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Selling Spanish properties

publication date: Jul 11, 2006
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spainSpain. Beautiful, warm, sunny, full of Brits. Well no, actually, at least not everywhere. Spain has always been top of the pops with British secondhomers and sun loving retirees and there is still tremendous demand – so more new developments are springing up and more Spanish developers are competing for your attention to bring their properties to the eye and the heart of the coveted British investor.

Some investors have caught a cold or two in Spain, with unscrupulous developers, bodging builders and questionable practices by local authorities, so there is ever more reason to find reliable ethical partners in your quest to be part of the great Spanish property scene.

Large does not necessarily mean better but one developer has some excellent credentials that may soothe the worried mind. Bancaja Habitat is part of the Bancaja Group, the third largest savings bank in Spain and the sixth largest financial institution in the country. They have over 20 current developments along the Costa Azahar, Valencia, Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol.

We spoke to Miguel Martinez, UK Country Manager of Bancaja Habitat, who runs the company’s London office to see how they are developing their sales market here in the UK.

“We are looking to build a network of UK agents to market our properties. With our ownership and size we must be sure to be working with ethical, reliable agents who share our high standards - so we are introducing ourselves to NAEA members.”

Bancaja Habitat has 1000 offices across Spain although the developments aimed at the UK market are generally in the popular coastal areas.

“This is an exciting time to work with Bancaja Habitat and we hope that reputable UK agents may be interested in marketing one of the most varied, high quality and exclusive property portfolios on Spain’s Mediterranean Coast.” concluded Miguel.

The Bancaja Habitat operation offers almost unlimited opportunities, with properties to suit a broad range of buyers – sports facilities, children’s facilities, relaxation – all the usual, plus a newer initiative, Senior Resorts.

The USA of course, was the first with these – not remotely like an old people’s home, not sheltered housing, just a first class development that has been planned and constructed with the needs of older people in mind. Spanish developers are following suit and Bancaja Habitat have partnered with Sanidad y Residencias 21, S.A. to establish a new company to develop these great facilities in Valencia, Murcia and Balearic Island regions, as well as in the province of Albacete. The company’s services are aimed at both the Spanish and foreign markets.

Call the Bancaja Habitat London office for more details on: 0800 093 10 20 or vsit

Who is buying in Spain?

“Market trends? Difficult to answer this year. With January, February and March picking up, we expected the follow through, but April and May proved disappointing.” Says Marion Atkins NAEA member in Spain.

“There is no shortage of clients wanting to view property both with a view to holidays on the Costa Blanca or a permanent move to Spain. However, most clients are in a “chain” or are not achieving for the price they need to move on.

UK buyers still plan to buy in Spain, and in spite of the adverse publicity, it is probably the number one destination when clients think about leaving the UK and making a new life abroad. The familiarity of the country, it’s customs and it proximity to the UK, make Spain a favourite for both holidays and a permanent home.

We are seeing a return of the 80’s style buyer, who has some capital and tops up the funds with a mortgage. This means that sales of smaller homes such as apartments and bungalows are GLOBAL Who is buying in Spain? starting to move but the market remains very sluggish for the sale of villas or any property above the price of 250,000.

Clients wanting to buy homes above this level are often stuck at the end of a chain in the UK, with the downturn of first time buyers, frustrating their need to get the best price for their homes, in order to make that move abroad. Clients cite worries over immigration, rising crime and violence as the main reasons for wanting to relocate to Spain to seek a new life. We are also selling to clients from Eastern Europe and other immigrants hoping to get on the property ladder.

Banks are offering mortgages to those people with steady employment who will often pay less for their mortgage payments than they would pay for their monthly rental fee. With the slow down of sales, we are seeing a scramble to get work here. Younger people with families often have to work in the black economy to survive, and this makes them vulnerable as they do not have social security cover. Their inability to pay into the social security system to build pension credits points to certain problems for the future, when they retire.

Perhaps popping back to the UK, to claim benefits will be an option, but with an aging population, Britain will be unlikely to offer support or benefit to people who retire after years abroad.

There are many successful small businesses run by expats of all nationalities, some of whom have reinvented themselves and welcome the chance to be self employed, making their own decisions.

Whilst slightly quiet at the moment, we are hopeful that the slow recovery of the UK market will start to filter through by the autumn and into 2007. This will ensue that the Costa Blanca is a thriving area and still a great investment for the future.”

Marion Atkins NAEA (Overseas)