Blakemore Walker Chartered Surveyors & Legal Consultants














APRIL 2018

Many agents are complaining about the long winter and the lack of movement in the market. Transaction levels remain low for rural property and subsequently prices remain stagnant. One point to note is that I have noticed that many transactions are now proving more difficult to complete as due dilligence is throwing up problems on property registration on many rural properties - perhaps it is a sign of the times that the so called good value properties that are attracting buyers, are in fact, the properties with the most legal title issues.


A recent case serves as a warning to potential purchasers. A draft contract was offered for a purchase and the estate agent sent a draft with the parties being the purchaser (my clients) and the estate agent. This in my opinion was an early warning sign and warranted further checks. In reality the agent is often involved in a contract, and can be a party, but unfortunately in this case problems with the registration of the property were discovered and the contract never completed. The point however is to take good advice in order to save time and potential loss of funds and always remember that the estate agent's client is the seller not the purchaser.


Although there have been varoius warnings about the effects of Brexit the amount of Brits that travelled on holiday to Spain this summer was at its highest level. This figure has historcally related to the amount of property bought by Brits in Spain - the more tourism, the more property bought. There seems to be as much activity now from UK purchasers as there was pre-Brexit referendum. One noticeable change in recent years has been the increase in properties for sale owned by UK nationals. Perhaps the strong euro has something to do with this.


Generally good economic data across europe is dominating, and the property market in Spain is no exception. Prices in Asturias and Galicia are not currently rising as fast as many other parts of Spain. However, there have been reported rises above 10% in Cantabria and the Basque Country. This summer is seeing many foreign purchasers taking the plunge here in northern Spain and the British are buying - Brexit or no Brexit.

JUNE 2017

Many of the properties that are available in northern Spain have been on the market for a substantial time. Firstly, there is always the issue that the properties are over priced but also, many rural properties in the region offered require substantial renovation and bank finance remains difficult to come by when considering renovation works. Therefore, the transactions tend to be cash driven without the need of finance. This is where the foreign purchaser comes in; with cash amounts readily available for that second home or for those selling up and moving abroad. The purchaser profile is generally those close to or having reached retirement age. When taking on a renovation project one must remember that the system dictates that costs for obtaining planning permission have increased in recent years.

MARCH 2017

Generally the market seems to be functioning at a steady pace with a few serious purchasers undertaking transactions. The most popular type of property is still the rustic stone cottage or house and many are looking in the interior of Galicia where prices remain more than afordable - less than 100,000 euro for a house with land in need of some renovation. There is still a steady supply of property available but be aware; some of the rural properties have more liabilities than one might realise.


The good weather continues in northern Spain as is often the way. I always say that September to Christmas is the best part of the year. There are certainly a few more purchasers around and I would suggest that this is likely to continue into 2017. One matter of concern is that potential purchasers still seem to be taking risks and leaving their brains at home when it comes to contracting property. One recent example was a person who contacted me who had paid a reservation fee without any paperwork or contract. It is fundamental not to part with money until a proper form of contract is in place - always obtain independent advice.


The weather has been extraordinarily good over the late summer and early autumn period. This would normally bring on the purchasing enthusiasm of the would be foreign purchasers for property. This will remain to be seen as the time lag between the pleasant holiday or trip and the decision to purchase would normally be at least three or four months. It will remain to be seen whether in February or March 2017 and beyond there will be a push to purchase. Things could be different depending on the future strength of the pound and the post referendum details.


The power of the pound is affecting the purchasing power of the UK tourist in Spain, along with the power to purchase property. Many clients are considering selling their property in Spain and taking advantage of the relatively strong euro to repatriate their money back into sterling. Although the pound has dropped approximately 17% against the euro and therefore there would be a potential 17% gain turning your money money back into sterling, it must be remembered that many property owners are more than 17% down on their property value due to the Spanish property crash since 2008. Perhaps if you do not have to sell you should hang on and ride out the next few years whilst Brexit negotiations take place and enjoy your property abroad.


Recent official Spanish figures show that property price increases are currently standing at an annualised rate of about 7%. This is the first significant move since the big economic crisis which is now nearly ten years old. The Spanish property market was badly hit during the crisis and therefore one would expect that there will be up-ticks in value, but as usual these increases are regionally based. In the north of Spain along the Costa Verde most agents are reporting a fairly stagnant market and especially in the "bread and butter" property that the average spaniard utilises. Some agents are reporting movement within the more rural property market which tends to be frequented by the foreign and UK purchaser for second or hoilday homes. Foreign buyers are sniffing around as ever but there has been a marked downturn in the activity from the UK buyer since the referendum.

JULY 2016

Uncertainty is probably with us for some time now and the politicians have to decide how matters will be taken forward, but the short term effects are already being seen with the pound at the time of writing around 1.19 to the the euro. One would expect this level to be maintained unless there is further negative news which will cause short term volatility. We have noted that in the last week several clients have put projects on hold pending future decisions by the UK government. Some clarity will be required in order to assess the implications for property owners in Spain but for the moment there has been no fundamental change to foreign ownership status and purchasers, can in theory, continue buying.

JUNE 2016

The Brexit vote is demanding a lot of media intention and apparently the potential outcome is uncertain. The pound at the time of writing, 1.28, has not deteriorated in a month and the opinion of the writer is that all the experts really don't have an idea of what the potential outcomes are. We are predicting a close vote to stay in; and that the pound could rise up to 10% which would remain advantageous for the property purchaser in Spain. However it is close and a vote to leave could weaken the pound in the short term.

MAY 2016

BREXIT SPECIAL There has been considerable discussion and media interest in the upcoming vote on the EU membership. The truth is no one knows the implications of a vote to leave but as previously reported new deals will have to be struck which may have tax implications on the property owner here in Spain. Currently there are over two million UK residents in the EU countries outside the UK and reports suggest that half of these reside in Spain. In the short term leading up to the vote and several months beyond the exchange rate between the pound and the euro will be one of the most important factors. The pound has suffered and is now at approximately 1.27 but many argue that this level could head south. One thing is always certain - uncertainty will stop investors taking risks and this holds true for the property market as well. There has been a notable drop-off in the transaction levels in the last month or so - but don't be surprised if transaction levels pick up in the second half of the year whether we're in or out.

APRIL 2016

"Brexit" seems to be the name of the game. There is great discussion amongst expats on the implications of a vote to leave the european union. My personal stance on the situation is that it will make little difference to the property owner in Spain. If a property is used for vacation purposes then it is more likely, under the current climate, that more Brits will come on holiday to safer and nearer waters. If you live here then matters such as health care are being discussed but if there is an exit then new deals based on old deals will be struck across the board. Perhaps more importantly, issues such as the exchange rate and general purchase and ownership taxes on property will be foremost as well as the general cost of living.


The previous month has been fraught with financial and commodity market volatility. The price of oil dropped below 30 dollars and the pound lost 7% or so against the euro. January and February are traditionally quiet times for the property market and northern Spain is no exception. However, if you are considering or have arranged a purchase in euros then the currency fluctuations should be considered. (please see our euro page)


2016 will probably prove to be a pivitol year in the Spanish economy which will be reflected in the performance of the spanish property market. In our view the property market will likely stabilise and the pressurre for price rises will outweigh the trend of downward movement. As ever, the northern spanish property market will fluctuate less and with a predicted increase in demand from the foreign purchaser the transaction levels will start their road to normalisation. Over the past year the increased supply of property has been notable but many of these are still unreasonably priced and there could be pressure for vendors to reduce to more realistic levels.


The vendors of more expensive property are beginning to test the market to see if those fairly scarce purchasers have the confidence to proceed. One thing is for sure; some of the asking prices remain unrealistic and as ever the would be buyer ought to ensure they have the proper professional advice in terms of value and structure and not forgetting that planning and other legal issues should be checked.


With a generally improving economic situation in europe and a spanish economy that is outpacing other countries there is cause for optimism. The property transaction levels in Spain are on the increase, allbeit from a low level, and the property market is showing signs of real recovery. Price movement pressures are still slight due to the supply of property for sale coming to the market but there is now, for the first time in many years, reason to believe that prices could start to rise. The strength of the pound against the euro over the summer has brought potential purchasers to a point where there might be best value achieved.



2014 = 1,214 euros sq.m



2014 Galicia = 750 euros sq.m.,

2014 Asturias = 840 euros sq.m


TRADITIONAL STONE BUILT = 700 - 1,050 euros sq.m.

NEW BUILD = 1,000 - 1,200 euros sq.m.


The price of land as a percentage of the total cost of house and land rose from 7.6% in 1996 to approx. 30% in 2010.


© Blakemore Walker 2004