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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