The north south divide

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  • #57287
    Profile photo of DBMarcos99
    DBMarcos99
    Participant

    Unemployment rates

    Is this disparity reflected in housing prices? Or does it just reflect a greater incidence of working on the black in the south?

    article in Spanish – http://www.eleconomista.es/catalunya/noticias/3488432/10/11/Andalucia-y-Cataluna-las-comunidades-donde-mas-crecio-el-paro.html

  • #115424
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    I think houses have traditionally been more expensive in the north, and employment higher. Like any currency union (including the UK and the US) poorer regions end up becoming dependent on fiscal transfers from the richer regions, and when the richer regions need to cut back, it’s the poorer regions that suffer most.

  • #115426
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Andalusia has seasonal employment. I was in CDS last week & noticed Crown Plaza, Barcelo closed.

  • #115427
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    Yes more hotels than ever are closed on the CDS…good job that tourism is up :mrgreen:

  • #115428
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    There were more people in “Los Canos de la Mecca” in Cadiz than in Porto Banus.

  • #115433
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    It’s probably the siesta mentality of the south which annoys the northerners…as they are seen as harder workers up there. I guess it’s the siesta, fiesta mentality which annoys other parts of Spain about Andalucia. And the fact that there are a lot of immigrants over from Morocco and the latin american countries picking lettuce, tomatoes etc. But, it’s so hot that you can understand why outdoor workers need a siesta. I don’t understand why banks though with their air con need to close early in summer ??

  • #115435
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    The siesta habit, perfectly understandable in such a hot country is inevitable. You couldn’t work outside on a summer afternoon.

    I’m afraid it’s catching for foreigners too, and most of us don’t work much outside.

    They say an afternoon nap is healthy too. I hope so, anyway.

  • #115436
    Profile photo of DBMarcos99
    DBMarcos99
    Participant

    It’s claimed in Expansion today that house prices in desirable areas of Madrid, Barcelona and Santander have hit their floor, and that now is a good time to invest in those places. I wonder if Chopera or GaryBCN can add to, or rebutt the article?

    http://www.expansion.com/2013/02/17/empresas/inmobiliario/1361139134.html

  • #115437
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Does Spain have an online register of the real sold for prices? ie: here in Ireland it’s http://www.propertypriceregister.ie/

    and in the UK it’s Zoopla or suchlike?

    Will Spain set up their notary system to show the general public the real selling prices?

    Also, would it help or hinder the market?

  • #115438
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    @itsme wrote:

    It’s probably the siesta mentality of the south which annoys the northerners…as they are seen as harder workers up there. I guess it’s the siesta, fiesta mentality which annoys other parts of Spain about Andalucia. And the fact that there are a lot of immigrants over from Morocco and the latin american countries picking lettuce, tomatoes etc. But, it’s so hot that you can understand why outdoor workers need a siesta. I don’t understand why banks though with their air con need to close early in summer ??

    Taking a long lunch break in hot climates makes sense. I did it when I worked in Libya and my grandparents did it when in Sri Lanka, and my boss takes a 30 min power nap here in Madrid (it’s the 30 min coffee break everyone takes 1 hour after arriving at work that I find excessive). However I agree that the Anadalucians have a reputation amongst other Spaniards for being lazy and corrupt.

    Also the banks close early in Madrid all year round – they have a very easy life!

  • #115439
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    Miami is hotter and more humid than Spain in summer but they don’t take siestas. Siestas aren’t as popular as they used to be. It worked ok. in the old Spain when people didn’t travel far to work. Now many more are commuting, also most of the large chain stores open throughout the day.

  • #115446
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    I feel in warm Countries. The working hours should be say 07.30 to 15.30, with no breaks if one wishes to have a coffee this sahould be done at their desk.

    By harmonising these hours they will be efficient & productive. At !5.30 they go home to their family friends etc.

  • #115450
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    @dbmarcos99 wrote:

    It’s claimed in Expansion today that house prices in desirable areas of Madrid, Barcelona and Santander have hit their floor, and that now is a good time to invest in those places. I wonder if Chopera or GaryBCN can add to, or rebutt the article?

    http://www.expansion.com/2013/02/17/empresas/inmobiliario/1361139134.html

    Difficult to comment too much on prime areas of Madrid since they tend to be a specialised market, and I’m not that familiar with it. However as I mentioned on another thread I see large flats for sale in prime areas for around half a million euros and I consider that to be relatively cheap. I can’t see how they can go down much more than that (it would imply bog standard 3 bed flats would be worth something like €150k – i.e. prices from 20 years ago!). I get the feeling owners of those big old flats in places like Chamberi and Salamanca can afford to drop the price because there is little (if any) outstanding mortgage, some of them might be inheritances, while others just retiress trying to downsize. Either way they are “priced to sell” (while the rest are “priced to hang around the market for years on end” 🙄 )

    However even if prices for those properties have reached the bottom (how many times have I heard an agent say that to me? 😆 ) it doesn’t necessarily mean they are about to go up again. There must be plenty of slack to be taken up before prices start moving upwards

  • #115451
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    @katy wrote:

    Miami is hotter and more humid than Spain in summer but they don’t take siestas. Siestas aren’t as popular as they used to be. It worked ok. in the old Spain when people didn’t travel far to work. Now many more are commuting, also most of the large chain stores open throughout the day.

    Yes the commute killed off the siesta in Madrid – what’s the point in having a 3 hour break at lunchtime when you’ve got nowhere to go? Problem is that people are still expected to work later (probably why they take the long coffee breaks)

  • #115452
    Profile photo of GarySFBCN
    GarySFBCN
    Participant

    It’s claimed in Expansion today that house prices in desirable areas of Madrid, Barcelona and Santander have hit their floor, and that now is a good time to invest in those places. I wonder if Chopera or GaryBCN can add to, or rebutt the article?

    OK, I’m not an expert. I bought a place for us in Barcelona. I may be looking for another but for some very specific reasons that wouldn’t make sense to most.

    With those credentials, my impression is that in Barcelona, the real estate market is not at all stable. And it is a bit crazy. One can find some real bargains, mostly from those who are desperate to sell and/or those pisos that are decrepit or in really awful neighborhoods. It also feels like ‘investors’ are buying pisos, but I have nothing to prove that.

    On the other hand, I saw someone posting advertisements today for ‘urge vender’ for a 3 BR 1 bath flat for 246,000, which seems ridiculous for the neighborhood it was in. And that highlights another problem widely discussed here: The totally unrealistic selling prices by individuals and banks.

    And again, I’ve seen a lot of Chinese businesses and those immigrants are living someplace. Also, I’ve seen several signs in real estate and other businesses in Russian, and just today I saw a sign in Korean (which gets my hopes up that I can eventually find decent kimchi here).

    I spent part of the day today in an Badalona, a city adjacent to Barcelona. It is a charming city. According to the prices listed in the windows of real estate agencies, there’s nothing cheap there. And we only saw 2 or 3 ‘en venta’ signs all day long.

    So where does that leave me? I don’t think the market has bottomed-out. I do think that it may be a good time to buy for those who want to own something in Barcelona. Because to get the really good deals on decent pisos, one needs to be living in Barcelona, know the city well and they need to be spending a great amount of time studying the real estate market, neighborhoods, etc., AND be at the right place at the right time, which usually involves luck.

    I believe Mark lives in Barcelona. Maybe he can give a more expert opinion.

    The infrastructure is pretty good in Barcelona, making it ripe for a economic recovery. Today, I also saw the new structure and location for the mercado Encants, a rag-tag, outdoor market, called flea markets in the US. Here are some photo as it looks now: http://www.encantsbcn.com/

    And here is what is it going to look like in a few months (it’s almost complete):

    http://www.encantsbcn.com/ElNouMercat/tabid/2798/language/es-ES/Default.aspx

    There are many other projects that seem to be continuing so money is flowing from somewhere. And that can be why the prices have not fallen as much as most of us though they would.

  • #115453
    Profile photo of GarySFBCN
    GarySFBCN
    Participant

    However even if prices for those properties have reached the bottom (how many times have I heard an agent say that to me? ) it doesn’t necessarily mean they are about to go up again. There must be plenty of slack to be taken up before prices start moving upwards

    Yes. As you probably know, something that loses 50% of its value (for example, was 200k, now 100k) has to increase in value 100% (100k to 200k) just to break even. That’s difficult to achieve in just a few years.

  • #115455
    Profile photo of DBMarcos99
    DBMarcos99
    Participant

    @chopera wrote:

    @katy wrote:
    Miami is hotter and more humid than Spain in summer but they don’t take siestas. Siestas aren’t as popular as they used to be. It worked ok. in the old Spain when people didn’t travel far to work. Now many more are commuting, also most of the large chain stores open throughout the day.

    Yes the commute killed off the siesta in Madrid – what’s the point in having a 3 hour break at lunchtime when you’ve got nowhere to go? Problem is that people are still expected to work later (probably why they take the long coffee breaks)

    When I worked in Madrid a lot of companies switched to the jornada intensiva in summer months (start a bit earlier, finish around 3pm). Is that still the case?

  • #115456
    Profile photo of DBMarcos99
    DBMarcos99
    Participant

    @garysfbcn wrote:

    It’s claimed in Expansion today that house prices in desirable areas of Madrid, Barcelona and Santander have hit their floor, and that now is a good time to invest in those places. I wonder if Chopera or GaryBCN can add to, or rebutt the article?

    OK, I’m not an expert. I bought a place for us in Barcelona. I may be looking for another but for some very specific reasons that wouldn’t make sense to most.

    With those credentials, my impression is that in Barcelona, the real estate market is not at all stable. And it is a bit crazy. One can find some real bargains, mostly from those who are desperate to sell and/or those pisos that are decrepit or in really awful neighborhoods. It also feels like ‘investors’ are buying pisos, but I have nothing to prove that.

    On the other hand, I saw someone posting advertisements today for ‘urge vender’ for a 3 BR 1 bath flat for 246,000, which seems ridiculous for the neighborhood it was in. And that highlights another problem widely discussed here: The totally unrealistic selling prices by individuals and banks.

    And again, I’ve seen a lot of Chinese businesses and those immigrants are living someplace. Also, I’ve seen several signs in real estate and other businesses in Russian, and just today I saw a sign in Korean (which gets my hopes up that I can eventually find decent kimchi here).

    I spent part of the day today in an Badalona, a city adjacent to Barcelona. It is a charming city. According to the prices listed in the windows of real estate agencies, there’s nothing cheap there. And we only saw 2 or 3 ‘en venta’ signs all day long.

    So where does that leave me? I don’t think the market has bottomed-out. I do think that it may be a good time to buy for those who want to own something in Barcelona. Because to get the really good deals on decent pisos, one needs to be living in Barcelona, know the city well and they need to be spending a great amount of time studying the real estate market, neighborhoods, etc., AND be at the right place at the right time, which usually involves luck.

    I believe Mark lives in Barcelona. Maybe he can give a more expert opinion.

    The infrastructure is pretty good in Barcelona, making it ripe for a economic recovery. Today, I also saw the new structure and location for the mercado Encants, a rag-tag, outdoor market, called flea markets in the US. Here are some photo as it looks now: http://www.encantsbcn.com/

    And here is what is it going to look like in a few months (it’s almost complete):

    http://www.encantsbcn.com/ElNouMercat/tabid/2798/language/es-ES/Default.aspx

    There are many other projects that seem to be continuing so money is flowing from somewhere. And that can be why the prices have not fallen as much as most of us though they would.

    Thx for that. You’ve given a view of the city market and listed possible influences.

  • #115457
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    @dbmarcos99 wrote:

    @chopera wrote:
    @katy wrote:
    Miami is hotter and more humid than Spain in summer but they don’t take siestas. Siestas aren’t as popular as they used to be. It worked ok. in the old Spain when people didn’t travel far to work. Now many more are commuting, also most of the large chain stores open throughout the day.

    Yes the commute killed off the siesta in Madrid – what’s the point in having a 3 hour break at lunchtime when you’ve got nowhere to go? Problem is that people are still expected to work later (probably why they take the long coffee breaks)

    When I worked in Madrid a lot of companies switched to the jornada intensiva in summer months (start a bit earlier, finish around 3pm). Is that still the case?

    Yes a lot still do that – usually big companies or certain industries where a “convenio” has been drawn up with the unions. If you work in a bank you will almost certainly get the jornada intensiva because of agreements with the banking unions. If you work in a tech company (like I do) you probably won’t (they are newer industries without a history of union agreements).

  • #115458
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    A friend who is a nurse in a health centre works 8am to 3pm and has done for years in San Pedro CDS. So has another one who works in a bank. Builders normally only take an hour for lunch on theCDS.

  • #115460
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Working hours in the UK are usually nine till five, while in Spain they can be anything between eight and seven, with siestas.

    The working hours are controlled by the climate and culture. I wouldn’t know how it affects overall efficiency, but a happy worker must be more effective than a miserable clock watcher, or paper shuffler.

    On the blue collar front, I’ve observed both, in the UK and Spain. My overall conclusion is that the Spanish lot seem a lot happier, but due to a current and ongoing experience with Spanish builders I’m a bit tongue tied.

    They’re due in an hours time and I’m brave enough to tell the truth before they arrive. They might be nice and happy people, but I’ve never come across a more useless bunch of twats in all my life.

    Sorry.

  • #115461
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    they are probably sat in a local coffee shop just talking and if they get into something everything else can wait they don’t seem to care.

  • #115462
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Very true Rocker and Dartboy

  • #115463
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Among other disasters, the Spanish builders somehow managed to reverse the water flow in the house and my wife shrunk some of her favourite clothes with a hot rinse.

    And this lot aren’t youngsters, they’ve built thousands of houses, shops and even a Church. God help anyone living in a house built by these clowns. I can speak freely, they’ve gone for breakfast after working for an hour.

  • #115464
    Profile photo of DBMarcos99
    DBMarcos99
    Participant

    It can be the worst time to get decent workers in certain areas – which may seem counter-intuitive. The more savvy and in-demand workers have probably gone to work in the north, or even abroad in Germany or the UK.
    I remember my father working at an engineering company during a recession (I think it was the 80s). The company laid a lot of workers off, luckily my father was essential at the time so he kept his post. Anyway, a year or so later, the company got some orders so needed to set people on again, and they had a hell of a time getting suitable workers – this was at the time of peak unemployment in the UK. A good percentage of those made redundant had used their money to move abroad, retire early, or start their own business. And of course the compamy needed workers skilled in certain areas, so the millions of people actively looking for work didn’t have the necessary skills.

  • #115465
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    We’ve just done a reforma on our flat in two phases. Phase one was last year and we contracted a Spaniard who then sub-contracted various South Americans. The project took over twice as long as they quoted – fair enough that happens sometimes – however even when it was running late there was often only one person working at a time, and some days no one turned up. It turned out they had another job on that had gone wrong somehow, and all their resources were being used to fix that. It also became apparent that the various people (they kept changing) being sent to work on our flat were not that experienced – it took one guy nearly a week to hang a door, they also got the hot and cold taps the wrong way round, a radiator leaked downstairs, etc, etc

    Phase two we got some Rumanians in and not only did they appear to care about the job more, the quality was better, and we even communicated better. Some of them seemed to just enjoy the work – I even caught one of them working on a Sunday!

    However one thing I noticed with both sets of builders was that they both expected to be called back several times after the job was “completed”. I think this might be due to the Spanish customers generally being more demanding and kicking up a fuss if things aren’t perfect – they tend to be quite pushy and demand things to be just how they want. So builders, expecting this, don’t bother checking everything is perfect since they half expect the customer to tell them to come back to do it slightly differently anyway. However the Brits tend to grin and bear it – only calling them back if the house is falling down, while complaining to their mates down the pub.

  • #115468
    Profile photo of GarySFBCN
    GarySFBCN
    Participant

    A friend advised me to have the following clauses in any reforma contract. And he used them to successfully denunciar a contractor who was really screwing things up:

    1.) No extra services nor prices will be permitted with the sole exception that the apt owner (you) specifically request and approve them *in writing*

    2.) The *exact date* of completion *must* be in the contract *with* a penalty of 500/euros (or something) for each week of lateness. I have this in the contract.

    3.) The contract must be with *the owner* personally – not with any company or angecy and should have his DNI and your DNI and should be signed *on each page*.

    Also, he had something about swapping-out skilled workers for other workers, but I can’t find that clause.

    I really can’t see any contractor signing a contract with #2. But somehow, he got that in the contract.

  • #115471
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Ranting about my Spanish builders seems easy on this forum, but I find it hard to do it to their faces. I’ve known some of them, and their families, for years, I’ve been to family weddings and funerals and see at least one of them every day.

    I was going to say that they’re quite good at the basics, laying bricks and tiles, but even that isn’t true, and anything electrical or requiring plumbing defeats them.

    Maybe there’s method in their workings, and I’ve noticed it with Spanish houses in general, they are not built to last very long and thus provide work for the next generation to repair them.

    There’s a giant expat urbanisation in Murcia in the middle of what can only be described as desert, and everything is less than ten years old and is crumbling alarmingly, even the roads in and out of the place. I feel really sorry for the residents – they can’t even hang the Se Vende signs up straight, because the walls are all buckled up.

  • #115473
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    @Rocker: You can only be happy worker if you like to work & take work as part of a balance live. THe Spanish do not have these ethos & feel that the least they work & get away with it the better it is for them and charge you the earth for a shddy work.

    The Spanish are demanding from their builders, as they know their compatriots attitudes of pasa nada & they are lucky that once the job is finished they are not robbed. As spares are made and passed around the bar at a price.

  • #115474
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    I’m going to test their sense of humour on the last day when I have to make the final payment. I’m going to hand them a brown envelope with a cheque in it.

  • #115519
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    I forgot to mention that a Spanish friend of mine had a new kitchen installed 2 years ago and it was only after they had finished that he discovered all the sockets were hidden below the worktop. So not only did the electrician who did the wiring get one of the most fundamantal things wrong, the kitchen fitters ignored it and carried on with the installation anyway.

  • #115529
    Profile photo of DBMarcos99
    DBMarcos99
    Participant

    There have been many series in Britain of a programme called “Cowboy Builders”. Is there a similar programme on Spanish television – I imagine it also would make great viewing (although obviously not for those suffering from a chapuza)

  • #115530
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    In defense of good builders though I guess there needs to be a show called ‘scumbag customers’. I know some really good, honest, builders and they have endless stories of doing jobs where the final payment is not paid ‘due to this or that’ even though they’ve had it all written down in a contract etc. It just isn’t worth a small claims court action in lots of cases. Dodgy customers then get all the extras but don’t end up paying for it all. Other stories of customers keeping on changing their minds, make this bigger, move that over there and then not paying for the time/effort which went into making the changes.

    It’s tricky finding good quality tradespeople. Going on recommendations and viewing previous work I guess is the only way?

    In only a few years we’ve had our fair share of dodgy builders both Spanish and expats (the guy bragged of being such a good plasterer in the UK blah blah but when he did our job he didn’t have a small trowel to do the bits between door frames so it’s still all uneven and bumpy, grrr!)

    The Spanish were asked about insulation in the roof when we were looking at restoring an old cortijo….. just raise the roof higher was the reply. But what about insulation to keep out the heat of summer and the cold in winter. Just raise the roof and it’ll be cooler…. but what about the cold of winter? He just didn’t even understand why insulation would be used?! Add that to bathroom or kitchen tiles put up in the same way a 5 year old child could do. Tiles in the bathroom with no damp proof at all etc.

    The main one they all seem to do is that crazy paving all over the lower parts of walls (to obviously cover up the rising damp). So it’s just pushing all the damp inside (to be covered up on the inside as well….) Don’t bother doing anything to cure the damp, just cover it up.

    The horror stories could go on and on from anyone who’s had work done.

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