Sunday, February 22, 2009

EU legislation create insurance risk for British investors in Spain

Recent changes to legislation have now rendered many British property owners abroad underinsured, it has been revealed.

The New EU legislation popularly known as the Rome II legislation which was implemented in January 11 would result in many Spanish house owners risking legal tussles in the UK courts if their public liability insurance is found to be insufficient. The new legislation changes the way non-contractual disputes and legal claims are treated between multiple nations. Owners of European property particularly in countries like Spain could be most affected by the new rules.

Public liability cover are historically higher in UK than mainland Europe and can often exceed the level of cover provided by local insurance companies. Although compensation awards in Europe is usually at a low level, This change to the law means that for overseas property owners, if they and the tenant of their property are both residing in UK they could well be sued for public liability breaches in the UK, rather than the country in which the property exists and where the accident occurred.

Insurance company Tonic Underwriting has estimated that 90% of ex-pat landlords are drastically underinsured because of this new rule as they do not have adequate cover and are at risk of opening themselves up to public liability challenges in UK courts. John Newman, chairman and chief executive of Tonic Underwriting stated that the liability cover for Spain and Portugal is often extremely low in the region of €100,000 (£93,731) to €160,000.

He commented: "This would leave a client very dangerously exposed as any meaningful claim would potentially exceed this limit."

Newman suggested that the 90% Brits who are underinsured must choose a British based company instead of foreign insurance companies. He added that the foreign bought policies are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and investors also become confused at the policy value because of the unfamiliar legal system or language barriers. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme is an autonomous organization set up by the British government, which will pay out consumers of any registered financial services company, who are unwilling or unable to pay.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Palma's period charms and cultural offerings attracts buyers

Palma Property Mallorca

Palma, the capital city of the Spanish island of Mallorca is tipped to fare better than the property market on the mainland, an estate expert has said.

Laura Latham Writing for the Independent, states that Palma is perfect for those who wanted glamorous seaside living, with cobbled streets, marina designer boutiques, although walking enthusiasts would also feel at home with the island's rugged landscape.

Local developer Duncan Colbrook said that Palma is an incredibly attractive city and buyers are particularly attracted to the region's period charms and cultural offerings with a perfect climate and everything buyers could want commercially and culturally. Mallorca has been named as the most stable property market in Spain as the region has an upmarket reputation and demand is driven by the fact there is a limited number of properties on the island so it is not suffering from over-supply.

According to a report from Engel and Volkers, one of the largest networks of international estate agents in the Balearics high-end property prices in Mallorca has fallen by 30 to 35 per cent in the last quarter of 2008 compared with the previous year with one and two-bedroom flats available for £150,000-£200,000.

In related news, Times have reported that Palma has a very Spanish feel but is also trendy and is not the tourist trap that other parts of the island have become.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Barcelona organizing low cost property fair

Low cost property fair will be organized in Barcelona, Spain where price reductions of a minimum 30% will be on offer to purchasers, according to reports.

The Sal√≥n de las Oportunidades Inmobiliarias will be held in Barcelona between June 12 and 14 to reactivate the market as Property resale deals fell in the Barcelona area by 40% last year. Entry cost will be five € and the property purchasers will be given documentary proof by the exhibitors that they have made a reduction in their price of at least 30% to be present at the property fair.

According to the Times, the average sales prices are down by ten per cent this year and developers are accepting offers of up to 20 per cent below asking price. Alex Vaughan,
Director of the Lucas Fox estate agency told the newspaper that property purchasers can buy things considerably cheaper if they get to know the market a bit.

He commented: "There are opportunities all over the city." He advised that now was a good time to look at pricier areas, saying that there is a "fantastic opportunity" to buy in good areas for bargain prices.

Meanwhile, Statistics reveal that more than a quarter of people who visited Spain last year went to Catalonia. According to official figures, nearly 59.2 million foreign leisure travelers arrived in Spain last year and the Catalonia region - which includes major cities such as Barcelona - attracted more than 15.2 million of these people.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Moorish architecture remains a template for property in Spain

Moorish Architecture

Spain is conceived as the place of origin of Moorish ornamentation and this is still a strong influence on new property developments in Spain, according to a media outlet.

Propertywire.com stated that the style which was first introduced from north-west Africa 1,300 years ago transforming much of the Spanish peninsula into an Arabian caliphate called Al-Andalus and it remains a template for property in the country.

Characterized by fortification walls, unusual minarets, Moorish domes polychrome decorations made of corn cobs of various colors assembled like mosaic tiles, ornate ceiling carvings and intertwining patterns, the style is found in many modern buildings. Many Moorish features originate from the desert-like conditions found in parts of North West Africa so the usage of water is essential and hugely important to the Moorish style. Indeed, interior courtyards typically feature a spring of running water, Fountains and reflecting pools combine aesthetics with architectural design.

Julia Norton, sales director at the Champneys Marbella development, which features the style, told the website: "despite global financial pressures, the continued success of the Champneys Marbella development is no surprise, and the reason why we've managed to buck any downward trends is because buyers recognize the innate attractiveness of the Moorish architecture in the apartments and penthouses themselves, as well as the resort. Their beautiful, striking interiors and splendid, serene surroundings melt the heart of the most hardened individual".


Mike Hamilton, managing director of Casas de Lorca said that the "true Spanish lifestyle" is appealing to a number of Brits. He added that property investors looking for Spanish property tend to want to mingle with locals, enjoy the "enchanting countryside" and learn the language.

He commented: "I find that a great deal are drawn to Spain for its lifestyle and therefore are looking for the true Spain over and above more well-known 'Britain in the sun'-type resorts."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Rural tourism in Spain gives credible value

Holidaymakers may be buoyed by predictions that holidays in rural Spain are considered to provide incredible value in 2009.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Tourists from the UK could find Spain a good-value holiday destination. The strong euro has not dented the appeal of Spain and this means that while costs are up as a result of the strong euro, they are still below those at home. This could be an important factor for holidaymakers, many of whom have faced financial constraints as a result of the credit crunch.

The publication stated that rural areas in Spain have become family's favorite holiday destination, for its combination of warm weather, clean beaches and attractive landscapes. The publication recommended La Cuadra, a three-bedroom traditional stone house in Asturias for those who enjoy activities such as hiking or people who want to avoid the crowds at beach resorts.

BBC newsreader Huw Edwards Writing in the Daily Telegraph commented: "The combination of sunshine, rugged beauty, clean beaches, well-equipped hotels and good restaurants would take some beating." Consumers from Europe are becoming less willing to snap up late deals, as more and more are booking at least two months in advance.

The high-speed train network across the country from Barcelona to Seville or Malaga in less than six hours, making country retreats more accessible. This is a welcome development for investors in these areas, as the train routes should attract a considerable number of extra visitors. As a result, demand for rental accommodation will increase and generate higher returns for property owners.

The Post Office recently revealed that Spain is actually the cheapest country in the eurozone at the moment although the pound is at a record low against the euro.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Spain offers amazing variety of country properties

Expat buyers are getting interested in the Spanish ruined properties in the small towns, rather than townhouses and apartments and they must do their research first before purchasing, it has been claimed.

Spain has a number of buildings in need of renovation and overdeveloped properties have spurred many people to consider buying rundown properties in countryside for their own projects. However, the website has stated that would-be buyers must ensure they take into account some vital issues. Many people move to Spanish countryside to enjoy a better quality of life and a lower cost of living. The profusion of ruined properties with a bit of land also attracts purchasers on low budgets. Purchasers should not underestimate the total cost of converting dilapidated country properties into comfy, habitable homes.

The website has reported that ruined properties found in rural areas are often small, no more than a couple of rooms. The website recommended that before buying any rural property it is important to check the planning permission with the local town hall. Always engage an independent lawyer check planning permission, boundaries, water rights, and any other relevant issues before signing any contracts or pay any deposits.

Many rural properties in Spain can only be reached by farm tracks and it might easily take half an hour or more to reach the nearest village. There are also some fresh rural properties on the market, properties that have been built in the last 25 years. Life in a remote country cottage surrounded by stunning countryside far from the intrusions of the chaotic modern world is a popular aspiration, but expats planning to needs to think hard about the lifestyle, the risk of feeling isolated, and how to keep busy in a consequential and productive way.

In related news Spanish property insight website has stated that many of the rural properties for sale in Catalonia are in a state of ruin, especially they are available on the market for fewer than 100,000 Euros.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Costa del Sol coastline revamped with 5.6 million euros of investment

Costa Del Sol Beaches

Traditional markets such as the Costa del Sol are getting more popular with overseas property buyers after the news of its coastline is to be improved with 5.6 million euros of investment, according to a media report.

The Costa del Sol's hundred-and-sixty kilometer coastline and most of its hotels are on or close to the beach, so the beaches give the verve in this part of the world. Euro Weekly News.com has reported that beaches between Torremolinos and Marbella will be upgraded to preserve the coast and its natural spaces. With only a few exceptions, most of the beaches are vigilantly maintained and normally kept spick-and-span, with lifeguards, beach bars, showers and all amenities.

The project, which is the result of an agreement between The Junta de Andalucia's Ministry for Tourism and the Western Costa del Sol's Association of Municipalities, both have contributed 2.8 million euros to the initiative. The agreement states that the area is the main tourist destination in Andalucia and the region is proving to be popular with different types of buyers, such as property investors and those who are seeking retirement homes in the sun.

According to the Financial Times, the top end property market in Costa del Sol is "relatively strong." Holiday villas in Marbella are still going for over €9 million (£7.15 million). The publication reported that the Costa del Sol is well-placed to benefit from a push by Europeans to holiday closer to home as a way of reducing costs and carbon emissions. Also a new fast train link in 2009 will be in place between Barcelona and Malaga along with a new high-speed AVE train between Malaga and Madrid which will help improve accessibility.

In related news, Desmond O'Connor, head of Alanda Homes, has stated that there is now "real value for money" in Costa del Sol, with up to 20 per cent knocked off housing prices.