Friday, 30 December 2016

Three Great Ways to Ring in the New Year, Spanish Style

Three Great Ways to Ring in the New Year, Spanish Style
Bringing in the New Year in Marbella is always special
Okay it’s not even Christmas, but with all the hustle and bustle of Christmas sometimes we forget about New Year’s Eve until it’s midnight and you’re by yourself with the TV listening to other people having a lot of fun.

The good news is that if you’re spending New Year’s Eve in Spain then you’re never too far away from the nearest party. This is one of the great things about living in Spain and expat life; you’re surrounded by good friends who are always up for a laugh.

However the waiting will always prove to be the hardest part. It’s all too easy to find yourself thinking that someone else will do something, just as you would in any crowd. This can often leave everyone disappointed. So why not handle things a little differently this year?

Here are three great ways to ring in the new year, Spanish style, to give yourself the best start to 2017 possible.

12 Lucky Grapes
Wine is made using grapes and Spaniards eat grapes at the stroke of midnight for good luck. If you remember that wine is made with grapes you’ve got a good idea where we’re going with this. The tradition is to eat 12 grapes, one at each stroke of midnight. Why not break from tradition just a little and have a little bit of wine each strike instead? 12 sips is about half a glass and you’ll have already had a lot by then so it’s not like a little more can hurt.

On the Right Foot
Some areas of Spain observe the tradition of starting the year off on the right foot literally. So you would need to step forward with the right foot as the clock strikes midnight. Let’s get a little more creative with this. What about if your right foot stepped you into something different, like a pool? Or into a limousine ready to take you out? Or maybe it just takes you to the stereo so you can change the music. It doesn’t matter where it takes you. What matters is that you start the new year in a memorable fashion.

Do it Twice!
Thanks to the strange time-zone that Spain is in the country as an hour ahead of their neighbour Portugal. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous and want to keep the party going then why not have to New Year’s Eves by driving and head to Portugal to do it all over again? It can be boring to just wait at the border so instead you should ring in the new year in Spain in the western town Badajoz. From there you grab your designated driver and make the 25-minute drive across the border to Elvas. If you time it right then it’ll be about 11:30 PM and you can regale the locals with tales of the future.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

FT Reporting Stars Are Aligning for the Spanish Property Market

Spanish Property Market has grown and strengthened

Spain has finally turned the property corner and the
next 7 years looks excellent, buy property Costa del Sol.
The Financial Times are reporting that the  Spanish property industry has grown and strengthened so much that it recently turned a very large corner.

Following the massive price declines of up to 42% that happened between 2007 – 2014, the Spanish property market of today is filled with much more confidence and activity across the country. The market is supported by the improved economy, a new government, and the ever-present foreign investment.

During the third quarter of the year property prices went up by 7% and 9% respectively in Madrid and Barcelona over last year, with an increase in nationwide sales by 10% according to the latest data from the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE).

The FT is reporting that investors can see how well the Spanish economy is growing and that businesses are beginning to jump back into commercial real estate.

Fernando Encinar, the co-founder of property portal Idealista spoke to the FT and said that there was a time between 2010 and 2012 when international investors avoided the Spanish property market. The lack of trust in the Spanish property market is gone and in its place are investors saying they want yield.

The FT reports that the recovery has been a gradual affair which is in line with how VIVA have read the market.

The post-recession upswing was originally recognised back in 2013 when the recovery began in the most protected areas such as Marbella. Following this came the interest from opportunistic investors that decided to go for those high-risk high-reward investments.

Investment firms including Cerberus Capital Management, Goldman Sachs, and Blackstone started purchasing property and it didn’t take long for private individuals to join in.

Miguel Pereda, the chief executive of Grupo Lar, says that consumption has recovered in Spain and that there has been a drop in unemployment. With an increase in consumer confidence has also come a 9.2% increase in sales for Pereda.

Investment has increased 25% in commercial real estate across the past year, with CBRE calculating that some €13 billion was invested in 2015. The amount of residential sales has also increased by figures in the double digits during the past 18 months, which has led to a snowball effect of an increase in demand and sales prices.

It looks like after six years of being considered a taboo of the economy the real estate off-plan developers are getting back in the game, and the stars are once again lining up for the Spanish property market.

Contact Costa Del Sol Property Group for the latest new builds today.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Official Data Shows Spanish Home Values up 4% Over Last Year

Official Data Shows Spanish Home Values up 4% Over Last Year

The statistics unit of the Spanish central government released their latest figures recently showing that the property industry is going from strength the strength as the average price for residential property in spain increased 4% over the past 12 months.

Buying property in the Costa del Sol is on the
increase and will continue to grow.
The official figures look at many different kinds of monthly data, trends, and regional variations and they seem to show that just how the real estate market of 2016 has performed.

The data comes from information on deeds that were registered through the year, revealing that there was an increase of 3.5% of resale property values over last year, with new home builds being about 7.3% more expensive.

If taken on the quarterly basis then the figures represent an increase of 0.8% over the previous quarter, which is another encouraging sigh for the industry that these steady increases in property prices have become the norm now. It should also alleviate the fears of people on both ends of the spectrum; both the fear that prices are going up too much and that they have begun to stagnate.

The reality of the situation is far more reassuring and sober. There are still some stark regional differences, which is actually a good thing. While it’s true some prices fell a little in some regions, in particular Murcia, Castilla y León, and Communidad Valenciana, there were also increases in the more popular areas of Madrid, along with Catalunya, the Costa del Sol, and the Balearics. These increases show how much buyers value location and infrastructure.

The figures should offer people considering jumping on the property ladder in 2017 some encouragement as it’s expected that, as strong as 2016 was, 2017 will be even stronger to buy property in Spain and the Costa del Sol. 

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

November Prices Remain Stable in Popular Regions of Spain

November Prices Remain Stable in Popular Regions of Spain

The Costa del Sol enjoy the recover better than others
The property prices in the more popular regions of Spainhave stayed at a stable level in the November price index, although 11 of the autonomous regions of the country saw average prices dip a little.

The Canary Islands and the Balearics were as popular as ever with prices slightly increasing, as well as increases in Murcia and Andalucía. However the average price for property in Spain fell 1.1% in November over October. Experts agree that this could be a seasonal dip and is very small.

While there has been some uniformity in Spanish property price trends – as prices are generally on the increase – the demand for property is different for some regions. The prices for homes in Castilla-La Mancha for example went down by 1.5% in November. There was also a 1.3% price drop in Catalynya, but there was an average price increase of 1.7% in Barcelona.

The Costa del sol has always been the most popular and robust region in the country for property, with the average price for property increasing in November by over 1%.

Even though there were some slight dips in property prices for the less popular regions of Spain the year as a whole has been great for the property market in Spain. The amount of homes sold has gone up each month and there are more foreign buyers than before, as well as the younger generation in Spain entering the property market thanks to an improved job market and mortgage availability.

The economy minister of Spain Luis de Guindos spoke about the recovery of Spain, saying that the country has the advantage now that the political uncertainty has finally ended. The data would certainly seem to back these claims as GDP could reach 3.2% in 2016. Unemployment is also improving and is down to 18.9%. The government that was behind the economic recovery of Spain in the first place is back in charge and ready to keep the course steady.

The president of the Spanish banking association AEB, José María Roldán said that the measures taken during the crisis are really paying off. There are a lot more jobs and the cost of living has stay low with growth beening strong, showing how effective the reforms have been. Mr Roldán added that the country needed to maintain their course as repealing and reversing the reforms would be suicidal for the country.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Home Ownership Above EU Average in Spain

Home Ownership Above EU Average in Spain

New data from the statistics office of the European Union – Eurostat- - shows that 78% of Spaniards would describe themselves as being homeowners. As a result Spain is ahead of the EU average of 70%, but the number is a little smaller than the number of 2007; when 81% of Spaniards were homeowners.
Buying property in the Costa del Sol and Spain
continues to be very popular
The amount of people owning homes has fallen in UK, France, and Spain following the recession, but the damage has been mitigated in Spain. The UK is getting close to 60% home ownership, which would be the lowest number for a very long time.

It is the former communist countries that are performing the best with home ownership rates in Europe. Over 95% of Romanians and 90% of Croatians own the homes they live in.

Analysts believe that these figures are an indication of how poorly the real estate market is performing in these countries. They point towards Germany – with it’s regulated rental market – where only 51.9% of Germans are homeowners because renting is the norm there.

It looks like the younger Spanish generation, particularly the Millennials, are not all that interested in owning property because they grew up in a culture where owning things has been replaced by leasing cars, renting mobile phones, and even streaming music and television.

However the slightly contracted rates of home ownership in Spain are caused more by the lasting damage of the past two recessions. Millennials found themselves hit the most by the lean years and so they lack both the confidence and the funds to even think about owning property.

This particular anomaly could be changing however following the latest data from the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE) showing that mortgage approvals continue to increase and that young Spaniards are eager to take their first steps on the property ladder.

Even though there are large upfront costs associated with owning a home it does prove to be more cost-effective than renting a property in Spain. The data from Eurostat also shows that Spaniards who rent a property end up paying around 23% more per month on average than their counterparts who purchase property through an owner-occupier mortgage.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Property Sales in Spain Reach Second-Highest For Five Years During Third Quarter

Property Sales in Spain Reach Second-Highest For Five Years During Third Quarter

The Costa del Sol and Spain continue its property recovery
The latest data from the Spanish property registrar shows that a total of 103,055 homes traded hands in Spain between July and the end of September; representing the second-best quarterly performance in Spain for five years.

When compared to the third quarter of 2015 there were 11.1% more homes sold in the third quarter of 2016 as the property market became more active during 2016.

The third quarter was also up 4.4% over the second quarter of 2016 and showed the trend of each quarter being stronger than the last has continued since it began in 2010.

When you look at the 12 months leading to September there were 394,000 homes sold in Spain overall. This is an increase of 13.2% over the previous 12 months. 2015 itself was also a continuation of the growth the market saw in 2014, which is when the property market began to recover from years of contraction.

To look back even further shows that the amount of homes sold throughout Spain in the third quarter is the second-best quarter for five years; beaten out only by the fourth quarter of 2011 in which there was a mass fire sale of distressed properties.

Many experts expect that this upward trend will continue on into 2017 and the years after; thanks to the economic recovery of Spain and the consistent appeal the country has for being a premier destination for going on holiday and purchasing property to the people of Europe and the world as a whole.

Not everyone was feeling the positivity however as the data showed that the average price for property sold in the third quarter was 1.4% the average price from the second quarter.

Experts explained away the shrinking average price – prices in Spain have been increasing for around 18 months now – saying that it was mostly due to a shrinking number of new build homes being sold. New build homes are usually more expensive than a resale home and so they can provide the average sale price with a healthy boost.

The data from the registrar shows that only 17.1% of the homes sold in the third quarter were new builds, which was down from the 21% from the quarter before.

Even though there was a small fall in the average property price your average home in Spain is still being sold for around 3.3% more than it was this time in 2015.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Five Ways to be a Happy Expat

Five Ways to be a Happy Expat

Spain is one of the most open societies and more
and more Expats are moving to Spain
It can be quite peculiar to live life as an expat in Spain. You have the opportunity to be somewhat of an ambassador, while also the anxiety that comes with living somewhere brand new and different.

Unfortunately there is no single path to success for expats. Putting in more than you take out, keeping your mind open, and leaving the people you meet and the places you stay richer is certainly the ideal but it’s just that; an ideal. The reality of expat life is often very different. So why not focus on being a happy expat rather than being a perfect expat?

Here are five ways to be happy expat and ensure that no matter how long you live overseas, you’re happy for having done it.

Don’t be so Hard on Yourself

You’ve probably already met the perfect expat; they are able to move between English and Spanish at the drop of a hat; have a wide range of friends from the world over; they get involved with the local community but still raise their family and, to top it off, they have a brilliant car. There’s someone like this in every expat community. There’s someone who seems to have made it without any effort at all.

It’s incredibly daunting for you to be around these people, but you should go easy on yourself. You can’t imagine the ways that life overseas will test you. Some people are able to thrive and really prosper in the brand new environment and some people have a harder time of it. Never forget that you are who you are; if you were introverted back home you will likely still be one when living abroad. That’s just who you are and you need to remember that.

Be Open Minded and Willing to Leave The Comfort Zone, But Only if it Suits You

With that said there’s still no better chance to broaden your horizons and try something new than when you move overseas. It’s obvious you’ll meet a new language, see new faces, and try new foods; these are unescapable facts of expat life. There’s plenty of other new things to try though; the new surroundings you live in have the potential to get new hobbies, learn new skills, or chase that dream you gave up on long ago because there’s no one to around to judge the “new you”.

It’s truly liberating. One of the best things about living in a new country is that you are able to try all of these new things and figure out just what you want to get out of your new life and how you want to live it.

Be Magnanimous and Avoid Taking Sides

When you become an expat you have the country you were born and the country you live. It’s likely that you’ll come to see what’s good and bad about both countries with a kind of clarity you never had before. If you want to be a truly happy expat you need to avoid taking sides. Don’t complain about your old home because you will get home-sick eventually. You should also take off the rose-coloured glasses and avoid thinking that life back home wasn’t all that bad. Remember that you moved away for a reason; remember that reason.

With this said the country you move to is going to delight and annoy you in equal amounts. So for the sake of your sanity, and the sanity of those around you, that there’s nowhere that is truly perfect and no one wants to hear you boast or complain about how your new life is going.

Keep Things Balanced While Still Enjoying Variety

When you move to a new country you will be tempted to avoid expats that come from the same country as you. This urge can be understandable but sometimes it’s just irrational. You don’t want to find yourself stuck with an expat who sees you as fresh meat that they can invite along to anything and everything, but at the same time there’s not much better than sharing an evening with someone who have the same cultural background as you.

It’s important to find a balance. You shouldn’t avoid the British pub; just don’t spend every evening there. Take a trip to the tapas bar and the bodega. Make some local friends and find time to visit the establishments and enclaves of other nationalities. Having such a diverse range of influences and opinions is part of the fun of being an expat so allow yourself to embrace it.

Head Back Home When you Want; Flights are Pretty Cheap

Brits living in Spain have it pretty easy when it comes to flying home regularly. It’s easy and cheap to fly from Malaga airport to the UK all through the year. Make use of these cheap flights. Keeping up your connection to the mother land will ensure you enjoy both destinations as much as possible. Regular visits home stop you from getting too homesick and it can be liberating to leave that expat bubble you’ve been living in every so often.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Spanish Mortgage Activity up 10% in September

Spanish Mortgage Activity up 10% in September

The property market continues its recovery in the
Costa del Sol and Spain
There’s been more good news for the Spanish property market with the publication of the latest official data. It showed that the amount of mortgages approved during September was up 10% over last year.

The data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) shows that 26,667 mortgages were approved in September, which is further proof that the property market in Spain has managed to recover from the damage of the credit crunch.

The data is also a continuation in the positive trend changing the face of the industry across the past 18 months, as well as a confirmation that property prices are still increasing, along with confidence from both consumers and banks.

The data from the INE showed that there was also an increase in average loan capital during September. This was up 2.2% to €113,193, the highest that it’s been for over five years. The news was positive in every one of the 17 autonomous communities of Spain. The Canary Islands in particular reported there was a massive gain in approvals with an increase of 45.2% compared to last year.

The story in Andalucia, Catalunya and Madrid was pretty similar. These property markets are being boosted by an increase of both domestic and foreign buyers in Spain.

When you look at the last 12 months the number of mortgage approvals in September brings the total number of approved mortgages up to 270,000; an increase of 13.1% over the previous 12 months. The data for the first nine months of 2016 shows that there were a total of 212,587 mortgages approved, which is an increase of 12.6% over this period in 2015.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Study Finds Spain Smart Choice for Expats

Study Finds Spain Smart Choice for Expats

With the cost of living being so low and the excellent
Spanish lifestyle, its no wonder why more people
want to live in Spain; a credit comparison website, has looked at data from across Europe to finally answer the question of which countries in Spain offer Brits the best place to live. To the surprise of very few Spain scored pretty highly.

The website put together an infograph looking at the various metrics Brits consider when choosing amongst the top ten most popular countries in Europe to live.

These metrics included the average salary, weekly hours worked, and paid leave. Germany might have topped the poll – scoring well for salary and average amount of hours per week worked – Spain still came in third; just behind France.

The Infograph shows that Spain has an average annual salary of €27,000, which is equal to the average salary of the UK. While the Spanish are working slightly longer than Brits on average, and they have less paid leave, Spain is also a much cheaper place to live; ranking 73 out of 100 for cost of living (Britain ranked 100).

When you include that Spain has more public holidays than Britain and it just makes the country even more of an attractive choice. made surveying Brits part of the study. They asked Brits what motivates them to want to emigrate in the first place. One third of those polled felt they were overworked and half of them felt they were underpaid.

While Spanish wages might not be much higher, there is a reduced cost of living. So even if they were to earn exactly the same wage Brits would have more disposable income and an excellent Spanish lifestyle to enjoy it on.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Spain Comes In 4th in Survey on Quality of Life for Expats

Spain Comes In 4th in Survey on Quality of Life for Expats
Life and is great in Spain

The latest Expat Insider Survey from InterNations is out and the results place Spain as the 4th best country for expats to live; much higher than other countries including Germany, France, Italy and Australia.

This study was one of the most extensive of its kind and looked into the lives and experiences of expatriates living around the world. 14,000 people were polled about life away from home including the quality of healthcare, safety and security, their personal happiness, leisure options, transport and travel quality, and employment opportunities.

The top spot went to Taiwan, which was highly ranked for their economy, safety, and cultural attractions. Second place went to the European nation of Austria, making Austria the highest ranking European country. Austria scored well for their standard of living and expat employment opportunities.

Third place, one place ahead of Spain, was Japan. Japan coming in third may be a surprise given the infamous hostility that Japan seems to hold for other countries. Japan is great for temporary expats however as it offers safety, leisure, cultural attractions and high paying jobs.

Spain did quite well in just about every category. It scored particularly well on climate, scenery, and the relaxed pace of Spanish life. The country came in second for leisure. Expats were very high on Spain for the way the country welcomes children and the culture that promotes being out doors as much as possible.

The other European countries ranking in the top ten were Malta, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland. Costa Rica and Singapore made up the rest of the top ten. While France has always thought of itself for being the best place for an expat to be it actually came 15th, between Australia at 15th and New Zealand at 13th.

Spanish neighbour Portugal came in 14th and both the UK and Italy didn’t place in the top 20 at all.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Spanish Spending Big This Christmas

Spanish Spending will be Big This Christmas

Confidence is high this year and Spaniards are spending more
A study published recently by Deloitte shows that Spaniardswill be spending an average of €682 this Christmas, which is just under a third higher than the EU average. This figure brings them second place in Christmas spending in Europe. The top spot goes to the Danes, who are expected to be spending around €689 per head during the festive season.

Deloitte are predicting that overall Europeans are in for an average spend of €517 this Christmas, down 1% from last year. Deloitte say that Spanish consumer confidence is clearly on the rise, as two-thirds of the Spanish people they surveyed said that they felt they had just as much spending power as they had last year, if not more. This is up from the 52% of people who said the same thing on the run up to Christmas 2015.

Given that Spain is in the lower half of the EU in terms of the ratio of their income to living costs, it looks like optimism in Spain is very high. Other places where people are gearing up to spend more than the European average include Italy with €614, Belgium with €592 and Germany with €529.

On the opposite end of the table are the countries looking to be spending the least including Greece at €439, Portugal at €431, and Poland at €328.

The majority of the money Spaniards will be spending on Christmas (around €265) is going towards the actual gifts. This figure is up 1% from last year. Next comes food at €212 (an increase of 7%), travel at €132 (p 5%) and everything else will come to around €73 (an increase of 6% over 2015).

Expert Predicts Spanish Real Estate Prices Set for 6% Increase

Expert Predicts Spanish Real Estate Prices Set for 6% Increase
Spain's recover looks to continue its uptrend
One of the key players in the Spanish real estate sector has said that the average property value in Spain will increase between 5 and 6% within the next three years.

Humphrey White is the head of the Spanish division of British real estate agency Knight Frank. White says the strengthened economy of Spain is going to spur on strong and sustainable demand with Spanish buyers , while the country will always be a favourite for international investors looking for a popular place in the sun.

White went on to add that the lack of speculative promotion has really helped the Spanish property market. This has brought about renewed confidence in the sector, along with transparency and sensibility.

The result is that there are areas of Spain where there simply aren’t enough good quality houses to go around. So there is room for banks and real estate developers to take to these areas and increase the supply to meet the new demand.

The agent says that Spain currently has a fantastic opportunity to bring in new companies because it offers them high quality properties in prime locations such as city centres near airports, along with a whole host of qualified professionals.

A recent report from Frank Knight showed that Madrid and Barcelona are in the list of the top 20 destinations for the mega-rich; for both residential properties and investment in commercial real estate.

Data published just last week by the National Statistics Institute showed that the amount of foreign buyers investing in Spanish homes increased just under 20% in 2016; with foreign investors accounting for one-fifth of all the homes sold in Spain.

While Brits have always been the biggest demographic of foreign investors in Spain the data also shows that they aren’t growing as quickly in the third quarter. This drop was made up by an increase in interest from other nations including France, Italy and Sweden. The amount of Russian investors however continues to drop.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Survey Names Madrid Finest European City for Expats

Survey Names Madrid Finest European City for Expats

 The capital of Spain is friendly and affordable and it comes with great weather. Madrid, the capital of Spain, has come first out of the cities of Europe in the latest poll looking at cities loved by expats around the world.
its no wonder that Madrid has been named
the finest European city
Over 14,000 took part in the latest InterNations poll. InterNations is the largest expats networking service and these results saw Melbourne in Australia come out as the global number one but Spain still did well with Barcelona and Madrid showing up in the top 17.

The survey in question was the InterNations Expat Insider 2016 survey and it’s thought to be the largest and most extensive study looking at how expats live; so the results are likely to treated as gospel by those looking to move somewhere new.

The expats who took part were asked how they would rate several different elements of living overseas including their career prospects, their work-life balance, the weather, their quality of life, and how the local population behave.

Second place came as a surprise because it was taken by Houston in the USA. Madrid came in third with Dusseldorf in Germany taking fourth and Singapore coming in fifth.

Madrid scored well as expats felt that locals in the city would make every effort to make expats feel at home. Throw in the weather and the cost of living and it’s not hard to see why Madrid came in third.

Barcelona came in 11th overall and received praise for the leisure, social activities, low cost of living and solid prospects on offer.

The rest of the list was taken up by the usual suspects; Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Toronto, Geneva and Sydney. Perhaps the most interesting result is that there were no British cities in the top 20. Britain was let down by the high cost of living and the poor weather that pushed British cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and London off of the list.

London came in 27th place overall out of 35 cities. London ranked low because of the quality of life in the city and the perceived lack of safety.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

It’s the Start of the Sierra Nevada Ski Season

It’s the Start of the Sierra Nevada Ski Season

The season has started and looks like Rosie can
not wait to hit the slopes
The wait is over as the 2016 Sierra Nevada winter ski season has finally begun.

The season was brought forward a little because the first snowfall came a little earlier than usual too and it marks the beginning of winter. The ski season in Sierra Nevada can typically last all the way to late April.

Sierra Nevada is renowned for being the most southern and sunny European ski resort and things are going to be even bigger and better this year thanks to the introduction of twice weekly flights between London Gatwick and Granada.

The resort has 100km of track featuring different difficulty levels, incredible views, and it’s close to the heart of Granada which makes it a perennial favourite for locals and hardcore snow boarders and skiers.

Even though Sierra Nevada has begun taking a backseat to the more central ski resorts lately it’s still gaining a reputation for offering skiers something different. There is also a après ski scene in the resort featuring the best stereotypes of Spain including fine food, wine, and fun for all involved.

The upcoming ski season brings with it some incredible ski lifts and an area dedicated to family initiation that are designed to make it more enjoyable and accessible to bring your whole family out to the slopes.

There have been a number of benefits made to the Sierra Nevada ski resort in recent years, including hosting large sporting events like the Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Cup Super Finals. A lot of attention is being paid to the Sulayr Terrain Park of the resort, featuring the largest permanent half-pipe in all of Spain which will test the hearts of 550 of the greatest skiers and snowboarders in the world.

Don’t worry if you’re looking for something that’s not so dramatic. There is a wide range of slopes for all ages and abilities in the resort. You’ll always be welcome in the pre- and après ski scene.

What more do you need to convince you to slap on the snow tyres and head north to the premier ski resort in Spain? It’s guaranteed to spice up even the coldest winter weekend.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

HBO to Launch in Spain

HBO to Launch in Spain

With HBO coming to Spain that's great news for TV addicts

Combining the Spanish with TV and Cinemas has always been a bit of an odd combination. Think about it; Spain is a country that is packed with stunning landscapes, mountains, cities, beaches and people. The weather is always lovely and the culture is a very outdoors one. Then add in a television; something designed to keep you inside and in the dark.

Television certainly makes a lot of sense in the wet and dismal weather of the UK, which is why there is some excellent British TV.

The Spanish have never really needed much television though. They have a whole country to serve as their entertainment. Even if a Spaniard would turn on the TV it wouldn’t take them long to regret it because Spanish TV has just never been good.

Things have changed recently however with the rising popularity of online on-demand TV services including Netflix, Sky Go and Amazon Now. The Spanish of today can enjoy great shows from around the world and they’ve been taking to these online services at a rapid rate.

This is likely the reason that the US Home Box Office TV network HBO recently announced they would be launching HBO España. No one is quite sure on the details right now, but HBO are the creative force behind hit TV shows including Girls, True Detective and Game of Thrones. They simply announced that the service would be “coming very soon”; a message that was repeated by Game of Thrones actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Nikolaj made the announcement while filming season seven of Game of Thrones which is, coincidentally enough, being filmed in Spain.

HBO are offering the service through a streaming platform powered by Vodafone. It’s expected that it will cost €7.99 a month and that customers who aren’t with Vodafone will still be able to sign up to the service. HBO España is set to launch with over 3,000 titles including a movies straight from Hollywood, documentaries, and also children’s TV.

Monday, 5 December 2016

70% of Homes sold in Malaga Between January and July Sold to Foreign Buyers

 70% of Homes sold in Malaga Between January and July Sold to Foreign Buyers

Costa del Sol will always be in demand due to
location, lifestyle and the weather
People have known for a long time that the Costa del Sol has always been the main interest for foreign homebuyers and tourists looking at Spain. It’s the home of golden beaches, various resorts that fit all budgets and tastes, and the best and most affordable homes across Spain. Overall the Costa del Sol stands above, and beats out, the competition.

The providence of Malaga encompasses some of the biggest regions in Spain including the Costa del Sol, Nerja, Marbella, Estepona, and Malaga itself – which stands as a beautiful atmospheric city filled with culture and ancient wonder. There are also inland areas to Malaga so it’s no wonder that foreigners are always looking towards it.

Data released this week shows just how popular the property markets in Malaga truly are. The Notarie’s Assocation of Spain say that 70% of all the homes bought in Malaga between January and July were sold to foreign buyers.

To put it into actual numbers this accounts for 4,978 property transactions by non-Spaniards; an increase of 16.9% over the same time period in 2015. Across the whole of Andalucía, which includes Seville, Cádiz, Seville, and other provinces, there was an increase of 18.9% in foreign buyers in 12 months.

When taking domestic buyers into account there was a 10.1% increase in overall property sales in Andalucía between January and July compared to 2015. House prices were on the rise as well; an increase of 2.6% which is double the 1.3% national average.

Brits were responsible for a quarter all of the homes sold to foreign buyers in the Costa del Sol, further showcasing the love affair that Brits have with the Costa del Sol and Spain as a whole.

Friday, 2 December 2016

September Sees 12% More Brits Visit Spain

September Sees 12% More Brits Visit Spain

The Costa del Sol has broken all records yet again
Spain is still going through one of the best years fortourism ever and the latest data from the Tourism Ministry shows the good year continues on because September saw 12% more British people than September of last year.

According to the data some 2 million Brits came to Spain in September; making for a grand total of 14.4 million Brits out of 60.3 million tourists across the whole year.

Spain saw a total of 7.9 million tourists in September, which was an increase of just over 10% over 2015. During the three-month period of July to September there was a total of 27.6 million visitors to Spain, an increase of the 25 million from 2015.

The Tourism Ministry predicts that Spain will see 74 million tourists by the end of the year, which would be a new record. Almost everyone is welcoming this news from hoteliers and bar owners to anyone watching the economy.

There are plenty of resorts that have the ability to handle these visitor numbers, there are also places such as Barcelona and Majorca that are already stretched to their limits.

The good news is that there is still room in the Costa del Sol for more hotels, resorts, and anything else visitors could want without disrupting the balance that makes buying property in the Costa del Sol and the surrounding areas uch a favourite with tourists.

Tour operator Exceltur undertook their own research that suggests that the number of tourists who become “officially registered” by booking at a hotel has gone up by 2% over the past two years. During these two years there has been an increase of 75% in private rentals.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Almost 400,000 Homes Sold in Spain Across 12 Months to September

Almost 400,000 Homes Sold in Spain Across 12 Months to September

Spain is back with more and more homes being sold.
This number indicates a year-on-year increase of 13.2% and is the most homes sold across a 12 year period since the 12 months leading to July 2011.

This 400,000 figure might be less than the 775,000 homes that were sold during 2007, it is still a strong sign of the Spanish property market is becoming more active and healthy. It is also a continuation of the growth period that has seen price increases in 24 out of the past 25 months.

September 2016 saw 34,931 homes change hands, which is an increase of 13% over September 2015. When looked at as a whole the year of 2016 has seen some 311,000 properties sold so far; an indication that 2016 could see the most homes sold in a single year since 2008; which was the last year before the Spanish economy went into a recession following the global credit crunch.

Andalucía saw over 100 homes sold per 100,000 thousand residents, which would suggest that there is a split between the numbers of local, domestic, and international buyers.

This has always been the way things work in Andalucía. The Andalucían property market is supported by the sales across the Costa del Sol; particularly the sales of the luxury homes that are made available to wealthy buyers through and around Marbella.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Is the Spanish Property Market Being Boosted by Climate Change?

Is the Spanish Property Market Being Boosted by Climate Change?

Spanish summers are getting longer which
is wonderful for the area
This idea sounds a little silly at first; how could climate change – a very real problem – be contributing to a market whose strength is determined by how many people buy and sell properties?

There is one voice in coming out of the Spanish property industry that is suggesting that the Spanish summers are getting a little longer and now high season has been extended so much that the property and tourism sectors of Spain are bound to see some benefit.

The voice belongs to Chris White; who has been working in the property industry of Spain for decades now. He believes that climate change has had an impact on the already excellent climate of Spain that has been good for both industries.

The warm summer sun in Spain can last into December, long into the darkest and most dismal part of the year for the UK when the weather gets colder, the days get darker, and it’s too early to get into the spirt of Christmas. The property market of Spain is really reaping the benefits.

White says that the weather is one of the primary reasons British buyers are so in love with Spain. Spain is such an ideal destination for Brits because the sun and the sea are just a short flight away.

He added that Spain has very appealing during this time; when the weather in Britain gets colder and the night comes a little sooner. White said that Spain is already seeing the benefits of longer summers thanks to the record tourism numbers and the fact that Spanish property transactions have gone up for 24 of the past 25 months.

It is a little difficult say for sure if climate change had anything to do with these record numbers however. The Spanish tourism numbers have been growing quite a bit across the past 18 months. Part of this is also the rise of terrorism in countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Tunisian and even France. These countries have all been gripped by the hands of terrorism and so tourists are choosing the safer shores of Spain.

The rise of the Spanish property market could also be down to the improved economy of Spain and Europe as a whole thanks to banks putting less stringent restrictions on lending and a more transparent market.

Even taking this into account there is a bit of truth to Mr White’s words. The latest data from Aena; who manage a selection of Spanish airports, suggest that there are more Brits than ever before booking Trips to Spain in November and December. The number of winter tourists is also rising at a faster rate than the number of summer tourists.

White says that there is definitely a correlation between the number of people visiting Spain and the number of foreigners buying Spanish property. The longer and warmer winters and autumns are leading to more visitors and even more foreign interest in Spanish property. These visitors are also able to enjoy the beaches and waters of Spain, which is a plus for them.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

40% of Spanish Homes Running Pay TV

40% of Spanish Homes Running Pay TV

Most house holds are now paying for TV services
Spain is definitely feeling the success of streaming platforms like Amazon Fire TV and Netflix. The latest research shows almost 40% of households in Spain have pay-to-view TV in some form or another.

This data does include the more traditional satellite and cable services including Sky and Canal+, but it does show how TV habits are changing in Spain, although going to the Cinema is still very popular.

People would never really suggest that terrestrial Spanish TV was any good, so it’s likely not going to become a surprise that the Spaniards, who were once considered to be the biggest illegal downloaders, have grabbed the opportunity to get their hands on something better than they would through regular Spanish TV.

People are also more willing to pay for it than ever. A survey conducted by Onsti, the Spanish Telecommunications Observatory, Spanish homes are spending an average of €22.30 on Pay TV. This suggests that people are paying for more than one streaming platform given that Netflix costs less than €10. They could also be purchasing the more expensive satellite and cable packages that offer more content.

The data from the survey shows that around a third of Spanish homes take advantage of a comprehensive package including broadband internet, TV, fixed landline and mobile phones. This also suggest that the Spanish are getting in line with their cousins in northern Europe when it comes to going digital.

The homes that are on these comprehensive packages spend an average of €68.20 for them, which is pretty good value for money considering what you get included in these packages.

Netflix opened their doors to Spain last year and they have become quite a success in the country, just as it did in all the other European markets it entered.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Spain Ratifies Global Climate Change Agreement

Spain Ratifies Global Climate Change Agreement

Spain has joined the USA, China, India, Australia, and other large EU nations in ratifying the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The agreement was initially drawn up last December in the COP21 conference.
Climate change is needed everywhere for our planet to survive
Spain will look to follow the terms of the Paris Agreement and come up with ways to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius before the end of the century. Scientists have agreed that carbon emissions must be cut by up to 50% in most nations to prevent the global temperature from rising to above 2 degrees Celsius; which is considered to be the point of no return for global warming.

The Spanish Environment Minister Isabel Garcia Tejerina last week revealed that they will ratify the details of the agreement as soon as possible. Many people welcomed the news as the future of the Paris Agreement was unknown following Donald Trump being elected as the next US president.

While Barack Obama pushed the American ratification of the Agreement through earlier in the year Donald Trump, who is against the idea of climate change, has threatened to rip it up.

The USA are in for now though, along with China, Germany, the UK and India; some of the biggest polluters in the world. Spain have also now joined in.

Tejerna spoke at the COP22 meeting in Morocco where she said that ratifying the agreement means that Spain will be able to take part in deciding the measures of the agreement. She said that the change had reached the point where no corporation or government could stop it, and that we would have to see how the new American administration will react.

There was one time when Spain was the global leader in renewable energy. There was a time when power from wind and solar energy accounted for 15% of the power in the nation. Since 2011 things have gone a little backwards however. Spain has since scrapped the generous subsidies that made it easy and profitable for people to install solar panels, and now there is even a controversial “sun tax”; which is when people are charged to return their solar power to the national grid.

It’s expected that this ruling could be rescinded in the new government though. Solar power is becoming cheaper to install and will only continue to get cheaper, so there is little to no need for government support.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Spanish Cabinet Reshuffle Sees Gibraltar Agitator Replaced as Foreign Minister

Spanish Cabinet Reshuffle Sees Gibraltar Agitator Replaced as Foreign Minister

The cabinet of Mariano Rajoy has undergone a bit of a reshuffle and it’s seen the quiet removal of one of the biggest thorns in the side of Gibraltar.

Everyone is glad José Manual García-Margallo has been replaced
Spain’s newest government are keen to make their mark on Spanish politics as soon as possible. Rajoy’s decision to replace José Manual García-Margallo with a career diplomat is reassuring some people that Spain should no longer be getting into spats over The Rock.

García-Margallo spent many years vocalising his belief that Gibraltar should become Spanish territory and he was always eager to make the relationship between Spain and Britain a little worse.

Rajoy’s new cabinet isn’t as powerful as his old one and now he only has a minority conservative grip on the reins of Parliament. As such Prime Minister Rajoy appears to be taking all the chances he can get to limit any potential fights with his opponents on the left.

Alfonso Dastis is the man who will replace García-Margallo as Foreign Minister. Dastis has been a long-standing representative of Spain in the European Parliament of Brussels and is considered to be sensible and reasoned.

There was good news for the markets as Luis de Guindos was kept on as Economic Minister. De Guindos was able to keep the economy as steady as possible and help it recover during some of the toughest economic times the country has faced since Franco.

De Guindos spearheaded a mass labour reform as the country was going through a double-dip recession and has been vital to keeping a low cost of living and the economic recovery happening. He’s one of the main reasons that it recovered much faster than anyone could predict.

A parliamentary spokesman for the Popular Party said that they decided continuity was the right approach for the economic team and that they would keep the team that saw Spain reverse the economic situation of five years ago.

There are six new ministers in Rajoy’s new cabinet. The interior and defence roles have gone to new people alongside the foreign role. The new Interior Minister is Juan Ignacio Zoido. Zoido is the former mayor of Seville and he will be replacing Jorge Fernández Diaz, while Maria Dolores de Cospedal is the new Defence Minister, following her role as the Secretary General of the PP.