The foundation stone laying ceremony for the new Paramount Theme Park in Murcia, Spain, heralds the start of a construction process that is expected to result in a boost for real state in the area. Attended by project officials, local authorities and dignitaries, the formality kick started the countdown to the Park’s official opening in 2015. ‘The cynics have been out in force on this project highlighting the global recession and Spanish housing market problems as reasons why the Theme Park would never happen, but so far they’ve been proved wrong,’ said Chris Mercer, director of real estate agent Mercers which is at Camposol, ten minutes from the Paramount site.
Nestled amongst a bevy of exotic Latin American locations, there was a surprise entry into the World’s Best Real Estate Markets 2012 – Murcia in Spain. Created by the boffs at International Living, the index takes into account value for money, appreciation potential, income potential, costs and ease of buying and believes Murcia has got what it takes to make you money in 2012._Chris Mercer, Director of Mercers, a real estate agency based in Mazarron at the heart of Murcia, comments, “Finding ourselves amongst a who’s who of emerging nations, the likes of Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay, is flattering but not altogether unsurprising.
Average property prices are still falling in Spain but in the Costas which are popular with overseas buyers they are seeing less of a decline than other areas. The latest figures from Tinsa, one of Spain’s leading appraisal companies, show that prices fell the most in regional capitals where they are down 8.1% in the 12 months to the end of October, followed by a drop of 7.5% in metropolitan areas.
For the European second home investor Spain has long been the destination of choice. Over recent years the proposition has got even more attractive as house prices across Spain have steadily fallen. Property is now the cheapest it has been for a decade and every major international property portal is reporting a marked rise in ‘searches’ for Spanish real estate. Here Chris Mercer gives his personal view of the current market in the region where he is based and explains why there’s no better time to buy.
At Mercers, head quartered in Mazarron on the Costa Cálida, we have seen a small but steady increase in sales over the past 18 months. Prices do seem to have finally bottomed out as people either cannot or will not go any lower. Yet there is no strong indication that they’re going to rise either. Until demand picks up in a stronger manner, there is no reason for values to increase unless there is a significant external factor applying upward pressure.
“Spain hopes to tempt Britons back into the market this summer with a million unsold homes going at bargain prices and in top locations,” says Cathy Hawker with a million unsold properties and prices slashed by 40 per cent, the Costas property bubble may have well and truly burst but the Spanish government is banking on British buyers coming to the rescue.
SPAIN needs another golf course development like Bourton-on-the-Water, needs another tea shop. The country is positively congested with these reminders of Spain’s boom years and many of those who have already bought are less than happy. Angry British golfers have complained of broken contracts, substandard homes and lack of promised amenities.
The Spanish government has been edging along a political tightrope as UK buyers put the brakes on their aspirational holiday home purchases. In a country whose property industry accounts for well over 10 per cent of its gross domestic product, the decline in the housing market has had grave repercussions for tourism and the economy. Steady reports of agents and developers going bust, migrant workers being laid off and major developments being postponed indicate that it’s not just foreign buyers feeling the bracing effect of Spain’s property slump. With some agents offering dramatic discounts – in some cases, two for the price of one – to revive flagging sales, unemployment and property devaluation are two of the major concerns now faced by developers and municipal governments alike.
When it comes to metropolitan living, Spain has cities to suit every buyer – and every budget. Laura Latham investigates
Madrid and Barcelona may be Spain’s fast track to cosmopolitan culture but if you want the charm of Latin life, with the benefits of an urban setting,the country’s smaller cities are the perfect compromise.