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  #41  
Old 03.03.2021, 23:44
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Re: Buying property in Spain

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Worth noting if you're a Brit that you will only be allowed to visit your Spanish pad 'visa-free' for up to 90 days in any 180 days.
Although you'll probably never get caught if you live in Schengen.
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  #42  
Old 04.03.2021, 00:31
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Re: Buying property in Spain

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Although you'll probably never get caught if you live in Schengen.
Might be a good idea to turn off 'location history' if you use google maps on your phone
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  #43  
Old 04.03.2021, 07:57
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Re: Buying property in Spain

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I guess marriage is a good way to get a legalized residency.

I would never marry anyone for residency that also for Spain I am just inquisitive and these kinds of questions interest me. Then again maybe I am already married to a Spanish lady
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  #44  
Old 04.03.2021, 12:31
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Re: Buying property in Spain

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I can‘t believe there are so many properties for sale in the Alicante area we‘ve briefly discussed here. It‘s like every third one is for sale. It‘s very different to Switzerland. It makes me think that if you ever buy, you‘re going to struggle to sell in the future. This made me look at rental properties and there seems to be no sensible correlation between rent and sales prices, which suggests to me that the asking prices are way too high. Or turned around, you get a lot more for your money renting. Something for us to consider.
I wouldn't view buying a property in Spain as an investment. Maybe in a handful of high quality locations that might work or if you buy an apartment in the middle of a city. In Spain there is also a massive difference in price between newly built properties and pre-owned, with most buyers preferring new and being prepared to pay a premium for that. This may in part be due to the questionable build property of some older buildings (which is why I would strongly recommend to have a surveyor look over it) but also due to changes in taste and often things like room layouts, with many older houses having lots of tiny rooms. Maybe something from the days when you typically had a big family.

Many older houses in Alicante and the south of Spain also don't have things like damp courses and the sellers will repaint everything before selling so you think it's all perfect. But the damp will start showing within a year or two. Another trick they use is to stick wooden paneling or tiles over damp patches in the walls. So if there are too many tiles in places where they don't make sense, be suspicious.

But all that said, there are still plenty of decent quality properties to be had at a fair price. So don't settle for the first place that catches your eye. It's still very much a buyer's market. You can also expect to be able to negotiate something like 10 to 20K off the asking price for a sub 200K property. In fact in my experience many sellers will indicate their willingness to drop the price before you even ask. So don't assume the prices you see in the Internet are final.

Just some anecdotes on sellers. One of my neighbours is an elderly Spanish lady. She has no children of her own but the extended family come over almost every weekend and they make Paella or something similar. They've even invited us over here and there. Very good and decent people. The lady is 85 and has told me that the house is too much for her and because her relatives are afraid something might happen to her when she's there all by herself, they have convinced her to move in with them and so the house is basically empty except for this once a week family meet up. Sometimes she does stay there for a couple of days by herself, or has one of the grand nieces come to stay with her. But more often there is nobody. This lady has told me she wouldn't mind selling and if somebody walks up and offers her a good price she will take it. But if nobody wants to take it she will just keep it. She has enough savings and doesn't need the money or anything and is quite happy having the house being used to entertain her extended family.

Another neighbour was also a Spaniard. He lived in Madrid and would come over with his family most weekends. Apparently it was his third house as he also had a farmhouse in the campo. Unfortunately he died a few years ago and since then his family have stopped coming and the house is officially on the market. But for the time being they have tenants, an English family with young children. So I guess the owners would prefer to sell than to rent it out, but they are settling for the rental income because they can't find a buyer. Also, I think their asking price is too steep. But that's for them to work out.

Another house on my road was owned by a Dutch couple who stopped coming because they were too old. I once heard the guy had died but another neighbour says this is not so. The house was on the market for many many years and started to look increasingly sorry for itself. But anyway a young Spanish family bought the house, apparently for much less than the asking price. They totally renovated everything. New windows, doors, bathroom, kitchen, roof, you name it, they renewed it. One of the builders is a friend of mine and he says they spared no expenses and bought the best of everything. So obviously money was not a problem for them. Will the money they put in be reflected in the increased value of the property? I guess not.

So I think the moral of the story here is, don't think of it as an investment. Think of it as a luxury, money you are lavishing on yourself for your own well being.
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  #45  
Old 04.03.2021, 20:01
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Re: Buying property in Spain

Been looking in Spain too for a while, then went and bought a seaside apartment in Liguria, Italy. Can't beat a 4:45 hr drive from Zurich!
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Old 04.03.2021, 20:41
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Re: Buying property in Spain

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There is one point that nobody has touched upon -- insecurity & squatters (okupas, in Spanish). The socio-economical problems of the country (high unemployment rate, illegal immigration, loose legislative enforcement) translate into a high rate of theft (and/or attempted theft) on secondary residencies, as well as non-negligible number of cases in which organized illegal occupation of the houses (or chalets, or villas) occurs.
Believe it or not, it is not easy to evict the persons once they have entered your property, even if it is evident that it is a squattering situation, and what they are doing is illegal. It might take up to two years - if law takes its course-, or several thousand euros, to 'convince' them to leave, through specialized companies.
'Technically speaking', these organized bands target dwellings owned by banks (which have been seized due to lack mortgage payment defaulting), but not always...
Very true. Mother in law rented her villa near Alicante to a couple of Germans (!) and after a while they just stopped paying rent. It took her almost a year to get rid of them and they trashed the house.

He he, when I was living in NYC a buddy went broke and couldn't pay his rent and the house was owned by a Chinese landlord, so they applied some kind of extremely stinky substance into the apartment so that it was unbearable to be inside (it really smelled like 100 skunks sprayed). He had to leave. And a couple of days later the smell was completely gone (guess they used an "antidote")
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Old 05.03.2021, 14:05
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Re: Buying property in Spain

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Personally I'm in L'Amerador, and I've seen several houses go over the last years for well under 250K
My parents bought a bungalow in Alkabir Playa 30 years ago and they spend there as much time as they can nowadays.

I think they paid 60/ 90 k euros back in the days when there was a disco/ pub in Amerador and the zone was extremely crowded (it was even difficult to find a place in the natural/ rocky beach).

I agree with everything you've said and I'd not recommend anyone to invest in these kind of properties unless you're really going to live there.

The squatter problem is indeed an issue and it can take the owner a year (even 2 years in the past) to evict the squatters.

There're even private companies like desokupa that "take care" of these "issues".
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  #48  
Old 05.03.2021, 15:57
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Re: Buying property in Spain

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I wouldn't view buying a property in Spain as an investment. Maybe in a handful of high quality locations that might work or if you buy an apartment in the middle of a city. In Spain there is also a massive difference in price between newly built properties and pre-owned, with most buyers preferring new and being prepared to pay a premium for that. This may in part be due to the questionable build property of some older buildings (which is why I would strongly recommend to have a surveyor look over it) but also due to changes in taste and often things like room layouts, with many older houses having lots of tiny rooms. Maybe something from the days when you typically had a big family.

Many older houses in Alicante and the south of Spain also don't have things like damp courses and the sellers will repaint everything before selling so you think it's all perfect. But the damp will start showing within a year or two. Another trick they use is to stick wooden paneling or tiles over damp patches in the walls. So if there are too many tiles in places where they don't make sense, be suspicious.

But all that said, there are still plenty of decent quality properties to be had at a fair price. So don't settle for the first place that catches your eye. It's still very much a buyer's market. You can also expect to be able to negotiate something like 10 to 20K off the asking price for a sub 200K property. In fact in my experience many sellers will indicate their willingness to drop the price before you even ask. So don't assume the prices you see in the Internet are final.

Just some anecdotes on sellers. One of my neighbours is an elderly Spanish lady. She has no children of her own but the extended family come over almost every weekend and they make Paella or something similar. They've even invited us over here and there. Very good and decent people. The lady is 85 and has told me that the house is too much for her and because her relatives are afraid something might happen to her when she's there all by herself, they have convinced her to move in with them and so the house is basically empty except for this once a week family meet up. Sometimes she does stay there for a couple of days by herself, or has one of the grand nieces come to stay with her. But more often there is nobody. This lady has told me she wouldn't mind selling and if somebody walks up and offers her a good price she will take it. But if nobody wants to take it she will just keep it. She has enough savings and doesn't need the money or anything and is quite happy having the house being used to entertain her extended family.

Another neighbour was also a Spaniard. He lived in Madrid and would come over with his family most weekends. Apparently it was his third house as he also had a farmhouse in the campo. Unfortunately he died a few years ago and since then his family have stopped coming and the house is officially on the market. But for the time being they have tenants, an English family with young children. So I guess the owners would prefer to sell than to rent it out, but they are settling for the rental income because they can't find a buyer. Also, I think their asking price is too steep. But that's for them to work out.

Another house on my road was owned by a Dutch couple who stopped coming because they were too old. I once heard the guy had died but another neighbour says this is not so. The house was on the market for many many years and started to look increasingly sorry for itself. But anyway a young Spanish family bought the house, apparently for much less than the asking price. They totally renovated everything. New windows, doors, bathroom, kitchen, roof, you name it, they renewed it. One of the builders is a friend of mine and he says they spared no expenses and bought the best of everything. So obviously money was not a problem for them. Will the money they put in be reflected in the increased value of the property? I guess not.

So I think the moral of the story here is, don't think of it as an investment. Think of it as a luxury, money you are lavishing on yourself for your own well being.
Thanks for the insights!

Perhaps with mentioning the costs, rental values and selling I‘ve misled you slightly. We‘re certainly not looking for an investment property: Alicante is #1 in our current thinking for retirement (hopefully in 10 years or so!). I‘m looking at the value aspect of it, hence also looking at rental prices. We don‘t have children to bequeath to, so are to an extent ambivalent on the rent/buy question. However, you can never be sure what will happen in life e.g. we might want to move back to the UK or even Switzerland, hence also considering the exit options.

It‘s interesting what you say about negotiating on price. I‘d heard that the Spanish are as stubborn as the Swiss when it comes to holding out for a price. Good to know that isn‘t necessarily true!

My preference would actually be to buy an older property at a discount and renovate it to exactly how I want it, which is basically what we‘ve done in Switzerland.

Without viewing it and not knowing the area too well, this seems like a good balance of location, size and price compared to others of a similar size and views. Is there something wrong with it? I suspect the building is ugly as there are no outdoor shots of it. https://www.idealista.com/inmueble/90052831/
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  #49  
Old 05.03.2021, 16:55
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Re: Buying property in Spain

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My preference would actually be to buy an older property at a discount and renovate it to exactly how I want it, which is basically what we‘ve done in Switzerland.
Yep, that's what I did too. I payed 131K in 2013 (asking price was 145K) for a property that was OK and didn't need urgent fixing but looked a lot worse than it actually was, which was maybe why other buyers were turning it down (it had been on the market for at least three years, and according to neighbours the price had initially been 160K). But despite being generally sound, the property was clearly in need of some urgent TLC.

I did it up bit by bit over several years with the help of a local builder who I must say did an excellent job, spending maybe 50K over time. This gave me enough time to concentrate on one job at a time and really sit down and work out how I wanted that particular part or aspect it to look. Also having never managed a major renovation in my life before, this helped me test the waters with some of the simpler stuff and learn about mistakes and then move onto the more challenging things. I think when you renovate or build everything in one bang there are too many aspects you just don't have the time to look at properly and some you regret later.

For example there was one bathroom tile that I fell in love with immediately and really wanted to use. I have since seen that almost everybody and their dog are using that precise pattern and I have come to see it as a bit of a cliche which is why I am very happy that I opted for something else.

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Without viewing it and not knowing the area too well, this seems like a good balance of location, size and price compared to others of a similar size and views. Is there something wrong with it? I suspect the building is ugly as there are no outdoor shots of it. https://www.idealista.com/inmueble/90052831/
Albufereta is comparatively costly because its on a nice beach and its also very close to Alicante. You can probably walk to the town centre in about 20 minutes. There are also local shops and restaurants so it's all very attractive. You're on the tram system as well. So the location alone pretty much justifies the price. Some of the appartments there are pretty up-market. I know a family who have one. The father is a civil engineering consultant so I guess he makes good money. The building has a communal pool and a communal tennis court, and an underground garage and lots of other niceties. His appartment is a sort of penthouse with two levels and a large rooftop terrace overlooking the beach. He actually bought two appartments and knocked some walls down to make them into one. His office is there as well and he uses a separate entrance door to receive business clients. But he says that although it all looks nice and fancy the construction is getting old and worn and they are anticipating some renovations.

Similarly to Switzerland, you have an annual meeting of all owners to discus things like this and they have a renovations fund that they pay into regularly. The advantage of having Spaniards on board is that you probably won't get screwed over for the price of building work. The disadvantage of a community is that you can't decide for yourself what parts of the renovation you want to do now and what you want to postpone.

The buildings there are for the most part (I guess) 1980s or thereabouts and so yes, they are for the most part pi$$ ugly on the outside. Fortunately the trees have grown up nicely so you don't really see the ugliness as much as when they would have been new.
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Old 05.03.2021, 17:40
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Re: Buying property in Spain

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My parents bought a bungalow in Alkabir Playa 30 years ago and they spend there as much time as they can nowadays.

I think they paid 60/ 90 k euros back in the days when there was a disco/ pub in Amerador and the zone was extremely crowded (it was even difficult to find a place in the natural/ rocky beach).

I agree with everything you've said and I'd not recommend anyone to invest in these kind of properties unless you're really going to live there.

The squatter problem is indeed an issue and it can take the owner a year (even 2 years in the past) to evict the squatters.

There're even private companies like desokupa that "take care" of these "issues".
What a coincidence. I know Alkabir well because when I was hunting for a property I viewed several there so I'm pretty familiar with them. I also know several people who live there. I decided not to buy there because I wanted a bigger garden.

My place is in one of the smaller side streets off Avda Amerador.

I didn't know about the disco. That must have been closed before my time. But there used to be a mini-golf in Poble Espanyol area run by a Dutch couple which had a bar that was fun to hang out in and they served various snacks. That has been closed a few years as well now. Apparently there is a new owner who wants to start something new, but they seem to be taking their time. The nearest decent bar AFAIK is in Coveta Fuma these days. And also a really great restaurant run by an Argentinian couple and doing a mix of Italian and Argentinian cuisine. And even a Devon style tearoom catering to your cravings for scones and clotted cream, which for some reason is very popular among the Dutch. Alkabir still do the Chringuito on the beach though every summer with live music. I guess they missed 2020 because of Covid. But it's great when they do it.

The Alkabir beach is still very popular on Summer weekends and you get all the side streets clogged with parked cars. But the rest of the time it's refreshingly relaxed and quiet.
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Old 05.03.2021, 21:08
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Re: Buying property in Spain

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Yep, that's what I did too. I payed 131K in 2013 (asking price was 145K) for a property that was OK and didn't need urgent fixing but looked a lot worse than it actually was, which was maybe why other buyers were turning it down (it had been on the market for at least three years, and according to neighbours the price had initially been 160K). But despite being generally sound, the property was clearly in need of some urgent TLC.

I did it up bit by bit over several years with the help of a local builder who I must say did an excellent job, spending maybe 50K over time. This gave me enough time to concentrate on one job at a time and really sit down and work out how I wanted that particular part or aspect it to look. Also having never managed a major renovation in my life before, this helped me test the waters with some of the simpler stuff and learn about mistakes and then move onto the more challenging things. I think when you renovate or build everything in one bang there are too many aspects you just don't have the time to look at properly and some you regret later.

For example there was one bathroom tile that I fell in love with immediately and really wanted to use. I have since seen that almost everybody and their dog are using that precise pattern and I have come to see it as a bit of a cliche which is why I am very happy that I opted for something else.
We paid 65% of the price of a recently(ish) renovated place in the same StWeg and spent a lot of the difference making it how we wanted it. Sadly we had to do it all as a big bang. We‘d rather have done it in stages and learnt as we went along, but it wasn‘t an option. Learnt a lot for next time though.

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Albufereta is comparatively costly because its on a nice beach and its also very close to Alicante. You can probably walk to the town centre in about 20 minutes. There are also local shops and restaurants so it's all very attractive. You're on the tram system as well. So the location alone pretty much justifies the price. Some of the appartments there are pretty up-market. I know a family who have one. The father is a civil engineering consultant so I guess he makes good money. The building has a communal pool and a communal tennis court, and an underground garage and lots of other niceties. His appartment is a sort of penthouse with two levels and a large rooftop terrace overlooking the beach. He actually bought two appartments and knocked some walls down to make them into one. His office is there as well and he uses a separate entrance door to receive business clients. But he says that although it all looks nice and fancy the construction is getting old and worn and they are anticipating some renovations.

Similarly to Switzerland, you have an annual meeting of all owners to discus things like this and they have a renovations fund that they pay into regularly. The advantage of having Spaniards on board is that you probably won't get screwed over for the price of building work. The disadvantage of a community is that you can't decide for yourself what parts of the renovation you want to do now and what you want to postpone.

The buildings there are for the most part (I guess) 1980s or thereabouts and so yes, they are for the most part pi$$ ugly on the outside. Fortunately the trees have grown up nicely so you don't really see the ugliness as much as when they would have been new.
The location of this place really appeals from looking at the map. When we retire to somewhere that has a dining out culture, I want to be in walking distance of decent restaurants and a city centre. Likewise being able to swim in the sea is a priority and having a sea view too. If anything I’m questioning why the property is so cheap given the advantages it seems to have that you mention. There is a pin on Google Maps for a sex club around the corner, which made me wonder whether the area was a bit seedy. We will certainly be looking for a house though. We‘ve experienced enough of living in a StWeg already

We‘ve been based in Bonalba for a few years now for triathlon training (going to the beach at El Campello or the Arena for swimming), which is what has drawn us to the area. I don‘t know if you know around there. It has a small strip of restaurants and bars, which we really like, but I figure we would wear that out quite quickly, if we lived there. The idea of having a finca around there with plenty of land, a massive place, a proper sized pool etc. does appeal, but being reliant on taxis to get anywhere for a few drinks doesn‘t.
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Old 05.03.2021, 21:51
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Re: Buying property in Spain

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The location of this place really appeals from looking at the map. When we retire to somewhere that has a dining out culture, I want to be in walking distance of decent restaurants and a city centre. Likewise being able to swim in the sea is a priority and having a sea view too. If anything I’m questioning why the property is so cheap given the advantages it seems to have that you mention. There is a pin on Google Maps for a sex club around the corner, which made me wonder whether the area was a bit seedy. We will certainly be looking for a house though. We‘ve experienced enough of living in a StWeg already
I would definitely visit the site without the estate agent and look around all the side streets to get a feel of what the area is like. I did this with my place. I arrived a day before I had my appointment with the estate agent and looked around and even chatted with some neighbours.

I think with the photos on the site you should be able to identify the location pretty well using Google satellite view and street view.

I don't know anything about a sex club in that location but I think Spain is quite similar to Switzerland in that you find them in all sorts of places and that they are not necessarily an indicator of an area being seedy. Until not very long ago there was one directly opposite the Postiguet and nobody seemed to be bothered by it. But again, best thing is to walk around and see for yourself.

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We‘ve been based in Bonalba for a few years now for triathlon training (going to the beach at El Campello or the Arena for swimming), which is what has drawn us to the area. I don‘t know if you know around there. It has a small strip of restaurants and bars, which we really like, but I figure we would wear that out quite quickly, if we lived there. The idea of having a finca around there with plenty of land, a massive place, a proper sized pool etc. does appeal, but being reliant on taxis to get anywhere for a few drinks doesn‘t.
I don't know Bonalba well but have been through it a few times. When I have visitors who haven't been to the area before, one of my favourite trips is doing the Candelobre caves and then going for tapas or a meal in Busot afterwards. One of the two roads back to El Campello goes through Bonalba. But that's just about where my knowledge of it finishes.
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  #53  
Old 06.03.2021, 10:46
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Re: Buying property in Spain

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvBU5pzs-j4


the reasons why so many Brits are selling now.
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Old 06.03.2021, 12:15
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Re: Buying property in Spain

Is it a good investment buying a property in a touristic place when tourism seems to be an industry in decline?
@OP, unless you want to use it for your own enjoyment i.e. spending your holidays there, or to retire in your old age, I (personally) don't think it is such a great idea. I might be wrong of course.
I also have a bit of an ethical issue with this thing because rich foreigners can literally push out of the real estate market local people.
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Old 06.03.2021, 12:25
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Re: Buying property in Spain

Last sentence- this has happened here in Switzerland too btw, and not just in ski resorts but all main towns and Rivieras.
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Old 06.03.2021, 12:28
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Re: Buying property in Spain

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the reasons why so many Brits are selling now.
Legally they were supposed to register as residents after 3 months..... Spain has high tax that they wanted to evade, amazed you have any sympathy for them.
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Old 06.03.2021, 12:30
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Re: Buying property in Spain

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Last sentence- this has happened here in Switzerland too btw, and not just in ski resorts but all main towns and Rivieras.
Tell me about it. I never dreamt of having multiple properties in countries I have no ties to with the sole purpose of profiting, but I find it increasingly hard and risky to even get close to real estate market here. I might not be Swiss by birth but I certainly put some roots here.
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Old 06.03.2021, 12:43
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Re: Buying property in Spain

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Legally they were supposed to register as residents after 3 months..... Spain has high tax that they wanted to evade, amazed you have any sympathy for them.

A teacher in an English private school is complaining that it's too difficult to source chemicals for teaching from suppliers in Britain. What a lame thing to say. Like, don't Spanish schools teach chemistry? Why doesn't she find out where they source their chemicals?

Spain has a long history of regularizing people without the right paperwork through amnesties. Probably this will happen again. British tourists make such a huge contribution to the Spanish economy that any Spanish government that doesn't get its act together and find a way to make it easy for them is committing political suicide.

When I hear Brits saying, I'm leaving Spain because things are better in Bulgaria, it's sort of hard to blame Brexit or the EU even. Bulgaria is in the EU too, apparently.
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Old 06.03.2021, 12:51
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Re: Buying property in Spain

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Is it a good investment buying a property in a touristic place when tourism seems to be an industry in decline?
Tourism is not in decline. Nobody genuinely believes it is in decline. They are still building extra capacity at several airports as I write. The government obviously doesn't believe tourism is in decline. Neither do the investors. Plenty of construction going on everywhere. So obviously both the government and the investors believe the problem is going to be fixed pretty soon.

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I also have a bit of an ethical issue with this thing because rich foreigners can literally push out of the real estate market local people.
Plenty of Spanish people have holiday properties there too. I'm the only non Spanish person on my whole street. And Spanish owners also benefit from the rise in real estate values that is being fueled by tourists.

Not to mention that before the tourism boom started, most of these resorts were just farmers' fields (and coastal land was generally considered inferior by farmers due to the salt). So tourism turned a very low value asset into a high value asset.

Last edited by amogles; 06.03.2021 at 13:08.
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Old 06.03.2021, 12:52
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Re: Buying property in Spain

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A teacher in an English private school is complaining that it's too difficult to source chemicals for teaching from suppliers in Britain. What a lame thing to say. Like, don't Spanish schools teach chemistry? Why doesn't she find out where they source their chemicals?

Spain has a long history of regularizing people without the right paperwork through amnesties. Probably this will happen again. British tourists make such a huge contribution to the Spanish economy that any Spanish government that doesn't get its act together and find a way to make it easy for them is committing political suicide.

When I hear Brits saying, I'm leaving Spain because things are better in Bulgaria, it's sort of hard to blame Brexit or the EU even. Bulgaria is in the EU too, apparently.
I know a couple of Brits that left Malta for Spain due to cheap property. I know one of them complained they could not afford the tax in Malta (which they were evading as they pay their tax in the UK ) , Spanish tax would be a multiple, they will get a shock when finally caught.
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