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spain1General country information

Spain, which once prospered by excluding other European powers from its New World riches, is a leading member of the EU.

Situated in south west Europe, it has borders with France (from which it is separated by the Pyrenees) and Portugal, and a coastline that stretches either side of Portugal from the Bay of Biscay in the north to the Mediterranean in the south.

Important industrial areas are in Catalonia at the southern end of the border with France, and the Basque Country on the northern end. Both have their own ethnic languages and aspirations of indepence.

Offshore there are the Balearic Islands, and further south off Africa are the Canary Islands, both popular holiday and investment destinations.Most overseas investors, especially those with an intention of letting their properties, will look first at Spain’s popular Mediterranean coastline facing Morocco and Algeria. Running from north east, where Spain meets France, to south west, where Gibraltar is perched, these areas are the: Costa Brava, Costa Dorada, Costa del Azahar, Costa Blanca, Costa Calida, and Costa del Sol. The last three, being the most southerly, are the most popular.

Spanish was one of the first countries to join the euro-zone. Subsequently the economy grew annually by more than 3 per cent, partly on the back of a building and housing boom. The latter cluttered to a halt in 2007.

After years of double digit appreciation, house prices continued to rise for a while, albeit at a lower rate, in locations favoured by foreign investors. However, they began falling in a number of provinces continuing into 2013..

Against this UK owners of Spanish properties have seen the sterling value of their investments climb with the fall in value of the pound against the euro.

The Spanish house buying process has pitfalls that buyers should beware. For example, estate agents are not subject to statutory and professional controls. Also property taxes owed but unpaid by a previous owner (up to five years back) are a charge against the property regardless of a change of ownership. So a buyer can end up having to pay outstanding council taxes. Likewise unsettled mortgages remain a charge on the property.

The European Parliament has taken an interest and following a number of delegations is to consider on the impact of the extensive urbanisation that has taken place in Spain on the individual rights of European citizens, on the environment and on the application of EU law.In some areas there have been planning permission problems were investors have bought property built on land designated as agricultural and have found themselves having to contribute towards the cost of roads and utility supply systems when developers have moved into the area.

Petitions Committee rapporteur, Danish MEP Margrete Auken. is reported as saying thousands of European citizens had bought property in Spain ‘in good faith acting with local lawyers, town planners and architects, only to find later that they have become victims of urbanisation abuse by unscrupulous local authorities and that as a result, their property faces demolition because their homes have been found to be illegally built’.

The committee is calling for he Spanish national and regional governments to review and revise all legislation affecting the rights of individual property owners ‘in order to bring an end to the abuse of rights and obligations’ contained in European law.

Spanish inheritance laws have strict rules about family entitlements that need to be considered.

Property ownership is recorded in a property registry which includes details of any encumbrances and charges. A parallel but separate registration system records the location, description and boundaries of the property and any shared services and areas in common ownership. The two are now always in full agreement.

Spain, which once prospered by excluding other European powers from its New World riches, is a leading member of the EU.

Situated in south west Europe, it has borders with France (from which it is separated by the Pyrenees) and Portugal, and a coastline that stretches either side of Portugal from the Bay of Biscay in the north to the Mediterranean in the south.

Important industrial areas are in Catalonia at the southern end of the border with France, and the Basque Country on the northern end. Both have their own ethnic languages and aspirations of indepence.

spain2Offshore there are the Balearic Islands, and further south off Africa are the Canary Islands, both popular holiday and investment destinations.Most overseas investors, especially those with an intention of letting their properties, will look first at Spain’s popular Mediterranean coastline facing Morocco and Algeria. Running from north east, where Spain meets France, to south west, where Gibraltar is perched, these areas are the: Costa Brava, Costa Dorada, Costa del Azahar, Costa Blanca, Costa Calida, and Costa del Sol. The last three, being the most southerly, are the most popular.

Spanish was one of the first countries to join the euro-zone. Subsequently the economy grew annually by more than 3 per cent, partly on the back of a building and housing boom. The latter cluttered to a halt in 2007.

After years of double digit appreciation, house prices continued to rise for a while, albeit at a lower rate, in locations favoured by foreign investors. However, they began falling in a number of provinces continuing into 2013.

Against this UK owners of Spanish properties have seen the sterling value of their investments climb with the fall in value of the pound against the euro.

The Spanish house buying process has pitfalls that buyers should beware. For example, estate agents are not subject to statutory and professional controls. Also property taxes owed but unpaid by a previous owner (up to five years back) are a charge against the property regardless of a change of ownership. So a buyer can end up having to pay outstanding council taxes. Likewise unsettled mortgages remain a charge on the property.

The European Parliament has taken an interest and following a number of delegations is to consider on the impact of the extensive urbanisation that has taken place in Spain on the individual rights of European citizens, on the environment and on the application of EU law.In some areas there have been planning permission problems were investors have bought property built on land designated as agricultural and have found themselves having to contribute towards the cost of roads and utility supply systems when developers have moved into the area.

Petitions Committee rapporteur, Danish MEP Margrete Auken. is reported as saying thousands of European citizens had bought property in Spain ‘in good faith acting with local lawyers, town planners and architects, only to find later that they have become victims of urbanisation abuse by unscrupulous local authorities and that as a result, their property faces demolition because their homes have been found to be illegally built’.

The committee is calling for he Spanish national and regional governments to review and revise all legislation affecting the rights of individual property owners ‘in order to bring an end to the abuse of rights and obligations’ contained in European law.

Spanish inheritance laws have strict rules about family entitlements that need to be considered.

Property ownership is recorded in a property registry which includes details of any encumbrances and charges. A parallel but separate registration system records the location, description and boundaries of the property and any shared services and areas in common ownership. The two are now always in full agreement.

 

Country information – Spain

Area:505,988 sq km
Population:46.23m
Principal cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Seville
Median age of population:40.7 years
Language: Spanish
Flying time from UK: Madrid – 1.52hrs
Time difference from UK: UTC/GMT +1 hour
Rate of inflation: 3.5%
International dialling code: +34
GDP per person: $32,244
Climate: Temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast.

 

 

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