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First Things To Do When You Have Moved To Spain

July 20th, 2007

It can be a daunting prospect to move to an entirely new country to set up home. However, the key to any successful move whether domestic or international is to prepare thoroughly and have plans laid for when you actually arrive. Our previous post touched upon what you should prepare prior to your move, this post will provide you with a checklist of things you should consider doing once you arrive in Spain.

  • Primarily you should go to your local police station in Spain or comisaria and request your NIE (numero de identificacion de extranjeros) number. All residents and visitors need an NIE number if they intend to pay taxes, set up utility bills, buy and sell property and pay Spanish council tax. Without the NIE number none of these are legally possible. You should allow up to 6 weeks for the application to be processed.
  • Individuals that are retired from work should apply for a residence card. An application form can be downloaded from http://www.mir.es In order to obtain the card you will need to take the completed application form to the comisaria along with your NIE number, passport, marriage certificate (if applicable) proof of address details, medical certificates, health insurance details and 4-5 passport sized photographs of yourself.
  • If you are from the UK and are of pensionable age, if you contact the UK Pensions Service and inform them of your new Spanish address, they will still be able to send you a UK state pension.
  • If you are to be self-employed in Spain you will need to register with the INSS (Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social) so that you can arrange for social security tax payments to pay for your healthcare requirements.
  • You could chose to take out private healthcare insurance.
  • Once you have your NIE number get a telephone line installed at your property by contacting the local Telefonica office, obtain a water rates contract at your local town hall and contact the electricity supplier and arrange for electricity to be supplied to the property or if it is already in place, arrange for the contract to be changed from the old owner into your name.
  • Create a new will that takes into account your new Spanish assets. This should be draw up with a Spanish solicitor so that any vagaries in Spanish inheritance law are addressed from the outset.

The Current Spanish Property Market By Region

July 18th, 2007

Even though Spain has been a stronghold for property investors over the last several years, there has been a definite slow down in market prices. Several reasons can be attributed to the recent slow down such as increased competition from countries such as Morocco and Bulgaria that are potentially able to offer a greater yield in a shorter time, and a wave of bad publicity that has damaged the Spanish real estate market as a whole. This should not deter you as the Spanish property market could now be considered as a buyers market as panicked investors are attempting to sell at the first sign of a slow down in price increases.

Although there has been a demonstrable slow down in Spanish property price increases, this should be put into context. Spanish property inflation in 2003 was at nearly 19%, in 2004 it was at 17% and in 2005 it was 13%. Against these high figures, a normalisation of property inflation can initially look catastrophic, however, this is not necessarily the case and Spanish government figures show a 9% increase from 2005-2006, so there appears to be a soft slowdown.

Due to the varied nature of Spain both culturally and geographically, each province can be seen as autonomous in its own right when property prices are calculated, with the highly priced resorts in the Costa’s compared to the lower costs of the more traditional northern regions. This obviously translates to varied gains per region.

Prices for average regional property prices in Spain are provided courtesy of Spanish Property Insight at www.spanishpropertyinsight.com

REGION PERCENTAGE INCREASE THOUGHOUT 2006
Andalucia 9.7%
Aragon 12.9%
Asturias 8.6%
Balearic Islands 11.8
Canary Islands 8.0%
Cantabria 12.3%
Castilla y Leon 9.9%
Castilla La Mancha 9.6%
Cataluna 10.7%
Comunidad Valenciana 7.2%
Extremadura 8.4%
Galicia 12.9%
Madrid 6.1%
Region de Murcia 7.5%
Comunidad Foral de Navarra 6.4%
Pais Vasco 9.2%
La Rioja 9.8%
Spain overall 9.1%

As the figures show above, there is a large variance of increases based on region. At the lowest end Madrid at 6.1% up to Aragon and Galicia growing at 12.9%.

Property professionals have found a tightening of the market, although high end properties are still fetching a premium, therefore, it is imperative that as much research is conducted as possible. There are property owners that will have bought their Spanish properties at the height of the property boom in 2003-2004 that will likely have to sell at a level significantly below expectations and this is where you may be able to grab a bargain by making reasonable offers. Moreover, figures show that there were 800,000 housing starts in Spain in 2006, which works out as the same in the UK, Germany and France combined. This being the case, there will likely be a significant imbalance in the market which could lead to nervous developers offering property at heavily discounted rates.

Why Invest In Spanish Property?

July 16th, 2007

Traditionally amongst Britons, Spain has been the most popular foreign country in which to purchase property. In fact this trend has been followed by other European nations such as Germany and Sweden to the extent that of all houses sold in Spain, one third are sold to non-Spaniards.

The are so many reasons why Spain has become a favourite not only for property investors but for people wishing to buy Spanish property in order to relocate to Spain. Notably of the three nations that invest the most highly in Spanish property, UK, Germany and Sweden, the climate in their home nations is certainly not as temperate to that of Spain and the excellent Spanish weather is an oft cited reason for relocating to Spain, as well as a large driving factor of the thriving tourist industry. Although one should not only think of year round sun. If you were to visit the north of the country such as the Basque region you would encounter a climate that is more akin to the UK with frequent rain. At the furthest end of the scale you are also able to enjoy winter sports in the country, as there is a thriving winter sports scene.

Asturias, Spain

It is this contrast that makes Spain so appealing.

Culturally, Spain is a friendly and relaxed country. The manana attitude that is pervasive amongst the Spanish can be a very appealing attitude for those wishing to distance themselves from busy city living. Although it can prove to be slightly frustrating when, for example, you need the services of a builder or plumber.

The infrastructure within Spain makes it very easy for foreign visitors to access the various regions with numerous international airports serving the country well. We will be including an indepth post detailing the numerous Spanish airports and the supporting areas later in the series.

Prices for property can be incredibly low compared to typical western standards in the more far flung areas such as Extremadura or Asturias and it is possible to pick up a small farmhouse in need of some restoration for as little as €25,000. Alternatively, buying a property in one of the established areas such as the Costa del Sol could cost millions.

Costa del Sol

Ultimately, you can get from Spain as much as you are prepared to put in. If you are prepared to do the research you can still pick up a property bargain and there are still many good off plan deals that are worth pursuing. You should note, however, that as the market it maturing it is more difficult to make a profit on Spanish property, as there are now large numbers of professional and amateur property developers that have been fuelled by media stories of how to make millions from property. This is certainly possible, but you should brace yourself that as the Spanish market is cooling down, you might have to wait that little but longer before you make your first million.

Spanish Property Series

July 13th, 2007

As part of a new series of blog posts for the overseas property investor we will be focusing our attention on the Spanish property market.

Spain is an incredibly attractive proposition in terms of purchasing property due to the excellent infrastructure, mature tourist industry, great weather and laid back lifestyle. The investment potential is not as high as it once was, however – the industry leading investment potential of a few years ago were clearly unsustainable. On the flip side, as the price of property in Spain is not increasing at an alarming rate, it maybe possible to pick up a property for a lower price than you might expect.

Our series on the Spanish property market will evaluate the merits of Spain for property investment, the prices you may expect to pay, and the various popular geographic areas for property investment along with more up and coming areas where larger gains maybe possible.


So you have bought your dream Spanish property. What now?

July 9th, 2007

You have made your Spanish property purchase and the deal has been done, but you mustn’t forget the final preparations necessary before you embark on your new life in the Spanish sun.

Much of the advice in the forthcoming list is common sense, however, it would be wise to use it as a handy reference guide to ensure that you haven’t forgotten any important details.

Checklist before moving to Spain

  • Get estimates from Spanish removal companies for transporting your belongings from your country of origin to Spain.
  • Arrange for all postal mail to be redirected to your new Spanish address
  • Take some Spanish language lessons (if you haven’t started already)
  • Ensure that all outstanding domestic bills are paid and up to date and that utilities such as gas, electric and water are disconnected if appropriate.
  • Contact your local council and inform them that you will be moving out of the country and that the electoral register will need to be updated appropriately.
  • Notify financial providers of your move. These can include banks, insurance brokers, pension fund managers, etc.
  • Don’t forget to hand your notice in at work, unless you don’t mind a very long commute


 

 
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