Saturday, 18 February 2017

Mortgage Activity in Spain Increased in November by 32%

The Costa del Sol continues its recovery
Mortgage Activity in Spain Increased in November by 32%

November was an incredible month for the Spanish property market given the 32% growth month-on-month.

As the stats for the end of 2016 start coming in, it’s increasingly clear that the year was a successful one for Spain in a number of ways. The country saw considerable improvement in tourism to the economy as a whole. No industry has seen the level of positivity that the property industry has though.

The central statistics unit of the Spanish government shows that there was a 32% increase in mortgage approvals in November 2016 compared to November 2015. Overall 25.413 mortgages were approved in the month.

This would be encouraging by itself, but when you also consider the greater trends as a whole, it becomes a stronger sign of success. Overall there was a 15% increase in mortgage approvals during the first 11 months of 2016 compared to the same time period in 2015; reaching a total of 260,581.

It’s expected that December will see this total figure increased by over 20,000 for the full year-end total.

If there are that many mortgage approvals in December, it means that there were over 280,000 mortgages approved in 2016 across Spain. While the idea of a “healthy” number has become a little skewed by the boom-and-bust nature of the real estate sector in Spain, there’s still plenty of steady growth, and that’s encouraging.

Here is something to consider; There were over 100,000 mortgages approved per month for much of the last peak for the Spanish property market. That covers 2005 and 2007. This changed a lot after the depression settled in as only 12,000 mortgages were approved in August 2013.

It was impossible to maintain the higher figure, but the smaller figure is just too low. That’s why steady growth somewhere in the middle is just right. At least for now.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Costa del Sol Smashes Record for Hotel Overnight Stays

Costa del Sol Smashes Record for Hotel Overnight Stays

The Costa del Sol continues to smash all records

The Costa del Sol has a great range of hotels visitors can stay in, but this is often overlooked when ranking the charms of the region. It was the Costa del Sol where the concept of having a home in the sun was born after all. The region became so internationally renowned thanks to all the great properties on offer.

Even so, holidaymakers have always enjoyed the many delights of the Costa del Sol from a comfortable hotel room. Given the surge in popularity for Spain as a whole recently, it’s only right to expect an increase in demand for hotel rooms.

The Costa del Sol Tourism Board recently released data showing that the region has never seen more demand for overnight stays. 2016 was the first time ever that over five million people booked an overnight stay in a hotel in the region.

This number was an increase of 5% over 2015, and was fuelled by an increase in British, French, German, and Scandinavian tourists flocking to the Costa del Sol for a night or two. Or seven.

The president of the Tourism Board – Elias Bendodo – says there were 1,013,161 Brits staying at the Costa del Sol in 2016. This was an increase of 11.1% over 2015, and is another reminder that Brits love Spain as much as they ever did; even with all the worries about the weak pound and the Brexit.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Spain’s Blue “Wine” to Have Name Changed Following Fall Out with Wine Lobby

Spain’s Blue “Wine” to Have Name Changed Following Fall Out with Wine Lobby

Blue wine is having a name change
The idea that wine is wine, whether it’s red, white, or pink, has been proven wrong. Or at least kind of wrong. Five young Spanish entrepreneurs launched Gik last year. Gik is a blue wine made from Spanish grapes infused with anthyocyacin. This natural pigment of grape skin combines with natural dye from the woad plant to form an electric blue colour.

Traditionalists originally dismissed Gik as a marketing gimmick, but it was still able to sell over 100,000 bottles across 25 countries; proving to be a hit with hipsters and dilettantes.

Cue the Spanish wine lobby who insist on being spoilsports. They want to curb the success of Gik by declaring that Gik isn’t wine, and should not marketed or sold as wine.

The official regulations hold no category for blue wine in the 17 listed wine products for Spain. This list can be found in the Annex VII part II of Regulation 1308/2013. As such, there’s no way for officials to categorise Gik as a wine. They insist that it be marketed as something else. They even coined the category “99% wine and 1% grape must”.

The producers of Gik are not happy about the decision of course. They spoke to the Local and said that drinking Gik is about more than drinking blue wine. It’s about drinking innovation and creating your own rules and traditions.

They did at least concede that every revolution comes with a counter-revolution; which is a great way to sum up how everything has gone for Gik since it first drew the attention of wine inspectors last summer.

If time has taught us anything, however, it’s that Gik is likely to benefit from the controversy and the publicity. It will take Gik from being a gimmick wine to being the driving force behind a brand-new category of drinks. It’s now more likely that the “not-quite-wine” market explodes with similar drinks as demand grows and celebrated at festivals and events in Spain.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Study Finds Costa del Sol Holiday Costs to Fall in 2017

Study Finds Costa del Sol Holiday Costs to Fall in 2017

The demand for the Costa del Sol continues
even if prices drop slightly

The latest Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer suggests that the average price on a basket of “holiday goods” will fall by around 3% in the Costa del Sol during 2017. This annual Barometer looks at the average prices of holiday essentials like sunscreen, beer, wine, dining out, ice cream, and toiletries in 44 of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

2017 is going to see the main resorts of the Costa del Sol be a little cheaper compared to last year, meaning that holidaymakers will be able to stretch their euros and pounds a little further.

It’s expected that the cheapest destination in 2017 will be Algarve in Portugal; where it will only cost you £33.36 to pick up a basket of these staple goods. This is a price drop of £4 compared to last year.

A basket of holiday goods in the Costa del Sol will cost £38.79, putting Spain in third place behind Sunny Beach in Bulgaria at £33.53. There aren’t any other destinations below this £40 threshold. In fact, the fourth cheapest resort – Marmaris in Turkey – could cost up to £49.74 for a basket of holiday goods.

Andrew Brown of the Post Office Travel Money said that holidaymakers can’t do much about the value of the sterling, but they can still do their homework and travel to places where the costs are low on things such as meals and drinks.

Europe is going to be one of the best places for value this year as nine of the ten cheapest destinations can be found in the continent. The Post Office also found that local prices fell in half of the European cities and resorts surveyed; further increasing the value of European destinations.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Brits Find it Cheaper to Meet in Spain Than Purchase a Return Rail Ticket

Brits Find it Cheaper to Meet in Spain Than Purchase a Return Rail Ticket

Low cost flights continue to be better value
than train tickets in the uk
A few old friends from university found themselves enjoying an impromptu flight to Malaga to catch up after finding that flying to Spain was cheaper than booking a return rail ticket to Birmingham from Newcastle.

Zara Quli and Lucy Walker got the idea after finding out the price of a last-minute train ticket. These prices are shocking, but predictable, given the expensive nature of UK rail travel.

Ms Walker says that it would have cost £105 for a return ticket between Birmingham and Newcastle; a trip of 400 miles. She looked for cheap alternatives and found it only cost £19.98 for a return flight to Malaga from Newcastle. This prompted her to find out how much it would cost to fly from Birmingham to Malaga.

The result? Only £55.29 for a return ticket. The friends agreed to meet in Malaga instead for a combined cost of £75.27, including two nights at a Granada hotel.

Walker commented that it’s a real pain to buy last minute train tickets in Britain because rail companies place high premiums on them. Instead of being stuck on a train they got to take a trip to one of the most beautiful cities in southern Spain and highlight that there are alternatives for the cash-strapped, sun-loving Brits out there who want a weekend away from the rain.

When you add in that it only takes a few hours to fly to Malaga from every corner of the country, you could be in Spain and enjoying the sun by the time your train reaches its own, rather more expensive, destination.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Spanish Tourism Set to Grow 3.2% in 2017

Spanish Tourism Set to Grow 3.2% in 2017

Tourist smash all records and looks to continue the trend
Spanish tourism grew by 4.9% in 2016, and it’s expected to grow another 3.2% in 2017 according to the latest data from Exceltur; a tourism promotion group.

Exceltur is estimating that over 75.4 million tourists headed to Spain last year thanks to a combination of factors, including the appeal of Spain and the professional tourism industry of the culture, created the perfect storm.

It’s expected that things won’t change much this year either, except that the growth won’t be as rapid as it was last year. Exceltur suggests there are a few reasons this is the case, including the potential slide of the pound against the euro, which will deter British travellers from leaving the country.

Even so, the country is still yet to see the impact of Brexit. It’s now unlikely to really change tourism numbers in Spain much. Other factors worked well for Spain last year; the main factor was the rise of terrorism in other Mediterranean countries. With luck this won’t be such a big factor this year, but no one can really predict this.

Extra stability will be provided by the settled Spanish government, which will contribute to the idea that a stable country is one worth visiting.

Tourism was responsible for 11% of Spanish GDP last year, as over 80,000 jobs were created in the tourism sector during 2016. The experts add that this year in Spain could see similar numbers.