Thinking of Investing in Property in the UK? Think Spain.

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LOOKING TO INVEST IN PROPERTY? Right now, Spains’ housing market is continuing its’ recovery and there are some bargains to be had and plenty of choice. With a strong Pound, growing market confidence, and political changes within the UK, if you’re looking for a safe property investment with immediate rental income and high long-term return on your investment, think about Spain.

The latest figures published on Friday by the Spanish Ministry of Development show that in terms of sales volume the Spanish property market continued its recovery during the second quarter of this year, with a total of 104,530 transactions representing an increase of 13.9% compared to the same period in 2014.

The figure is the highest second-quarter total since 2010, and once again the majority of the increase is due to increased activity in the second-hand property market, where sales figures rose by 18.5%, while new Tucatz web design, print services, ciudad quesada, torrevieja sales figures fell by 9.5% and accounted for only one eighth of the market.

Sales figures have now been rising for six consecutive quarters, and in the second quarter of 2015 decreases were reported in only three of the seventeen regions: Navarra, Extremadura and the Basque Country. In the first six months of the year, according to the Ministry’s figures, the 190,135 sales represent a 9.7% rise compared to 2014, with the totals having fallen only in Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura and Navarra.

The figures published by the Spanish Ministry of Development suggest that the recovery in demand for housing continues to be fuelled to a significant degree by British and other non-Spanish buyers and investors, with more than one in six sales during the second quarter of this year having been to non-resident buyers.

From a total of 104,530 property sales, 17,307 involved purchasers resident in Spain and another 1,244 were bought by non-residents, together accounting for 17.7% of the overall figure.

The role of the Costa Blanca cannot be underestimated in boosting this figure, as almost a quarter of all sales to foreigners (4,522) were reported right here in the province of Alicante. This means that over half of the market in the province is created by demand from non-Spaniards, who accounted for 50.6% of the 8,928 transactions.

According to Paul Van der Schraelen, Director of Novapaso Estates Real Estate Agents based in Gran Alicant, the increase in recent interest from UK buyers stems from a favourable exchange rate and recent changes in UK legislation. “We’re seeing a great deal of interest from British buyers keen to capitalise on the strong Pound, and changes to the ways in which people can access their private pension benefits has meant that some customers are choosing to invest in foreign property, because of the immediate return of investment as properties are put on the rental market”, he said.

You might be surprised how cheap property is in Spain compared to the UK. Click here to visit Novapaso Estates property website and see what you could buy with your budget.

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Peñíscola Prepares for Filming as Cult-TV Giant Comes to Spain

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THE STARS DESCEND ON PENISCOLA this week as the Emmy award winning media team responsible for cult-TV giant ‘Game of Thrones’ comes to the Spanish Mediterranean coast, to start on-location filming for the sixth season of the internationally reknowned HBO smash hit TV show.

The picturesque coastal town of Peñíscola, in the province of Castellón (Valencian Community), is currently preparing for the latest in a long list of film crews to shoot there, with staff from the HBO television network working on the local historical monuments to make them ready for the filming of the sixth season of ‘Game of Thrones‘.

Tucatz web design, print services, ciudad quesada, torreviejaIn the past Peñíscola has been used for location shooting in numerous films and television series, most notably El Cid in 1961, and local Mayor Andrés Martínez is well aware of the beneficial effect on the local economy that ‘Game of Thrones‘ could have.

With 100 million viewers in over 170 countries it provides a magnificent showcase for the attractions of the medieval town, and it is estimated that since it was first shown the series has benefitted the Northern Ireland economy by £65 million; Northern Ireland having some of the best known locations in which the series has been shot.

Similarly, positive effects on tourism in Iceland and Croatia have been noted after episodes featuring these locations were screened. However, in the shorter term the filming in Peñíscola requires the use of some 450 hotel rooms and brings a huge boost to business in and around the town, prolonging the already successful 2015 tourist season.

Tucatz web design, print services, ciudad quesada, torreviejaAt the moment, preparatory work is focusing mainly on eliminating anachronisms from the modern era, such as the metal plaques in Plaza Santa María, which are being covered with wood for the filming. From next week no parked cars will be allowed on the road up to the Portal Fosc, and from then onwards work will progress towards Plaza de Santa María until filming is complete.

At the same time marquees will be installed for production staff, functioning as a base camp for shooting, and Andrés Martínez is anxious to ensure that everything is in perfect condition for the filming. This is scheduled to last from 2nd to 6th October, and the extras who will be filling the roles of noblemen, slaves and soldiers are already trying on their costumes in the Palau de Congressos this week.

Filming has been underway along the coast in Catalonia for this sixth season since the beginning of September.

Last Sunday HBO was honoured at the Emmy awards, scooping 12 awards for the ‘Game of Thrones‘ series including winning the award for ‘Outstanding Drama Series’. The TV series has attracted a worldwide cult following.

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Locals Descend on Ciudad Quesada to Support Charity Event

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THE SOUTH COSTA BLANCA COMMUNITY rallied round local animal charities on Thursday to raise money to help the stray, abandoned, or mistreated animals within the local area, helping to raise much needed funds for their care and finding homes for these unloved domestic pets.

Locals descended on The Country Club in Ciudad Quesada to enjoy an afternoon of fun and organised events to raise money for these fabulous charities that do so much to help pets in need, here in Spain.

Specialist pet transportation company, Paws On The Move, organised and sponsored the event, with Pets in Spain and Hope for Podencos providing “dog-walk” style parades of their pets looking for permanent loving homes.

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It provided a rare opportunity for local people to meet the teams behind the charities, and to see first-hand the animals they work with. As a result of the afternoons’ work at least one dog found a new home, and it’s hoped that more will follow given the much needed exposure that the animals and the charities experienced.

Mark Mockford from Pets in Spain said “People are well aware of the abuse that happens here in Spain, but sometimes I’m not sure if everyone realises the scope of the problem”. Both Help for Podencos and Pets in Spain have helped to rescue hundreds of dogs from squalid conditions and abuse.

Tucatz web design, print services, ciudad quesada, torreviejaPets in Spain have undertaken a decade-long campaign of neutering female cats across the South Costa Blanca to help control the feral cat population, capturing, neutering, and releasing truly feral cats, or rehoming abandoned domestic felines.

“With the generous help of local vets we’ve neutered more than 1,500 female cats over the last ten years” said Mark. “That’s nearly one cat every other day”.

PawTucatz web design, print services, ciudad quesada, torreviejas On The Move offer dedicated specialised pet transport to and from the UK and provide prospective pet owners with professional advice with regard to transporting their feline or canine loved ones internationally. With regular scheduled trips and a dedicated custom-fitted vehicle, Paws On The Move offer the safest and most stress-free method of transporting pets.

Both Pets in Spain and Hope for Podencos rely upon the generosity of their local community. Contact them to find out how you can help animals in need with only some of your time, including offering to walk their dogs, or offering a temporary foster home to an animal in need. Small financial donations are always appreciated, see their websites or find them on Facebook for more details.

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Spanish Property Sales Leap 34% Causing Shortage Concern

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AS SPANISH PROPERTY SALES REACH A THREE YEAR HIGH local estate agents warn that the existing stocks of resale villas and apartments across the Costa Blanca could soon dry up. Driven by a strong Pound, growing market confidence, and political changes within the EU, demand for Spanish resale property is on the increase.

Homes that have languished on the Spanish property market for years are being smartly snapped up by savvy foreign investors. The latest data issued by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE) illustrates that sales of resale property surged over the last 12 months, with a recorded annual increase of 34% in completed sales transactions nationwide.

Last quarter’s data provided by the UK’s leading real estate website for homes abroad, Rightmove Overseas, shows that there is significant interest in acquiring Spanish property across the Costa Blanca amongst UK buyers, with an 85% increase in the amount of searches for Alicante regional property performed by potential buyers for the year to date.

According to David Loughlin, Property Consultant at Carols Casas Estate Agents based in La Marina, the increase in interest from UK buyers stems from a favourable exchange rate and recent changes in UK legislation. “We’re seeing a great deal of interest from British buyers this year keen to capitalise on the strong Pound, and changes to the ways in which people can access their private pension benefits has meant that some customers are choosing to invest in foreign property, instead of the more traditional choice of an annuity”, he said.

“For now, prices remain very attractive for British property buyers, and a modest detached villa with a private swimming pool can still be purchased for the price of a flat in Yorkshire“, he pointed out. “Spain has made a remarkable and consistent financial recovery over the last few years, restoring consumer confidence in Costa Blanca’s property market. With uncertainty over the UK’s proposed EU referendum and the implications that a British exit from the Eurozone might hold for Brit’s at home, many potential buyers have adopted an ‘it’s now or never’ approach to their foreign property purchase”, said David.

But he warns that British buyers are facing ever increasing competition for resale properties from other foreign investors from Holland, Belgium, and Russia. “Resale properties don’t attract the premium that new build properties do, they offer excellent value for money as a second home or investment property”, he explained. “We’re receiving growing interest from Russian customers looking to invest in Spanish property following the financial turmoil and political instability in Greece and Cyprus. You just don’t get that here in Spain”.

Local housing stocks are being further exhausted by investors, as they place their properties into holiday or long term rental to make an active and immediate return on their investment, in addition to the passive returns of an expected longer term increase in value. “There is a genuine local demand in the Torrevieja area, particularly for long term rental properties from people who come to work in the recovering Spanish economy”, reports David.

“With fewer resale properties coming to the market locally we’re in the profound situation that, if things continue to escalate as they are, we may end up with very little to sell”, he said.

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Torrential Rain Causes Widespread Flooding in Torrevieja

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THE SOUTH COSTA BLANCA COMMUNITY of Torrevieja woke up to flooding this morning after a night of torrential rain that saw more than 70 litres of water per metre fall in some areas. With more rain expected, people are being warned to expect further stormy weather.

On Thursday, the Spanish island of Menorca was batterred by severe autumn storms that saw tourists and locals alike running for cover to avoid being swept away by flash floods. The Spanish region has been decimated by adverse weather in recent days as hailstones the size of eggs rained down on the northern Spanish region of Aragon.

Storms have affected a wide area of Spain following weeks of scorching sunshine, and Mahon in Menorca suffered more than 50 litres per square metre of rainfall in the space of a few hours.

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 Photo Credit: Joaquin Carrion

Last night, the freak weather hit the South Costa Blanca town of Torrevieja overnight, as thunderous rain poured in to streets causing havoc and mayhem. At the height of the storm Proyecto Mastral reported that 70 litres of water per metre had fallen in some areas, with the most intense rainfall occurring around 2:00am.

The rain fell with such force that some local residents could not sleep because of the noise. Those that did manage to get some sleep woke this morning to the muddy aftermath, and with more stormy weather on the way people are urged to prepare for the weather, prepare for possible power cuts, and to take extra care on the roads.

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Property Owners in Spain Could Face Unexpected UK HMRC Tax Bills

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A NEW LAW PASSED IN THE UK gives HMRC new powers to force foreign companies to pass on details of internet transactions, and Spanish Hoteliers are keen to ensure that these powers are enforced against private individuals who rent out their property in Spain, and fail to declare their income to the authorities.

Just last month Irish tax regulators successfully forced US-based private landlords’ website Airbnb to hand over details of private rental transactions. Airbnb confirmed that it would give details of users’ rental profits to the tax authorities in Ireland, leading experts to warn that HMRC would use the new law to force Airbnb to release details of rental information in the UK.

The new powers mean that Schedule 36 notices can now be served on any company deemed to be serving as an intermediary for the supply of products and services, wherever they might be located. Originally introduced by the Finance Act 2008, the law was intended to tackle businesses that trade online within the black market, such as eBay vendors and Amazon Marketplace sellers.

Sean Wakeman, tax investigations partner at Crowe Clark Whitehill, said “It is inconceivable that when HMRC can demand information from the likes of Amazon and Ebay, that it will not seek to exploit the relatively low-hanging fruit of private rental sites like Gumtree, Airbnb or TripAdvisor”.

“It is likely that the UK tax authorities will call upon reciprocal agreements as part of the European Union, and that the UK will seek to use European mutual assistance directives whereby information requests are effectively sub-contracted out to local tax inspectors”.

Spain’s hotel and tourism sectors have seen their profits tumble in recent years as consumers increasingly turn to private rental accommodation, and hotelier’s associations and hotel corporations are lobbying government to use the new powers to crack down on unregistered and illegal private renting in Spain.

Meanwhilte HMRC claims that their campaigns thus far have been designed to tackle businesses only, not individuals, but anyone who makes a sufficient income from private rental could be classed as a sole trader and be caught in the tax net.

Martin Bell, a Tax Dispute Resolution Partner at BDO said “HMRC have teams of analysts reviewing online information and any online advertisement to rent out a private room is as good as an advertisement to HMRC telling them you may have something to declare”.

It’s another concern for private landlords here in Spain. We reported in July that new laws in Spain require private property owners to apply for a licence to privately rent out their apartments or villas.

Failure to comply with the latest Spanish legislation can lead to prosecution and fines for the property owner, the advertiser, and any agent employed to manage the property. Fines are set at a minimum of €6,000 and a maximum of €90,000.

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New Eco-Gadget Saves Upto 80% of Pool Running Costs

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WITH ELECTRICITY BILLS BEING DISTRIBUTED across Southern Spain today, thousands of expatriates will receive an unwelcome reminder of the high cost of electricity in the country. A private swimming pool is considered by many to be a necessary luxury in the hot Spanish summers, but the cost of running a pool in Spain can be astronomical.

With the cost of electricity in Spain amongst the highest in Europe, even the wealthiest expatriate’s cannot afford to disregard their power usage. Only Denmark, Germany, Italy and Ireland pay more for their electricity and budget concious consumers across Spain are increasingly looking toward new technologies to save them money, and reduce the cost of their electricity bills.

A private swimming pool is one of the most common luxury additions to any home in Southern Spain, but the cost of pool ownership doesn’t stop once you’ve paid for the installation. The cost of filtering the water through a pool pump brings an often unexpected long term financial liability that lasts a lifetime.

Electricity-prices-europeBut new technology is about to become available in Spain that can reduce the cost of running a swimming pool pump by up to 80%. Long term savings can run in to thousands of Euros, and as with most of the best new money saving gadgets these days, the idea behind the solution is a very simple one.

Developed here in Spain, the Eco Pool Saver is an elegantly uncomplicated device that moderates the supply of electricity to the pool pump. With 30 programmable speeds, it can be programmed to reduce the amount of power used by the pool pump while still providing water flow and filtration.

Put simply, the Eco Pool Saver is the most advanced and efficient variable speed controller that can be used with up to 95% of single speed domestic pool pumps, and brings immediate measurable savings in energy consumption that pays for the cost of installation in months rather than years.

The revolutionary money-saver is being introduced to Spain by established solar heating specialists Solar Directa in Murcia, who offer professional fitting of the device across the Costa Blanca, Costa Calida, and throughout the Murcia region.

Solar Directa have been providing solar installations across Southern Spain since 2004 and the owner, Keith Owen, is keen to promote the equipment’s plus points. “With the high cost of electricity in Spain, it seems like madness not to invest in the latest money saving technology”, he said. “The cost of installation is minimal compared to the thousands of Euros that can be saved over a lifetime of pool ownership”.

Keith also highlighted the benefits of reduced wear and tear on the pool pump itself, and the pool plumbing connected to it. “Simply adding a timer to your pool pump will reduce it’s lifespan quite considerably. The Eco Pool Saver avoids all those abrupt starts and stops, and keeps the water flowing through the filter resulting in a cleaner, healthier pool”.

The Eco Pool Saver is being distributed exclusively in Spain by Solar Directa, and more information is available from their website or contact them via Facebook.

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