Torcal Estates Fincas and Country property - Málaga, Spain

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News - March 2008

Spain gets a new tourist boost!

Expectations for Spain’s tourist industry during 2008 are high. Exceltur, the holiday industry group have confirmed that tourist numbers rose during 2007 from 58.5million to 59.7million and are expected to reach 60.7million by the end of 2008.

Whilst the vast majority of these visitors will be heading for the coastal strip for the annual pilgrimage to sunnier climes, there is also an increasing number who are heading inland to search for a more genuine Spanish experience.

This is good news for people who own tourist related businesses who may be suffering with the general downturn in global confidence.

Whilst the travelling far and wide across the world gets easier each year, the fundamentals for visiting Spain remain strong with the climate and culture a huge attraction.

The death of an estate agent

Whilst many people will be celebrating the demise of estate agents, should we really be enjoying their pain so much?

Some 40,000 estate agents have closed their doors during 2007 and about 100,000 individuals have lost their jobs. This news will be badly received by the Spanish government as unemployment figures rise across the board. In Malaga, the number of people without a job rose to the highest level in 24 years.

Is there a silver lining to this tale?

Well, of course, those sadistic amongst us may see the number of agents closing as a very positive thing (and speaking as an agent, I tend to agree!).

The number of agents within Spain has grown over the years to benefit from the property boom. Unfortunately, the honesty and professionalism of many of these agents has been highly questionable. What these recent closures have done is cleared out a lot of the dead wood and many of the unscrupulous agents are the ones which have “bitten the dust”.

Not all closures will reflect the quality of service so please don’t think that every agent which remains open is going to be angelic – you still need to have your wits about you when considering a property in Spain.

So what can you look for in an agent to know whether you can trust them?

Transparency is a good start – have a look at their website – is it just a sales pitch of do they have useful information and a balanced view on the property market? Do they carry articles like this on the website?

Do they advertise their fees? Any agent who has a lack of confidence will often hide their fees – this may just be a lack of confidence, it can also be more sinister!

How long have they been trading? Many agents have opened within the last few years to take advantage of the boom – if they have been around for longer than 5 years there’s a good chance they are in the market for the longer term.

So, will more agents close during 2008? I have absolutely no doubt that the market will continue to affect estate agents across Spain although there are definitely areas which will be more badly affected than others. The coastal strip where an over supply of property and a drop in demand are seen most acutely will see many more closures – the disappearance of many of the Viva Estates offices illustrate this very well.

Will Torcal Estates be here in 12 months time? You bet! Thankfully, we have plenty of experience in dealing with a difficult market place and we have an understanding of service which is sadly lacking with the majority of agents.

Look back at some of our predictions and comments from as long ago as 2006 and you will see we were predicting the downturn long before many people realised what was happening.

We, at Torcal Estates took the decision to slim down the number of properties that we offer to ensure that each of them is well priced, fully legal and saleable. This means people can buy confidently from Torcal Estates and when the market is struggling that is the sort of advantage an agent needs!

How much have you got in your wallet?

Halifax Bank of Scotland has published a report stating that the amount of equity available to homeowners in the UK has reached a staggering £2.8trillion.

With the rise in UK house prices over the last decade, many homeowners have made huge gains in equity and with the rise of equity release schemes and re-mortgaging these owners now have an enormous amount of spending power.

Whilst there are concerns about the increase in mortgage debt and the rise in general debt levels, this enormous amount of available cash is being used by many to plan for retirement, to enjoy an early retirement, to purchase a holiday home or to simply change their whole way of life.

When you look at the over 60’s the amount of available equity is even higher than the national average and this means that the “grey pound” is even stronger than before.

If you have a large amount of equity or you have just received your city bonus, what options do you have to improve your lifestyle? There’s always the option of a yacht floating around the Caribbean but huge numbers are still attracted by the lure of a holiday home in the sun of southern Spain – and who can blame them?

Aer Lingus comes to Málaga

Aer Lingus is creating a new service between Belfast International airport and Málaga.

Residents of Northern Ireland will soon be able to journey to Málaga in southern Spain as well as the Catalan capital of Barcelona. The chief executive of Aer Lingus, Dermo Mannion said “we are committed to delivering a combination of low fares and high-value service, something we believe the people of NI will appreciate.

This new service further improves the future of Málaga airport and justifies the current extension and improvements being made to the airport and infrastructure around the city of Málaga.

The Irish have been buying along the coast for a number of years although this news will undoubtedly spur many more to consider southern Spain. It may also mean that many more Irish will consider the inland areas such as those that Torcal Estates cover.

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