the table as figures indicate that recovery is still a long way off. Spain is at 50th place among the 56 countries surveyed by real estate agent Knight Frank for its Global House Price Index. Last year’s 8.4 price hike is the largest annual figure since real estate giant Knight Frank started publishing its Global House Price Index in 1995. The firm is confident that the number signals an upturn in the global economy. But Spain’s struggling property market is still down on its luck. Prices fell 4% from the final quarter of 2012 to the same period a year later. There is some good news though. Spanish property prices are now falling more slowly: the drop was 2.2% in the six month from the second quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2013.

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Banks, funds line up for landmark Spanish property sale

(NEWS.GNOM.ES), March 17, 2014–Banks such as Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan are teaming up with international funds to bid for a multi-billion-euro portfolio of Spanish property loans as the country’s real estate market thaws, sources close to the process said. The loan package of over 4 billion euros ($5.5 billion), from Germany’s Commerzbank , is one of the biggest of its kind to be auctioned in Spain’s six-year real estate slump as lenders burned in the crisis clean up their books.

It is made up of some soured debts and other performing loans backed by office blocks and shopping centers, rather than debts related to residential homes which have more commonly been offered to investors.



Global house price league table: Spain and France languish

Andrew Oxlade writes in The Telegraph, March 14, 2014–The countries of Southern Europe continue to prop up a global league table of house prices, although the rate of decline is slowing. The Knight Frank Global House Price Index, published today, shows prices in the countries it analyses rose on average by 8.4pc last year, the highest rate of increase since the study’s inception in 1995.Dubai recorded the largest annual rise, up nearly 35pc but the market remains 25pc below its 2008 peak. Ukraine was the weakest market with a 26pc fall.

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Spanish go for cheaper properties

From Euro Weekly News, March 13, 2014–Spain’s property market is still in crisis six years after the property bubble burst. Foreign buyers are the only bright feature in a barren landscape blighted by a dearth of loans and reduced spending by Spanish families.

According to Ministry of Public Works’ figures for the last quarter of 2013, properties acquired by foreign buyers are 12% more expensive than those bought by the Spanish. The average home acquired by a foreign buyer changes hands at around €153,000 compared with €135,000 spent by national purchasers.

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Spanish housing market expected to recover in 2014: expert

From the Shanghai, March 12, 2014–An expert says Spain’s housing market, especially the high end, will show signs of recovery in 2014, as most of the macro-economic indicators improve and investor confidence grows. Pablo Mompo, director general of Quick Telecom, a real estate and internet investment company, said there was a growing interest abroad in buying properties in Spain following the fall in house prices due to the financial crisis.

Read more on the Shanghai


Strong interest from overseas buyers helping the Spanish property market

From The Property Wire, March 12, 2014–Spain’s prime residential property market is still being driven by international buyers, attracted by the country’s low prices, investment opportunities and lifestyle, according to a new report. There are the strongest signs yet that the market is about to reach the bottom, with one set of official figures showing prices decreasing just over 1% overall in 2013 compared to 2012.

Also, Spain’s official House Price Index published by the National Institute of Statistics, based on data from the Notaries, fell by 7.8% in 2013, down for the sixth year in a row but the annualised declines of 2013 were an improvement on the year before, when house prices fell 12.8%.

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Spanish market offers bargain basement homes

From The Olive Press, March 9, 2014–ALMOST one third of Spanish houses are on the market for less than €100,000. The number of houses sold at that price or less over the past 12 months is even higher -around 64% – according to property site The figure has surged from 2.9% before the onset of the economic crisis and ensuing collapse of the real estate market.

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George Soros leads the way with Spanish real estate investment

Mark Benson writes for Property, March 3, 2014–While there are many new contenders to the throne of George Soros, the leading hedge fund manager for many years now, there is no doubt that investment by the great man himself can move markets. Indeed news that George Soros, as well as the world’s fourth ranked hedge fund manager John Paulson, has invested €92 million in Spanish real estate company Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios has certainly caught the eye of investors.

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Spain Home Mortgages Fall 30.1% In December

From RTT, February 26, 2014–Spain’s residential mortgages recorded a further steep decline at the end of last year, data released by statistical office INE revealed Wednesday. The number of mortgages constituted on residential properties fell sharply by 30.1 percent year-on-year to 12,329 in December, continuing the recent trend. Month-on-month, home mortgages decreased by 11.5 percent. Data showed that the total value of home mortgages dropped 30.8 percent annually to about EUR1.251 billion in December. Compared to November, the value decreased by 15.6 percent.

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The shame of Europe’s 11m empty homes, 4.1m homeless people

From, February 25, 2014–More than 11 million homes sit empty across Europe, enough to shelter the entire continent’s homeless population twice over.

More than two million homes are empty in each of France and Italy, 1.8 million in Germany and more than 700,000 in Britain. Most of Europe’s empty homes, 3.4 million, lie in Spain, which experienced a big construction boom in the mid-2000s, fed largely by Britons and Germans buying homes in the sun.



Squatting in Spain

From McGill, February 21, 2014–As part of the Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) McGill’s annual event Social Justice Days, the Collectifs des Immigrants Espagnol de Montréal presented the workshop ‘Squatting in Spain.’ The event looked at the reality in Spain following the collapse of the real estate bubble and the current economic and social crisis. Squatting is defined as taking residence in an unoccupied or abandoned building (usually residential). Squatters do not have legal permission to occupy the space.

“The unemployment rate for the general population is 25.8 per cent and for people under 25, the unemployment rate is 54.3 per cent.”

According to Enrique Llanes, who has been a squatter for more than five years in the United Kingdom and Spain, “90 per cent of squatters do not choose this life by choice, it is a necessity.”

Read more on The McGill

House prices will keep falling in 2014, says analysis from Fitch

From Property, February 17, 2014–House prices in Spain will continue to fall during 2014 and bottom out in 2015 when the demand for housing is likely to improve, according to a new analysis of the nation’s residential real estate market.

The report from Fitch Ratings points out that according to figures from the Housing Department the Spanish house price index (HPI) reached a peak year on year decline of 10% in December 2012 and fell by an additional 2.3% by the third quarter of 2013 which means that overall, the HPI has fallen by almost 30% since the onset of the financial crisis.

Despite the deceleration of house price decline, Fitch predicts that prices will continue to fall during 2014 and bottom out in 2015. It says that the house price decline will be driven by an estimated property overhang of above one million units.

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Against all odds, Spanish families are wedded to home ownership

From Global Property, February 14, 2014–Spanish families remain enthusiastic about home ownership, despite an upsetting unemployment rate, a five-year-long housing bust, and limited means of credit. Data recently released by the Bank of Spain suggests that Spanish families continue to hold on to their cultural legacy with 83% of them being proud owners of their own homes, a percentage that is one of the highest in the world. Nearly 27% percent of the Spanish families own a second or holiday home, according to the Bank of Spain, despite the fact 27% of them have mortgage debts due on their primary home.

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Foreign Investors Even More Confident about Spanish Property Investment

FOREIGN INVESTORS have done a dramatic U-turn on Spanish property investment, with two thirds now believing Spain has attractive buying opportunities.

From The Olive Press, February 11, 2014–A total 67% of participants in an Urban Land Institute and PwC survey said they were feeling more confident about investing in the country. Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Manager for leading Spanish home builder Taylor Wimpey Espana comments, “It is very encouraging to see the experts such as the Urban Land Institute and PwC highlighting the turnaround which Spain has undergone and the vast potential which remains.

Read more on The Olive

Spanish House Sales Fall for Third Year in a Row

From El Pais in English, February 12, 2014–The Spanish housing market remained locked in a trough in 2013, six years after a massive property bubble burst. According to figures released by the National Statistics Institute (INE), the number of homes sold last year, excluding public housing schemes, fell 1.2 percent from a year earlier to 276,600 after falling 11.3 percent in 2012 and 18.2 percent in 2011. During the height of the boom over 800,000 houses were exchanged in a year. In December alone sales fell 11.0 from a year earlier to a new monthly record low of 18,619.

The only respite the market has had since boom turned to bust was in 2010 when sales increased 4.8 percent, driven by the purchase of new homes before the introduction of a hike in value-added tax.

Read more on El Pais in English:

Spain Homebuyer Bids Fell 23% Short of Asking Prices in 2013

From Business, February 11, 2014–Offers to buy Spanish homes fell short of the asking prices by 23 percent on average last year, damping expectations that the nation’s residential values have reached bottom, according to Bids were 22 percent less for homes in Madrid and 23 percent lower in Barcelona, according to the study published today by Idealista, Spain’s largest property website. Home prices rose for the first time since 2010 in the third quarter, official statistics showed.

“There is still a mismatch between asking prices and selling prices, for which there is no official data in Spain,” said Fernando Encinar, Idealista’s co-founder.

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Brit Love Affair For Spanish Living Is Still Thriving

By Lisa Smith for, February 5, 2014–Spain is still the overseas property hot spot for British expats, despite plunging prices and developers scamming foreign owners by selling homes built on protected land. Despite these problems, expats say warmer weather and an easier going lifestyle are the big attractions for moving to the country, according to a new study. According to a report by online property portal Rightmove, half of those looking to buy overseas are seeking a holiday home but will stay resident in Britain, while around a third plan to leave Britain  for good and 13% will buy as investors.

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Spain to Seek Advisers for Bankia Sale

By Carlos Ruano for, February 5, 2014–Spain’s bank restructuring fund FROB is looking to hire at least one investment bank adviser shortly to help it steer a privatisation strategy for bailed-out lender Bankia, according to a FROB document seen by Reuters. Bankia’s huge losses in 2012 made it a symbol of Spain’s financial crisis when it needed almost half of a 41.3 billion-euro ($56 billion) European bailout. The bank, which returned to profit in 2013, said earlier this week that the government was preparing to start selling its 68 percent stake. Sources told Reuters last month the government was considering a partial sale as early as the first quarter.


‘Bad bank’ Managing Director Takes Off

Belen Romana, president of Spain’s “bad bank” Sareb, is looking for a new managing director. Walter de Luna, the post’s current incumbent, has decided to leave following disagreements over how best to divest Sareb of approximately €50 billion of toxic property assets. This must be carried out over the next 15 years and despite the delicate health of Spain’s property market Sareb needs to generate a 14 per cent annual return. Romana, convinced that the bank must tackle its balance sheet challenges in 2014, has been seeking a like-minded replacement for De Luna since the end of last year.

Read more on Euro Weekly

Spain Becoming Number One Destination

Property, February 4, 2014–Spain looks set to rise to number one on the list of top destinations to invest in for British people looking to purchase property, a new report has stated. While Spain has consistently sat in the top three along with France and Italy in recent years, it has most commonly sat in second place behind Britons’ neighbour across the Channel. However, this is all set to change in the year ahead, with the number of searches for properties in Spain far exceeding the other two, and demand for second homes looking like it is about to see a surge therein.

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The most and least expensive square metres in Spain

Euroweekly, February 3, 2014–An survey has come out with the 2013 figures for Spain’s most and least expensive real estate. In the survey of 330,000 homes throughout the country, the Basque country topped the list of the most expensive square metres at €3,000. Meanwhile, Toledo was the cheapest at less than €1,000 per square metre. The survey also concluded that second-hand homes in Spain have slowed their price drop and are only 7.4 per cent cheaper than last year with an average per-square-metre price of €1,735. Only two provinces, Lugo and Orense, finished out 2013 with a rise in prices compared to 2012.

Read more on Euroweekly

Commerzbank in talks to offload Spanish property loans

Reuters / FRANKFURT (Reuters), February 1, 2014–Germany’s Commerzbank ( CBKG.DE ) is in talks with private equity companies Apollo and Cerberus CBS.UL to sell a 4 billion euro ($5.4 billion) portfolio of Spanish property loans, German weekly magazine WirtschaftsWoche reported. Commerzbank, Germany’s second−largest lender, declined to comment. Apollo and Cerberus could not immediately be reached.

The Frankfurt−based bank is seeking to sell off the portfolios of its former mortgage unit Hypothekenbank Frankfurt International, formerly known as Eurohypo to cut its balance sheet and fulfil stricter bank safety rules known as Basel III. In July, Commerzbank sold British property loans worth 5 billion euros to U.S. rival Wells Fargo ( WFC.N ) and private equity firm Lone Star Funds.

Spanish home prices down but sales are bearing up in high end locations

From Property, January 31, 2014–Average Spanish house prices fell 10.2% over the 12 months to November, according to the most recent figures from the General Council of Notaries. The data shows that the average price per square metre fell to €1,166 per square meter and peak to present Spanish house prices are down close to 40%. Sales were down too, seeing a fall of 22.2% over the same period and mortgage lending was down by 30.6%.

But the November decline in sales is not as bad as it looks according to Mark Stucklin of Spanish Property Insight who points out that it was mainly due to distortions caused by fiscal changes that inflated sales in November 2012, rather than a fresh slump in demand. And evidence for agents around Spain indicates that sales are increasing, although certain regions are doing better. Some of the best performing markets can be found in the Balearics. On Mallorca, for example, Balearics Sotheby’s International Realty, has seen sales rise.

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Spain poised to overtake France as favourite destination for buying overseas home

From, January 30, 2014–The three most popular locations people are considering buying homes in are Spain, followed by France and then Italy, according to a new Rightmove report. France is currently the most popular location to own an overseas property. But Spain has now become the number one location people planning to buy say they are looking at and has the highest number of searches on Rightmove Overseas of any destination. Just over half will be buying it as a second home, just over one third are planning to emigrate and 13 per cent will be buying as an investment.


Spain’s property market shows signs of recovery, but who’s buying?

Euroweekly, January 29,2014–The highly awaited recovery of Spain’s troubled property market is set happen at long last, but not at the hands of individual house hunters.

The past 12 months in particular has seen a boost in interest in Spanish property by foreign investors looking to cash in on the highly depressed property prices which tumbled from their pre-crisis highs. Spain has a stock of 650,000 unsold homes, with average prices having fallen by 30 per cent since the start of 2008, government figures show.

Read more on Euroweekly

Tourism Spurring International Property Investments in Marbella

By Offplan World, January 29, 2014–Tourists and investors throughout the world associate Spain with sun, sand, and sea. Since the dawn of air travel and the package holiday, Spain has been and still is a go-to destination for many people around the globe who wish to soak up the Mediterranean sun.

According to Urban Land Institute, European countries with property markets hit hard by the economy like Ireland and Spain are now attracting many real estate investors because of the recovery. According to Emerging Trends in Real Estate Europe 2014 says 71 percent of respondents report a shortage of assets available, and soon properties on the market are likely to be overpriced.

Read more on The Epoch

Mortgage Values Reveal Startling Reality

By Mark Nolan, The, January 28, 2014–Details released by financial comparison company, revel this week that more than 580,000 people in Spain now have mortgages at a value greater than the property they used the loan to purchase.

In other words, one in ten of all mortgage holders are now in a situation that should the worst case scenario happen to them, losing their home would not be the end of the financial burden, as they would still owe a debt to the bank.

Read more on The

Holiday Homes Targeted in New Spanish Property Law Change

The Olive, January 26, 2014–BRITONS with holiday homes in Spain and France could be prevented from renting them out to tourists under controversial new laws. The latest rules – which are still in the planning stage – could also add hundreds of euros to the cost of breaks for millions of visitors from Britain.

Read more on The Olive

Spain Home Mortgages Fall 27.4% In November, January 28, 2014–Residential mortgages in Spain decreased sharply in November, data released by statistical office INE revealed Tuesday. The number of mortgages constituted on residential properties fell sharply by 27.4 percent year-on-year to 13,933 in November. Month-on-month, home mortgages decreased by 5.2 percent. Data showed that the capital loaned for residential mortgages slid 25.9 percent annually in November. Compared to October, its value decreased by 2.3 percent.


Blackstone Is Said to Offer $58 Million for Spanish Rental Homes

Blackstone Group LP (BX) offered to pay 43 million euros ($58 million) for a portfolio of homes inSpain being sold by the country’s bad bank as the U.S. private-equity firm builds its rental business in the country, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Blackstone, the world’s biggest manager of alternatives to stocks and bonds, is bidding for the Dorian portfolio of 620 homes along with 1,200 garages and storage units built from 2007 through 2011 in Madrid and Barcelona, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the deal hasn’t closed. Blackstone, based in New York, is the lead bidder for the assets, according to one of the people.


Spain Squatters Take Over buildings After Foreclosures

BARCELONA, December 29, 2013—In this quiet suburb, children giggle as they kick around a soccer ball in front of their building. Their mothers trade tales nearby, their loud voices filling the entrance. A father darts around the kids as he heads out to run a few errands. It could be any Saturday afternoon anywhere in Spain except for some important differences. Homemade signs, calling for human rights and affordable housing, hang from every floor of this building. The elevator has never been operational. The water supply fails constantly.

Read more from USA

Investment in Spanish Property Back to Pre-GFC Levels

Malaysa Sun, December 29, 2013–Foreign money is currently fuelling Spain’s property market. Shops, offices and apartments across Spain are being purchased by foreign buyers at a fantastic rate. The buyers are streaming back into the country which is still suffering from the shock of the Global Financial Crisis. Americans, Germans and British are especially focused on Spain with many estate agencies claiming that investment in Spanish real estate has returned to the levels it reached before 2008, when Spain experienced a building-bust.

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Foreign cash surge stokes Spain property market

Madrid, December 25, 2013—A grand yellow-brick edifice in Madrid’s poshest shopping district, the ABC Serrano mall is a Spanish symbol of tradition and elegance. Only it isn’t Spanish anymore nt real estate consultant. “There are dozens of investment funds from all the major countries, such as Americans, Germans and British, who are focussing on Spain.”

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Balearics leading Spanish house price rises

December 20, 2013–Spanish property prices are now moving upwards in certain parts of the country, and the Balearics are leading the charge. Official figures for Q3 2013 show the islands saw 4.4 per cent price growth year-on-year, thanks in part to strong interest from overseas buyers. Indeed, foreign ownership in the Balearics has more than doubled in the past five years from 1,642 purchases by foreigners in 2008 to 3,571 in 2012.

Read more on: Property

House buyers from the Middle East, Asia and Russia are flocking to invest in Spain

December 22, 2013–The ‘Golden Visa’ system now operating in Spain has prompted a 2,500 per cent increase in interest from Middle Eastern buyers in the year to date, compared with the same period in 2012, according to data from Taylor Wimpey España. Since October 1 2013, any non-EU national coming to Spain with more than €500,000 to invest has been automatically granted a residency permit, which has resulted in increased interest not only from the Middle East, but also from Asia and Russia.

Spanish Insolvency Act amendment offers comfort to parties in Sareb transactions

Market participants welcome a clarification extending equitable subordination exemptions granted Sareb to those subsequently purchasing debt from Sareb.

December 17, 2013–On November 30, 2013, the Spanish legislator approved a recent amendment to Spanish insolvency law, introduced in March 2013, to clarify that a claim transferred to Spanish “bad bank” Sareb, and subsequently sold by Sareb to a third party, will also be exempt from equitable subordination risk.



‘Spanish properties in prime locations near bottom’

December 17, 2013–Spanish property prices in prime locations could be nearing the bottom, painting a brighter picture for the next 12 months, according to Taylor Wimpey Espana. The firm claims that with the Ministry of Development reporting the lowest drop in values since 2010 in Q3, quality homes in popular spots will soon see price falls cease. Indeed, properties are actually becoming more expensive already in several regions.

Read more on Property


Spain Home Prices Post First Increase Since 2010

December 16, 2013–Home prices in Spain increased during the third quarter for the first time since the second quarter of 2010, according to the country’s National Statistics Institute.

Prices increased 0.7 percent from the second quarter, standing at a positive level for the first time in 13 quarters.

The annual home price index increase five points and now stands at -7.9 percent. This is the highest rate since the third quarter of 2011.
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Six firms lodge bids for Spain’s rescued NCG Banco – FROB

Dec 16, 2013 — Spain’s bank restructuring fund FROB said on Monday it had received six binding offers for 88.33 percent of NCG Banco, a state-rescued lender from the northern region of Galicia.

FROB owns the majority of the bank and the rest of the NCG’s capital is in the hands of minority shareholders, including some former investors in preference shares who turned in their securities for shares during its bailout.



Thousands of Brits with holiday homes in Spain and France may be banned from renting them out to tourists

December 13, 2013

  • Second-home owners on the continent targeted in controversial new laws
  • Travelers will no longer be able to pay cheap rates direct to owners, but will have to stay in apartments, hotels of villas operated by major firms
  • Crackdown could be implemented in Paris and Lyon as early as next week

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Depreciation on Spanish Foreclosed Homes Reached 63%

December 6, 2013–Moody’s credit rating agency indicated recently that the accumulated depreciation on foreclosed homes in Spain since the beginning of the crisis has reached an average of 63%. This percentage is well above the 41% average decline registered, according to the National Statistics Institute, in housing prices between the first quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2013.


Spain Credit Falls to ’05 Shadow After Price Collapse: Mortgages

December 5, 2013–Spanish property broker Donpiso pledges on its website it can sell homes within 60 days. That’s possible, said Juan Luis Nolasco, who runs one of the firm’s Madrid branches, only if owners are realistic about prices and the difficulties buyers face getting mortgages after six years of falling values.

“A lot of sellers are still living in the land of Peter Pan,” Nolasco said, referring to the fictional Neverland. “The biggest problem is lack of access to financing for buyers.” Currently, it can take about six months to sell a property, he said.

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Spain Sareb Said to Sell Debt to Fortress at 46% Discount

December 3, 2013–Spain’s bad bank will sell 437 million euros ($592 million) of loans taken by Realia Business SA (RLIA) to Fortress Investment Group LLC (FIG) for 46 percent less than their face value, two people with knowledge of the matter said. In addition to the New York-based private-equity firm, at least eight funds expressed interest in buying the debt from the Madrid-based bank known as Sareb, one of the people said. Both asked not to be identified because the information is private.


Distressed Property Investors In Spain Turn To Buy2let Market

December 3, 2013–Domestic and overseas real estate investors are engaging in bulk-buying of foreclosed properties in Spain so that they can rent them out. Repossessed property assets in prominent urban centres in the country can be purchased at 71.6 per cent below their original price, on average. During 2012, a legislation that enticed people to invest in rental real estate was passed, and under this law, inflation will have no association with rental rates. Landlords can now increase rental rates more frequently.


Barcelona Emerges As Spains Hottest Destination

November 25, 2013–Real estate agents in Spain admit that the nation has been through some of the hardest times in its recent history as the real estate market finds itself down in the dumps. To add to the Iberian country’s woes, unemployment levels have also been at their highest ever, making it near impossible for locals to invest in properties. Since 2007, the market has declined by 40 to 50 per cent.


Spain’s ‘bad bank’ sells loan bundle to Bank of America

November 25, 2013–(Reuters) – Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N) has bought a small package of loans from Spain’s so-called ‘bad bank’ Sareb, helping the vehicle to surpass year-end sales targets, two sources familiar with the situation said on Monday. The U.S. bank bought two loans to troubled property company Metrovacesa, the sources said, adding that the loans were on Sareb’s books at about 80 million euros ($108 million).


Learning the Lingo, Part 1

November 23, 2013–One of the things about living in Spain is that in order to communicate with agencies and public bodies one needs to be proficient in Spanish. It is evident that when one lives in a country with a language other than your own that it is in ones best interest to try and learn the language so that one integrate effectively. To this end there are numerous classes and teachers that help foreign residents to learn Spanish.

Read more on The Leader

Irish Billionaire Affirms He Has ‘Boatload’ of Customers for Spanish Resort

September 27, 2013–Denis O’Brien, the billionaire Irish owner of Digicel Group Ltd., said he wants to bring the Ryder Cup to his golf course in Spain, as buyers pay as much as $3 million for homes at the resort.

O’Brien sold about 28 properties last year in his PGA Catalunya Resort in Girona, and he expects to sell between 40 and 45 this year, according to an interview with Bloomberg Television. The buyers include Germans, French, Swiss, Russians and Kazakhs, O’Brien said.


Spanish locksmiths refuse wife-beaters access to their homes

September 27, 2013–With the economic crisis in Spain, times are hard. Because of this more cases of physical and verbal abuse by husbands against their wives are happening. Two locksmiths are now trying to do something to help in the situation.

So often stories of murder or domestic violence head up the Spanish news these days. Despite the launch of numerous awareness campaigns by the country’s Ministry of Equality, which have had limited success, the violence continues.

Read more on Digital


September 23, 2013–If you are aware of an increase in the number of people speaking Russian in the area that’s because people of that nation have now invested more than 1,000 million euros in property  in the province. In the last three years Russians have acquired more than 4,500 homes on the Costa Blanca, which puts them at the top of the table for the sale of properties to foreigners on the Costa Blanca.

Read more on The

‘Sick man’ Spain woos back wary investors

September 22, 2013–“Viva Espana,” blared a recent report by the global financiers Morgan Stanley, advising clients to invest in bonds from the eurozone’s fourth-biggest economy, which came close to a full bailout in 2012.

“Last year, a bit before September, everything was different. We were trying not to read analysts’ reports so as not to get depressed,” said Antonio Carrascosa, leader of Spain’s state bank-restructuring fund, known as the FROB.

“Right now, it’s the opposite. We are seeing the start of a recovery.”

Read more on The

Spain’s Sareb opens €337m Bankia, Caixa credit portfolio for bids

September 18, 2013–Spain’s bad bank Sareb has put up for sale a portfolio of credits from nationalised Bankia and savings bank NovaCaixaGalicia with a face value of €337m, seeing growing foreign demand for assets so that it hopes to close the sale in November.

Read more on Property Investor Europe

Number of foreign buyers surges in Spain, govt data shows

September 19, 2013–Foreign buyers are more important than ever for the Spanish property market as it continued to shrink in the second quarter of 2013.

Data from the Spanish department of housing shows that home sales fell by 4.2% compared with the second quarter of 2012, but they were up on the previous quarter.

The data shows that it is foreign buyers who are keeping the property market propped up, especially in popular coastal areas where foreigners tend to buy second homes. Overall purchases by foreign buyers increased by 29% over 12 months and 49% quarter on quarter.

Read more on Property

Spain’s FABs: A New Vehicle For Investment In Assets Disposed By The Bad Bank

September 17, 2013–During August 2013, the Spanish bad bank (Sociedad de Gestión de Activos Procedentes de la Reestructuración Bancaria, S.A., or “SAREB”) completed the bidding process for its first sale of a REO portfolio (project “Bull”), awarding to HIG Capital through its affiliate Bayside Capital. The portfolio consists of a total of 939 residential units and 750 parking and storage units valued at €100 million.

The transaction was structured through a FAB(Fondo de Activos Bancarios or Bank Asset Fund), the first to be created in Spain. The FAB will operate as a joint venture (SAREB will have a 49 percent shareholding in the FAB, while HIG Capital will hold the remaining 51 percent).


Spanish real estate has lost more than a third of its value, but it’s still overvalued

September 13, 2013,–It takes some digging to find any bright spots in the latest data on Spanish home prices (pdf). The national index of housing prices fell by only 0.8% in the second quarter, when compared with the first, which isn’t too bad. Compared with the same period last year, however, the average home has fallen 12% in value, marking the seventh consecutive quarter of double-digit annual declines. Every region has recorded an annual fall for at least the past two years.


Spain house prices fall at slowest pace since end-2010 in Q2

September 13, 2013, Chicago – Spanish house prices fell 0.8 percent in the second quarter from a quarter earlier, official data showed on Friday, the smallest drop since the fourth quarter of 2010 and a sign the five-year property bust may be turning a corner.

National housing prices have risen only once on a quarterly basis since the third quarter of 2007 after the sudden end of a decade-long property boom spun Spain’s economy into a deep recession from which it is only just starting to emerge.

On an annual basis, housing prices fell 12 percent, the lowest drop since the end of 2011, the Statistics Institute said.

Read more in Chicago


September 16, 2013, Real Estate–La troika visita hoy España, para interesarse por la situación de las entidades receptoras del rescate bancario, que concedió a España. Es decir, trata de averiguar la solvencia adquirida por los bancos españoles  que recibieron ayudas y analizar si consiguen desvincularse del sector inmobiliario.

Read more in Real Estate

Spain’s Sareb Said to Seek Investors for Madrid Office Buildings

September 11, 2013,–Spain’s bad bank is seeking investors for a portfolio of seven office buildings in Madrid, a person with knowledge of the plan said.

The properties that make up the Corona portfolio have 65,000 square meters (700,000 square feet) of office space and an occupancy rate of 80 percent, said the person, who asked not to identified because the information isn’t public. The closing date for non-binding bids is Oct. 4, the person said. Binding bids must be submitted by the last week of November.

Spain set up the bad bank, known as Sareb, last year to absorb 50 billion euros ($66 billion) in real estate assets from lenders including the Bankia group that took state aid. Sareb last month agreed to sell a majority stake in a group of almost 1,000 homes known as Project Bull to private-equity firm H.I.G. Capital LLC as it began the process of offloading assets.


Spain’s FABs: a new vehicle for investment in assets disposed by the bad bank

September 9, 2013,–During August 2013, the Spanish bad bank (Sociedad de Gestión de Activos Procedentes de la Reestructuración Bancaria, S.A., or “SAREB”) completed the bidding process for its first sale of a REO portfolio (project “Bull”), awarding to HIG Capital through its affiliate Bayside Capital. The portfolio consists of a total of 939 residential units and 750 parking and storage units valued at €100 million.

The transaction was structured through a FAB (Fondo de Activos Bancarios or Bank Asset Fund), the first to be created in Spain. The FAB will operate as a joint venture (SAREB will have a 49 percent shareholding in the FAB, while HIG Capital will hold the remaining 51 percent).


La hora de comprar casas a tocateja (Time to Buy Houses for Cash)

September 7, 2003, El País–Las hipotecas a 50 años y la financiación para la casa, la reforma y los muebles son cosas de otros tiempos. De cuando comprar una vivienda era sinónimo de hipotecarse de por vida. Ya no es así: hoy siete de cada diez compraventas se pagan a tocateja. El crédito es caro y escaso, por lo que las transacciones —todavía bajo mínimos— se realizan tirando de ahorros o mediante donaciones de familiares. La otra explicación es el aumento de compradores extranjeros, que según la estadística del Ministerio de Fomento suponen ya el 17% del total. Estos están adquiriendo viviendas con fondos propios o usando financiación bancaria de sus países de origen.

Nigel Salmon es el director general de Girasol Holmes, una agencia de intermediación inmobiliaria ubicada en Gales. Se dedica a vender casas de Florida, España y Portugal a través de un equipo repartido en varios países. Sus clientes, cuenta, son sobre todo jubilados y gente que durante los últimos años ha estado esperando que los precios bajaran para comprarse un apartamento cerca del mar. “En los dos últimos años está siendo mucho más fácil vender”, sostiene. En cartera tiene viviendas en la Comunidad Valenciana, Murcia y Andalucía por precios de hasta 50.000 euros. Los compradores son sobre todo británicos, holandeses, belgas, franceses y rusos. La mayoría compra sin hipoteca. “Como durante la recesión no han podido adquirir una casa han tenido tiempo de ir ahorrando”, señala.

Read more in El País

Brits “rekindling their love affair” with Spanish Property

New research has shown that Brits are “rekindling their love affair” with Spanish property, according to

A study from mortgage specialist Conti found that enquiries about property in the country are now over-taking France. Forty-four per cent of enquires in May alone were said to be about Spain. It is thought that that the good weather and easy access to the UK are just some of the reasons why property in the country is so popular right now.

Talking about the data, Clare Nessling, director at Conti, told “There’s no denying that the country’s financial and economic woes have left a huge glut of new and repossessed properties sitting empty and struggling to sell, but some bargain basement prices are turning heads, particularly those of the British, and there may never be a better time to buy a Spanish home.”

Read more in Homes Go Fast

Frustrated young buyers eye bargain properties abroad: Four-fold increase in under 30s looking to snap up a home overseas

September 5, 2013, Mail Online–First-time buyers are increasingly looking abroad in order to snap up a property, according to figures from foreign exchange specialists Moneycorp.
It says the number of under 30s looking to foreign climes in order to get onto the property ladder has increased substantially in the last year as they attempt to swerve rising house prices and steep deposits.Data shows that while they may make up a relatively small slice of the housing market, the number of 19 to 28-year-olds using Moneycorp to buy properties abroad has increased fourfold since 2011.  Meanwhile, the number of British people in their 30s buying abroad has jumped by 25 per cent in three years.

Read more in This is Money

Foreigners buy big in stagnant property market

One in six properties sold in Spain in the second quarter of 2013 was bought by foreigners, new figures released by Spain’s Ministry of Development on WednesdaFirst-time buyers are increasingly looking abroad in order to snap up a property, according to figures from foreign exchange specialists Moneycorp.

It says the number of under 30s looking to foreign climes in order to get onto the property ladder has increased substantially in the last year as they attempt to swerve rising house prices and steep deposits.

Data shows that while they may make up a relatively small slice of the housing market, the number of 19 to 28-year-olds using Moneycorp to buy properties abroad has increased fourfold since 2011.  Meanwhile, the number of British people in their 30s buying abroad has jumped by 25 per cent in three years.


Foreigners buy big in stagnant property market

September 4, 2013, The Local–A total of 16.7 percent of the 80,722 properties sold in Spain in the three-month period were snapped up by foreigners, the figures show. This percentage marks a record since these property statistics were introduced in 2006, Spain’s 20 minutos newspaper reported on Wednesday. A total of 13,632 transactions were carried out by foreigners. Of these, 12,546 properties went to foreign residents living in Spain while the other 1,086 properties went to non-residents. The most popular provinces among foreign buyers were Alicante, Malaga, Barcelona, Tenerife and Girona in that order. “It’s no surprise that house sales to foreigners are up,” a Barcelona-based property expert  told The Local.

Read more in The Local

Unfinished Spanish town fights to recover from property bust

August 25, 2013, Business–When Spanish companies began building Valdeluz in 2006, they had a vision of a modern, upper class residential area for professionals, just 17 minutes from their work places in Madrid. Seven years later – and six years into an economic crisis that brought low Spain’s booming construction sector – the shuttle station that was to link Valdeluz with the capital remains closed.

Only the high-speed train stops at a nearby station eight times a day. When the Alvia added the stop to its route in 2004, builders and politicians launched the construction of Valdeluz, almost from scratch. Few people can be seen on the wide, tree-lined streets in the town centre. Flats are for sale at less than half their original price.

Read more in Business

Open to Export: Spanish property market boosted

August 21, 2012, Fresh Business Thinking,com–New, key-ready homes on Spain’s Costa Blanca are becoming increasingly the more attractive option to foreign buyers, thanks in part to the regional government recently making it more expensive to buy resale property there.

“The regional government of Valencia, home to the Costa Blanca, raised transfer tax (ITP) on resale property to 10 per cent from 8 per cent from the start of this month. The region’s northern neighbour, Catalonia, has made the same change,” Richard Way, Editor at The Overseas Guides Company said.

Read more in Fresh Business Thinking,com

Private Equity Investors Drawn to Spain

August 21, 2013, Property Show–Private equity investors are increasingly being drawn to Spanish property – a good sign for the market. Following the sale of Sareb’s Bull portfolio, Goldman Sachs private equity and Azora have now bought 3,000 residential flats from the regional government of Madrid. The sale totaled €201 million (£171 approximately) and signals the highest level of activity since the market crashed.

The portfolio is comprised primarily of flats in Madrid that are part of a scheme to give homes to people below 35 with below-average incomes.

Read more in Property Show

Desperate Measures Adopted by Spain to Ease Desperate Times

August 20,2013, Property–The real estate market in Spain has been facing troubled times over the past few years. Following the recession in 2008, overbuilding has turned out to be one of the major problems in the country. With hundreds of thousands of properties still unsold, the government in Spain is working hard to revive investor confidence so as to attract foreign investors to its beautiful beaches and coasts.

Read more in Property

Property sales continue to fall in Spain according to latest data from notaires

August 12, 2013, Property–Residential property sales are continuing to fall in Spain and are now just a third of what they were in 2007 before the economic downturn kicked in, according to figures from notaires. On a year on year basis sales as of the end of June were down 26.9%, the figures from Spain’s Council of Notaires shows that prices are down 13.3%. The average price of a home in Spain is now €1,206 per square meter.

There are regional variations and some types of homes are doing better than others. For example, while overall sales of apartments fell by 23% in June, new apartment sales fell even more, by 46% and re-sale apartment sales were down 14% with single family home sales down 23%.

Read more in Property

Yours for €100m: Spanish airport, mint condition, one careless owner

Airport at Ciudad Real in La Mancha has barely been used and boasts a runway long enough to land an Airbus 380

August 7, 2013, The–Got a private jet already? Why not buy your own airport? One of Spain‘s biggest white elephants, the airport at Ciudad Real in La Mancha, is up for auction: starting price €100m (£86m), a steal, bearing in mind that it cost €1bn to build.

The airport, 100 miles south of Madrid, is in mint condition as it has barely been used and boasts a runway long enough to land an Airbus 380, the world’s largest airliner. The catch is paying off the outstanding €529m debt. Creditors include a variety of savings banks (€233m) Air Nostrum (€2.6m) and Air Berlin (€1.8m). Local residents whose property was compulsorily purchased to build the airport are claiming a further €106m. The airport drove the Castilla-La Mancha savings bank, a 68% shareholder in the scheme, to bankruptcy, but not before it had handed out multimillion euro payoffs to its directors.

Read more in The

Spain’s “bad bank” sells property portfolio to H.I.G. Capital, August 6, 2013–Spain’s “bad bank” Sareb said it closed its first property portfolio deal, with investment firm H.I.G. Capital taking a 51 percent stake in a package of close to 1,000 homes around Spain, known as Project Bull.

Sareb said the deal priced the portfolio at 100 million euros ($133.10 million).

Sareb said in a statement it retained a 49 percent share.

Sareb is an asset management company set up by the Spanish government as part of a multi-billion-euro rescue of the country’s banks, to take on soured real estate assets and property related loans.


Advice about Property Ownership in Spain

The Leader, August 3, 2013–Whilst many British homeowners enjoy life in Spain it is important to note that a large number of people who bought properties here now face serious problems with their homes. According to information published by the regional government (Junta de Andalucía) there are approximately 300,000 illegal properties in Andalucía, with some 12,697 in the Almanzora Valley alone.

Thinking of buying a property in Spain?

Do your research and avoid the pitfalls. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have published a comprehensive and well researched guide on ‘How to Buy Property in Spain’ It is recommended reading for prospective buyers.

Read more in The

Spain still reigns: Interest in buying a home abroad for retirement higher than before the euro crisis

MailOnline, August 5, 2013–Interest among future pensioners in buying a holiday home in an overseas idyll for their retirement has reached higher levels than before the financial crisis, HSBC has said.The economic slump has not deterred millions of upcoming retirees in considering purchasing abroad to either live in during their twilight years, or have as a base for holiday visits.Spain is still the most desired location, accounting for more than a quarter of 45 to 64-year-olds surveyed by HSBC who are planning a property purchase, followed by France and Italy.

Spain Weighs Home Demolitions as Wrecking Crews on Alert

July 31, 2013, Bloomberg News–Demolition man Daniel Anka had a staff of 450 in Spain preparing for new developments before the property crash. With about a 10th of that workforce left, he’s now waiting for a call from the country’s bad bank so his trimmed-down crew can start knocking down half-built homes that aren’t worth completing.

Anka may not have long to wait as Sareb, the unit holding soured real estate assets from Spain’s nationalized banks, orders work to stop on about 160 of the 650 partially-completed building projects on its books and decides which ones are worth completing.

Read more in Business

Cheap prices put Spanish property back on the map

July 20, 2013–We’ve been basking in our own heatwave for some time now, but if it’s given you a taste for sunshine, sea and sangria, is it time to look at buying property in Spain again?

The Spanish market, for years the horror show of Europe, is just beginning to show signs of bouncing back, tempting buyers with low prices and attractive mortgages, but if you’re thinking of buying a villa in the sun, there are still significant dangers.

Spanish banks have been trying to offload their glut of repossessed homes on the cheap and average prices crumbled by 12.8 per cent in the first three months of this year compared to the same period in 2012, according to Eurostat figures. Some of these bargains are finally turning heads and interest in Spanish property is enjoying a revival, taking over the top spot from the USA last month and accounting for almost one-in-three enquiries on the property portal

Read more in The Independent

Missing property addresses and keys hamper Spain’s ‘bad bank’

July 15, 2013–Spain’s ‘bad bank’ not only has to sell the soured property loans and unwanted housing it took on from the country’s rescued lenders – it first has to find them.

A review of the €51 billion of property loans and buildings transferred to the state-run vehicle as part of the industry clean-up has uncovered swathes of incomplete records, including tens of thousands of missing addresses, three sources familiar with the process said.

Keys to the wrong homes have also been among the challenges faced by teams of lawyers and property experts hired to sift through the assets and value them, two of the sources said.

The administrative muddle risks delaying the sale of assets and ultimately how much money the bad bank, known as Sareb, is able to salvage from a property crash that drove many of the country’s banks to require a European bailout.

Belen Romana, who chairs Sareb, said this week the bad bank had sold just 700 properties by June 1. Its target is to sell 45,000 properties in five years and it is aiming for an annual return on equity of 13 to 14 per cent over its 15 year lifespan.

Read more in Times of

Alicante: most popular with foreign property buyers

July 14, 2013–More information just released confirms our renewed love affair with the Costa Blanca.

Last week the Spanish property website,, reported the latest news from the Spanish authorities featuring foreign buyers.

Out of all the Spanish provinces Alicante is the one that saw the most purchases by foreigners in the first quarter of 2013 with 2,485 house sales far ahead of its nearest competitor, Malaga (992).

Read more in A Place in the

In Tempo: towering testament to madness of Spain’s construction boom

July 17, 2013–It was to be Europe’s tallest residential building, a monument to the boom years when the construction industry helped Spain’s economy become one of the fastest growing in the world.

Now, the In Tempo apartment block in Benidorm has become a metaphor for the madness of the 10-year building bonanza that brought the country to its knees.

The 200 metre (650ft) high twin towers containing 269 flats are now the responsibility of the so-called “bad bank” established to consolidate the toxic assets of the country’s bankrupt savings banks.

Most of these assets consist of unsold or unfinished property built during the boom. The bank, full name Sociedad de Gestión de Activos de la Restructuración Bancaria (Sareb), assumed the €54m (£47m) In Tempo-related debt of Caixa Galicia, the savings bank that funded the apartments in 2005.

Read more in The Guardian

Low house prices stimulate foreign investment in Spain

July 8, 2013–Despite the doom and gloom of the Spanish economic situation, recent figures reveal now is actually a good time to invest in Spanish property.

How is that, you may be wondering? Given that most of what you probably see in the press is negative with regards to Spain’s property market.

The short answer is, of course, bargain property prices. It’s obviously helping entice foreign investors, as interest from overseas buyers increased by 17 per cent last year – the highest increase since 2004.


Spanish Coastal Properties Selling

June 10, 2013, NuWire Investor–Spain’s dismal housing market and economic woes have left many regions struggling with undervalued property and slow sales activity, but new laws are helping to revive coastal property values. Reforms to the Coastal Law, which was originally intended to protect seaside areas, have now made it possible for leases to coastal property to be bought and sold rather than only inherited, which some experts believe have boosted value by hundreds of thousands of Euros. It also allows owners of such properties to make major refurbishments and so increase their value, whereas before only minor alterations were allowed in an attempt to preserve the look and feel of many areas.

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Spain’s ‘Bad Bank’ Puts Debt Portfolio Up for Sale

July 10, 2013, Wall Street Journal–Spain has put up for sale a €1.2 billion ($1.53 billion) package of corporate loans to three of the country’s biggest real-estate firms, a move to speed up the disposal of assets absorbed from the country’s nationalized banks, two people close to the process said Wednesday.

SAREB, the “bad bank” managing the nationalized assets, has told selected potential bidders to file indicative offers for the debt portfolio by next week, these people said. The package, which SAREB has named “Bermudas,” is composed of loans to Metrovacesa SA, Realia Business SA RLIA.MC +4.00% and Inmobiliaria Colonial COL.MC +3.41% SA.

The bad bank is also entering the final phase of its first big property sale, a package of foreclosed assets situated mostly in Southern Spain. That sale, called “Project Bull,” initially drew interest from dozens of potential buyers, and four bidders are left. The people close to the process said SAREB had set a July 17 deadline for binding offers.

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Swedes cite unrest in ruling out Turkish homes

Swedish city-dwellers still flock to Spain and France when looking for a second home, with Portugal rising fast in the ranks while the Turkish holiday housing market is set to suffer due to recent unrest, according to a new report.

July 8, 2013, The Local–The new survey by estate agents Fastighetsbyrån found that ten percent of residents in Malmö, Gothenburg, and Stockholm already own a holiday house abroad. A further ten percent plan to join their ranks in the next five years. “The main reason for this choice is to be in the sun, and to have a swim, but culture and food are also important features,” Fastighetsbyrån spokesman Johan Vesterberg told The Local.

A new report found out that Turkey had tumbled in the ratings for potential holiday homes. Survey respondents cited the recent unrest and concerns about the country’s human rights records as reasons to stay away from the Turkish property market.

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New Coastal Law to shake up house prices close to the water

The new Coastal Law allows refurbishments of homes close to the seafront, and creates a market for longer leases, opening up investment opportunities for those in the know.

July 8, 2013, Spanish Property Insight–In 1988 Spain introduced the Ley de Costas, or Spanish Coastal Law, which nationalised the whole coast. This troublesome piece of legislation expropriated private property without compensation, whilst spectacularly failing to achieve its stated objective of protecting the coast for the public good. Owners of expropriated homes that were legally built before the Ley de Costas were given a 30-year concession of use (a type of lease), many of which were due to expire in 2018.

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Spain Plans Property Fire Sale

July 2, 2013, World Property Channel–About 15,000 state-owned properties will go on sale in Spain as the government tries to raise money to cover its budget deficit.  The properties range from office buildings to agricultural land and will be sold over the next seven years, according to news reports.”There will be some real gems in the portfolio I am sure, but also a lot of dross,” Mark Stucklin, founder of Spanish Property Insight and WPC columnist, told the Telegraph.Hoping to entice private investors, a parliamentary commission has made a list of assets. The list includes 10 “unique” buildings including the former home of the secretary of state for security, Paseo de la Castellana on Madrid’s central avenue; the former headquarters for Spain’s state television and radio channel in Madrid; a disused army barracks in Seville; a 35,000-acre country estate in Andalusia.

Andalucia property: hunting high and pueblo

June 28, 2013, Financial Times–On Andalucia’s southerly Costa del Sol there are identikit high-rise apartments overlooking packed beaches and bars selling cheap German beer and full English breakfasts. But drive 90 minutes north of Malaga to Granada, then another hour east into the Sierra de Segura mountains, and it is a very different Andalucia.

Here you find low-lying green plains and steep copper-coloured mountains with only a scattering of small towns and tiny villages. Few villas have swimming pools, there is no golf course and English is rarely spoken. Outsiders are rare: two per cent of homes in this part of Andalucia are bought by foreigners compared with 40 per cent on the coast.

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Spanish bank refuses to lower property prices

June 26, 2013–The postponement of a planned sale of a Spanish property portfolio has been taken as a sign that banks in the country are still unwilling to lower real estate values further, despite calls to do so. La Caixa is believed to have put off selling 12,000 homes due to pricing issues, two sources close to the deal told Reuters. The bank was hoping to agree €1.5 billion (£1.3 billion approximately) for the portfolio, but buyers were unwilling.

Banks such as La Caixa have already had to make huge writedowns on their distressed assets, which they were lumbered with following the 2008 real estate crash. While the creation of the bad bank was hoped to absorb all those financial institutions unable to cope in the new environment, freeing up healthier banks to sell devalued properties at big discounts, many are still struggling. This is partly due to the selling of individual properties, with portfolio sales still rare.

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Brit investors still prefer France and Spain

June 26, 2013–France and Spain are the most popular choices for holiday homes for Brits, according to an overseas property report from Buy Association.

The UK has suffered one of the wettest winters and coldest springs on record in 2013, leading to a rise in interest in relation to overseas property. The ‘safe’ locations of France and Spain remain overwhelmingly popular in the midst of the economic uncertainty plaguing some previously desirable locations, yet worries surrounding the ongoing eurozone crisis have led to some buyers seeking alternate locations. Turkey boasts affordable property, and a lifestyle similar to Spain, yet remains outside of the eurozone, making it an attractive location for potential buyers.

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Foreign investors return to Spanish housing market at 2008 levels

The evolution of the Spanish housing market, whether prices go some few tenths of a percentage up or down, is closely watched by national and international analysts searching for signals that anticipate a trend of change. Most forecasts suggest that home prices in Spain still need to fall between 15% to 20% to be adequately adjusted.

According to José Ramón Díez, director at Bankia’s Economic Research, “the last figures published about real state market point out that the correction process already can be considered to be in a very advanced stage, although new home stock reduction is still very small.”

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Florida Versus Spain, An Update

June 24, 2013, Paul Krugman writes in the NY Times–I’ve suggested on a number of occasions that one good way to understand the problems of the euro is to compare the experiences of Florida and Spain. Both had huge housing bubbles, fed in part by buyers of coastal holiday homes, which burst. Both suffered nasty recessions as a result. But then their destinies diverged, because one was part of a fiscal as well as monetary union, while the other wasn’t. As its economy shrank, Florida paid much less in federal taxes, even as federal spending in Florida rose; I’ve estimated the de facto federal aid to Florida in 2010 at around 5 percent of GDP. That’s aid, not loans; anything on that scale would have been inconceivable in Europe.

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Which Nationalities Are Buying Property in Spain?

June 21, 2013–A total amount of 5.540 million Euros was invested by foreign purchasers in 2012, 17% more than the previous year.

Overall, the British toped the rankings with 11.316 purchases, whilst in terms of the price per property invested, the Danes came out on top spending on average 210.377 Euros, with Norway second and Holland in third place.

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Spanish housing prices slump, -14.3%

(ANSAmed) – MADRID – Housing prices dropped in Spain by 14.3% in the first quarter compared with the same period in 2012, marking the 20th consecutive quarter in decline since 2008, according to Spain’s national statistics institute INE. The drop was sharper for second-hand homes (15.3%) than for new ones (12.8%).
INE reports that the drop was made worse by the end of tax credit for new home purchases and an increase in VAT for new homes from 4 to 10%, which came into effect on January 1. Comparing quarters, this one is the worst ever after the third quarter of 2012 (-15.2%) and the second quarter of 2007 (-14.4%).
The prices of second-hand homes dropped by 6.8% compared with the fourth quarter of 2012, and those of new homes by 6.5%. Both declines were the sharpest in quarterly terms. The largest drops were in the La Rioja (18%), Madrid (16.8%), Castilla y Leon (16.6%), Castilla-La Mancha (16.5%) and Catalonia (16.4%), followed by Valencia (12.5%), Andalusia and the Canary Islands (12.2%), Navarra (10.2%), the Balearic Islands (9.9%) and Ceuta (8.2%). (ANSAmed).

‘Don’t leave your brain on the plane to Spain’

The Local talks to real estate agent Graham Hunt about surviving Spain’s property crisis, why the country’s new home rental law is so confusing and whether Spaniards really lack an entrepreneurial spirit.

How did you end up coming to Spain?

I’m originally from just outside Liverpool but I’ve lived in Spain for half of my life now. I came as a student and I never left.

How did you end up working in Spain’s property market?

I bought a house in Valencia some years ago and I was shocked by the service offered by the local real estate agents.

It was when I helped a British friend choose a house here that I realized there were very few English speaking estate agents who could cater to the needs and desires of foreign property buyers.

There was a gap in the market as Spanish estate agents were only focusing on national buyers.

So I went about setting up my own business, Valencia-Property, which proved a success until Spain’s housing bubble burst.

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How the Change in Residency Laws will Affect Spain’s Luxury Property Market

From Watch List–Spanish residency gives buyers the ability to move freely around 25 European nations, already proving an attractive proposition to Asian, Russian and Middle Eastern buyers. Fine & Country Egypt has referred potential buyers to Marbella as a direct result of the change in law, sharing serious clients to maximise every buyers and sellers opportunity in the international property market. Fine & Country Marbella aims to report similar success to Portugal’s ‘Golden Visa’ last year, which improved their national confidence index to a 2 year high.

In recent years, Marbella has been a prime spot for Russian and Scandinavian investors attracted to the year round warm weather and luxury property along the Golden Mile. From what was a solely lifestyle driven purchase, the law adds a new stimulus to the global market place. A change of pace is expected as demand from those who might have been hesitant to buy before are now persuaded. Michael says, “We hope to see a renewed interest from Asia with market analysts predicting a €100 million property investment in Spain over the next 24 months.”

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Expats with Second Homes in Spain Must Ensure Correct Licensing is in Place

News release from Pryce Warner International Group–According to the Telegraph, the Spanish government is planning a clampdown on unlicensed holiday lets.

Laws along these lines already exist in the Balearics, Catalonia and the Canaries and the intention is to begin enforcing these nationwide. In the past expats have been fined over €30 000 for letting properties without the correct permits.

Marinaleda: Will ‘free homes’ solve Spain’s evictions crisis?

Tom Burridge writes for BBC News Andalucia–In the wake of Spain’s property crash, hundreds of thousands of homes have been repossessed. While one regional government says it will seize repossessed properties from the banks, a little town is doing away with mortgages altogether. In Marinaleda, residents like 42-year-old father-of-three, David Gonzalez Molina, are building their own homes.

While he burrows with a pneumatic drill into the earth, David nonchalantly says it “should take a couple of years”. However, when his new house is finished he will have paid “absolutely nothing”.

Free bricks and mortar

The town hall in this small, aesthetically unremarkable town an hour-and-a-bit east of Seville, has given David 190 sq m (2,000 sq ft) of land.

See complete article on BBC News

Britons are enjoying a buying bonanza in Spain

Anna Nicholas writes for The Telegraph–Despite Cassandra type predictions about the continuing demise of the Spanish property market, it appears that foreign investment in the country is growing steadily with Britons leading the way, followed by the French, Russians and Germans.

According to the Bank of Spain and the Real Estate Registry’s annual report, foreign investment in Spanish property was up 17 per cent in 2012 –the highest level since 2004- with Britons accounting for more than a 16 per cent share of the foreign market. In total €5.54 billion was spent by foreign nationals last year compared with €4.7 billion in 2011.

There are an estimated two million properties for sale in Spain, half of which are new builds so it would be foolish to imagine that foreign investment alone will be able to magic away the property sector’s current migraine. All the same, every little helps and if, despite a groggy economy, foreigners are showing confidence in the market, the Spanish government should take heart.

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Spain Recovery Begins With Sareb Suicide Pact’s Bull: Mortgages

Heather Perlberg and David Carey write for Bloomberg News–Spain’s Sareb, set up last year to acquire 90 billion euros ($116 billion) of soured real estate assets at a discount from rescued lenders, is preparing its first sale, known as ‘Project Bull,’ to test the beleaguered property market’s ability to attract investors.

Sareb has hired KPMG LLP to market a pool of homes located in the south and east of Spain, in Andalusia and Valencia, as well as unfinished buildings, according to four people with knowledge of the auction. Bids are due by July 18 on the real estate, which could be worth about 200 million euros, said the people, who asked not to be named because it’s private.

Read more on Bloomberg News

La compra de casas por extranjeros marca récords en el primer trimestre

From El Paí–La compraventa de viviendas cayó un 21,5% en el primer trimestre del año en comparación con el mismo periodo de 2012, hasta situarse en 54.512 unidades, según la estadística de transacciones realizadas ante notario que facilita el Ministerio de Fomento. Los datos constatan el esperado frenazo en las transacciones tras el final de las ayudas fiscales a la compra. Sin embargo, lo más destacable es que el 15% de las operaciones fueron realizadas por extranjeros residentes en España, lo que supone alcanzar el mayor porcentaje de toda la serie histórica.

En concreto, el colectivo de extranjeros realizó 8.457 transacciones entre los pasados meses de enero y marzo, un 5% más, lo que también supone el séptimo trimestre consecutivo de crecimiento interanual. Por nacionalidades, los más activos han sido británicos, rusos y noruegos, especialmente en las zonas costeras de la Comunidad Valenciana.

Read full article in El Paí

Residency for non-EU buyers of €500K homes

After much debate, Spain is set to introduce a new law which will grant permanent residency permits to non-EU nationals who buy a property in Spain worth €500,000, experts say.

From The–The news is likely to go down well with affluent Russian and Chinese property buyers, who are already the third and eighth biggest foreign homeowners in Spain.

“Obtaining the right visa permits and documents for Spanish residency in China and Russia is known to give anyone a bureaucratic headache,” Alex Vaughan, partner at luxury Barcelona-based estate agency Lucas Fox, told The Local.

“Although the new law hasn’t been passed yet, it’s likely to make it a lot more straightforward to obtain a permanent residency permit, rather than the temporary one that non-EU nationals have found so difficult to get up to now.”

See the full story on The

Spanish developer Llanera to be closed down

Spanish Property InsightSpanish property developer Llanera – one time star of the Spanish property boom – will be closed down after almost six years of trying to stave off liquidation, leaving many British victims in its wake. Llanera, a property developer from the Valencian Region that enjoyed explosive growth during the boom selling holiday-homes to Britons, will finally be put out of its misery, almost 6 years after it first went into court administration with 700 million euros of debt.

See full article on Spanish Property

New property investment visa for Spain set to spark interest from Russia and China

Expat_Forum logoA rush of interest from Chinese and Russians seeking to buy property in Spain is expected in the coming months with the country’s new law granting visas to non European Union citizens who invest in property set to become legal in July. The buyers will need to spend at least €500,000 on a property to qualify for the visa which will give them automatic residency for as long as they own the property.

See complete article on

Spain take NAMA lead on the road to recovery

Independent.ieThe Spanish Government banks and property market appears to be following in Ireland’s footsteps in some aspects of its bid to recover from the property crash. International real estate advisers Savills have undertaken some research that shows some similarities in the recovery route adopted in Spain while also identifying a number of substantial differences.

Some of the positive impacts of the creation of NAMA lent themselves to being incorporated into the Spanish counterpart SAREB.

See full article on

Spain Selloff: a Bargain-Hunter’s Dream?

WSJ_logoHACIENDA DEL ÁLAMO, Spain—This eerily quiet, half-finished golf resort surrounded by farmland is the kind of distressed asset that is going up for grabs as a massive Spanish property sale opens this year.

Fifteen miles from Spain’s southeast coast, about 2,000 homes were built around a well-manicured golf course at the tail end of a decadelong housing boom. Fewer than half were sold before Spain’s real-estate bubble burst.

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El gobierno rectifica y estudia dar el permiso de residencia a extranjeros que compren una casa a partir de 500.000 euros

The essence of this news item in Spanish is that the Madrid government is considering raising the value of a property purchase from 160.000 euros to 500.000 in order to grant a residence permit to foreigners. (The lack of punctuation and capital letters in this news item are due to the peculiar style of Idealista.)

idealista.comFrom–gobierno contempla elevar a 500.000 euros el precio mínimo de compra de una vivienda para obtener el permiso de residencia, después del revuelo que se levantó al proponer dar los papeles a cambio de comprar un piso de 160.000 euros. además, también dará los papeles a quienes inviertan  un mínimo de un millón de euros y que conlleve la creación de dos puestos de trabajo

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Bankers whisper: Spain’s bailout bill could rise

Spains bad bankFrom India–MADRID: Spain’s bill to bail out its banks may yet rise, some bankers and analysts fear, as a worsening economy hampers the government’s early attempts to sell off nationalised lenders and threatens the “bad bank” housing their rotten property deals.

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Spain to Adopt European Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Energy Performance CertificateFrom–The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is mandatory for Spanish properties that are for sale or rent from the 1 July 2013. Here’s a guide to what your property rMADRID: Spain’s bill to bail out its banks may yet rise, some bankers and analysts fear, as a worsening economy hampers the government’s early attempts to sell off nationalised lenders and threatens the “bad bank” housing their rotten property deals.equires. The purpose of the EPC, also known in Spain as the Certificado de Eficiencia Energetica (CEE), is to ensure that homes are able to run more efficiently and in turn reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Does Spain’s housing crisis offer us a glimpse of the future?

Construction SpainBen Reeve-Lewis writes in The Guardian–A recent trip to Spain and a perusal of a selection of English ex-pat newspapers offered some interesting insights into the nature of the country’s housing crisis, and the way the Spanish people and their government are responding to it. Admittedly the Spanish situation is heavily underpinned by critical levels of unemployment, with some areas seeing 40% of the workforce out of work. Yet the toxic combination of an economy based on cuts, rising rent, mortgage repossessions and direct action by squatters provide parallels that may provide a glimpse into Britain’s near future.

Spain Remains The Most Desirable EU Destination

Chalet SpainFrom–With an unemployment rate, which currently stands at 26 per cent, and a real estate market that has done more harm than good to the economy, Spain is still at the top of the list of a large number of overseas investors who are pursuing the acquisition of second homes in the Eurozone. According to the latest figures, Spain has been named as the best EU destination for investment, as it remains a dream location for many tourists.

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Spain’s Latest Housing Plan

Spanish ministrasFrom Sur in English–In a recent announcement, the government presented its latest national housing plan in an attempt to rejuvenate the still sluggish construction sector that was Spain’s economic engine only a few years ago.
The group of measures, approved by the cabinet, stress urban renovation and regeneration. However, while there is help for some of those who rent, there is no aid to buy new homes.

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  1. Pingback: What’s New on ¡Alegria! This Fall? « ¡Alegría! The Joy of Spanish Living

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