Saturday, 3 September 2016

Spain Welcoming Tourists and World Media

Spain is breaking all records as Tourist flock to the country
Given that Spain has always been popular with the people it’s really strange how often the mainstream media just happen to stumble upon what the country has to offer.

While Spain could never be described as a hidden holiday gem that few people will ever get a chance to see, it’s also true that many media stories about Spain only focus on the negatives. Especially when it comes to the tourist sector. They seem unwilling to showcase the best there is.

Things have gotten a little different this summer. Many rival destinations such as Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt are being passed over because of safety concerns. Even the south of France has found itself rocked by violence. Even the middle class media are beginning to see, and tout, Spain as being a safe haven for tourists and Spain is a great place to buy property.  

The Daily Telegraph recently published a list of 19 reasons that people are going back to Spain and this is a prime example of how everyone is softening up on Spain a little. It’s not often that the Telegraph of all publications would be so sympathetic and generous towards Spain. They would rather praise places such as Florence, Provence, and the Seychelles.

To give the Telegraph some credit though they have seen the unmissable trend that is that Spain is where everyone is going this summer and they published a very nice listicle showing the best of Spain.

Anyone who has been to Spain is unlikely to find something new but if you haven’t seen it here are some of the highlights from the Telegraph.

The cities: One of the great Spanish strengths is the wealth and beauty of the cities there. Barcelona, Seville, and everything in between are filled with history, culture, and fabulous foods.

The Moorish Heritage: If you’re talking about the Moorish heritage you need to talk about Andalucía, especially the Alhambra in Granada. Spain may have a varied and sometimes bloody history but it has left behind a wonderfully complex country with a rich architecture.

The lesser-known treats: La Coruña in Galicia deserves a look, especially because of their bountiful beaches and lovely old town; the ideal spot for some tapas. Another lesser-known treat is Vitoria-Gasteiz in the Basque country. History buffs should take a trip to the Roman aqueduct in Segovia.

The natural beauty: One thing Spain has in abundance is natural beauty; from the beaches, to the mountains, the non-stop sunshine. Almost everything in Spain is a real treat for the eyes and it’s something that everyone, even the Telegraph, knows all too well.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Number of Spanish Homes Sold in First Six Months of 2016 Highest Since 2010

 Number of Spanish Homes Sold in First Six Months of 2016 Highest Since 2010

Spanish property sales continue there upward trend
The Spanish daily El País are reporting that the number of Spanish homes sold in the first six months of 2016 is the highest it’s been since 2010.

June saw a total of 36,856 real estate transactions across all of Spain and it looks like the summer months are going to see the trend from April, a month where sales growth year-to-year topped 19%, continue.

Growth was up 19.5% in June compared to June 2015, which also marks a three-year high for June. During the first six months of 2016 around 207,593 houses have been sold in Spain, according to the Economy Ministry. Most of the real estate activity has come from the five biggest cities of Spain; Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante and Málaga. Málaga shouldn’t come as a surprise as they have the ever-popular Costa del Sol nearby.

VIVA already reported that foreign investment is responsible for a lot of this activity with real estate and construction making up a third of the €22 billion spent in Spain by foreign nationals.

The Institute of National Statistics did further analysis that showed the demand is increasing for luxury properties in Spain – something the Costa del Sol has in spades – as the economic recovery of the country is beginning to mirror the recovery being experienced by much of the western world.

Research undertaken by Bankinter suggests that the demand is only going to continue to increase. They released a report last week forecasting that Spain will see over 480,000 more property transactions in 2016, which would be a 10% increase over 2015. The bank also predicted that property prices will increase between 3-5% annually.

Experts are in agreement that the low interest rates are doing more than just encouraging spending. They are also making property investments in the Costa del Sol and Spain more attractive than regular savings bonds. All of this should lead to a strong 2017 and beyond for the real estate industry and Spain as a whole.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Mortgage Activity Continues to Rise in Spain for 24th Straight Month

Mortgage Activity Continues to Rise in Spain for 24th Straight Month.
Banks have become more generous with lending their money and buyers are becoming more generous with spending their money. There’s never been a better time for Spanish property.

Buying Property in Spain is becoming easier as
bank are lending again
All the signs that the Spanish property market is looking healthy are there; the economic data, real estate research and surveys, and even your own eyes can see that urbanisations are becoming fuller, roads are becoming busier, and those expat bubbles are continuing to expand across the Mediterranean.

New figures published by the Spanish Central Statistics Unit last week further proved that the country is definitely in the middle of a strong recovery.

The most recent figures come from May and they show that 34% more mortgages were approved for Spanish property over May of 2015. This increase was also the 24th straight increase – a growth period of two whole years for Spanish mortgages.

There were a total of 26,579 mortgages approved in May, bringing the total number of new mortgages for the period leading up to May 2016 up to 121,000; an increase of 19.7% over the same period of time in 2015.

Looking back over the past 12 months showed the statisticians that there was a 20% increase over last year with 265,000 mortgages approved between May of 2015 and May of 2016.

The data covers all of Spain and narrowing down the data proved encouraging as the analysts saw that all 17 of the autonomous communities in Spain recorded their own increase in mortgage activity. The areas where the increase was higher than the national average were Aragon (51.6% increase) and the Balearics and Basque Country (both up 66.9%).

The national average loan was €104,480 which was just 0.8% below the average mortgage of last May. Even though the average loan is down a little the other statistics that have been released in previous months show that Spanish property prices are steadily increasing.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

US Investment Fund Grabs €1.1 Billion Spanish Property Portfolio

 US Investment Fund Grabs €1.1 Billion Spanish Property Portfolio

The love of investing in Spanish property shows no signs of slowing down. Just recently the US private equity firm Bain Capital purchased a loan and real estate portfolio from three Spanish banks for the sum of €1.1 billion.

Spain looks an amazing investment hub for the next 7 or 8 years
Spanish banks stepped forward during the years following the recession and claimed ownership of thousands of distressed properties. Most of these banks have since gone on to try and sell the properties, even offering them at discounted prices to private investors who want to grab a bargain.

Bain Capital’s decision to purchase this portfolio show just how attractive Spanish real estate is to foreign investors. It’s impossible to know the exact details of the purchase but Reuters are reporting that around €220 of the €1.1 billion of the residential and commercial property all came from one Spanish bank.

The rest of the money went towards purchasing bad loans at face value from Spanish banks Sabadell and Cajamar. It’s believed that most of these loans were offered by the banks to small property firms that were going through bankruptcy. Bain said that these firms are backed by real estate assets and they outlined their belief that these property assets would be enough to recoup their money thanks to the rising property prices in Spain.

As Spain is currently experiencing historically low interest rates there’s never been a better time for this kind of investment from a firm that has the power to carry the burdens. After the recession of 2008 prices in the real estate market slumped by as much as 40%. While property prices are on the increase many properties are still severely undervalued and present a great investment.

The rental yields from commercial and residential property rose to 6.1% in the second quarter of 2016 in Spain, which works out at about five times the return on a 10-year, government backed bond. As such owning property in Spain has become quite the attractive bet across the entire spectrum of investment.

One of the managing directors for Bain Capital Credit, Fabio Longo, said that they see the potential of investing in the Iberian Peninsula, especially in real estate and non-performing loans.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Poll Shows Brits Favour Spain as Their Number One Retirement Spot

Poll Shows Brits Favour Spain as Their Number One Retirement Spot

The poll in question saw 19% of the people who responded say that Spain would be their ideal retirement destination and it’s not hard to understand why they would.

Costa del Sol is still the number one place to retire.
The survey that found Spain is the top choice for British retirees was conducted by financial services company Retirement Advantage.

Spain took 19.4% of the vote; the highest of any European nation. It was also the top of the polls globally, knocking the United States down into second place. France came in fourth, behind Australia, while Italy, New Zealand and Canada all struggled to get even 5% of the votes.

The survey gives us further proof that Spain has become the top choice for British retirees looking to retire in a warm, accessible and affordable location. Even though there were some concerns about how the Brexit vote might damage the appeal of Spain, it looks like Spain has never been more popular with British retirees-to-be.

The survey saw 1,200 Brits aged between 18 and retirement age asked where they would prefer to retire. Spain came out on top which was the same result Retirement Advantage saw in 2013. In 2013 France was second and the USA came in third.

The Pension Technical Director of Retirement Advantage, Andrew Tully, says that many people hope to retire to a place filled with sunshine and a slower pace. They hope to find that by moving abroad and a country with cheaper living costs and property prices than the UK becomes a major draw.

Other data that comes from the World Economic Forum over the weekend showed that there are currently just under 5 million Brits estimated to be living overseas, around half of whom can be found in the EU. As such the UK is actually the EU country with the highest number of people living abroad, beating out Poland (4.4 million) and Germany (4 million).

Monday, 29 August 2016

Spanish Lifestyle and Property Draws in Chinese Middle Class

Spanish Lifestyle and Property Draws in Chinese Middle Class

More and more Chinese are choosing Spain to buy property
There’s definitely a lot of alluring things about Spain; the beaches, the horizons, the weather, and the rich culture are all bringing in tourists from across Europe, the USA and South America. Now it looks like Spain is also drawing eyes from the most populated country on the planet; something that could be great for the real estate market and tourism sector of the country.

Data from the Chinese property portal website shows that Spain has become the seventh-most popular location for private investors from the country according to a report by Spanish daily El País. While most of the Chinese investors you find in London are the super-rich it’s actually the Chinese middle class that are coming to Spain.

Spanish property is more affordable than British, American and Canadian property. Add in the Spanish lifestyle and you have a country that is quickly becoming a hotbed for Chinese investors looking at Europe as their destination of choice.

El País spoke to Chinese businessman Hu Ning who told the daily that the return on investment was paramount to him. Spanish prices are still low but are quickly picking up. As such Spanish property becomes a safe investment. It might take a few years for it to happen but Spanish property will definitely turn a profit.

Chines investors are only making up around 1% of foreign investors in Spanish real estate but with the Golden Visa system offering residency rights and a growing effort from Spanish hotels to acquire staff that can speak Mandarin it’s expected that the number of Chinese investors will rise sharply in the coming years.

Jan Kot of Juwai offered some ideas on how Spain could do more to bring in higher levels of Chinese investment. Spain needs to start by offering more flights to and from China as many investors will only choose Spain after they are able to visit the country. Kot also suggested that the government should offer translation services for Chinese investors and that the real estate industry should learn more about Chinese culture and how the Chinese do business so that they can build stronger relationships and earn trust with Chinese investors.

Kot said that the majority of Chinese investors interested in the 15,000 Spanish properties listed on Juwai are middle-class buyers, with many of the potential investors being people who have returned from a holiday to Spain.