Saturday, 25 June 2016

The Numbers Don’t Lie: Spain More Popular Than Ever

The Numbers Don’t Lie: Spain More Popular Than Ever

Spain is bringing people in with more than just beaches. Brits are being attracted by the cities, mountains, and history of Spain. They’re also spending more time in the less-known areas of the country.

The news has seen a number of stories about the rising popularity of Spain and the increase in Spanish tourism over the past few months.

Statistics from different sources, from travel agencies to the Spanish National Statistics Institute, show that Spanish tourism has been on the rise since the start of the year, with a sharp rise in April. It’s been so significant some people are still struggling to understand how it all happened.

This week even the Financial Times joined in. They took a look at the numbers and asked around to see why this all happened. 

No one will be particularly surprised by the answers but it is a message that bears repeating. Spain is more affordable, safe, accessible, the cost of living in Spain is cheap and has a better climate than a lot of other destinations. There are very few places that offer the all-in-one package that Spain does. Spain has a few extra cards to play this year; chief amongst which is the rising popularity of Spain as a place to take a city-break and a cultural destination.

Before we start crunching all those numbers we should remind you of them. The data from the INE shows that Spain brought in just over 18 million tourists between January and April. This is 13% more than the same period last year and 6 million of those tourists came in April alone.

Four million of those tourists were Brits – around a fifth more than for the same period last year. There were also more tourists from Germany, Scandinavia and America than last year.

The Financial Times spoke with a range of experts who all agreed that Spain is doing so well because their top rivals are no longer safe. Terrorist threats are keeping people out of countries like Turkey and Egypt. Spain, Bulgaria and Greece are seeing most of these visitors instead.

Dörte Nordbeck, the head of travel and logistics at GFK, believes that the spate of terrorist attacks in Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt have made potential tourists wary of these countries.

Nordbeck says that there was a shift in booking behaviour after the attacks. People are switching to Spain over Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia. Some people are also going to Greece and Bulgaria instead.

Turkish tourism has dropped a massive 28% in the past 12 months. Less than 2 million people visited in April. Tunisia and Egypt, popular destinations during the winter, also saw a drop in tourism over the winter season. The Canary Islands in Spain saw a lot of these tourists instead. Tourism has increased 23% in the Canary Islands alone over the past 12 months according to Thomas Cook Group.

The CEO of Thomas Cook, Peter Frankhauser, has said that they have seen people choosing Spain and America instead of Tunisia and Egypt.

The threat of terrorism isn’t the only thing causing a spike in Spanish popularity though. The secretary general of Cehat, the Spanish hotel union, says that Spain is doing well because more people are recommending it and are becoming more interested in Spanish culture, history and language.

British tourists are also expanding their horizons with many going to Barcelona to ski. They are visiting much more than just the usual islands and Mediterranean resorts and are beginning to explore the cities more often like Malaga for example.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Spanish construction industry Reaches Five Year High Thank to British Second Home Buyers

Spanish construction industry Reaches Five Year High Thank to British Second Home Buyers

Buying property off plan is coming back into fashion as the
demand is returning

Almost half of the Brits buying second homes find themselves drawn to the sun, sea and sand of the Costa del Sol. So much so that a study has shown the number of new builds being approved in Spain has hit a five year high.

The Ministry of Public Works published figures showing that new home licenses in Spain has gone up by 57.1%. This led to a total number of 16,782 new build licenses approved in the first three months of 2016, an increase over last year and the best quarterly result seen since 2011.
The study says that the reason behind the boom in residential construction has been caused because overseas buyers are coming back to the Spanish market once more. Demand from overseas buyers for Spanish properties is on the rise, with a lot of that demand coming from neighbouring European countries.

The leading homebuilder in Spain, Taylor Wimpey España says that the total number of sales so far this year is up compared to last year, with an increase in British buyers of 48%.

With more Brits looking to make their place in the Spanish sun the Costa del Sol has become the most popular choice. Nearly half of these foreign buyers are choosing to purchase property in the region.

The sales and marketing director for Taylor Wimpey España, Marc Pritchard, believes that this summer will be just as scorching for the real estate sector with momentum continuing to build in the market.

He says that construction in Spain is on the rise as the foreign demand is strengthening the real estate market as a whole.

The Costa del Sol has always been the region of choice for Spanish holiday homes and it is taking up that role once more with British people making it their location of choice for second homes.

With British buyers choosing the southern coast of Spain for their homes the optimism the Spanish people feel towards the market increases. It’s expected that these positive trends will continue on for the rest of the year.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Marbella New App to Reserve Sun Loungers Launches

Marbella New App to Reserve Sun Loungers Launches

Just as you can book a flight weeks in advance to Malaga airport you can now use an app to book your favourite seat by the pool before you even leave your home.

There are lots of problems with a package holiday; delayed flights, sunburn, a poor quality buffet to name a few. The one that really scares British tourists is the idea of not being able to find a place by the pool to soak up the sun.
Marbella has a new and innovative approach to sun bathing. 

As with almost everything there are some lazy stereotypes out there. The main antagonist is, of course, the Germans. They wake up early and spread out their towels on all the best seats before going to breakfast. They know that a polite Brit would never move their towels even though there are rules against trying to reserve loungers like this.

The problem may not be as simple as that but the fact remains many holidaymakers across all nationalities become annoyed when they can’t find the perfect seat. Well now there’s an app for that too.

The BookMySunbed app was developed by Daniel Jain, a 23 year old from London who is getting ready to launch the app. Users are able to use the app to find the best seat in the house (or by the pool) before even leaving on holiday.

Don’t worry if this all sounds too good to be true. The app is set to be launched this summer in Marbella. So if you’re going to the Costa del Sol you’ll be able to see it in action for yourself.

The Local says that all the hotels in Marbella have come together to agree to use the app with their pools. If things go well then the app will eventually make its way to all of Spain and, should the popularity be high enough, across the entire world.

Jain did an interview with The Local in which he said that he feels having to wake up early to secure a place by the pool can put a real dampener on a holiday. He says that the app will allow people to reserve their favourite sunbeds in the same way that they can reserve a seat at the cinema or on an airplane.

The app will launch with several language options including English, Spanish, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and French. It’s interesting that the only language really missing from that list is, remarkably, the Germans.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Why the Spanish Diet is Better Than Any Fad Diet

Why the Spanish Diet is Better Than Any Fad Diet

The Mediterranean diet is considered very healthy
It’s been discovered that a Mediterranean diet with plenty of healthy fats is a great tool to lose weight. At least according to one study. It seems obvious that removing fat is how you lose weight. A recent study from the University of Barcelona disputes the idea. In fact they believe that some fats (interestingly found in the Mediterranean diet) can help people lose weight.

The university conducted a trial in which they took 7,500 obese people and put them on a diet of healthy fats. This diet included plenty of olive oil, nuts, oily fish, and some red meats.
The results of the study showed that the people on this “fatty” diet didn’t gain more weight than the control group of people who cut out fat from their diet altogether. This study backs up claims from other studies that the Spanish Mediterranean diet, filled with fruit, vegetables, olives and fish, is great for health.

A member of the university said that the trial shows that eating a high-fat, high vegetable diet like the Mediterranean diet doesn’t cause someone to gain weight. Some people are criticising the narrow band of people in the trial. All 7,500 people were overweight, Caucasian, and aged between 55 – 80. It’s been suggested that the results, and any health advice gleaned from them, may not apply to different age groups and races.

It has been proven at least that the Mediterranean diet is lower in cholesterol in other diets and can increase your life expectancy, but it has also been suggested that some parts of the diet, particularly the fats found in Jamón Ibérico, can make certain health conditions worse. Critics have also pointed out that the lack of weight gain in the already obese patients could be due to a number of factors and may have nothing to do with the diet itself.

There is still consensus on some parts of the trial though. Even critics to the trial agree that eating too many carbohydrates can cause one to gain weight, and that the nutrition community derides fats and sugars present in processed meats, desserts, fast food and sweet drinks.
Its was also found and important form an early age that children should start with a healthy diet and carry this on throughout their lifespan to live longer than a child that eats unhealthy.

Spain is considered one of the healthiest places to live on the planet, this is due the healthily Mediterranean diet.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Marbella Homes Drawing Attention From Foreign Buyers

Marbella Homes Drawing Attention From Foreign Buyers

Everything about Marbella, from the beauty and atmosphere to the glamour and culture, has always been a hit with both foreign and domestic visitors.

Costa del Sol Property market continues to rise
as demand is going pace
Marbella just wouldn’t be the same without all of this foreign interest. From the birth of the resort town in 1950, when it was just a humble little fishing village, to becoming the home away from home of the rich and famous, Marbella has always seemed more international than it has Spanish.

So no one is going to be surprised to learn that research published by the Spanish Registrars revealed that over 80% of the properties sold in Marbella went to foreign investors.

The data for last year shows that foreigners purchased just under 14% of the properties sold in Spain. 60% of these foreign investors came from the European Union. Another report; one focused only on Marbella, used the Spanish Registrar data to show just how popular Marbella property for sale has become for international buyers.

The report shows that the demographic of Marbella has changed a little though. Marbella remains heavily international but now more Spaniards are coming back to the resort and the towns in the area.

The number of Spanish visitors to Marbella was over 350,000 a year in 2006. The number was reduced dramatically by 2013, when barely 100,000 Spaniards made the journey. There were a few reasons why such as the poor economy, the high cost of staying in Marbella, and the whimsical nature of fashion.

Last year Marbella suddenly became popular again with over 250,000 Spaniards visiting. This number is expected to rise again this year.

The property market of Marbella is looking healthier than ever too. There were 4,390 homes changing hands last year. This number was just one percent below the 4,432 homes exchanged in 2006; the peak of the housing market.

Experts say this is due to the demand for homes in the area, better prices, and higher buyer confidence. The recovering economies in Europe and the world at large are also behind this increase.

Even though more property is being sold the latest data suggests that the properties of Marbella are still priced at around 20% less than they were during the peak of 2005.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Eight Year High Spanish Property Prices Continue to Rise

Eight Year High Spanish Property Prices Continue to Rise

Costa del Sol is seeing a massive return of savvy investors
buying property again.
With the Spanish property market looking so great and being so affordable there’s really no reason to not invest in Spanish property.

The average value of property in Spain has gone up by 6.3% in the first quarter of 2016. The new data shows a rise that hasn’t been seen since the third quarter of 2007.

The Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE) released the figures showing how the property market in Spain is re-emerging after the property bubble was burst in 2008.

The market slumped for five years which drove down property values, scared away investors, and created a general feeling of malaise in Spain as the economy cycled through anaemic growth, a loss of confidence, and austerity measures that punished more than they helped.

Data from the INE showed that by the middle of 2013 Spain broke through at last and the second recession was ending as there was a positive increase in GDP and employment rates and house sales were on the rise. Shortly after this property prices started to climb and now the value of resale homes was up by 6.4% during the first three months of 2016.

The new-build and off-plan property market also saw a nice boost. This area felt the brunt of the damage with many developers going out of business, leading to buildings that were either uncompleted or unsold. This also led to an oversupply that brought house prices crashing down. Now the market is up a generous 6.1%. All in all the first quarter of 2016 has been the most promising quarter for real estate since the third quarter of 2007.

The difference this time is that the rise in the market isn’t likely the forebear of another crash. The growth has been temperate this time around. As a result it is more sustainable. It’s also based more on the sustained economic growth and the interest coming from both domestic and foreign investors.

When it comes to actual house sales the INE data shows that the amount of transactions in the residential housing market of Spain was up by a massive 29% over the April in 2015, with a grand total of 35,199 properties changing hands. There hasn’t been a year-over-year increase this big since August 2010. It further proves that buyers are flocking back to the Spanish property market.