Sunday, June 29, 2008

Government plans to reduce vacancy rates

Spain's housing minister Beatriz Corredor has stated that the property sector slowdown will be over by late 2009, according to a Reuters report.

Spanish property market is currently experiencing a considerable slowdown in its residential and construction market and an obvious slowdown in its economic growth. The government of Spain has attempted to stop the housing market slowdown by various initiatives and property experts believe that the market will adjust itself gradually in the future.

There is a severe oversupply of homes in Spain, equating to around 1m residential units.

Nearly 50,000 and 100,000 of these Spanish homes are reportedly located in the Valencia region. The oversupply of homes in Valencia has made the Generalitat regional government wants to see the current housing regulations amended to facilitate other Spanish regions, to sell properties in Valencia as VPO assisted or council housing.

The Generalitat has recommended that a pilot scheme be introduced with an initial 10,000 properties offered on the VPO scheme at a discount of €15,000 (approx £12,000). The housing minister said that the properties are available to those who are resident in the Valencia region and who earn as much as €45,000 per year (around £35,600). The current fears of a property crash has made the mortgage market more liberalized and low-quality developments are reviewed, while the issues concerning off-plan investors are addressed by the government.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Investors take advantage of lower property prices in Spain

Foreign investors who are considering buying property in Spain have been advised that bargains can still be found as they can now get more with for their Euros as the average property price has dropped 3.6 per cent from this time last year. The portal recommended that this is the perfect time to buy in Spain.

Foreign currency exchange specialists Moneycorp has said that investors can cash in on the lower property prices in Spain. People who are making stage payments, for instance, can still get half of their necessary Euros now and half at a future date, after the position for the exchange rate becomes clearer. Investors of residential homes can withdraw equity and profit from cheaper Euro mortgage deals; they take advantage of the situation by converting them into Pounds. Potential investors of properties in Spain can opt for 'forward contract' and can pay a percentage deposit and for payment at a later date they can also fix an exchange rate for the balance funds.

One Mortgage website has recently reported that Spain is one of the "big names" in the world property market and has long-standing appeal for investors and lifestyle buyers. The strong euro has not dented the appeal of Spain. The Post Office recently revealed that Spain is in fact the cheapest country in the eurozone at the moment even if the pound is at a record low against the euro.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Spain offers good value for Driving holidays

Holidaymakers have been advised to take advantage of affordable prices in Spain. Spain emerges as the best value destination for holidaymakers in Europe in a new report by Post Office Travel Services.
British motorists in Spain
The report has revealed that Spain has best value across Europe for both diesel fuel and motoring in a hire car. It is also cheapest in the eurozone for unleaded petrol with £1 per litre. British motorists might be surprised to learn that it's cheaper to fill up in Spain for diesel, at 94p a litre which is the cheapest in Europe and 26% lower than in the UK.

The cost of unleaded petrol rose considerably in all Eurozone countries surveyed over the past 12 months. There is 20 per cent increase in Italy and the UK and nearly 32 per cent in France. The reports also revealed the massive difference in holiday car-hire costs (rental for 3 days and 200 miles' fuel costs) from £122 in Spain to £248 in Greece.

Paul Bradley, spokesperson for the Spanish Property Owners Guild, stated that Spain is especially popular with Brits because there are lots of flights making it very easy to reach. Besides, traveling to Spain is actually less expensive than going to some parts of Britain.

Recently Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has stated that Spain is currently one of the cheapest places in the Eurozone, as prices are much lower than those in places such as France.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

UK pension disillusionment boosts Spanish property investment

Recent statistics from Inside Track revealed that 68 per cent of Britons now depend on different sources of future income after retirement. This is clearly indicated by the fact that nearly a quarter of people have gone to the extent that they gave up their pensions, while others those who put in, the amount is too low to provide sufficient retirement income.

The study found that only 15 per cent invest £200 or more. Just about 53 per cent invest less than £100 a month. Another statistics revealed that 22 per cent said that investing in overseas property would present the better option, with just 18 per cent opting for stocks and shares.

Dave Isley from NatWest stated that the Spain is highly popular destination among the retirees. Spain is said to be appealing because it offers healthy living standards, high-class housing, good weather, beaches and plenty of outdoor space. Anthony McKay, chief operating officer of Inside Track Group has said that now people consider property as an investment class in the same way they do the stock market. The high rate of house price inflation in Spain means that investors could potentially make a substantial profit should they come to sell up after their property has increased in value.

Recently Sun newspaper reported that Spain is said to appeal to different groups of property buyers, such as people who want a holiday home and those who are purchasing in order to generate wealth. Scottish Widows, pensions and investment provider has found that one-third of people in the UK want to live abroad after their retirement. Spain was found to be one of the most popular destinations with 24 per cent of British expatriates including retirees opting to live there permanently.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Portuguese lifestyle in Huelva at cheaper Spanish prices

Prospective purchasers looking for property in Portugal may be able to purchase a similar home at a comparatively lower cost if they consider Huelva area in Spain, it has been reported. The area is recently becoming popular with those keen on rural tourism.
Huelva area in Spain
The Andalucían province of Huelva, shares a border with Portugal, the legacy of which can be seen in the numerous castle ruins in the villages to the north and has 150km of unspoilt coastline. The Costa de la Luz, Often dubbed the "Spanish Algarve" attracts large numbers of holiday makers in the summer months. ShelterOffshore.com has reported that the area of Huelva has strikingly similar to the Portuguese Algarve but the property prices are much lower. The website stated that properties in the province start at £38,000.

Huelva also boasts impressive golf courses, gold sands, clean waters, the pine groves and unspoilt, serene surroundings. The Atlantic Ocean on this stretch of coast is cooler than the Mediterranean and is popular with windsurfers and other water sport enthusiasts.

The Foreign Property Buyer website has said that the new airport in the region is good news for property investors as tourism in the area is expected to increase. This would have a positive impact in the local housing market, further boosting its appeal to property investors.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Valencia - City Information

Valencia is the third largest city in Spain with a population of 809,267 in 2010 and 15th most populous in EU. The province of Valencia is situated in the centre of the Spanish Mediterranean coastline while overlooking the spacious Gulf of Valencia; it is surrounded by scenic Mountains and greenish plains leading to the lands of Aragon and Castile-La Mancha. Valencia is a sparkling city which has a very long history and it has grown rapidly, faster becoming an alternative to Barcelona and Madrid. This growth is attributed to conservation of its rich heritage along the years, and at the same time, it has also become an economic and financial leader in Spain.
With a rich Roman heritage and many truly world-class attractions, Valencia is a popular tourist destination and tourists are always well catered for in Valencia, which has the feeling of a historic town. Valencia has several buildings and different architectural styles, with many old structures contrasting against the amazing contemporary sights.

History

The original Latin word of the city was Valentia meaning "strength", "valor", the city being named for the Roman practice of recognizing the valour of former Roman soldiers after a war. The Roman historian Titus livius has stated that Valentia was formed in the 2nd century BC due to the inhabitation of the Roman soldiers who fought against Iberian local rebel, Viriatus. The city was also known as Balansiyya during the rule of the Muslim Empires in Spain.

Valencia was founded by the Romans in 138 BC and has been inhabited by the Romans, Greeks, Visigoths, Byzantines Phoenicians, and Carthaginians. Moreover in the 8th century the Moors occupied Valencia for 500 years and they introduced oranges, olives, silk, rice and ceramics which are still an essential part of Valencia. Most importantly they initiated the highly valuable irrigation system which is still in use today. Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, better known as El Cid (The Boss), conquered Valencia in 1094 which was shortlived as King Jaime I of Aragon conquered the city in 1238. The 15th Century was Valencia's Golden Age and in this period many of Valencia's famous buildings such as Palau de la Generalitat, La Lonja (the silk exchange), El Miguelete (bell tower) and Torres de Quart (Quart Towers) were built.

Until the War of Independence (1808-1813), The French Bourbons ruled Spain when Napoleon sent troops into Spain and established his brother, Joseph Bonaparte as king. This triggered fierce revolution in Valencia as well as other Spanish cities and the French finally departed in 1813. Valencia's city walls were demolished in the late 19th century in order for the city to expand.

Climate

Valencia experiences a hot-summer Semi- arid with Mediterranean climate which translates as hot, dry summer weather and mild winter months. Weather in Valencia is particularly pleasant throughout the year and remains chilly, except around the inland and mountainous areas nearby. The average annual temperature is 17.8 °C and 22.3 °C during the day and 13.3 °C at night. January, the coldest month of the year - the temperature typically ranges from 10 to 18 °C during the day, and 2 to 12 °C at night. In hotter months, the temperature during the day typically ranges from 28–34 °C and above 23 °C at night.

Best time to visit Valencia

Spring is the perfect time to visit Valencia as the climate is generally fairly mild, particularly along the coastline. Rainy weather is more common during Valencia's springtime, with occasional heavy downpours. Average temperatures in February are around 16°C / 61°F, although by the end of March it is generally beach weather, being warm enough for shorts and T-shirts during the day, although night times can still be a little chilly.

Summer is the high season in Valencia and the city becomes a major tourist destination, with visitors arriving to make the most of the sun-drenched weather and warm balmy evenings in the outdoor as well as al fresco dining. Autumn can be wet at times, although this is still a good time to visit the area, with mild temperatures and many full days of sunshine. Temperatures in Valencia during September average around 25°C and by late October / early November have dropped to 19°C.

Main landmarks and monuments in Valencia

Ayuntamiento (City Hall) –
Plaza Del Ayuntamiento, 1, Valencia, 46002, Spain
Tel: +34 96 351 0417

Valencia's Ayuntamiento stands in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and it is more of a palace than a city hall. With the exterior and interior of the city hall are equally grand, the building dates back to the 18th century and some of the main attractions being a museum as well as a vast ballroom, which regularly hosts a number of noteworthy events. There are a good selection of bars, restaurants, shops and a popular cinema nearby the palace.

Monday to Friday - 10:00 to 13:30
admission: free

Torres de Serranos
The Serranos Towers was constructed at the end of the 14th century by Pere Balaguer as part of the city's fortification and it is considered to be the largest Gothic city gateway in all of Europe. They temporarily housed prison cells and served as a triumphal arch on many festive occasions.

Portal de Valldigna
These have the significant remains of the city’s historic surrounding wall and are of extreme importance. This section of wall features a stone archway, with pillars either side which Dates back to the early part of the 13th century. the Torres de Quart and the Torres de Serranos are the Two gateway towers which were once part of the city wall also remain and can be found nearby.
Open: daily - 24 hours
Admission: free

Plaza de la Almoina (Alms Plaza)

The Plaza de la Almoina is an imposing square as well as a notable archaeological treasure trove and it stands in the Old Quarter. This is the place where many vital city artefacts have been excavated, including Roman remains. San Vincente Martir, the archaeological site is located nearby, which offers a wealth of information about this plaza, its history and its uncovered jewels of the past.

Open: Tuesday to Saturday - 09:30 to 14:00, 17:30 to 20:00; Sunday - 09:30 to 14:00
Admission: free

Puente Del Mar (Sea Bridge)
The ancient Puente del Mar was updated during the first part of the 20th century whereas it was built more than 400 years ago. The bridge features ten grand stone arches, a pedestrian pathway, picturesque views and intricate carvings, which are well preserved.
Open: daily - 24 hours
Admission: free

Bullfighting Museum (Museo Taurino)
Pasaje Doctor Serra, 10, Valencia, 46004, Spain
Tel: +34 96 351 1850
The Museo Taurino can be found in the L'Eixample area of Valencia, close to the bullfighting stadium which celebrate the historic of Spanish bullfighting. The museum highlights include famous matador costumes, portraits, photographs, awards and local memorabilia.
Open: Tuesday to Saturday - 10:30 to 13:00, 16:30 to 20:30
Admission: free

Museum of Natural Sciences (Museo de Ciencias Naturales)
General Elio, Jardines Del Real (Viveros), Valencia, 46010, Spain
Tel: +34 96 352 5478
with large and spacious exhibition halls, the museum is home to an enormous collection of ancient fossils, large dinosaur skeletons and informative displays about evolution.

Open: Tuesday to Saturday - 09:00 to 14:00, 17:00 to 20:00; Sunday - 09:00 to 14:00
Valencia museum admission: free

Museum of Archeology (Museo de Prehistoria y Arqueologia)
Corona, 36, Valencia, 46003, Spain
Tel: +34 96 388 3579
Open: Tuesday to Saturday - 10:00 to 14:30, 16:00 to 19:00; Sunday - 10:00 to 19:00
Admission: free

Ethnological Museum (Museo Etnológico)
Corona, 36, Valencia, 46003, Spain
Tel: +34 96 388 3579
The Valencia Ethnological Museum features a number of permanent exhibitions and changing displays about rural life in the area and the museum is situated in the popular Beneficencia Cultural Centre.

Open: Tuesday to Saturday - 10:00 to 14:30, 16:00 to 19:00; Sunday - 10:00 to 19:00
Valencia museum admission: free

Things to do in Valencia

  1. Visit the City of Arts and Sciences which include - the largest aquarium in Europe, an IMAX laser cinema, Palau de la Musica and Palau de les Arts.
  2. Take a photographic tour of the historic quarter of the city and see the Best things to do in the Old Quarter of Valencia.
  3. Visit El Miguelet and the Cathedral - see the Holy Grail and enjoy the cafes and bars of this bohemian area.
  4. Nightlife in Valencia is one of the best in Europe. There is a fantastic selection of clubs, bars, discos, restaurants and theatres. Valencia is full of culture and arts so make sure to visit one of the many theatres in Valencia.
  5. Take an island break to one of the three lovely Balearic Islands or take the ferry to Barcelona, Tenerife or Morocco.
  6. With so many trendy shops and popular stores like Calle Colón, the Calle Pintor Sorolla and the Calle Don Juan de Austria and El Corte Ingles, all offering great fashions at affordable prices, you really will be able to shop until you drop in Valencia.
  7. Those who visit Valencia during fiesta times then they really do have a treat waiting for them. Festivals are fantastic, entertaining, incredibly exciting and not to be missed, especially the following – Easter, Las Fallas, La Tomatina and the most magical of all – Christmas.
  8. The delightful city of Valencia is situated right beside the Mediterranean Sea and has miles and miles of white sandy Valencia beaches. Swimming, wandering on the beach or taking a drink at one of the nearby bars or restaurants is definitely a lifetime opportunity.
  9. The Valencia grand prix and Americas cup are definitely not to be missed for football fans, Valencia play at Mestalla Stadium in the center of town is a not to be missed game.
  10. There are so many amazing museums in Valencia ranging from fine arts to contemporary.

Valencia cuisine

For gastronomic lovers those who visit Valencia won't be disappointed as there are over 1,500 restaurants in the city of Valencia. Valencia is overflowing with mouth-watering dishes from the most posh restaurants to cheap and cheerful tapas bars. Restaurants and dining venues in Valencia are popular with tourists and it is known for its classical Mediterranean cuisine as well as simple Spanish dishes. Due to its location along the Mediterranean coast, many restaurants in Valencia as expected choose to specialize in seafood, using freshly caught fish of all kinds. Many traditional restaurants in Valencia offer a range of international cuisine, including Chinese, French, Indian, Italian and Mexican restaurants. They also serve various tasty local Spanish specialities, which include paellas , hot soups (sopas), tortillas (omelettes), salads and cold meats, baked rice dishes and kebabs (pinchos morunos).fried squid and meat-based stews.

Tourism and Tourist Information (Oficinas de Turismo) – Valencia

Regional Tourist Office - Calle Paz 48, Valencia, Spain
Tel: +34 398 6422
Valencia tourist information centre open: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 18:30

Teatro Principal Touris- Calle Poetra Querol, Valencia, Spain
Tel: +34 96 351 4907

Train Station Tourist Office - Xàtiva 24, Valencia, Spain
Tel: +34 352 8573

Town Hall Tourist Office - Plaza del Ayuntamiento, 1, Valencia, Spain
Tel: +34 96 352 8573

Monday, June 16, 2008

Inland Spain offers good value

Prospective property purchasers thinking of buying property in Spain are encouraged to learn that experts believe the market is set to recover in the coming years. The Spanish Property Owners Guild (Spog) has said foreign buyers looking for a genuine Spanish experience should look inland rather than on the coasts.

Developers and vendors are forced to sell property in Spain at a discount as the market is currently in a slump with a glut of properties available. Those who take advantage of the situation now may be well placed once the market begins to recover.

Paul Bradley, spokesperson for Spog has recently commented that only the coastal areas have become oversaturated and there is still plethora of opportunities available inland. Mr. Bradley added that these places can be found just a few miles away from established investment markets such as the valley of La Vinuela near Malaga although there are also some exceptions because some of these had also seen an influx of Britons.

Property experts also believe that the conditions are ideal for those who want a property for personal use. Brennon Nicholas, an estate agent based in Spain has predicted that the housing market will come back in the next two years.

This comes after the news that the Typically Spanish website recently revealed that the number of expatriates who now reside in Spain on a permanent basis is now higher than four million.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Brits moving to Spain have positive reasons

Official figures revealed that Spain is one of the most popular destinations, with 24 per cent of British expatriates opting to live there permanently as Spain offers a wide choice of homes at affordable prices.

A recent study conducted by BUPA International found that 68 per cent of expats said they had a better quality of life since moving abroad. Yourmortgage recently cited the research by UKForex which found that eight out of ten Britons who now living in another country are happy in their new life. The majority of British expatriates believe they have made the correct decision by moving to Spain.

Ross Elder, managing director of Holiday Lettings commented that brits are not looking for capital gains appreciation alone. They also seek lifestyle improvements. He added that the Spain is very popular because it is conveniently located from the UK and has year round good weather while the growth of the good transport links to Spain had made it highly affordable as well.

The Telegraph reported that UK citizens are choosing to leave the country not because they are unhappy about their home country or due to the size of their tax bill but they think Spain as a "lifestyle destination", rather than a place they wanted to make a fortune.

This comes after the official figures which revealed that about 250,000 people left Britain in 2007 - 21 per cent more than during the previous year and Spain is found to be one of the most popular destinations among those opting to leave Britain permanently.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Spain property market entices first time property purchasers

The recent survey carried out by ICM research for BBC found that Spain is the place where 24% of 18 to 24-year-old brits would most like to make a new life and looking for their first property purchase.

This was confirmed by Paul Collins, property editor of BuyAssociation that first-time property purchasers are now looking overseas because they can grasp it in reasonable prices comparing to UK. He also added that people consider Spanish property market as being cheaper and more stable than that of the UK.

Due to the fabulous weather, easy accessibility due to low cost airlines and cheap tax rates when comparing to UK, Spain has become the most popular destination for British investors. Traditionally, Spanish property is priced at a large discount to the UK investors.

Figures from Fair Investment Company recently revealed that nearly 10 percent of first-time UK buyers have already bought their overseas property while 44 per cent are waiting in the wings. First timers are attracted towards Spain because of its low entry cost and low risk factors and also they can get their money's worth.

Monday, June 9, 2008

UK pension disillusionment boosts Spanish property investment

Recent statistics from Inside Track revealed that 68 per cent of Britons now depend on different sources of future income after retirement. This is clearly indicated by the fact that nearly a quarter of people have gone to the extent that they gave up their pensions, while others those who put in, the amount is too low to provide sufficient retirement income.

The study found that only 15 per cent invest £200 or more. Just about 53 per cent invest less than £100 a month. Another statistics revealed that 22 per cent said that investing in overseas property would present the better option, with just 18 per cent opting for stocks and shares.

Dave Isley from NatWest stated that the Spain is highly popular destination among the retirees. Spain is said to be appealing because it offers healthy living standards, high-class housing, good weather, beaches and plenty of outdoor space. Anthony McKay, chief operating officer of Inside Track Group has said that now people consider property as an investment class in the same way they do the stock market. The high rate of house price inflation in Spain means that investors could potentially make a substantial profit should they come to sell up after their property has increased in value.

Recently Sun newspaper reported that Spain is said to appeal to different groups of property buyers, such as people who want a holiday home and those who are purchasing in order to generate wealth. Scottish Widows, pensions and investment provider has found that one-third of people in the UK want to live abroad after their retirement. Spain was found to be one of the most popular destinations with 24 per cent of British expatriates including retirees opting to live there permanently.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Barcelona -the most romantic city in the world


The government official tourism figures revealed that a total of 59.2 million foreign vacationers have arrived in Spain during 2007 which is itself a 1.7 per cent more than that in 2006. Statistics also show that the Catalonia region - which includes major cities such as Barcelona itself, attracted more than 15.2 million of these tourists.

Ignacio Vasallo of the Turespana Spanish Tourist Board has commented that visitor numbers in 2008 are likely to be comparable and possibly higher than those in 2007. As a result, owners of rental accommodations in Spain and Barcelona in particular could be benefiting from higher returns and occupancy rates.

Foreign holidaymakers who are taking their partners abroad could do well to go to Barcelona. Recent poll by Teletext Holidays revealed that Barcelona as the most romantic city in the world. Nearly half of respondents chosen Barcelona and one in three people opted for Madrid. Barcelona is said to be appealing because it offers a good living standards, a myriad of historic attractions, natural attractions such as good weather and it is famed for its laidback lifestyle.

The tourism revenue of Barcelona had a positive impact on the property prices as a study by Kyero.com found that the average price for property in the city has increased to148 per cent more than the national average.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Spanish holidays are child-friendly

The Typically Spanish website cited government's official data which showed that between January and April, 3.9 million people from the UK visited Spain.

Experts have stated that Families who are heading abroad for holidays could find good value for money in Spain. Spain is said to be a popular choice for families because it is easily accessible from the UK and it offers sunny weather all year round as well as it is a highly affordable place to visit. Callum Gibson, head of Abbey Credit Cards has said that the cost of accommodation in Spain is significantly lower than in Cyprus and Portugal.


This means that though costs are up as a result of the strong euro, they are still much lower than in the UK.

Spanish Property Owners Guild has stated that Holidaymakers can relax during Spanish holidays as the country is very child-friendly. Paul Bradley, of SPOG has said that children can have fun and feel free without fear of anything. He also added that Spaniards are known for their hospitality and their affection for kids is well known.

Nick Jackson, spokesperson for Freedom Direct, commented that Holidays in Spain and the Canary Islands are the unbeatable favourite for families in the summer time. He also predicted that the overall number of British holidaymakers is likely to increase again this year. As a result, rental investors in Spain could be set to witness a surge in occupancy rates and can generate higher returns.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Overseas investors can take advantage of changing Spanish market

Foreign property investors have been advised to act quickly if they wish to snap up a bargain residence as the country is currently experiencing a slump in its housing market, according to new claims from a foreign exchange company.

HiFX said that this is because the recent drop in demand for property in Spain has made property owners anxious to sell their stock. This could bring in opportunities to make an insightful investment, as Spanish property remains very popular. Therefore, people who can still afford a purchase could take advantage of the situation to buy a property at a knock-down price, before the market begins to pick up again.

Rhiannon Davies, director of Amberlamb has said that property investors those who buy property in Spain can cash in on the financial crisis are more likely to reap the dividends over the long term. The demand for Spanish holidays will always remain strong so investors can go for holiday homes as many owners are desperate to offload their stock and are therefore slashing many prices.

Recently The Independent has reported that Spain still offers good investment opportunities, in spite of recent problems such as the impact of the credit crunch. The newspaper also added that real estate agents in Spain have been enforced to cut asking prices in many areas.

Liam Bailey, head of research at estate agency Knight Frank, said that regardless of the recent negative publicity of the slowdown in the rate of house price inflation and a fall in demand in certain areas, Spain still offer a favourable environment for investors. Mr. Bailey insisted that these problems do exist but they do not apply to the country as a whole.

Mark Bodega, marketing director at HiFX, commented that prospective investors have to find out the choice of where to buy and that really depends on why they are buying and on the degree of risk involved.