Saturday, 22 October 2016

The Weak Pound is Not Completely Bad News for Expats, Actually

The Weak Pound is Not Completely Bad News for Expats, Actually

The pound to the euro has always fluctuated over time
British holidaymakers have always benefited from a strong pound, but British expats living in Spain have always benefited from a strong euro. The UK government has recently confirmed that they would trigger Article 50 – the official exit of the UK from the EU – in early 2017. Of course this news was immediately followed by all the typical doom and gloom talk and panic, which was only to be expected. What was a little unexpected was that the pound would drop so sharply against the euro afterwards.

While the pound has begun to recover it’s weaker than it has been for some time now. Last year you would get €1.34 euros to the pound. Now you would only get €1.11 euros to the pound. This is quite a considerable drop considering it’s only been a year, and experts are already predicting things can only get worse as Article 50 approaches.

The thing is though; this could actually be good news for current and future expats. The euro is currently stronger than it’s been in over three years, and this will probably not last for too long. The value of the euro fluctuates a lot more than the value of the pound and there are bound to be more ups and downs for both currencies as the Brexit nears.

There is another point to consider here and it’s perhaps the most pertinent of all. It’s important to remember that expat life is a two-way street. Just because you live in Spain and are working for euros that doesn’t mean the pound becomes meaningless to you.

Many Brits in Spain should see the weaker pound as nothing short of a godsend. It makes it much cheaper and easier for an expat to fly back to see their family or to have their belongings shipped over. They can also fly their friends over or purchase things online for cheaper now too.

It is true that Brits who are interested in selling and starting up anew will have a home that is worth a little less but it’s much easier to sell a property in Spain cheaper. This means you’re getting to Spain and living your new life faster than before.

One of the most important nuances to foreign exchange rates is how rich you actually are compared to how rich you end up feeling. When the value of the pound goes down it leaves those euros you’ve got feeling like they’re worth more, and that’s a good feeling for an expat to have.

If you’re unsure about whether or not you should make the jump to Spain then you’ll be comforted by knowing that the pound is currently one of the most stable currencies in the world. If you’re considering that move to Spain then there really hasn’t been a better time than now.

Friday, 21 October 2016

British Demand for Spanish Property up 29% in Q2

British Demand for Spanish Property up 29% in Q2

Demand for Costa del Sol Property will always be in demand.
While the British demand for Spanish property has always been pretty high there has also been a lot of demand from Swedish buyers this past year. Some experts are actually a little surprised by the British interest in Spanish property as it was believed that the Brexit would scare many British buyers away.

It looks like there hasn’t been much of an impact, if any, on the market. The official data shows that Spanish home sales in Spain during the second quarter of 2016 was up by just under 24% compared to last year, reaching a total of 107,838.

The second quarter of the year also saw that there was a sharp rise of 29% in British buyers compared to the second quarter of last year, according to the data from the Spanish Property Registrars.

93,409 of these homes were sold to Spanish nationals which also shows the strengthening of the domestic economy. The amount of Spanish buyers also was also up just under 23% on last year.

After the Spanish came the Brits, who made up 20% of all the transactions that didn’t involve a native. Next came the Germans with 8%, following up by the French and the Swedes who both made up 7%.

The emergence of the Swedes is proving to be somewhat of a surprise as Swedish demand for Spanish investment property was up a whopping 60% compared to last year, while demand with the Italian market was up 46% compared to 2015. Chinese demand has also increased year-over-year by 31% followed by the Brits and Germans with their 25% increase and a 12% from the French.

For the most part it looks like almost all the most loyal consumer groups had a higher demand for Spanish property between 2015 and 2016. The only regions that really cooled on the Spanish market were Russian and Norwegian buyers, who dropped their demand by 1% and 2% respectively.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

New Study names Spain 7th Healthiest Nation in the World

New Study names Spain 7th Healthiest Nation in the World

Its confirmed the Costa del Sol is one of the healthiest
places to live in the world.
Everyone knows how healthy the Spanish diet is. Spain also has a great healthcare system and is generally regarded as a very safe country with an excellent low cost of living. Even so there are a lot of reasons that one might end up unhealthy in Spain so you might be surprised to think that Spain is somewhere one could lead a healthy and clean lifestyle.

There are so many bars, clubs, and restaurants in the country that you’d be surprised to learn Spain now has the certification to prove that it is one of the healthiest nations in the world. Not only are Spaniards living long and healthy lives – partly caused by all the fruit, veg and fish in the Mediterranean diet – but they are also some of the most active and disease-free people in the world.

The results came in on a recent worldwide project called the Global Burden of Disease (GBD). They were published last week in The Lancet and it looks like the research shows Spain is the seventh healthiest country in the world.

The study looked at a wide number of factors such as lifestyle choices and measurable metrics including infant and maternal mortality, how well a country manages the spread of diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis, the amount of road crash deaths, and how many people die as a result of substance and alcohol abuse.

When these parameters were assessed the study would then give each nation a percentage score. Spain was able to earn a score of 82% which put them on par with the Netherlands, Finland, and the UK. Spanish next-door neighbour Andorra came in just ahead with 83% and a score of 85% went to Iceland, Sweden and Singapore.

The other two nations that made up the top-ten were Canada and Australia who both came in at 81%.

Living in Spain came in quite well thanks to its healthcare system, low heart disease and infant mortality rates and the overall diet of Spain. There were other metrics that let Spain down including their record on alcohol abuse and suicide and they received an urgent call to improve their efforts to cut down on smoking. In terms of quitting smoking Spain scored one of the lowest scores in the West at 33%.

Most of the bottom spots were taken up, unsurprisingly, by the nations in sub-Saharan Africa. They were mostly let down due to the lack of healthcare, high levels of preventable diseases, contaminated water, air pollution and high levels of infant and maternal mortality.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Number of Retired British Expats Claiming Winter Fuel Allowance Down Two Thirds Following Crackdown

Number of Retired British Expats Claiming Winter Fuel Allowance Down Two Thirds Following Crackdown  

The British government recently cracked down on winter fuel payments and have managed to save £16 million so far.

New data released from the UK government shows that just over 42,000 British expats  buying property and retiring overseas in the EU received winter fuel payments – down by over two-thirds compared to last year.

Around 137,845 British pensioners living in the EU received winter fuel allowance payments during the fiscal year of 2014/2015. This number was cut down drastically following a crackdown by the British government.

Elder Brits who were living abroad in sunnier locations were still receiving their annual winter fuel payments of over £200 (or £300 for those who are aged over 80) even though they were living in places where there was no need for it.

This caused the former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to bow that he would bring this wasteful practice in check by introducing a temperature test that would analyse the average temperatures of Europe.

If pensioners were living in an area of Europe were the average temperature was higher than the warmest area of the UK (the southwest of England) then they would have their winter fuel payments stopped. After this scheme was introduced the government has saved around £16 million as the amount of money spent on payments was reduced from £24.5 million to £8.1 million.

A general rule of thumb says that payments were stopped for people who moved to places such as Spain, France, Greece, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus and Gibraltar.

An interesting note is that pensioners living in Italy can still claim Winter Fuel Allowance. This is because the temperature test only takes into account average temperatures and the 40 degree highs of the Italian summer are offset by the bitter winters.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Spanish August Tourism Figures Smashed

Spanish August Tourism Figures Smashed

The Costa del Sol and Spain as a whole is continuing to
break all tourism records.  
Given how many people predicted it it’s hardly going to be considered a surprise that over 10 million tourists flocked to Spain during August.

The data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) is in and it shows that this number of 10.1 million visitors was an increase of 5.8% over last year and it continues the trend of smashed tourism records being smashed month after month.

Across the first eight months of the year the total amount of tourists who visited Spain reached a total of 52.5 million people – up 10% over the same time period of time last year. This boils down to a total of 5.2 million extra tourists this year for Spain. Much of the increase was caused by tourists choosing Spain over other popular destinations such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia over terrorism fears.

This increase means that Spain is set to smash their total figure of last year which was a record of 68.1 million tourists. In terms of nationality most of the tourists came from Britain and there was an increase of 13% in British visitors for a total of 12.4 million.

The amount of tourists from France and Germany is also on the up with 8.3 million and 7.6 million tourists from France and Germany respectively.

In terms of region Barcelona remained one of the most popular destinations to keep Catalonia as the most visited region in August with almost one quarter of all the tourists in Spain heading there. Next came the Balearics and the Canary Islands, with the Costa Del Sol coming in fourth in terms of visitor numbers.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Jamie Oliver’s Twist on Paella Unites Spain

Jamie Oliver’s Twist on Paella Unites Spain

It doesn’t take a lot to get Spain into a tizzy. The country can quickly become divided on plenty of different topics including football, politics, bullfighting and even how one should drink sangria.

Jamie has always been controversial in the cooking world
and has infuriated some Spanish over his Paella.
If you really want to mess with Spain though all you need to do is mess with their signature dish, paella. It was a mistake that TV chef Jamie Oliver made that resulted in all of Spain coming together. All he had to do to pull it off was add some chorizo to paella.

It might not sound like much but feeling it isn’t means that you’re missing the point. The Spanish have been adding chorizo to their rice dishes for centuries. They love chorizo and the flavour contrast that it creates with rice.

What they don’t agree with, however, is the idea that paella is paella if it contains sausage. The Spaniards feel that paella isn’t paella when there’s sausage in it and no restaurant in Spain would serve up Paella with Sausage in it and they didn’t hold back in letting Oliver know how they feel over Twitter after he mentioned that he adds chorizo to his paella.

Many Spanish Twitter users told him that the dish shouldn’t be tampered with, while others were a little more humorous about it; comparing Oliver’s abomination to the terribly restored fresco of Jesus Christ that took the world by storm in 2012.

Other Spaniards tried to turn the tables and suggest that Oliver ruin British dishes by adding aubergines, duck, beef and ravioli to fish and chips. One particularly irate Spanish user compared Oliver to a terrorist, which was possibly a little far.

So why was adding chorizo such a sin? Paella first originated in the Valencia region and it often contains meat such as rabbit, along with fish, shellfish, vegetables and beans. Many people feel that adding chorizo would mean that it shouldn’t count as paella and should be considered some kind of “rice and stuff” dish, which is a name that is quite unflattering considering how well it might taste.

Spaniards are particularly proud of their Spanish local cuisine and nothing irks them more than when the English attempts to tamper with their tradition.

We urge Spanish politicians to take note of all this furore through; in order to unite Spain they need to identify an issue that all of Spain feels the same about. That issue seems to be paella of all things.