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Spanish property and jobs proving popular… with returning Spaniards

Author:   |  August 7th, 2017

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Fiesta time for Spain as the country enjoys the status as one of Europe's most dynamic and positive economies.

Fiesta time for Spain as the country enjoys the status as one of Europe’s most dynamic and positive economies.

Spain’s population has begun to grow for the first time since 2011, reaching 46.58 million at the beginning of the year, according to data from the Institute of National Statistics (INE).

This boost has been attributed to a rise in newborn babies, a growth in expats and immigrants and – rather significantly – a spurt of “returnees”: Spaniards who left the country during the tough recession years who are now flocking back as the recovery goes from strength to strength…

The fact that more babies are being born in Spain is a pretty good reflection of young couples’ confidence in their own financial situation, while an increase in immigration is to be expected whenever the economy grows.

But it is the volume of returning Spaniards that is having the most impact. Between January 1st 2016 and January 1st 2017 it is estimated that more than 50,000 Spaniards returned to Spain – and their presence brings a plethora of positives for the nation’s job and property market.

For example, during the 12-month period between the start of 2016 and the start of 2017, the country’s population grew by 89,000. However, the number of new jobs added rose by 375,000 over the same period, meaning that the 18.8 million people in work in Spain is the highest figure for more than seven years.

This latest employment boom is rooted in far more stable industries than last time, when a credit-fuelled property bubble overinflated and burst in an unedifying manner. In 2017, job growth is apparent in a broader mix of industries – from agriculture through to construction and hospitality – and demand for skilled workers is on the increase.

Since 2008, Spain’s population changes have closely mirrored its GDP, with both figures appearing to fall off a cliff that year, rising a little around 2010, but then sinking again towards 2013. Since then, the country’s GDP rise has been steep and consistent, with the population taking a little while to catch up.

But the trend is now clear: thousands of young Spaniards who made homes, careers and families for themselves in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia are now heading back home – boosted by their experience, financially stable and eager to contribute to Spain’s ongoing economic recovery.

“The Spanish economy has been growing healthily and it’s in a more balanced condition than in 2007,” says Javier Díaz Giménez, professor of economics at IESE Business School in Madrid. “It is a dynamic and constantly evolving labour market, but what is undeniable is the job creation.”

And it’s not just the job market that is feeling the effects of this convergence of confidence and willing workers: Spain’s property sector has been expanding encouragingly for the past three years, with a notable uptick in domestic, ie non-foreign, buyers in the last 18 months in particular.

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