Saturday, 29 October 2016

Controversial 15-year Voting Restrictions for Expats Set to be Lifted by 2020

Controversial 15-year Voting Restrictions for Expats Set to be Lifted by 2020

Little to late for Brexit voters
The law is changing and now expats will be able to register to vote even if they’ve been abroad for over 15 years. The change is expected to come into effect by the election in 2020.

While the change came a little too late to potentially prevent the Brexit, the British government have confirmed that they plan to scrap the 15-year rule that prevents long-term expats from voting in British general elections and referendums.

The decision to remove the barriers to voting in time for the 2020 election was made last Friday. The change means that any British national will have the right to have their voice heard in the next general election; regardless of how long they have been living in Spain or abroad.

The current rules were quite controversial as they denied British citizens the right to vote if they had been living outside of the UK for over 15 years. The rule was called undemocratic by critics. There were also people who defended the rule; saying that people who had abandoned their country for so long had no right to say how the country should be run.

It looks like the government has decided to accept that the rules were indeed unfair. They issued a policy statement called “Democracy that Works for Everyone” in which they stated that they do indeed plan on scrapping the rule.

Constitution Minister Chris Skidmore said that overseas electors still contribute to British society and that they should still have the right to vote. He added that the government intends to give these people the right to register to vote quickly enough to get them voting in the 2020 election.

MP Skidmore continued to say that there is more to being British than just living in the UK; British people are British citizens no matter where they live. He added that these Britons abroad still kept their strong cultural and social ties with Britain and their families at home while they continue to build businesses abroad. The decisions that are being made on British shores affect British citizens the world over, many of whom plan to eventually return to the UK in the future the MP said in a column he wrote for the Telegraph newspaper.

The 15-year rule has become particularly pertinent in recent years. Then-PM David Cameron promised to scrap the rule in the 2015 general election. It is a move that proved to be a vote winner but, after the election was over, he clarified that the rule would not be scrapped before the planned EU referendum. It is unlikely the referendum would have passed if the rule had been scrapped by then, so perhaps this was a move Mr Cameron regrets now. The referendum was pretty close and many living abroad in Spain  would have likely voted to remain, which would potentially have given the Remain camp the votes they needed to win.

While many expats will likely feel that the rule change is a little too late, many will welcome the scrapping of such an unpopular policy. It could even potentially lead to more people leaving the UK as they know that their vote will still count now.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Zara Boss Buys Madrid Skyscraper for €490 million

Zara Boss Buys Madrid Skyscraper for €490 million

Zara is the flagship brand, and supremely profitable
One of the most iconic skyscrapers making up the modern skyline of Madrid is the Cespa Tower. The richest man in Europe, Amancia Ortega knows something about making smart investments. Ortega founded the global fashion group Inditex, the company behind the shopping brand Zara, and he became the richest man in Europe through his business sense and ability to find a great deal.

This week the Spanish real estate sector saw him scoop up another good deal as he got his hands on the Cespa Tower for €490 million.

The Cespa Tower is one of the four towers that make up the Madrid skyline. Before Ortega bought it the skyscraper used to belong to Khadem al-Qubasi; an oil tycoon from Abu Dhabi.

Ortega has been growing his property portfolio and added the Cespa Tower to it after making arrangements for holding company Pontegadea Immobiliaria to make the purchase through Spanish lender Bankia.

The Cespa Tower is just the latest building in Ortega’s portfolio of impressive real estate in impressive locations. Ortega also owns property on Oxford Street and Mayfair in London, along with prime real estate in Seoul and New York.

Ortega is quite sly in that he actually rents out some of his properties to one of his rivals in H&M. Currently no one knows for sure what he plans to do with the Cespa tower.

The Cuatro Torres complex located in downtown Madrid is made up of a myriad of hotels, office and retail space, along with some private residences. There’s no need for any rental tenants to be worried though. They’re clearly in good hands with a landlord like Ortega.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Study Suggests Spain is Best Place to Start a Business

Study Suggests Spain is Best Place to Start a Business

If you’re studying business in Spain then the studies suggest that you’ll be more successful of an entrepreneur than anywhere else.
Record numbers of New Businesses are opening all over Spain
A study from the Financial Times (FT) shows that Spain really is the best place for aspiring entrepreneurs to study.

The research is based on information from full-time and executive MBA alumni (Master of Business) from the world over. The findings showed that more of the most successful entrepreneurs received their business schooling in Spain than any other country.

Even though Singapore and the UAE were considered to be the best place to actually launch your startup, the data suggests that many of these business students stay in Spain when they finish their studies; making the country the sixth-best place in the world to start a business, placing them ahead of Germany, the USA, and the UK.

Something that is more interesting is that the Spanish were second place when it came to successful entrepreneurs behind only Mexicans. It looks like there might just be something about the Spanish water that inspires business potential.

Part of the reason for this entrepreneurial success could also come from an economy that has made it hard for young Spaniards to find full-time employment; causing them to go into business for themselves.

Despite this the main cause for celebration must still be the incredible Spanish business school performance. The Financial Times data shows that Spain had the highest proportion of students who went on to set up their own company following graduation, pushing Swiss schools and US schools down to second and third.

It’s a pretty simple process to set up a company in Spain for both Spaniards and EU nationals. Even people who are outside of the EU shouldn’t have too much difficulty becoming an entrepreneur in Spain.

Spain recently changed their labour laws and the result is that it’s even easier to start business in Spain. These changes include relaxed employment laws that give potential business owners the chance to make bigger risks when it comes to growth strategies.

Another survey was carried out this week by BMC Software that discovered Spanish companies are some of the best companies in Europe when it comes to creating a creative and innovative workplace.

The study showed that 73% of the people employed in Spain feel that they can have their voices heard when it comes to creating change and innovation in their company; which is much higher than the 42% in the UK. Spanish companies also proved to be effective at inspiring their employees as 74% of employees are happy with the way their employment leaves them feeling.

These datasets show that Spain has come a long way from the old, nepotistic ways that Spain used to work. In the old days who you knew was always more important than what you knew. Things are continuing to move forward, which is good news for the youngsters and the increasing number of expats considering Spain as a place to start a new business and  can make a new life.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

August Sees 20% in Spanish Home Sales

August Sees 20% in Spanish Home Sales

While it’s true that monthly home sales for buying property in the Costa del Sol and Spain are still quite low compared to the highs of 2006-2007 the figures for this year were still the highest in six years.

Property sales continue on the uptrend
August 2016 is going to be a month that saw many different records smashed in Spain. For a start the country welcomed record numbers of tourists and a record amount of consumer spending, including record numbers of overnight hotel stays and flights to and from Spain.

All of these records being broken was bound to reflect positively on the property market and, if the data from the Office of National Statistics (INE) is to be believed then it definitely did. The latest figures show that August saw 20.3% more homes sold compared to August of last year.

All in all there were 35,501 homes sold in August, which is the most homes sold since 2010. They also showed that the trend of increased property sales is continuing on and shows no signs of slowing down.

In terms of overall property sales for the year so far Spain has seen some 276,000 homes sold nationwide in the first eight months of 2016. This is a 14.8% increase compared to the first eight months of last year.

In terms of the past 12 months Spain has seen 391,000properties change hands; an increase of 13.3%. It’s expected that this trend should continue for at least five more years as the economic recovery of the country continues.

The GDP of Spain is set to grow by about 3%, mostly due to the domestic demand in the real estate sector. There has also been strong foreign demand in the property sector, including a rise in British demand during the year.

This doesn’t mean one can neglect the market contributions of the French, German and Scandinavian buyers though. There are also more Chinese buyers than before as Spain continues to draw the attention of everyone all over the world.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Marbella International Film Festival Spectacular Success

Marbella International Film Festival Spectacular Success

This year the Marbella Film Festival was bigger, brighter, and better than ever. The festival recently wrapped up following five days of movie screenings, innovation, and appearances from some of the biggest stars. The stunning festival ended with a Gala dinner at the Puerto Banus H10 Andalucia Plaza.

This was the 11th incarnation of the Marbella Film Festival and it featured a mixture of films, shorts, and documentaries from all around the world that really cemented the reputation the festival has as being one of the biggest up and coming events. The actors onscreen showed the Marbella International Film Festival showed that the festival continues to showcase some of the best new stars and films from Britain, Spain, and beyond.

The festival was sponsored by Euro Weekly News and has continued to improve each time it is held since 2006. Now it’s become a platform to showcase the future of the film industry and also draw eyes from the world over to Costa del Sol.

Most of the attention the festival garnered was centred around the awards ceremony and Gala dinner that was attended by Michel and Steven Euesden of EWN and actors Craig Fairbass and Brad Moore.

London Heist was one of the main events and showcased in Puerto Banus with a champagne reception, the film was watch by a full audience and everyone who spoke about the film praised the acting and the story. Neil Hudson who is one of the Executive Producers and runs Mint Media Capital a film finance company confirmed that London Heist  is to be released in December by Lionsgate. The film was written by Craig Fairbrass and was shot in London and Marbella and expected to do well.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Spain Set for at Least Two More Years of Affordable Mortgages

Spain Set for at Least Two More Years of Affordable Mortgages

Right now fixed rate mortgages are very affordable in Spain and it’s expected that things will stay this way for the next two years at least.

Getting hold of a mortgage has never been easier
Experts are predicting that, despite the uncertainty in the Eurozone right now the low interest rates that have helped to beef up the Spanish mortgage sector will be continuing for at least two more years.

These low mortgage rates have been a major factor in the recovery and resurgence of investing in the Spanish property market in the past 24 months. Spain is set to continue using the fixed rate mortgage levels that are offered by the Euribor; the Euro Interbank Offered Rate.

The Euribor is used as a safety valve for property sectors across Europe as it sets an average rate of interest payments amongst the Eurozone based on how an economy is currently performing. The European Central Bank has been scared by some of the recent financial blips in Europe and it’s expected that the Euribor rate will be kept below zero for the next two years at least until 2019.

Many Spanish mortgages are lent on the Euribor rate, which dipped down to -0.057% in September. This was also the eighth month in a row that the rate was negative. Normally these low interest rates would only be used on a shorter term basis and are used in an attempt to stimulate the national market.

Now the Spanish property market is expected to see the benefits of a low interest rate much like the German export-based economy received a healthy boost across two years from the low euro. The Spanish property market has become one of the most popular property markets across all of Europe. There are plenty of foreign buyers, particularly British buyers, who are now being offered great terms for purchasing a home in Spain.

It’s expected that the Euribor could go down even further and could reach even -1% in 2018, which would mean that mortgage repayments are even lower and the Spanish property market is even more interesting to investors.

There is some cause for concern from Spanish banks however. While it’s always good for banks to welcome more mortgage customers it could damage their long-term profitability, which could mean they tighten their belts when it comes to lending in a few years.

The Spanish banking sector and the real estate sector have been closely intertwined over recent years though so sensible banks are expected to maintain a watchful eye on the market and help it grow steadily rather than exploding and burning out. The good news for those banks is that “steady growth” is how the Spanish property market has been growing since 2014.