Reply To: Spanish property market 2008: soft landing or train wreck?

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Dear Claire

Thank you for your question. I find myself in a difficult position to answer without any knowledge of the specific cases where deposits have not been returned.

I am half Spanish with a mother from Madrid, and we went to live in Spain when I was stationed in Gibraltar, some 20 years ago. After leaving the Army I was for six years a Sales Director for a developer. During that time I have to admit that I came across levels of business conduct which I found unacceptable.

I concluded that the money was made when off plan sales were completed and lost when we started to build. Every project I sold ended with some disaster, and I have to blame the College of Architects as it is architects who are now the guardians of the planet we all share. Ultimately it is the execution of their projects which we pay for to enjoy and Spanish Architects fail to properly supervise the execution of the build programme because of the system in Spain is so protective of these professionals, and structured in such a way that an architect will always have another individual to blame.

My decision was to leave Spain and to move to Portugal where the level of integrity and general business conduct make me feel more comfortable.

I feel very sorry for all those who have purchased property in Spain and I fear that the majority who have been caught up in schemes where matters have gone wrong, will lose all their money. I believe that collectively we all have a moral obligation to make sure that others do not fall into the same dreadful abyss. The most effective class action is to ensure that the number of foreigners buying property in Spain reaches zero, then the Spanish Government will have to intervene, to sort out this mess, and to compensate those who have suffered. That is how serious the problem is, and now with some much displaced labour about to be unemployed in Spain the level of crime will increase to such an extent that few will choose to live in or go to Spain.