Making new friends and meeting new people when moving to a new country is a prospect that many people find daunting, but as long as you move to a town where there is expat community you will soon find plenty of like-minded folk to mix with. Spanish people by nature are friendly and patient when it comes to attempting to understand newcomers who might not have the best grasp of the language.
Obviously it is a good idea to learn some Spanish when you buy a property in the country, as this will give you a better idea what is going on around you. Many town halls offer free or extremely low priced Spanish lessons for adults, and as well as giving you the chance to learn the language with the help of a professional teacher this is a great way to meet new people of all cultures and nationalities.
Although low budget airlines and the ease of ordering plane tickets online has meant that many of us are now venturing further afield when it comes to booking holiday destinations, Spain is still the firm favourite among UK residents looking for a vacation, and also among those who wish to move to warmer climes as expats. While it is true the property crash of 2009 discouraged investors and individuals from buying in the country for a couple of years, in 2014, second home buyers and those wanting to relocate to another country are once again turning to Spain and arriving on the countries’ sunny shores in their droves in 2017.
This is not surprising. While the economy of Spain did take a bad downturn in the recession of 2008 onwards (as it did in many other countries globally) the fact remains that the lifestyle here is extremely attractive. This is due to the wonderful weather, the relatively low cost of living compared to other European countries, and the relaxed pace of life. Combine these benefits with the holiday atmosphere of the popular resorts, the improving economy, and the fact that huge billionaire investors such as George Soros, John Paulson and Bill Gates invested in the Spanish property market in 2014, and it is easy to see why so many people are once again deciding to buy property in Spain.
Prior to the collapse of the Spanish property market in 2008/9, building in Spain in some areas seemed to be out of control. Town halls were happily giving permission to construction companies to build huge complexes which the developers planned on selling for hefty profits to foreign buyers and Spanish residents alike. In the years leading up to 2008 Spanish property market crash, values were rising at an astonishing speed, with second-rate apartments built of low quality materials reaching in the region of a quarter of a million euros in the more popular resorts. Because in the years leading up to the recession and the subsequent property market downfall, banks had been lending to households and individuals at alarming rates, many citizens of Spain were much debt they could barely afford to repay the interest on their loans every month, let alone reduce the original amount borrowed.
This came to a head in 2009 as businesses folded, unemployment rose, and the repayment of loans and mortgages was simply impossible for hundreds of thousands of people across the country. Banks and building societies reclaimed thousands of properties in Spain, many of which are still sitting unsold on their books today, and homeowners in a last ditch attempt to avoid repossession put their properties on the market at the lowest prices seen since the early 1990s.
Today in 2015, the Spanish housing market remains slow because the banks, continuing to smart from their unwise decision to lend to just about anyone who asked during the early part of the 2000s, remain unwilling to lend, particularly to first-time buyers. This has led to housing prices remaining extremely low as supply continues to far exceed demand. However as an international buyer, there is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the bargains available across Spain and pick up a dream property that just a few years ago would have been way out of your price bracket.
While the country continues to be a bad market for investors who wish to purchase property for sale in Spain to resell quickly to make a fast profit, there has never been a better time to pick up a low priced property with the intention of holding onto it for several years and using it either as your permanent home, a second holiday home, or as a means of generating rental income.
Take a look at our Spain property portal, and you will see the choices of location are wide and varied. For those who wish to savour authentic Spain, there are white washed “casitas” on inland developments; or you could purchase a self-contained finca on a hillside, and grow your own produce and even go off-grid if this is a lifestyle that appeals to you.
Barcelona and Madrid are vibrant cosmopolitan cities with countless activities to enjoy as well as offering great employment opportunities for English speakers. However, the resorts on the Costas continue to attract the largest percentage of buyers who are no doubt drawn to the fabulous Mediterranean beaches, excellent opportunities for socializing, and fun holiday atmospheres.
The Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol are the most popular resorts for foreigners, due to the large expat communities and practically all-year-round sunshine. The Balearic Islands are another firm favourite - Majorca was relatively untouched by the recession which does mean that property here is somewhat more expensive to buy than in other resorts. Ibiza remains a fashionable hotspot for young people and offers good investment opportunities for those looking to buy a Spanish property to rent out at a top rate during the summer months.
Towns on the same coastline can vary quite considerably when it comes to property prices. Take the Costa Blanca for example; the southern part of the White Coast is a mecca for those wishing to purchase a property in the sun as it offers numerous golf courses, a great climate, and a great choice of resorts and sandy beaches. Because this area was overbuilt during the years up to when the property bubble burst, you can find apartments and villas for sale at extremely affordable prices. For example in the resort of the Playa Flemenca, the average price of a desirable two bedroom property is around €65,000. However, if you travel further north to the towns of Javea, Denia or Moraira, where building restrictions were tighter and more controlled, you can expect to pay around about €90,000 for a similar property.
If the seaside resort way of life sounds too lively to your liking, you can always travel a little inland where the lifestyle is peaceful and you will also get more for your money with regards to property purchases.
Apart from the weather, perhaps another reason the Costas Blanca and Costa del Sol are more attractive than the Costa Calida or the Costa Almeria for example, is because of the availability of flights to and from the UK. Alicante and Malaga airports offer low cost flights on a very regular basis to just about all major UK airports, which makes it easy for expats to return home for a visit, or for friends and family to take a break in your new home in Spain. Towns along the coasts are also well served by airport transfer companies, so if you do not wish to drive to the airport or pay an expensive taxi fare, you will find you can book a transfer online to and from the airport at a reasonable cost.
After purchasing a property and relocating, thanks to the beautiful weather you will find that you spend a large part of your life outdoors. Apart from the obvious outdoor attractions such as playing golf, relaxing on the beach or taking a walk in nature, you will also find a lot of your socialising takes place outside in the form of BBQs or sitting on a sunny bar terrace rather than huddled inside sheltering from the rain as is often the case in the UK when you go out to meet friends.
Even when going for a meal in a restaurant you will find you often opt to sit outside where you can enjoy the sunshine during the day or a view of the beach at night, while watching the world go by.
Talking of eating out, restaurant prices in Spain are still very reasonable if you stick to the venues where the locals tend to gather. You can still find restaurants selling a menu of the day which usually includes three courses, salad, bread and wine for around €12-€15 in the touristic resorts and large cities, and considerably less if you go inland. This means eating out is not something you can only afford to do once in a blue moon, and you will find that activities which in the UK you considered a treat, become something you do several times a week as part of your regular lifestyle.
While it is true a large number of the people who choose to live in Spain do so as retirees, if you are still of working age and you need to earn a living, do not let this stop you from taking the plunge. These days many people work virtually from home either for themselves or for a company, and if you are able to set yourself up in this way, there is absolutely no reason why you should not do your virtual work from Spain, or indeed anywhere else in the world providing you have a stable and fast Internet connection.
There are several providers in Spain offering fast broadband including Orange, Movistar, Vodafone and Jazztel. If you live in an area where it is not possible to get a fixed phone line such as a rural location, you can use a service like Iberbanda which provides fast Internet access via satellite. Depending on the provider and speed of your connection, you can expect to pay between around 25 and €40 a month for broadband, making working from home virtually a viable possibility for many relocating to the country from the UK.
Alternatively, you will find in the summer months there are plenty of job opportunities for both skilled and unskilled workers such as taking care of rental apartments, bar and restaurant work, hotel jobs, or in the retail business.
If you have a trade, maybe as a skilled plumber or a carpenter you will probably find there is a demand for your services among the local expat community, or you will have the option to learn the language to a somewhat reasonable level, and try to secure a job with a Spanish company.
For many Brits, owning a bar in Spain was a popular dream throughout the 70s and 80s. In those days it was a very viable way of making money as hundreds of thousands of tourists flocked to the Costas every week filling the hotels and providing local businesses with a great income.
However, tourism has decreased since then, and as rental and lease business costs rose, and some resorts saw the emergence of “all-inclusive hotels” which offer guests as much food and liquid refreshment as they desire included in the price of the holiday, in many cases bar owners found the financial rewards were not as great as they had expected, and the dream of owning a bar or restaurant in Spain lost its appeal for many.
However, due to the recession and the continuously low property prices, those looking bars for sale are able to pick up premises in great locations at affordable prices. Owning your own business takes a huge pressure of your shoulders if you are working in the retail or hostelry trades, as you do not have to worry about finding an expensive rent every month. Instead of paying rent to an owner, profits can be ploughed back into the business or spent on other items that will bring you far more pleasure than paying a high rental.
If you have zero experience in running a bar or restaurant, it will be a good idea to find employment in the town in another establishment before purchasing premises of your own. Working a summer season in another bar will give you a very good idea of the day-to-day running process and give you valuable and adequate experience to ensure your success when you take on your own business.
View Properties By Costa
Costa del Sol The Costa del Sol is situated between two lesser known coastal regions, the Costa de la Luz and the Costa Tropical.
Costa Almeria The beautiful and diverse Costa Almeria is a superb destination with the stunning natural maritime park Cabo de Gata and a coastline of Moorish villages.
Costa Calida The Costa Calida is situated in the province of Murcia, Spain. The region has its own microclimate and incorporates La Manga and the Mar Menor.
Costa Blanca The long stripe of the Costa Blanca (White Coast) is one of Europe's most heavily visited areas.