Saturday, 11 February 2017

Spanish Mortgage Holders Set to Receive Billions From Banks in Repayments

Spanish Mortgage Holders Set to Receive Billions From Banks in Repayments

Greedy Spanish banks have to pay Billions
which is Great news for mortgage holders in Spain
Around 2.5 million mortgage holders in Span could find themselves receiving rebates up to thousands of euros after a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) last week that some Spanish banks issued “unfair” mortgage floors clauses that went against European law, and any money raised from these mortgages should be returned.

This ruling will likely affect customers who got their mortgage from the leading Spanish banks such as Banco Popular, Banco Sabadell, Caixbank and BBVA. Analysts have suggested that banks have set aside an estimated €4.5 billion to pay back their clients.

The issue is all about the “floor” clause that was made a part of many Spanish mortgages. It gave variable-rate mortgages a minimum interest by placing a limit in how much mortgage payments could be reduced by alongside the benchmark rates, which was the Euribor rate for many of the banks in Spain.

The Euribor rate has dropped to historical lows since 2008, but when a mortgage holder had a “floor clause” attached to their mortgage it meant that they were still making repayments that were higher than the benchmark rate, meaning that they were unfairly losing out to the fluctuations of the property market.

This ruling is unable to be appealed and came as a bit of a shock to the banks, as the ECJ saying that there would be no time limit for reimbursements. As such banks really could need to pay back over €4.5 billion in rebates.

The decision to backdate the rebates to May 2013 was made by the Spanish Supreme Court to protect the banking sector as it continues to recover from a double-dip recession. However the ECJ clearly felt that banks have not done enough to protect their customers, which is why the ruling was made that floor clauses are illegal and that reimbursements must be paid.

One mortgage holder revealed in an interview with Bloomberg that he would be receiving a €6,000 rebate, which is about the figure the other 2.5 million customers with these illegal floor clauses can expect.

While many homeowners will be receiving a welcome little windfall as they recover from the festive period the same can’t be said for the banks. Some members of the banking sector had hope that the Supreme Court would step up and halt the repayments to protect the industry because of the exceptional circumstances, but the ECJ took the stance that customers should come first.

This ruling is another step in the right direction for transparency and maturity in Spanish banking and property. While it took far too long to get the repayments issued, the ECJ should be applauded for taking the steps they have.

Friday, 10 February 2017

All 17 Spanish Regions Record Increase in Property Sales in November

All 17 Spanish Regions Record Increase in Property Sales in November

Spain continues its property recovery

Every one of the 17 autonomous communities in Spain recorded an increase in property sales during November 2016 compared to 2015, according to the latest data from the National Statistics Institute (INE).

While some less-famous Spanish regions had the occasional sales slump, this clean-sweep of November growth shows just how far the Spanish property market has come in 2016. The total rise of properties sold in November was 17.3% higher in 2016 compared to 2015; for a total of 33,806 property transactions.

The pace of the growth varied from region to region. Home sales in the Balearics were up 32.8% over the space of a year, with the Canary Islands experiencing a 26.3% increase and Aragon and Asturias reporting 25% growth.

When looking at the 11 months of 2016 leading up to November, the data from the INE shows an increase of 14.6% in sales activity compared to the same 11 month period in 2015, as some 372,000 homes changed hands.

The data from November is no different from the other months. Outside of the occasional blip, Spanish property sales have increased month-on-month for almost 26 straight months.

This reversal of fortunes is a great sign of just how much confidence there is in the sector – driven by both an increase in domestic demand and the ever-present desire for foreigners looking to have their own second home in the Spanish sun.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Spain Officially Smashes Tourism Records in 2016

Spain Officially Smashes Tourism Records in 2016

All Tourist record were broken month by
month in Spain in 2016
The heads of some 75 million people were turned towards Spain in 2016. This is a record figure and is up 10% over 2015, when Spain become the third-most visited country in the world. The official tourism figures haven’t been published by the UN body just yet, so we can’t say for sure if Spain was actually the most popular country in the world. That fight usually comes down to a Spain, France, and the USA.

Even so everyone welcomed the Spanish surge of 2016. It boosted the economy and improved international standing during a year when many other popular destinations lost tourists due to the threat of terrorism.

Spain saw a record-breaking 68 million tourists during 2015, with many people attributing that to the safety of Spain. However some dispute the claim that the only reason Spain did so well is because other countries were facing terrorism; arguing that Spain succeeded because of how well it promotes itself as being an ideal destination.

Spain is also helped out by the great climate, culture, andcuisine. There is also a broader range of holidaymakers heading to Spain. Some of them are just after a cheap holiday and others are looking to explore everything Spain has to offer.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Swedish Demand for Spanish Property up 20%

Swedish Demand for Spanish Property up 20%

The latest data from the property registrars (Registradores) and the Spanish second home analysts Shario shows how the foreign interest in Spanish property is changing. It looks like the fastest growing group of buyers is the Swedish market.

The sweeds have been buying property for years
but even more so right now
The figures show that Swedish buyers picked up 22.7% more property during the summer of 2016 compared to the previous quarter; meaning Swedes are now the fourth largest group of international buyers.

Brits were responsible or 18% of transactions made to foreign buyers, followed by the French at 9%. The Swedish bought the same amount of homes as the Germans (7%) but there is a crucial difference; Swedish demand is rising at a rapider pace than German demand.

There are some places, such as the Costa del Sol and Alicante, where Swedish buyers have become the second largest group of foreign buyers after the British.

While the specific number of homes sold to Swedes is small compared to the British, it’s important to understand the context. Swedes purchased 2,797 Spanish properties leading to the third quarter of 2016; which was more than the 2,755 properties sold across all of 2015. There was an average of 1,000 properties sold during the second and third quarter, suggesting that 4,000 homes could be sold to Swedes in total during 2016.

Swedish buyers typically prefer to buy two-bedroom apartments or a small townhouse up to an hour away from the airport and close to a beach.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Data Shows Half of Retired British Expats Living in Europe Are Registered in Spain

Data Shows Half of Retired British Expats Living in Europe Are Registered in Spain

With the wonderful weather and low cost f living
its no wonder why so many Brits want to live in Spain
The BBC issued a freedom of information request and the results show just how many British retirees living in the European Economic Area (EEA) – which includes every EU state, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – are registered for reciprocal healthcare in each country. From the looks of it Spain is quite popular indeed.

The BBC found that, across the EEA, 145,000 British expat pensioners are registered for healthcare provided by the EU reciprocal agreement.

Over 70,000 of these people are registered in Spain; way more than the 43,000 registered in France.

On the other hand only 201 French pensioners and 81 Spanish pensioners are registered to receive reciprocal healthcare in the UK; showcasing the factors retirees consider when choosing a destination; the sunshine, warmth, and slow pace of life. There’s a lot of good things about the UK but it seriously underperforms in these three categories.

Spain, by comparison, boasts an incredible climate, great healthcare and infrastructure and, of course, the world-renowned Mediterranean diet.

Given how many retirees from the UK are living in Spain the amount of retirees registered for healthcare in the country might sound a little low. However this can be explained quite simply; many of those retirees are wealthy and will likely choose private healthcare; something else Spain handles incredibly well.

The report also showed the BBC that just £674.4 million was spent providing these pensioners in the EEA with healthcare; which should put to bed the arguments about how these pensioners are draining the services of their host countries through cost of living expenses.

Britain also received £49.7 million from other EEA countries to cover healthcare costs for their citizens.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Calls for Spain to Return to GMT

Could the siesta days for the Spanish be over?

Calls for Spain to Return to GMT

The Spanish people work long hours, often into the dark evening that is an hour later than it really should be.

During the campaign process for the general election (not counting the second election that happened in June) Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy made it a campaign promise that he would return Spain back to GMT, taking the country out of GMT+1 and bringing it back in line with Portugal and the UK, which is where a country with its geographical position should be.

Rajoy is now back in power and he’s started the conversation about bringing the clocks back an hour. Fátima Báñez, employment minister of Spain, said last week that the country should think heavily about dropping GMT+1. The country moved to the timezone in 1942 after General Francisco Franco made the move to bring Spain in line with Nazi Germany.

Spain is actually a little further to the west than much of the British Isles, and so it’s fallen out of sync with Europe. This is something that has hampered the workforce of the country and could have held back economic development for decades.

One of the main arguments of those pushing for the change is that the working day in Spain is still based around agricultural labour patterns, rather than being based around the reality that is the office-based existence. While it’s not universal across the whole country many Spanish workers begin their day at 9AM. They work until noon and take a few hours off, before returning to the office to continue working until around 8PM. Critics argue that this working day is too long and exhausting, not to mention it’s an hour longer than it should be.

Fátima Báñez spoke of a desire to create a workday that end sat 6PM. To do this the government will need to deal with trade unions and companies. Báñez will make the first move by meeting with the largest companies and trade unions to create such a deal.

It’s unlikely that there will be opposition to these changes in parliament for Rajoy’s People Party (PP). Both the Socialists (PSOE) and Cuidanos already agree with the plans. There are very little arguments that this change could have a negative impact, and even Catalonia supports the change.

The change almost happened in the Balearics. Back in October the islands implored Madrid to allow them to stay on summer time and not move the clocks back an hour. The request was denied, but it should only be a matter of time now until Spain lets go of their traditions and embraces GMT.