Costa del Sol property & lifestyle, news, views, advice & information
Author: Ian Clover | December 27th, 2013
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has hailed Spain’s labour market reforms, claiming that the tough measures introduced this year have helped make companies more competitive and helped create as many as 25,000 permanent new jobs a month.
Despite persistently high unemployment, the OECD’s proclamations are sure to be met warmly in Madrid, which has had to repeatedly stave off attacks of its harsh reforms…
Author: Ian Clover | December 26th, 2013
“Insanity,” Albert Einstein once said, “is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It’s a smart observation. Sometimes you think you’re doing something ever-so-slightly differently, but if the results are not what you expected, then you’re probably not.
And it’s an appropriate way of looking at the Spanish property market. After a decade-long growth between 1997-2007, an inevitable (in hindsight at least) bust followed the boom, resulting in numerous burnt fingers, piles of negative equity, and thousands of shattered dreams.
Author: Ian Clover | December 23rd, 2013
It had to be, really. In a year in which things got slightly better for the average Spaniard, 2013 was still a tough 12 months of redundancy, unemployment, job insecurity and money worries for many.
And nowhere more so than in the country’s unheralded towns and pueblos. Sure, the cities had it bad and the coastal resorts had to duck and weave in order to stay competitive, but it has been in Spain’s forgotten corners where the recession has been most keenly felt. Which is why the Basque town of Mondragón only recently hit the headlines following the news that Spain’s largest consumer appliance company – Fagor – had to recently shed 2,000 jobs in the town…
Author: Ian Clover | December 22nd, 2013
The estimated five million British expats set to spend Christmas away from Blighty this festive period have a hankering for good old-fashioned mince pies – if a recent survey from expat food website Expat Essentials is anything to go by.
According to the site, mince pies, British chocolates and traditional Christmas puddings are flying off the shelves (well, warehouse storeroom, but you get the point) like the proverbial hotcakes they are.
Also high up on the list of festive favourites British expats are craving this Christmas are turkey stuffing and Christmas crackers, complete with paper hats, awful jokes and those bafflingly ubiquitous mini toolkits…
Author: Ian Clover | December 20th, 2013
It’s the backbone of the economy, its most famous export, and the entry point for millions of new love affairs with Spain every year, so it’s only right that it gets a rather generous gift this Christmas.
The Spanish Secretary of Tourism, Isabel Borrego, has announced this week that the Spanish government will provide its tourism sector with €221 million in the form of grants and loans in 2014 in a concerted effort to make the country even more irresistible than it already is… Continue Reading
Author: Ian Clover | December 19th, 2013
At Christmas time in Spain, a rather chubby legend descends upon the country bearing gifts guaranteed to put a smile on thousands of faces. But forget about Santa – most Spaniards appear to get more excited by Spain’s Christmas lottery, better known as ‘elGordo’ (The Fat One).
Spaniards and the lottery are cosy bedfellows, and for good reason. Yes, the country has been beset by economic woes for the past few years, but even during the boom years millions of Spaniards would queue patiently at their local lottery stand to purchase a ticket for elGordo…
Author: Ian Clover | December 18th, 2013
Official data released on Monday by Spain’s National Statistics Institute showed that Spanish property prices were up for the third quarter of 2013 – the months between July and September – for the first time in three years.
Since the country’s recession and subsequent housing slump post-2008, property prices in Spain have generally been going in one direction – downwards. These latest figures show that not only has the country’s economy and real estate industry stabilised, but the signs are good that the first shoots of recovery and growth are starting to emerge…
Author: Holly Purnell | December 17th, 2013
Remember that stunning sunset image of the clouds over Granada’s mountain that was featured as NASA’s image of the day last month? Well now it’s the turn of the charming town of Tarifa to steal the limelight when this beautiful photo took the top-spot as photo of the day on nationalgeographic.com yesterday. It’s certainly safe to say Andalucía is getting a fair bit of high-profile exposure lately… Continue Reading
Author: Ian Clover | December 16th, 2013
The British and Spanish governments have not agreed on very much lately, but on one issue they appear to stand united – that the Brits are going to buy property in Spain, so they may as well lend a helping hand.
From a British perspective, figures from a property abroad conference hosted in November by the UK Foreign Office revealed that a massive 66 per cent of all enquiries from those in attendance were about property in Spain. In comparison, French property enquiries accounted for just 24 per cent…
Author: Ian Clover | December 12th, 2013
Ah, Christmas. No other time of the year – save, perhaps, for those heady six weeks in summer when the schools are closed – has the ability to weirdly alter one’s perceptions of space and time.
As a kid I remember staring forlornly at the fourth opened door on my chocolate advent calendar, totting up the remaining 20 unopened doors and sighing to myself (well, bawling to my parents, but like I say, Christmas does weird things to your perception) “it’s never going to be Christmas!”
Back then, December seemed to trudge slowly through the days, like an overworked yuletide mum dragging the Christmas tree home single-handedly from the market in an inadvertent act of Jesus-carrying-the-cross symbolism. You know she’ll get there in the end, but it’s going to take aaaages…