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Brexit anxiety on the Costa del Sol

property on Andalusia's Costa del Sol,
Costa del Sol

Brexit is causing anxiety for more than just the British on the Costa del Sol, reports the Spanish daily El Mundo. This gives you a local perspective, though judging by the readers comments you often see on articles like this, some locals welcome Brexit and would be delighted to see fewer Brits around.

“What is happening at a national level we notice even more clearly in Málaga,” Violeta Aragón Correa, from the local SACP developers association, told the paper. “Purchases by the British, who are traditionally our best foreign clients, are declining.”

There are around 65,000 British residents on the Costa del Sol, from a total of 300,000 in all Spain, reports El Mundo, whilst pointing out that the Costa del Sol and Alicante have the biggest British expat communities in Europe. The authorities estimate that three times that number of Brits spend a large part of the year in the area, without registering as resident for fiscal or other reasons.

Towns like Marbella, Mijas, and Benalmadena are most affected by British jitters about life outside the EU. Mijas, with a registered resident population of 11,500 is hardest hit. Mayor Juan Carlos Maldonado has warned of an “earthquake” post Brexit, and the first tremors have been felt early than expected, say El Mundo. Not only are Brits buying less, they are also selling up in greater numbers, up 16.5% since the referendum, according to the local Land Registrars’ Association.

“The uncertainty about the UK’s economy in future is forcing many British to consider something unthinkable just a few months ago; selling their homes in Malaga” says Fernando Pastor, President of the Association, quoted in the article.

Bar owner Carlos says “Politician really just produce crap. 80% of my clients are from Great Britain. Brexit is a worry here not just for British residents, real estate agents, and the restaurant business. Everyone is nervous about the future.”

El Mundo point out that home sales in the province fell from 42,400 in 2007 to 16,000 in 2011, with catastrophic consequences for the local economy. Things then improved, largely thanks to British buyers. So what now?

Finally, El Mundo report that local politicians and developers have put in place a “Plan B” to “replace the British” with marketing and fairs in other markets, in particular Scandinavian countries.

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