August 27, 2008 at 3:17 pm #54267
From boom town to ghost town
A summer breeze blows a cloud of dust through the Spanish town of Sesena. Drifting along the empty streets and deserted playgrounds the eerie silence is occasionally broken by the slow creaking of an unused swing.
Like the housing market right now, little is moving in Sesena. Boom has turned to bust and the wider Spanish economy is suffering.
Lying just 20 miles south of Madrid, Sesena was designed as a major urbanisation for professionals who could not afford city prices.
But there are few signs of life at Sesena, now dubbed the Spanish ghost town.
The population of this town did not disappear, they simply never arrived.
More than 13,500 apartments were built on this area of scrubland. But less than 3,000 have been sold. So far the number of people living in Sesena can be counted in the hundreds.
Developers are desperate to get people to move into the apartments and are slashing prices.
Monica Torremocha Orocco is one of few who is interested in moving into the area. She says that rents there have fallen by more than 400 euros in a month.
“They’ve cut the prices of flats a lot because people don’t have any money. You could say we are in poverty here,” Ms Orocco adds.
Sesena is just the tip of the iceberg.
Down on Spain’s southern coastline, the signs of overdevelopment are plain to see.
Cranes and apartment blocks under construction dominate the horizon.
In many tourist communities on the Costa Del Sol, Britons and Spaniards have scrambled to snap up their dream holiday homes. But today many of the flats remain empty and developments unfinished.
Developers have gone bust and people who have put down deposits have struggled to get their money back.
David Busby, from Lancashire, bought a property on the outskirts of Marbella six years ago. Bought off the plans it took more than four years to complete and now he is struggling to find a tenant.
What was once his dream retirement home is now his Spanish nightmare.
“We were looking for an investment for our retirement, but so far we’ve lost £90,000,” says Mr Busby.
Inez Rix, from Direct Auctions, says David Busby’s situation is not unusual. His property will be hard to sell because there are simply too many others like it on the market.
“I think this is going to be the biggest fallout that anyone’s ever seen because of the sheer amount of properties,” she explains
“That’s been the problem, too much supply.”
In recent years Spain has built more houses than the UK, France and Germany put together. The construction industry has accounted for a fifth of all jobs created in Spain since 2000.
Its downturn is now having a significant impact on the economy.
So is there an end in sight?
Some experts say that holiday developments are worse affected than residential properties in urban areas. But nobody can deny that this is a market in trouble.
August 27, 2008 at 6:12 pm #85865
If you found that exciting (four exclaimation marks at seeing Inez’s photo??) you would have had a cardiac arrest if you’d been watching BBC World’s ‘Business Report’ this morning – she was actually on the telly…..talking !!! 🙄
Nice one Inez by the way – you came across well.
August 27, 2008 at 9:11 pm #85868
So it’s true – Inez is ‘drop dead gorgeous’ 😉
August 27, 2008 at 10:11 pm #85872
maximus: I knew that !!!!!!!!!
August 28, 2008 at 6:50 am #85875
It just amazes me that just one year ago, September 2007, everybody in Spain thought the party would not be over – ever. The bubble was there, and everybody was optimistic. Now, only one year later, we have TV reports that give a death sentence to the property business in Spain. Amazing how things change in a moment.
August 28, 2008 at 7:01 am #85876
Actually Inez was one of the very few involved in the property business that agreed with us doom-and-gloom-ers. And goodness did we get continuously criticised for being so pessimistic about the future of the Spanish property market. They are noticeably quiet now.
She also had to endure the most disgraceful ‘public rape’ and exposure of her personal life I have ever seen on a forum by those determined to contradict her stance on what we all know now – that the Spanish property market is undergoing a slow death. I respect the dignity she maintained throughout it all, no-one deserves that unadulturated attempt at humiliation in order to discredit someone’s point of view.
August 28, 2008 at 7:50 am #85877
well said and yes, we were right, but then we had nothing to gain by bull-shitting and trying to convince those of us ‘seeing it like it is’ that we were wrong. Thankfully Inez didn’t stoop to that level either, which seems unusual among agents……….developers……..mayors………councilers…….lawyers …….judges????????
August 28, 2008 at 10:52 am #85881
I, second everything that you said about Inez. She is a true professional & if people cannot see it, for reasons of their own agenda or short sightedness its travesty for them.
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