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British start to lose interest in Spain

The Spanish newspaper Publico has published a recent article reporting that British property buyers are losing interest in Spain.

“The British are starting to sweat in Spain, and not because of the heat” begins the article, under the title ‘The British Fall Out of Love with Spain’. “Mortgages payments for their properties on the Mediterranean coast have shot up,” goes the opening paragraph, “and the numbers no longer add up. Some are returning the keys to the bank, others are being evicted, and many are abandoning the dream of living in villas and apartments in Andalucia”.

Spain’s property market crisis has unleashed panic, and accelerated the retreat of British owners and investors, says the article.

“There is fear, and a lack of confidence in the market,” Josep Suárez, a director of Solbank in London, is quoted as saying. The appreciation of the Euro against the pound (15% in the last 9 months) means that mortgage payments for Britons with mortgages in Spain are now 25% higher.

With the collapse in the Spanish property market, selling up is not an easy option for Britons with property in Spain. People who still own a property in England tend to abandon their holiday home on the beach, leaving the repossession process to lawyers. “Mortgage delinquency is a bigger problems amongst non-residents,” says Suarez.

The article goes on to describe how demand from speculative British investors has evaporated, as has the buy-to-let market. It also notes how scandals such as corruption, illegal building, and the demolition of homes has turned off British buyers. “It is no surprise that Britons are wary of buying a dream home on the shores of the Mediterranean,” says the article.

The article notes that Britons own an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 properties in Spain, according to the Spanish tourist office in London, and that more than a million Britons live in Spain.