Spanish property: is the time finally right to buy?
Chronic oversupply and a weak economy mean that Spanish vendors are offering some great incentives to British buyers. Is now the time to strike? Fiona Govan reports from Madrid.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and for parts of the Spanish property market, despair is almost too weak a word. The past five years have heaped on misery after misery. The credit crunch unmasked catastrophic levels of overbuilding, and then the ongoing euro crisis has kept the Spanish economy under the thumb.
Now the Spanish government is working to revitalise investor confidence, and attract Britons back to its costas in search of bargains. Banks and estate agents are slashing prices, to help them offload the glut of unsold properties.
During the height of Spain’s real estate boom Britons flocked to the country’s coast. They bought holiday and retirement homes, and fulfilled long-held dreams of a place in the sun.
This constant demand inspired builders and developers to keep putting up more houses. A decade-long frenzy saw Spain’s construction industry fuel the nation’s economic boom, before its spectacular collapse when the bubble burst in 2007-08.
Added to this was a spate of horror stories told of British owners left high and dry by unscrupulous developers, dodgy lawyers and corrupt town planners. Coupled with chaotic planning laws and little judicial recourse, many were left regretting their decision to buy in Spain. Other potential investors began to look elsewhere.
“Olive groves, sunshine, hot tapas, cold wine: Spain’s charms will outlast this economic crisis, and many to come. These prices, on the other hand, may not.”