Ministerial road-show to woo foreign property investors to Spain

José Blanco, the Minister for Public Works (and housing), kicks off an international road-show to promote Spanish property on May 4 at the Spanish embassy in London.

The idea of the road-show, he says, is to convince foreign buyers of the “strength of our economy, the transparency and legal guarantees of our town-planning laws.”

As Blanco’s department sees it, the time is right to hit the road promoting Spanish holiday-homes as key international markets like the UK are showing signs of recovery. This initiative will help stimulate demand for holiday homes in Spain and “facilitate the digestion of the stock,” they argue.

The UK, as the biggest potential market accounting for 31.5pc of sales in 2009, has been chosen as the first port of call. After that comes France, Germany, Holland, and Sweden, and also Russia at a later stage.

The road-show has 2 phases; the first one targets trade and institutional investors, followed by a later phase aimed at the general public offering a selection of new developments that meet certain legal and quality criteria.

Not an estate agent, in case you were wondering

Talking about this initiative in a recent radio interview Blanco said he is “not an estate agent,” which might have put some peoples’ minds at rest.

“It’s about stimulating sales in target markets and that is what the Government of Spain is going to try and do,” said Blanco. “It’s good for the Spanish economy, can help the recovery and, as a consequence, help create jobs in the construction sector.” Banks and developers have voiced their support.

He also said his objective is to win back the confidence of investors “after campaigns waged against the Spanish real estate sector.”

He is not the first Spanish politician to suggest there are hostile (foreign) forces out to get the Spanish real estate sector. This conspiracy theory is particularly popular in the Valencian Community, where the regional government has drawn much international criticism for its controversial town-planning laws. (see Spanish “Land Grab”).

Meanwhile, down in Andalusia, Blanco’s fellow socialist politician Josephina Cruz, the local official responsible for housing, has taken to blaming British owners for much of the illegal building in the region, which her critics say turns the truth on its head.

It will be interesting to see what kind of a reception Blanco gets in London.

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