Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Empty Houses - no wonder really

Driving the coast of the Costa del Sol at the weekend, it was noticable how many developments have either ground to a halt, or are finished but plainly empty and unsold. In the cold light of these credit-crunch times, it is easy to see the evidence that many ignored during the years of construction boom, that is, often the property that is left over is in shitty locations and often poor quality design.
Witness the apartments close to La Cala that were started late in the boom, during 2006/7 and are virtually under the N340 coast road flyover. So they were on cheap land, a crappy location, and not a very inspiring (or expensive) design and construction.
Now, they are just standing there, half finished red brickwork, all scaffolding and evidence of materials and tools have long gone. So, who the hell is going to buy these places, who is going to finish them and try and sell them, and what banks are going to give mortgages for them ?
The most likely thing seems to be that they will stand, ugly and idle, for a number of years. Maybe they will be knocked down ? Perhaps become social housing ?
Never has the old adage "location, location, location" been more apt. When people talk of the property market in Spain, they often fail to realise or mention that there is likely to be a recovery in the market for decent property in good location - ie demand, whereas rubbish apartments in poor locations could languish for years.
We still wait for some thawing in the mortgage market - so bank managers seem to have targets for lending to try and meet, but it will need a relaxation of terms to really help
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The rain in Spain........

A few weeks ago we were in Cartama, Malage, collecting some bits and pieces from our house, and the rain was just biblical. You couldn't avoid getting absolutely drenched. On our return to the UK we booked to come out again on the 4th March, in the expectation that it would be at least dry and sunny, if not exactly sunbathing weather.

How wrong we were, 4 days of useless, wet weather, floods, damp in the house, leaky roof and mud everywhere.

My business partner had been complaining that it had rained since December, and I was starting to believe him.
In every bar and restaurant we went into (there was nothing else to do....) the owners were complaining at the weather and the effect on business, as well as having to stop the rain coming in the roof and doors and windows.

Still the coast seems very quiet in terms of property development and sales activity. Plenty of developments are standing unfininshed, sales offices are closed, and the flags are as limp and damp as the market.

Much talk is of Spain following Greece in becoming an even more high profile EU member in need of a serious bail out.

The rain in Spain - when will it end ?