I have heard thousands of times Spaniards talking about the “stupid foreigners” which were paying 30-50% above market (or more). This created a lot of damage, and transformed many Spaniards in corrupt people willing to sell anything to “stupid foreigners”.
Unlike, today in the olden days there were no prices displayed in the shop windows. In fact most estate agents if you want to call them estate were farmers or people hanging around in the bars. This lack of transparency allowed the local charging the stupid foreginors a different price.
The, property market in London is always under pressure from foreginors buying. The prices are stated at the estate agents & its the same for the locals or the foreginors. For historical prices, anybody can look at the land registry, records to see what the properties were sold for. This cannot be done in Spain due to under declaration etc.
It should not be overlooked that in UK, foreigners do not pay capital gains tax as a non residents. However the non resident pays capital gains tax in Spain and until recently at a higher percentage rate.
Clearly, ripping off the stupid foreigner is very much part of Spain at all levels. Its not Taxi drivers of Malaga airport.
Shakeel, as a spaniard I do take much offence from your post, saying that “clearly, ripping off stupid foreigners is very much part of Spain at all levels” it is not only an unfair statement but also xenophobic and, although I won´t go as far as to call your statement (not yourself) racist, many may find at least “culturally racist” if I may say so. What would you think if a spaniard said “clearly, drunkness, hooliganisnm and sluttish behaviour are very much part of british society”…
It is irrelevant how many times you think you have heard spanish people talking about “ripping off foreigners” just as it would be irrelevant to point out how many times I (or any other spaniard that has to put up with the hordes of uneducated english tourists) have seen english people displaying the aforementioned behaviours, some statements must not be made, full stop.
Now, I am not denying that some dishonest developers or home owners may be putting up prices when selling their property to a foreigner. In fact setting different prices for different buyers is a common (albeit commonly hidden) practice in many businesses, and many reputable companies such as amazon (the internet bookstore) have admitted to “tailoring prices” depending on customer´s profile (i.e. if a customer normally buys expensive products they are offered higher prices or, as they used to put it “they are not offered discount offers” than those who are more sensitive to price).
Is this fundamentally dishonest? probably, has this practice anything to do with spanish culture? Certainly not.
Coming back to the capital gain taxation, why should foreigners not be subjected to them? Again it is irrelevant what the UK Inland Revenue does, if they IR wants to treat UK citizens worse than they treat foreigners they have every right to do it. In Spain we chose not to do such thing. Another poster was praising Switzerland and Austria for not allowing foreigners to buy property in their country, well, this is a much more discriminating practice than applying higher capital gain taxes to foreigners and I am still to hear from you that “discriminating again foreigners is very much part of Switzerland”.
To finish my rant I´d like to bring up one more thing, the property boom has brought short term wealth to a few at the expense of enslaving a entire generation of spaniards (heavily mortgaged thirty-somethings that can hardly afford their monthly payments, let alone have children, but which have also forfeited any hope of financial freedom over the next 30 years or so).. as you can see it is not only the foreigners that got fleeced here.