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.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Spain Launches Dog-Poop DNA Scheme to Catch Dog Owners Who Don’t Scoop

Spain Launches Dog-Poop DNA Scheme to Catch Dog Owners Who Don’t Scoop

Great news for Spain as the streets are getting cleaner. 

If we can be a little stereotypical for a second the Spanish are hardly the most agreeable when they’re asked by their Spanish government to tweak their social behaviour.

The smoking ban in Spain is one such recent example. There was some initial resistance to the ban when the UK introduced it in 2007, but it didn’t take too long for people to go along with it. Now Brits can head down to the pub for a pint without stepping into an ashtray.
Things are still a little foggy in Spain when it comes to the smoking ban. There are still old rules that decide what does and doesn’t constitute a place of work. Because of this there is yet to be an acceptance of the ban across the whole country.

The same could be said of dog mess. Culture has evolved in the UK to the point where not cleaning up after your dog has become such a taboo that people are policing themselves these days. There may be fines and warnings, but what keeps owners cleaning up after their dogs is the stigma and the tutting that follows them when they don’t.

While it is an offence to not pick up your dog’s mess in Spain they haven’t adopted the self-policing culture just yet. One authority in east Spain has gotten so fed up of the issue that they’re going to start taking DNA samples from dog mess left lying around. The aim is to find the owner behind it and issue them with a fine.

Officials from Mislata, near Valencia, have confirmed that street cleaners have been told they should collect samples of any dog mess left lying in the street so that it can be sent to a laboratory and inspected.

Dog owners in the town have until the end of the year to have their dog’s DNA registered at the vet free of charge. If they fail to register their dog’s DNA then they’ll be hit with a €300 fine.

After the sample is taken and the DNA is registered owners will be issued a €300 fine every time dog mess found on the street matches with their dog’s DNA in the database.

It might sound a little extreme but if you’ve ever tried to take in the stunning architecture of Spain only to step in  excrement you know how off-putting it can be, with Marbella and other areas following.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

New Build Requests in Spain up 35% in 2016

New Build Requests in Spain up 35% in 2016

Spain is back as carinas are springing up all over the
costa del sol again which confirms the new growth.
When the Spanish economy crashed in 2016 one industry that really felt the damage was the construction industry. The years leading to the crash saw the industry enjoy incredible success that could never last and the construction of new homes in Spain stalled following 2008 as home developers went out of business, prices collapsed, and everyone lost confidence in the industry.

The construction industry was a little slower to recover than most other sectors. As the economy and housing market of Spain began to come back to life after 2012 the country entered a buyer’s market, with the low prices of the resale sector proving to be attractive. Not to mention all the unbuilt and unwanted apartments still left in the country because of the lack of demand.

Recent years have proven to be great for the real estate sector of Spain though. This means that the construction industry has also matured and become competitive once again. There are still areas of the country that have too much construction but the areas that have always been popular with purchasers are moving past the problem.

The market has moved on so far that the latest data from the Ministry of Development shows that the amount of building license applications have increased 35% over the course of a year. The data from August shows that the amount of license requests has increased 20.2% year-on-year, with 3,291 requests made during the month.

In fact the number of building permit requests has increased each month for the past 17 months, which is a very clear indication that the construction sector has truly gotten back to work. They might not be working as much as they were before the crash, but things are moving at an encouraging pace that should be able to meet the demand of both foreign and domestic consumers.

2016 has seen around 42,869 license granted. This number might not be much higher than the amount from 2015, but there were an amazing 911,000 such requests granted in the same time period in 2006. That’s almost one million property licenses granted in just nine months.

History shows us that the demand simply could last and it didn’t take long for the bubble to burst. Everyone is moving much slower and sensibly this time around.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

OECD Better Life Index Ranks Spain Among Best In The World for Work-Life Balance

OECD Better Life Index Ranks Spain Among Best In The World for Work-Life Balance

Its no surprise that Spain is one of the best
places in the world to live.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently published the results from their latest Better Life Index. The results show that Spain performed quite well on several indices. So moving to Spain could greatly improve your life.

Even though overall life satisfaction was down globally – a mood swing likely caused by the never-ending economic problems of the world – Spain performed quite well in several areas. These great results included topping the table on work-life balance, the sense of community, and health and safety. 

The Better Life Index ranks the 34 most stable and rich nations the world over and ranks them based a number of topics including: Income, Housing, Community, Jobs, Environment, Education, Civic Engagement, Life Satisfaction, Health, Safety, and Work-Life Balance.

While Spain didn’t perform too well on some indices, such as jobs and income, in general life Spain is better than the OECD average.

The index results make for an interesting read. In terms of income the average disposable income of a Spanish household was €16,962, which was just below the €17,111 OECD average. There is also quite a divide between the richest and poorest people in Spain; the top 20 of Spanish earners are six times richer than the bottom 20%.

Spain also ranked just below the OECD average in employment levels. The results show that 58% of the working-age people in Spain have a paid job. This is a little below the 66% average. The study also shows that the Spanish work less hours than average. Spaniards work for an average of 1,690 hours in a year which is slightly less than the 1,776 average. Spain also performed a little blow par in education. Only 53% of adults aged between 25 and 64 hold a degree in Spain, which is significantly lower than the 74% OECD average.

The Good News

The good news is that, even though it’s bad that Spain has low job prospects and earnings, along with less highly educated people, the OECD study showcased how strong Spanish lifestyle and culture is. Spain has one of the longest life expectancies in the world; the Spanish life expectancy is 82 years; higher than the 80 years OECD average.

Spain also did well in terms of community. Spaniards are generally gregarious and friendly. They also possess a strong sense of civic duty that led to Spain doing well in this area. 93% of Spanish people said that they had someone they could call on if they found themselves in need; higher than the OECD average of 90%.
Spain also topped the tables in terms of the work-life balance; scoring a 9.1 out of 10.
Spain performed above average overall when compared to other nations in the Better Life Index. The cultural strength of the country made up for the shortcomings that gotten worse since the economy went down. Even though Spain still has some economic problems it remains one of the safest country in the world. Spain has the eighth-lowest homicide rate, great gender equality levels, low cost of living and an overall widespread sense of personal security is felt by every Spaniard.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Spanish Unemployment Down to Below 20% for First Time in Six Years

Spanish Unemployment Down to Below 20% for First Time in Six Years

Encouraging news for spain as unemployment carries on falling
There are plenty of signs that the Spanish economy is getting back on track and one of the latest concerns the state of the Spanish job market.

For the longest time now Spain has seen unemployment levels that are much higher than the Eurozone average. Now the most recent data says that Spanish unemployment is at 18.9% and it’s a pretty significant number. This rate might still be higher than France, Germany and Belgium but how much unemployment has fallen by is encouraging for Spaniards.

Even two years ago the Spanish unemployment rate was around 30%, which half of youths unemployed. Now Spain can say that they have finally put an end to the times when unemployment in Spain reached 1-in-5.

The data comes from the National Statistics Institute and it shows that there are around eighteen and a half million Spaniards in employment. As you might expect the tourism, construction and manufacturing industries all reported strong growth during the summer. Over 220,000 jobs were created in the tourism sector along in the past three months. While it’s true that some of these jobs were only temporary seasonal work, there were still more long-term jobs offered than in the past few years.

When the end of the third quarter came the INE calculated that only 4.32 million Spaniards are currently unemployed, and only 27,300 people found themselves laid off over the quarter. During this same period some 217,700 new positions were opened up in the private sector. Even the public sector added 10,000 new jobs despite being left rudderless for the past ten months due to a lack of government.

Spain is pretty much back to normal now following the drop in unemployment to below 20%. Because Spain is such a regional country that changes with the seasons unemployment levels have always hovered around 20%. The unemployment rate only dropped below 15% during the economic booms before and after the turn of the millennium.

From all perspectives it looks like 2017 will see even more people in work in Spain as it’s expected the economy will grow by over 3% next year. All of the signs are very encouraging and if it all goes well it should also lead to more confidence from consumers and investors in other leading Spanish industries such as the real estate sector.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Spanish Mortgage Approvals up 6.4% in August

Spanish Mortgage Approvals up 6.4% in August
Confidence in the Spanish property industry is growing as the sales figures and prices grow. Part of this is thanks to banks becoming a little more willing to lend their money and fuel the market recovery.

Data was published last week by the National Statistics Institute (INE) showing that 20,309 mortgages were approved in August, which was 6.4% up on August of last year.

The growth continued the trend of increased mortgage approval levels over the past 25 out of 26 months. The only month that went against the grain was July of 2015. Every month in 2016 so far has seen an impressive number of mortgages approved as the Spanish are joining in with the Brits, Germans and Scandinavians in their hunt for Spanish property.

Taking a closer look at the data from August also shows that the average loan capital increased to €110,000; an increase of 4.8% over last year and a rise of 11.5% since August of 2015.

If you look at the year as a whole you’ll find that for the first eight months of 2016 there have been 186,000 new residential property mortgages approved in Spain. This is an increase of 13% over 2015, while taking a look at the past 12 months as a whole shows a 14% increase.