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Antiguo 02-may-2007, 20:59
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España y la OPINION de los Expertos.

Fuente: ft.com

Sun may be about to set on Spain's dream home. market

By Elaine Moore
Published: April 28 2007 03:00 | Last updated: April 28 2007 03:00

Speculation about a Spanish housing crash will be causing consternation for all those who bought into the dream of a place in the sun by purchasing a property in Spain.

Some market commentators have said that the panic selling of property stocks on the Madrid bourse this week could be the starting point for a wider crash that has been building for a long time. The result could be ageneral devaluation in property prices across the country andmisery for both investors and homeowners.

If prices are hit, the types of property most at risk from depreciation are apartments and town houses in the €100,000 to €200,000 range, say property experts. In other words, the sorts of developments which have been springing up all over Spain and which the majority of overseas buyers have purchased, says Mark Braunholtz, director of property group Prestige.

If you own a holiday home or buy-to-let property in Spain the advice from the experts is: sit tight. Price growth may be slowing but a housing crash is by no means a certainty.

One of the main problems dogging the Spanish property market is oversupply. Spurred on by the fact that mortgage lending and house prices have risen faster in Spain than anywhere else in continental Europe, the construction sector has been throwing up large developments across the country, focusing specifically on the tourist hotspots around the Costas.

This year 800,000 new property developments have been approved. But it is estimated that only 600,000 will be needed.

David Stubbs, senior economist at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, says that thelatest problems in the Spanish housing market should serve as a timely reminder to British investors that purchasing foreign property can carry significant risks.

"Just because house prices seem low in relation to the UK does not necessarily mean that they represent a good investment," he says. "Markets which have been fuelled by significant foreign demand and encouraged housebuilding levels that generate a glut of homes for sale should be of particular concern."

Many of those trying to sell property in Spain have had to drop their prices, especially in the Malaga region, says James Hickman, sales director at foreign exchange company Caxton FX.

According to the Spanish government, Malaga alone has 108,000 vacant properties - yet developers are still building new ones.

"Clients who have sold Spanish property recently have had to drop their prices by 15 or 20 per cent," says Ian Tonge, estate agent and chair of the NAEA's International committee. "It is likely this trend will continue. I would advise extreme caution to potential investors in this country because we are probably going to see further falls in property value."

Bill Jackson of Bill Jackson Estate Agents, which specialises in overseas properties, says he stopped selling properties in Spain three years ago when he recognised the problem looming.

"Spain is still a great place to live," he says. "The infrastructure is good, quality of life is great and flights are cheap. But there have been so many units built in the Costas, some without planning consent or completion certificates, and the demand hasn't kept up."

Spain has a quarter of a million overseas owners, the majority of whom are British. Since 2000, prices have doubled but appetite for property in Spain has declined recently. Overseas buyers have been eschewing the country in favour of North Africa or South America.

The annual rise in house prices moderated to less than 10 per cent last year after annual rises topping 14 per cent. At the same time investment from foreigners had declined by around 10 per cent.

But just because prices are dropping in some areas does not necessarily mean that the whole of the Spanish housing market is saturated, says Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents.

"Timing is the key," he says. "There will be some good bargains out there. The areas south of Costa del Sol and Costa Brava, such as Almeria, still have some reasonable prices if you are looking to purchase property, or you want to sell in those areas."

The main group who will be hit by the construction stock sell-offs are the development companies rather than those who own land or properties, says Braunholtz.

The Spanish government says house prices are heading for a soft landing rather than a crash, and whatever the costs, there will always be some buyers who cannot resist the lure of the sunshine.

But for those considering buying in Spain, particularly along the Costas where developments have been rife, the keyword has to be caution. Jackson says he has not heard of many buyers making profits on Spanish property but maintains there is some value to be found in secondhand property.

"Don't buy off-plan," he advises. "The Costas have been overdeveloped but cities, like Barcelona and Madrid, and areas like Mojacar, still have good letting potential."

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Antiguo 02-may-2007, 21:07
Alatriste Alatriste está desconectado
Lisensiado burbujista
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¿Estos son del PP o del PSOE?

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Antiguo 02-may-2007, 21:14
quedapoco quedapoco está desconectado
Bloguero del FT
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Sopongo que ni de uno ni del otro.
...SIMPLEMENTE piensan como yo.

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