Is Anyone Still Moving To Spain?

Published on 19/01/2010 in Buying Process

The property market may have collapsed and the Spanish economy may be in tatters but are people still interested in setting up a new life for themselves in Spain?

We see many people now actually leaving Spain and returning to the UK. They are mainly just unable to make ends meet and so can no longer continue to live in the country.

Moving to SpainFor the self-employed in Spain there is virtually no assistance should your business grind to a halt and if you're looking for a job...don't bother. Most jobs advertised, particularly along the coasts, are commission only sales jobs. Jobs are very hard to come by now, even for the Spanish, so what chance does a newly arrived expat have?

The new generation moving to Spain

In order to understand the current interest in moving to Spain we need some data to work with. There's little point in looking at property for sale enquiries as many of those are people generally looking to buy a holiday home. What we need to take a look at is the number of people looking to rent long-term in Spain. There can generally only be one reason why someone would want to rent long-term in Spain and that's to live here.

This is where we have a distinct advantage at Eye on Spain. www.eyeonspain.com ranks number 1 in Google for the search phrase "long term rentals spain ". It means we get the most traffic for these searches and is the reason why we generate an unprecedented number of enquiries for our long term rentals listings.

So what does the data reveal?

Just after Christmas is always the busiest times for people searching for long term rentals. I assume that this is because they are looking to start the New Year with new dreams and ambitions. The bad weather in the UK tends to push more people to consider a new life in warmer climates.

So let's compare the level of enquiries going back to 2007 when even then we were still ranking number 1 on Google for "long term rentalsspain".

 

Date Range Enquiries generated
26 Dec 2007 - 18 Jan 2008 497
26 Dec 2008 - 18 Jan 2009 339
26 Dec 2009 - 18 Jan 2010 173

 

This is only comparing a small segment of each year but it is the most important segment. The after Christmas, early January "I want a new life in Spain" segment.

The results are quite staggering.

In two years the number of people enquiring on long term rentals in Spain has fallen by 65%. That's a lot less people thinking or planning of moving to Spain to live.

So what could have caused this sharp decline in interest in Spain?

There are several factors that I can think of that may help us to understand what is happening here:

1. Exchange rates

The Euro/ Pound exchange rate means those buying Euros aren't going to be getting much value for money, certainly not compared to a couple of years ago. This affects those looking to retire here on a UK pension. Their money just won't go as far as it should, especially as the cost of living has gone up in Spain over the past few years, it's no longer cheap like it used to be. (Read about Moneycorp to save money transferring funds to or from Spain.)

2. Employment

For those looking to move to Spain to work, the opportunities are few and far between. You can research jobs online before moving to Spain and those doing so will realise that there just aren't very many jobs available.

3. Lower salaries

The cost of living has risen in Spain quite dramatically in recent years but salaries have remained stagnant in comparison. If you are lucky to find a job in Spain don't expect a salary anywhere near to what you would have earned back home.

4. General insecurity

It might not be anything wrong with Spain that keeps people from moving here. Maybe because there is so much insecurity back in UK that more now prefer to just stay where they and wait for things to settle before committing to anything new.

5. Less TV exposure

There certainly aren't anywhere near the number of programs on UK TV glamourising moving to Spain, or abroad in general, as there used to be. Maybe the shine has been taken out of upping sticks and waving two finger at Mr Brown?

6. Am I missing something?

Do you know of any other reason why less people may now be considering moving to Spain? If so please leave a comment in the section below.

Well, I was hoping that the results of this would be a bit more positive but in line with the property market, general interest in a new life in Spain is also on the decline. We have a tough year ahead of us in Spain, especially those us who run businesses here but let's hope I have some better figures to share with you this time next year.

In the meantime, if you would like to list your property for long term rental then please click here.

Written by: Justin Aldridge (EOS)

About the author:

Justin has been running Eye on Spain for over 5 years and recently with his partner Susan launched their popular moving to Spain video guide, Spain Uncut.




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Comments:

molly said:
04 November 2010 @ 22:10

Ive lived here ten years. The main reason i like it, is the people, and the way im treated. Cant really complain. Medical one of the best in europe, uk got frightening. Ive lived in other countries, after a while the grass is always greener. The spanish arent crooks if you keep to the law. English thought they didnt have to. Some have made mistakes, I dont think I would have made. Be happy if the whole lot of English went back, not very nice people a lot of them. Viva Catalunya


John said:
09 April 2010 @ 23:19

Wow, Am i so glad my family and i decided to move to Galicia. I dont walk out my door everyday and meet you moaning Brits! Have you ever thought that your problems may be self induced in so far as, in many cases, you've brought your preduces with you and created miny Uk's on your own doorsteps. Ok so the Spainish may not be the politist nation in the World judged from a British perspective, but thats just it, who said our perspective is right?
Come on guys there's good and bad in all societies, remember the old saying about you can't please all of the people all of the time?
Come to Galicia, as long as you leave those preduces behind, and you'll discover a region where prices are still resonable, property and living, where the locals are still welcoming and genuine, and guess what it doesn't rain all the time! and it doesn't even get cold in winter.
Best move I ever made, and Ps I love you Brits really, just learn the language and dont expect British mentality from the spanish.
You all have a nice day.



Tanja said:
03 March 2010 @ 13:49

We have now lived in Spain for 2 years, there is a HUGE difference between living inland and on the coast.
We live just 45 minutes from the coast and 45 min from the Sierra nevada mountains and ski resort.
The people here in Loja are the friendliest people I have ever met! I have lived in several countries all over the world, and can honestly say that here, where we live in the 'real Spain' life is as good as we had hoped...(and much cheaper in every way than the coast)
If you think that the only Spanish you'll ever need to know is
'uno cervesa' then Loja is not for you..
But if your looking for a relaxed lifestyle with friendly and family orientated people, then you MUST add Loja to your list of places to visit.



sam said:
02 March 2010 @ 15:15

I have 3 children and me and my husband are looking to relocate from the uk to spain. You cannot go to another country and live life as you do in the uk. You have to respect the cultural differences and embrace them. You have to be on your guard with everyone whether in the uk or Spain.
You also need to know the language or from the start you are on a backfoot.
Stop moaning you obviously went into a big move with fat wallets and your eyes shut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Jeanne Costa Blanca said:
29 January 2010 @ 20:26

oh...forgot to add that here in Spain there are no streets full of drunken teenagers, the rubbish is removed on a daily basis, you can still get a 3 course menu del dia for €7 inc wine, beach bars where you can sit with your toes in the sand, outdoor pools and the sea that you can actually go in during summer without freezing, amazing walks, all the same interests and clubs as there are back in the UK...inc...dancing, sports, amateur dramatics, live music etc. Life out here still has so mouch more to offer. Its howling rain and wind in the UK today...ive sat and sunbathed in glorious sunshine on my terrace.


Jeanne Costa Blanca said:
28 January 2010 @ 23:03

Living in Spain certainly makes you more "chilled out" ....you learn to wait.!! The cashier or office person you are dealing with will take a phone call from their friend while serving you, and either make you wait, or just serve and ignore!! Its difficult to get the attention of a waiter, so you learn to ask for the bill as you get the last round of drinks in...good chance it will of arrived by the time you have finished them!! A delivery will arrive "mañana" which means you wait in all day...sometimes to no avail..! To buy food for a dinner party you have to go to at least 5 different supermarkets to get the list of ingrediants!! oh...to be in Sainsburys!! All Brits should live here for a while and you would learn that all that runshing around just leads to stress..!! WHY? its Spain...its the lifestyle here...and we came here for the relaxed way of life!! warm winter days, fresh seafood, taking in the sunshine with a nice glass of wine while watching the world stoll by. its not all bad...just takes some getting used to and occasionally counting to 10..!! Hey..and property here now is so cheap...loads of bargains. Im actually having to move back to the UK as I need to work, but as soon as it picks up out here again I will be on the first flight back! Hasta Luego xx


yvonne said:
27 January 2010 @ 13:19

Hi i agree with Claire. At the moment i would not touch Spain with a barge pole until all the illegal homes situation is sorted out. After saying that i would never go back to the Uk either. It is not our country any more thanks to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, which is the main reason why we left. we could afford to retired in the uk. Here at least we have the sunshine the sea and a much slower pace of life. Yes it is more expensive to live now but if you shop around and buy when things are on offer then its still cheaper than England. My only comment on Spain is that it would be nice not to have to worry whether or not your dream home is going to be domolished. the rest i can live with


mikey said:
27 January 2010 @ 10:57

sorry mispel meant,forgot


mikey said:
27 January 2010 @ 10:56

you for the local authorities


Martin Elmslie said:
27 January 2010 @ 10:33

People don't want to move to Spain because when you purchase a property the agents, solicitors, builders and banks are all out to con you.


Mark said:
27 January 2010 @ 10:30

Thanks Justin,

I have read many of the comments to your article and there is a disgraceful level of accuracy to what is being said. I do understand the level of exhausted frustration, it's often completely justified and its causes are invariably either illegal or, at minimum, unforgiveable.

The property market has been dogged by rip off, the "system" is alien and integration is a major problem. But .... and this is a huge but...I have been here for quite a while living and working. I continue to believe that for me and my family we are still able to enjoy a vibrant and exciting life in Spain; one that offers a wholly viable alternative to the UK.

Yes when it rains - it pours but grey usually gives way to sun even in January! But life isn't just about the weather.

Coming to Spain is not the answer if you already suffer from the debilitiating negativity so prevalent in many from the UK. Its not a universal panacea for "all that ails you" but if you are looking for a new direction, where you can allow compromise and flexibility to be present, then think about Spain.

Standing still if often not a great alternative but if the thrill of the new and the undiscovered lights your candle then do it. You'll not replace the UK with Spain - nor vice versa - but if you have the enterprise to come in the first place you'll know that already.

I will never support the rip off economy, the disrespectful cashier nor the dogged determnation of many to make Spain a kind of UK suburb. This is Spain in all its glory and majesty, its difference and - God knows - its attendant furstration - which sadly let me assure you - does not improve with experience.

Try before you buy - you don't even have to buy - but you may just fall in love with the place! The sun, the snow, the beaches, the golf, the mountains, the diet , the culture and diversity all make for a complex and beautiful country that is here to enjoyed on its terms.

I love my home city of London - and miss it, friends and family - but I am very happy to live in Andalucia.




Sean said:
27 January 2010 @ 10:25

Both myself and my wife speak fluent Spanish. Been here (CdS) for 6 years, a homeowner for 4 of those. The Spaniards can be nice, especially if you speak Spanish (which, let's face it, most expats can't be bothered to learn so don't feel particularly sorry for them) but Spaniards DO treat their own with preference - speaking fluent Spanish it's amazing what you hear said about foreigners that passes over the heads of non-speakers.

We trust absolutely no-one here, British or Spanish. We know several people who have been ripped off for significant sums of money and we have had a few close calls ourselves (yes, from both English and Spanish). We have had people trying to sue us for utterly nonsensical reasons that have never even made it to court but have still cost us money - grubby little people trying it on.

Somebody mentioned the complete lack of customer service here - couldn't agree more, it does not exist. Once you part with your money you are treated with indifference or downright disdain; you have to do things you have theoretically paid for (courier service for example: as I speak we have goods coming from UK - just been called by the couriers from Málaga and they won't deliver to our village which is a whole 30 mins from Málaga. Why not?!?!?! You are a courier company and have been padi from the UK part of the deal. This is met with an indifferent shrug of the shoulders and I have to meet them 1/2 way).

General levels of courtesy and respect from any nationality here are very poor, and it's a culture of one-up-manship and seeing how much you can turn people over for or how much you can screw out of them.

Cost of living is now very high indeed, and this coming from a couple who earn a decent salary by local standards. Awful compared to what we'd get in the UK - perhaps 1/2? People say that it's a trade-in for the lifestyle. Is it? The only difference we have here as people who have to work is that the sun shines more and we're outside more. Other than that it's hardly a better lifestyle - longer working hours for less money to spend on more expensive goods and services of substantially lower quality than in the UK.

I get peoples' comments about better to suffer problems here than suffer them in the UK, but I have to say from my perspective - a 30 something "professional" with a young family who needs to work for a living - coming to Spain and certainly buying property here was the 2nd worst decision I ever made after smoking for 20 years. My chances of getting back onto the "professional" career ladder back in UK are now shot to pieces, so if we do ever go back (commitment of mortgage on a house unlikely to sell for a while makes that pretty unlikely, so have to suffer the joke working environment here in the meantime) I'd need to re-train which I can't really afford to do.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Would NEVER have moved here if I'd had it.



David said:
27 January 2010 @ 10:13

To those who say it is difficult to heat a property in Spain in the winter...invest in central heating like we are used to in Northern Europe! Boiler amd rads. Electric or gas boiler.
Nothing else comes close! Yes there is a cost but if you want the level of comfort we need...its the only way.



Mikey said:
27 January 2010 @ 10:03

i would not move to spain in a million years! have a house there the last 10 years and if i could sell it and cut all links with the place i would do it in a flash. horrible country and people. rather move to the dark side of the moon!!


Maria said:
27 January 2010 @ 09:46

The response to the article shows a clear interets on why people are coming or not, what in my opinion shows people HAVE interest on Spain.

Let´s hope and work for that dreamt Spain to resurge!

Maria



Jack said:
27 January 2010 @ 00:59

I agree that Spain isn't as cheap as it was but overall it's still cheaper than England.
We have problems as only 46 of the 94 property's have been sold and the developer has stopped paying his community fees. We also have some owners that have not paid theirs either.
We probably should have rented instead of buying (off plan, but now fully finished) but that would have needed us being able to foresee the future.
We find the Spanish people very agreeable as long as you try to speak Spanish.
Bureaucracy is a problem just as in England.
Do we regret moving here?
Definitely NOT!!!!
We can't do as much as we planned but we can still do more here than in England.



jez said:
26 January 2010 @ 21:47

I have lived in spain for 10 years and I wouldnt advise anyone to follow my tracks. Life out here is made to be difficult. The Spanish do not want the British here. They are ignorant, lazy and all need a bomb up their bits to make them get up and smile in the mornings. I even spent 8 yrs in a relationship with a Spanish Man, he even admitted to me that they hate the British!! I would say 60% are into drugs...whatever age. The urbinizations are someone like a war zone. Green zones left abandoned, no council services, No postal service, no decent Tv, expensive internet and phone lines. Bars and restaurants more expensive than UK. There is NO customer service here. Stay where you are and take holidays!!


Michael Harris said:
26 January 2010 @ 21:09

I have a property in spain that i am renting but like most of the people writing in we are all in the same boat. Have you considered showing these letters to the authorities and getting their comments maybe they could shed some light on what they are trying to do to solve these problems. Also do they consider any improvements that will give us all some hope that our investments will get better and moving to spain is a good thing


Lynn said:
26 January 2010 @ 19:50

Hi Justin. I think that you have convered everything in your article. It is a shame but when so many people have been ripped off in the property bubble,(especially from the likes of MRI) and lost their savings the last place they want to do is live in the place with so many bad memories. also, like you have indicated with the Euro so strong and the pound so weak it is far easier to 'struggle' in your own country, where at least you know that one can get health treatment free. If the economy improves... I think that they will start to trickle back it it will take years, in the meantime those without work in Spain and let's face nearly all of them in the south of spain depend on the tourists, it will be interesting to see what happens. the quality of life is not what is was do to the high rised buildings plus the corruption is one of the high points as to why people are no longer coming.sad


Steve G said:
25 January 2010 @ 15:25

Just re-read my last post. Please excuse my atrocious spelling.


Steve G said:
25 January 2010 @ 15:24

Decent lawyer could be the key. But how do you find one? Certainly not just via recommendation from somebody who had a good experience buying/ selling and apartment. Unfortunately there is a lot more to it than that.

Spanish lawyers (some) now appear very happy to advices their clients to take people to court. Why wouldn't they? They're not selling as many properties as previously, so they have to make some money somewhere.

When my developer and his builder were in dispute, it took me finding the builder and agreeing to pay him what the developer owed in order to get my keys (this was actually more than the 10% that I owed to the developer), after all the developer was in breach of contract by no deliverying.

My lawyer said that we could go to court to recover costs for work not completed etc. This took five years and, although we had architects reports for problems (endorsed by the Collegio de Architectos) with the villa and other evdidence of work not completed, we walked away with practically nothing. We settled out of court for our deeds and documentation to be handed over on the advice of our lawyer, "Otherwise we would lose everything!"

The lawyers comment was "The judge was in their pocket, we have to start again and hope we get a different judge."

We paid a fortune in barrister's fees for a barrister who's only appearance was to walk into the court waiting room at the end stuffing her face with a doughnut.

What followed though was extreme persecution by the developers who weren't happy that we found a way of obtaining our property.

Our bolletins for water and electricty were not suppied by the promoter which meant that we could not legally conect these services. I even fitted my own water meter (as you can't get one fitted without the bullotin) but was disconnected and told by the water company that I would be taken to court if I reconnected. Needless to say, I reconnected the supply and am still awaiting the consequences of my actions.

I bought a generator for power (although the other 6 villas in my street were connected to mains) until this could be sorted out.

We applied for, and were granted a licence to construct a wall to the perimiter of our garden (according to our request the permiter wall should have been minimum 6 ft as we had 2 German shepherds. A 3ft wire fence was installed), only to have somebody from the planning department arrive (accompanied by one of the promoters) to tell us that we had the wrong licence and would have to take the wall down and pay a 26k euro fine.

We threathened the town hall with the supreme court in Malaga and finally agreed to pay just short or 4000 euros to keep the wall.

The promoter never did hand over our deeds and we had to pay our lawyer and an architect to carry out the necessary work to obtain these via another means. That was also not plain sailing as the first attempt produced the documentation for the wrong villa!!! Which of course the architect wanted paying for (yeah right!!).

I am on my 3rd lawyer in 10 years and think I may finally have got it right. This one gets back to me in hours instead of weeks and does what he gets paid for.

I don't consider myself to be another expat (living the dream). I lived and worked in Spain with Spaniards for 2 years before I moved my family over. I also rented for 3 years before I bought my own villa. I guess we were just unfortunate to have bought in the wrong place at the wrong time from the wrong people using the services of the wrong professionals. Hmmmmmmm......

Spain is a wonderful place to live regading the climate and the cuisine. I am sure if I had bought an apartment and retired to Spain my impression would have been a lot different.





Steve G said:
25 January 2010 @ 15:17

Decent lawyer could be the key. But how do you find one? Certainly not just via recommendation from somebody who had a good experience buying/ selling and apartment. Unfortunately there is a lot more to it than that.

Spanish lawyers (some) now appear very happy to advices their clients to take people to court. Why wouldn't they? They're not selling as many properties as previously, so they have to make some money somewhere.

When my developer and his builder were in dispute, it took me finding the builder and agreeing to pay him what the developer owed in order to get my keys (this was actually more than the 10% that I owed to the developer), after all the developer was in breach of contract by no deliverying.

My lawyer said that we could go to court to recover costs for work not completed etc. This took five years and, although we had architects reports for problems (endorsed by the Collegio de Architectos) with the villa and other evdidence of work not completed, we walked away with practically nothing. We settled out of court for our deeds and documentation to be handed over on the advice of our lawyer, "Otherwise we would lose everything!"

The lawyers comment was "The judge was in their pocket, we have to start again and hope we get a different judge."

We paid a fortune in barrister's fees for a barrister who's only appearance was to walk into the court waiting room at the end stuffing her face with a doughnut.

What followed though was extreme persecution by the developers who weren't happy that we found a way of obtaining our property.

Our bolletins for water and electricty were not suppied by the promoter which meant that we could not legally conect these services. I even fitted my own water meter (as you can't get one fitted without the bullotin) but was disconnected and told by the water company that I would be taken to court if I reconnected. Needless to say, I reconnected the supply and am still awaiting the consequences of my actions.

I bought a generator for power (although the other 6 villas in my street were connected to mains) until this could be sorted out.

We applied for, and were granted a licence to construct a wall to the perimiter of our garden (according to our request the permiter wall should have been minimum 6 ft as we had 2 German shepherds. A 3ft wire fence was installed), only to have somebody from the planning department arrive (accompanied by one of the promoters) to tell us that we had the wrong licence and would have to take the wall down and pay a 26k euro fine.

We threathened the town hall with the supreme court in Malaga and finally agreed to pay just short or 4000 euros to keep the wall.

The promoter never did hand over our deeds and we had to pay our lawyer and an architect to carry out the necessary work to obtain these via another means. That was also not plain sailing as the first attempt produced the documentation for the wrong villa!!! Which of course the architect wanted paying for (yeah right!!).

I am on my 3rd lawyer in 10 years and think I may finally have got it right. This one gets back to me in hours instead of weeks and does what he gets paid for.

I don't consider myself to be another expat (living the dream). I lived and worked in Spain with Spaniards for 2 years before I moved my family over. I also rented for 3 years before I bought my own villa. I guess we were just unfortunate to have bought in the wrong place at the wrong time from the wrong people using the services of the wrong professionals. Hmmmmmmm......

Spain is a wonderful place to live regading the climate and the cuisine. I am sure if I had bought an apartment and retired to Spain my impression would have been a lot different.





phil said:
25 January 2010 @ 00:30

Things will settle down. You only here from the moaners. People get ripped off in the UK, hence the programs made about nightmare and bob the builder people in the UK. Every country has them.
And the weather getting worse over here.
Rain Rain Rain. Depressing really isn't it.

Just do your homework and use a decent lawyer.

And next time you think about corruption, remember our politicians here in the UK. They are world beaters at it.



Jean burt said:
24 January 2010 @ 19:56

I think the bad publicity about builders leaving people with unfinished properties and the corruption in all aspects of buying and selling have been on TV far more than any good things about Spain.
When back in UK so many people say they would not want to buy in Spain. The dream is tarnished.



Lesley Johnson said:
24 January 2010 @ 03:49

Speakin as someone who still lives in the UK but owns property in Spain I would say the main reason is the bad press Spain has received in the last few years. We intended retiring to Spain eventually but are now having second thoughts. Although things are not good in the UK at present it is the homeland and feel safer within its system. A case of better the devil you know. We have freinds who are trying to survive on UK pensions but are really finding it difficult. They are certainly not "Living the dream". We love Spain but think it needs to work on the image it portrays regarding property law etc.


Ted said:
23 January 2010 @ 14:32

From the previous letters one can see the defensive letters by people already in Spain and letters from people who would have but now have not made the move because of the current situation in Spain and the UK.
We alwayse intended to retire in a sunny climate but unfortunately it has not happened. We rented in Spain near Denia for two years and although we loved the weather,we found things we did not like, mainly
the corruption.It really got to us.I mean even
our lawyer was a little dodgy.
We missed the kids,the TV, being able to talk to everyone in English , we do not speak Spanish. Anyway we decided to come home and rather rent in Spain and France.We are doing this and it works.
I have to admit Spain has become terribly expensive.Cost of living in Spain now is far higher than in the UK.
The gloss has gone out of Spain fuelled by corruption and greed. The ugly developments have ruined the once beautiful countryside.It is sad but true.
Speak to expats and see how many are really happy. I have, and found the majority would return, if they could!



Patricia said:
23 January 2010 @ 11:52

How many expats actually watch the Spanish news every day or read a Spanish newspaper? Most don't know what is happening in Spain, they wouldn't know if murders were happening in their area at all.


Stuart said:
22 January 2010 @ 23:28

Reading a lot more of the comments on this article. Comments of shops closed and rubbish, corruption, robberies etc etc.

Hey guys take a look around yourselves now and at your high street. How many LARGE companies on your high street have closed or are about to close, how many empty shops, how long have houses been up for sale and if sold at what price. Crime is definately on the up, the police struggle with crime (unless you are driving as car that is) no discipline, youths running riot. Oh by the way this is in the UK. This happens everywhere not just Spain. The first four bulletins on the news this morning were of people sentenced to prison for murder, is this a good society to be proud of. Ans as one of the other comments, I would rather have a few problems in Spain than the same problems in rainy, cold England. As for heating the house at night in the winter in Spain, I have to heat the house ALL DAY in winter in the UK and in fact most of the rest of the year too.



Bill McDonald said:
22 January 2010 @ 12:28

Hi I have a property in a village in Valencia, it is an established area with lots of very friendly Spainish living in it. I beleive this is the only way to buy a property in Spain, buying off-plan or in the campo is just madness and leads to all sorts of rip-offs. Speaking of which I have been ripped off by one Spanish builder in my time here, but I must say that most people I have dealt with have been prompt, friendly and easy to do business with, maybe it's just the Valencianos have a better attitude?
There is no doubt that things are not as great as they used to be in Spain, but things are no better in the UK, crime, violence, overtaxing & poverty, they are all rife. Sometimes it pays to sit it out during a recession, things will improve, these situations are like a swinging pendulum, it will get better again.



Paul Miller said:
21 January 2010 @ 13:10

We settled in Mallorca 18 years ago and have been renting ever since. Sure the island talk has been about corruption in the past but if one researched their move to Spain instead of being over-enamoured with the sunny lifestyle; they would not of been ripped off.
I've seen more research gone into buying a dog than I've seen in buying a bar or even a house!!
The British penchant for generalising about the doom and gloom doesn't anybody any favours either.



Martin Golden said:
21 January 2010 @ 11:50

Another reason putting people off Spain is all the horror stories they have seen on TV & are stilling hearing of with regards to Brits & their properties & losing everything !!


Rob In Madrid said:
21 January 2010 @ 11:47

As a Canadian who moved to Europe 10 years ago (7 in Germany, 3 in Spain) it has never ceases to amaze me how you can drive 2 hours and encounter a whole new language culture and legal system, this inspite of 50 years of European integration. Europe will always be a collection of 26+ nations states.

On to Spain. I think what you'll see is a return to the pre bubble era. That is people who move to Spain will be one of two types. The well off retiree, much like in the Canada and the States where people who can, move to Florida. If you have the money why wouldn’t you move somewhere warm.

And secondly those who move marry a Spaniard and become Spanish. Most of our non exapt (i.e. American) friends fall firmly in that category. The husband (or visa versa) is Spanish, the Wife British, or occasionally American. They move here, learn the language, get a job, settle in and become for all intents and purposes Spanish.

What we’ll never see again is the day when you could pick up your family buy a cheap property in Spain and run your life as if you never left the UK. Those days will never return.

Spain is a very nice place to live as long as you reconize it's not the country you came from.



Roger Wood said:
21 January 2010 @ 11:40

When i first started getting your excellent newsletter, my wife and I were set on moving to Spain when I retired. We estimated that with the then exchange rates we would have an extremely comfortable lifestyle in Spain - but the collapse of the £ vs the Euro has meant that our potential income has been reduced by one third. Unfortunately my wife was taken ill and we had to put our plans on hold. Maybe it was just as well otherwise we would be strruggling to make ends meet.


Jean said:
20 January 2010 @ 22:07

Have read a lot of the comments re: your article and there are many of them - with very varied responses - we have a house in Spain and plan to spend most of our retirement time there in a year or two - there are problems in Spain (but there are also very many problems in UK) and to be quite truthful, I would rather be in Spain and in a warmer climate with problems than in the UK in the cold with the problems...I can quite honestly say that we have always found the Spanish people, warm & friendly and we love spending time in our "home" over there. Smile people and enjoy your life whether it be in UK, Spain or elsewhere!!!!!!


David said:
20 January 2010 @ 21:44

Just wait until the post-war baby-boom retirees start thinking about selling-up for a last great adventure in the sun. Most of them will look for an easy escape to a warm place where English is the second language; the first language in many localities. Where do you think they will head? Spain of course. How do I know, well guess! Piers Morgan didn't do any harm to those of us gravitating towards Marbella - it was uplifting compared with 99% of the stuff that now concentrates just as heavily on the down-side as it once did on promoting property investment in the sun - it's the same journalists. Whilst I have the deepest sympathy for those whose lives have been ruined in Spain, it's just another corner of Planet Earth where bad things can happen. It's not paradise, the people are not saintly, and they are not obliged to care for immigrants.


Finisterre said:
20 January 2010 @ 20:22

Well, I guess I'm in a different position to most commenters here as I'm in my 30s and have never owned a house. We had to move to a city (Seville) rather than the coast as I needed to find work (partner works from home).

I agree that the cost of living is high and that there is a lot of bureaucracy, but for me the climate and lifestyle outweigh the negatives. I did a lot of research before I came and I speak reasonable conversational Spanish, so that helps, but I am not kidding myself that I will be integrated into local life here for a very long time yet.

I have encountered a fair bit of 'rudeness' but only because my English ideas of politeness are different! In my experience the Spanish are brilliant in many ways and terrible in a few, just like the British. I don't think they are anti-British, but like any nationality there will be complaints if they perceive immigrants as too demanding, too isolated or whatever.

We are planning to stay indefinitely, assuming we can afford it. Financially it is a struggle, particularly because my English teaching contract only runs from September to June, but for me and my partner, the relaxed quality of life and the beautiful, life-affirming sunshine make it all worthwhile.



paul said:
20 January 2010 @ 19:34

I believ the problem is still the age old problem of the newspapers reporting the bad side.e.g people losing thier homes, and pierce morgan certainly wont help matters reporting people being gassed to be robbed. when people who intend to move to spain actually look into it they get a shock , remembering programmes that have been shown of late . costa del street crime. spain homes from hell etc these aren't painting a good picture.


Brian said:
20 January 2010 @ 18:10

Agree with all your points, however you missed an important point, having lived in Spain for two years, 2006/2008, it was obvious that Spain does not treat the Brits very well, they are quick to collect taxes upfront and any other charges they can grab but offer very little in return, people moving to Spain must prepare for a lengthy trial period there before selling up, if this is not possible stay where you are.


Les said:
20 January 2010 @ 14:59

Well that's it then. The majority of people who are loving there or who would have immigrated there seem to be against living there. So why invest into a corrupt regime?
Try Portugal instead !
Or better still just rent when you have had enough of the cold.



Steve G said:
20 January 2010 @ 14:28

Main reasons for leaving/ not moving to Spain:

1: Dodgy lawyers
2: Dodgy developers
3: Dodgy police force
4: Dodgy authorities
5: Racism (against anybody not Spanish)

I lived there (Costa del Sol) for over 8 years. Working and paying into the SS system. Currently living/ working back in the UK with my villa still in Spain for now. I don't think my wife and I will ever move back.

I'd like to elaborate, but busy working hard to pay for the next fine that the dodgy authorities will think up to fill there coffers.



Neil M said:
20 January 2010 @ 12:12

I agree with most of what has been said. I was looking to move to Spain to retire but have had to forget it.
The first thing that changed and possibly the biggest impact on my finances was my works pension. Three years ago they informed me it was no longer to be a final salary scheme. Instead it was going to revert to a money purchase scheme. What this ment to me was for every £10k pension that I was expecting to recieve I would only get £4k. Many final salary pension schemes in the U.K have done this or even worse some have wound up alltogeather.I had hoped to be moving to Spain this year so 16 months ago put my house up for sale. Talk about bad timeing my sale fell through and the house has now lost 30% in value (if I can find a buyer).
The exchange rate is about 20% worse so my reduced pension will not go so far add to that Spanish Price increases for electricity and food and Spain has become expensive.
The over production of property in Spain over the last decade plus the well publicised land grabs and the recession has all but killed the property market in Spain. In my opinion at best it will be a decade before this market gets back to anything like normal.
The Spanish legal system is a long winded out of date minefield in favor of the government and belongs to be back in the days of Franco.
One of the first things Spain needs to do is reform it's laws if it wants to intice overseas investment.
I still love Spain and the Spanish people but I will not buy in Spain. It is a shame but I think it will be after my lifetime before Spain drags its self back fully into the modern world.
I am thinking of long term renting and living in Spain when finances allow. But for me like many other Brits the dream of moving to Spain full time will remain just that. A dream.



Jim Palmer said:
20 January 2010 @ 12:07

Corruption, Well!!! I suppose the Spanish members of parliament have no expense account fraud,
Safety, I have never seen a Police Station in the Spanish hospitals to protect doctors and nurses from drunken, abusive teenagers.
Rudenes, its true that I have not been insulted by shop assistants in the UK, well!! I might have been , but I dont understand Polish.
Prices, I left the UK 7 years ago and my council tax was over 1600 pounds then!! And I was paying 30% income tax
Health cover. I was commited to pay the Nat Insurance, this was for filthy hospitals, a wrong diagnosis and being put on beta-blockers I didnt need.
Doctors Surgeries. I first had to get by the 'all-knowing' receptionist that was also known as the' Appointment Prevention Officer', to then be informed that the doctor would see me in a fortnight.
Housing Scams. I cant argue that this is a problem, BUT!!! there are some of the Northern Europeans that really should have known better, But to be fair there was a lack of regulation that has cost many people dear..... we should also remember there are thousands upon thousands of contented, happy foreigners in Spain that are enjoying the climate, culture and safety of this country, most of these have taken the trouble to learn the language, and have intigrated into their chosen community.
I have taken friends to the airport for their last flight to the UK and have had to console them as they really dont want to go. its only the benefit system that takes them back, many phone to Spain in horror to describe a UK that bears no resemblance to the country they left some years ago.
to finish I have to say the Ex-pats , be they brits, germans. dutch ,french, norwegian, swedish or whatever have brought a lot of money into the Spanish system, it was of their own choosing and they may or may not be happy with the result of their move,,BUT for the Brits that are whining on in this column, I have only one reply, Please Go Back to the UK, You only do Harm to the rest of us that want to continue a life-style that we could only dream of back there.



Andres said:
20 January 2010 @ 12:05

My friends who come over from the UK now are shocked at how expensive it is to live here compared with even central London. They are double shocked at the conditions under which most of us work here - autonomo - i.e no rights, no security, no respect.

I've been here for 6 years, earn a good salary compared to many, but am totally fed up with the labour market and the general Mickey Mouse state of most of the companies here.

Very interested in going back to the UK now...never thought I'd say that!



Jackie Swaine said:
20 January 2010 @ 11:11

I believe that people have lost faith in the Spanish system, and no longer believe that life is better in Spain. My partner and I were due to relocate to Spain in summer 2008, and had purchased an off plan apartment with Polaris World to use as a base while looking for our permanent home. We have had a terrible time with Polaris World and all plans had to be put on hold. In September 2008 we felt we had no option other than to take legal action against them to recover our money, this is stll in the Court process. All of this has soured our impression of Spain and we have decided that even if we manage to recover our money we will no longer consider Spain as an option. The only media coverage currently being shown in the UK is about all the problems and I think the Spanish dream has long gone. Sad but I fear true.


David said:
20 January 2010 @ 10:28

I am glad that most of the people posting in the comments don't live in Spain because they would bring nothing to the country. How anyone can complain about the lack of TV channels when it rains just shows the lack of culture and ignorance of some people.
Meanwhile while all is certainly not rosy in the garden, far from it, if you are focussed on what you do, learn the language and do your homework before coming and when here, your quality of life improves immensely. Those who moan, gripe and generally diss their host country, usually in English, are generally the same people who complain about immigrants into the UK not integrating and not speaking the language.
I love council tax at 2000 Pounds per year honestly. I love the twelve month's wait for a specialist's appointment. I love the freezing cold weather and grey skies. I love having one rubbish collection a week even in flats where after one day the bins are overflowing with rubbish. I love corrupt politicians claiming for a duck's house in his garden pond and the general sleaze. (Do you notice the sarcasm?)
If you choose to focus on the crap you will find it in Spain or anywhere else. However sometimes you must look closer to home.
By the way did anyone jump on that bandwagon of city centre flats for buy to let in the UK? Examples include Leeds where one flat sold for 72K last week was bought in 2006 for 237K Now that is a property crash.



Daisy said:
20 January 2010 @ 09:24

Unfortunately the cons of buying in Spain far outweigh the pros.We rented in Spain for two years with the option of eventually buying. But thankfully decided against it.
Everything we found such a pain. Dealing with town hall, wow! Never a smile, alwayse an effort. OK so the weather is good in summer, so rent then and have no hassle.
We decided to have our base in England where we know and trust the system and maybe rent in Spain or better still, beautiful France. Food better, beautiful countryside and smiling people. Sorry but I am disillusioned with Spain and the way we "rich"Brits are ripped off by all and sundry!
PS The weather in Winter is lousy anyway. Have you tried to warm a Spanish house at night in winter?



John said:
20 January 2010 @ 09:00

Where I live in Mazarron the housing market is flat as a pancake and a lot of estate agencies have closed up shop and/or are operating off a mobile phone. Most rentals are from other nationalities, not Brits, mainly African immigrants with little spare cash which drives down the available rental income further. Most agencies are still takng 10% though! Some of these tennants also over occupy and wont leave when the agreement is up and can be very hard to get out so if any of you are thinking of long term letting be very, very, careful.
Also alot of the other shops have closed as well leaving the typical failed economy high street of cheap chinese "supermarkets"and second hand shops / flea markets selling knock off goods. Of those normal shops that remain I have found the prices to be extortionate, especially electrical goods. If you want a washing machine, fridge, TV etc round here you are going to pay a fortune, better to ship in from the UK but this does not help the Spanish economy.
I have also just been robbed (mostly all my electrical stuff so I know how much it costs-- I suppose I could buy it back from the car boot!) Dealing with the police is a nightmare I will never call Brit police again! My insurance company is little better insisting I fax everything to them rather than e-mail. When will Spain embrace new technology? On a personal level I have never suffered any abuse or rudeness because I am a Brit. Most of my problems have stemmed form my fellow countrymen
not paying their community charges and expecting a free ride but that is another story. I agree with most of Catherine B's post and I don't think it is going to be resolved anytime soon despite what the pundits say. There has to be a huge sea change in Spanish bureaucracy and culture for a start. Had I known then what I know now I would have dipped in and out of Spain on short term lets as I felt like it but I am stuck with a flat I cant give away so like everyone else out there in the same boat I will have to tough it out



Jane Stockdale said:
20 January 2010 @ 08:55

I think that one of the reasons people are not moving to Spain is because of the corruption in Spains building industry and because people have no trust in Spains Banks and Insurance Companies. My family should have been moving to Spain this year but our house was never built because the builder went into administration and the bank have so far refused to repay our deposit of £26,000 even though we have a valid bank guarantee. I would be very wary of buying in Spain because I cannot trust anyone involved in selling houses and also because everything takes so long to resolve. We have now been trying to get our money back for almost two years.


Catherine B said:
20 January 2010 @ 03:43

While I love Spain and visit our little bolthole whenever time and work allows, I've noticed how the quality of life has deteriorated in the last couple of years, with many shops and restaurants closed down, lots of empty property for sale and rubbish left everywhere, despite excellent rubbish and recycling facilities.

However, the Brits love affair with Spain has gone off the boil for many reasons, but most especially by media accounts of the callous treatment of retirees who have used their life savings to move to Spain and then have found themselves victims of the notorious 'land grab' or planning permission fiasco. These poor souls lives have been ruined through no fault of their own, and should be fairly and adequately compensated with the cheating town halls/property developers made to pay. Such awful tales of woe deservedly give Spain a bad name and put people off buying.
2) The fall in the value of the pound has made a huge difference. Spain is no longer as affordable as it once was. Add to that, that if you do buy, you're like to have a very difficult time if you want to sell in the future - and agents charge exorbitant fees.
3) Why does anything that involves the law take so long to resolve that it's not worth the hassle? We were cheated by our builder, but advised it wasn't worth suing him as it would take years for the case to come to court.
4) Spain seems to have fallen behind the rest of Europe in the retail sector. The shops in most towns offer less choice and are more expensive than at home. Spanish supermarkets rarely have good offers or reductions. Fruit and veg is often on sale at well past the sell by date.
5) Why hasn't Spain joined the rest of Europe with cheap and easy broadband for everyone who wants it? Why is it so hard to get a phone line from Telefonica?
6) In Javea, electricity and water bills have doubled in the last year and no longer charged on a sliding scale and your whole bill comes at the highest scale. Utility prices are now more expensive than in the UK.
7) The infrastructure is poor. We have a serious problem with flooded roads. After heavy rain, we can't get out on foot due to 'lakes' in the road that can last for weeks because there are no drains or soakaways. The townhall just ignores the problem, yet can waste taxpayers' money on paying for two car parks in the town centre and only getting one!
8) Why are developers continuing to build when there's so much property for sale and new apartment blocks are standing empty?
9) Spain needs stricter laws on keeping the pavements and streets clear of dog mess. Irresponsible dog owners should be made to clear up after their pets or be heavily fined.
With the benefit of hindsight, perhaps we should have bought in France rather than Spain, although we love the heat and the Spanish climate. However, not having broadband and being unable to sell (because of the property glut) are big disadvantages.



Vikki Stephenson said:
20 January 2010 @ 00:35

Purchased a off plan property in Velez Malaga in 2005, paid our Deposit of 26000 Euros, 18 months later our builder pulled out of the contract, paying us back all our deposit so l have only a positive experience of the spanish people. The only reason holding us in the UK at present is the pound euro exchange rate if the UK would sign up to the Euro, watch out for the great rush to live in Spain, not much fun living in the UK now or in the future.


Stuart said:
19 January 2010 @ 23:41

I would move to Spain tomorrow. We purchased a house near Alicante 5 years ago with the intention of a move, preferably before retirement. Unfortunately the recession has delayed the move, but this is not only in Spain and the exchange rate doesn't help with the upkeep and the running of 2 houses (UK and Spain). As far as corruption and 'rip off ', although we have had problems with some Spanish tradesmen, we have had far worse from Brits in Spain, charging English prices for work and in some cases not finishing or just disappearing completely. we have always found the people in the area where our property is, Mutxamel to be more than welcoming and as long as we try in our very limited Spanish, they are very warm and helpfull. But we are still on the British treadmill of work and sleep at the moment. Hopefully the recession will come to an end soon and we can begin making plans again.


Moira Varney said:
19 January 2010 @ 23:38

Another reason "Why people are not moving to Spain" alongside
your article of less TV channels in English - 1) I live in Almeria, when it rains, the TV breaks up and so we have no TV to watch at all. 2) Recording a programme when you are out is a 50/50
chance of it being recorded, and you can only record on one channel, unlike the U.K. where you can programme in different
channels. That is a real pain sometimes!!!



jimbo said:
19 January 2010 @ 23:28

Land grab
Fear of the wrecking ball
Ley de Costas
Slow Broadband
Poor quality property
Motorway highjack/robery
House buying fees/tax too high.
Eg. 12% on 250K = 30k So you could rent for a few years. Instead of owning a house that you cannot sell.



Mel & Ted Butter said:
19 January 2010 @ 23:20

This is Ted, Mels gone to bed.

Now is the best time ever to invest in our region of spain.
New airport, railway from Madrid on the way, improved roads(San Pedro eg,). Recessions always bounce back with positive outcome.
Dead wood is going, off-plan sharks have been ousted out. Look at the long term. Did anyone see Piers Morgan on Marbella? Great! What did you think Justin?



Delia said:
19 January 2010 @ 23:13

Because of the Spanish attitude to well intentioned, law-abiding fellow EU citizens who are now trapped by their corrupt property “laws”. Spain is no longer a desirable country to reside in.
What will happen is that people wishing to retire to the sun will avoid Spain like the plague and go elsewhere.
There is just too much decent legal property on offer thought Europe, where the rule of law applies to all equally.
Who in their proper mind could ever consider Spain as a friendly retirement destination?
With the crisis in the property market in Spain, it appears that the message from the Spanish Government is “we will chastise our corrupt officials, by making an example of you” and you have little comeback or support.
We will demolish your houses and destroy your lives, and let that be a lesson to you.

PS. A slap on the hand to our officials will suffice.



Justin said:
19 January 2010 @ 23:02

Mel & Ted, there are about 10% less listings but in the past two years our overall rankings have improved so our overall long term rental traffic has been pretty much consistent.


Mel & Ted Butter said:
19 January 2010 @ 22:55

Hi Justin,

We are inundated with customers wanting our apartment for long term rental. (Nueva Andalucia).

Could it be your figures are slightly low because there are comparitavely less properties on your website since you started charging for a listing?

If one is going to be in a recession, might as well do it in the sunshine.
Buenos Tardes.



Mike said:
19 January 2010 @ 22:40

We went to Spain with the idea to retire there.
After renting for a few months, we decided this
place is not for us.We found the people rude
becouse we were English even though the place
depends on us to bring in our cash.Shop assistants
are rude, waiters in restaurants rude in fact
we found all the locals miserable. Corruption
is so rife, not for us. Thank goodness we didn't buy.
Rather buy in the U K and travel the world. Give me Waitrose
any day over Masimas!



hayden said:
19 January 2010 @ 22:28

In answer to the question who is moving to Spain then I can say that we are.
Although being ripped off we have moved on and will shortly purchase a village property inland.
We are buying purely for lifestyle choice and look forward to a happy retirement.



Louise said:
19 January 2010 @ 21:57

Reasons people are not moving to Spain:
1. Corruption
2. Corruption
3. Corruption

Need we say more!



Pam said:
19 January 2010 @ 21:54

We had hoped to be living there by now but have been ripped off by the builder and our solicitors. Instead we are having to fork out a lot of money to try and recoup our 220K through the Spanish Courts. Even if we do get our money back the experience has soured our desire to ever live there.


james said:
19 January 2010 @ 21:49

your article is stunning and shows how spain has lost the plot in attracting new people to help the economy and pay for the ludicrously stupid development that has gone on for so may years. Still today they bury their head in the sand and the reason why your site is so popular is because it is impossible to do anything without help. Even now spanish bureaucracy and the need to have POA's every time you run to the bathroom is ridiculous. On top of that because there is so much bureaucracy lawyers continue to fleece clients with exorbitant fees and do little. There are only so many people in the world able to buy second homes and able to consider retiring in places like spain. Most of these people have already tried spain and had a bad experience which they will talk to there friends about which means fewer and fewer people will buy. Many of the potential new wealthy come from places like china, brazil, and other emerging economies and they have far more appealing places to live near them where they are welcomed and not fleeced by the locals. i love spain as a holiday destination and even a place to retire but the biggest mistake i ever made was buying there and becoming part of the system. The smart people will now just turn up rent, not appear on the radar and then move on. Spain needs to get its act together quickly otherwise it will continue to go downhill and only attract cheap drunk tourists sadly.


Les said:
19 January 2010 @ 21:40

You are quite right about the reasons. But
you left out an important reason and that is
the general corruption in Spain. Who would
really want to invest in a country, nowdays
after all the stories of corruption. I think the
Spanish are making a huge mistake in
the way they are treating the UK expats.Don't bite the hand that feeds you !
bite the hand that feeds you!the Spanish have
thrived becouse of the English and yet they treat
us with disdain.



Darren said:
19 January 2010 @ 21:37

Sounds all doom and gloom. For sure it will pick up again and if you are still here(Spain) it will be good. 2000 - 2005 was great. People are still buying but its not the brits. If you want figures Over seas property expo Helsinki NOV 2008,900 people SAD. Nov 2009, 2300 people mostly positive. Fact as i was there:)


Claire said:
19 January 2010 @ 21:12

People are scared to buy because of the huge publicity surrounding the corruption and demolishing of so called legal properties. Last Saturday, The Mail ran a long article on the demolishing of houses and The Times on Monday.


ian said:
19 January 2010 @ 21:09

one of the reasons we see for the decline is overcrowding..overbuilding,. lowering the quality of life as it used to be, It may take a long time to right that..
From the North Of Spain.. Calabria...


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