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Hong Kong buyers are discovering the investment opportunities Spain’s property market has to offer, as well as the route it provides to permanent residency in the European Union.
Inquiries have doubled in recent months even as pro-independence protests in Catalonia raise eyebrows, said Lily Siu-Rambaud, managing director of Madrid-based property agency Epic Asia.
“Some of my prospective Hong Kong clients are sceptical about the Madrid property outlook because of protests in Catalonia … [they] feel that what is taking place in Catalonia is what’s happening in Hong Kong, but it’s not the same. Catalonia is just an island of instability [in Spain],” she said.
She said initially she had one client buying property under a residence permit programme – or acquiring a “golden visa” – but now she had seven clients who were finalising deals that will also allow them to eventually gain permanent residency.
Siu-Rambaud said three clients from Hong Kong were expected in Madrid for a “property hunting trip” by the end of November.

Full article SCMP.com

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Spain topped the list of best European countries for retirees, followed by Finland, Italy and Slovenia, according to the study of 45 countries by wealth manager Blacktower Financial Management.
Switzerland – with easily the highest cost of living – Czech Republic and Poland came in just behind the UK.
The UK is only the 17th best place in Europe to retire in a new league based on crime, cost of living, house prices and other measures.
Germany took seventh spot and Greece was in eighth place, but Norway was at 23rd and France only made 25th. Azerbaijan was bottom of the league.
The research was based on crime rates, cost of living, life expectancy, property prices and population age – but not weather, which is one of the main reasons that UK expats flock to Spain, but might overlook Finland.
Would-be expats also have to consider their finances when retiring abroad, and one big issue is that where in the world you go will affect how much state pension you get in future.
State pensions are frozen when you first retire or move abroad if you decide to live in certain countries, such as Canada, India and Australia, but not in others, including EU countries – at least for now – and the US.
That means if you move to the ‘wrong’ country, whatever amount the state pension is set at when you leave is what you will continue to get throughout retirement, unless you move back to the UK.
Elderly expats living in the EU have been told that after Brexit, their state pensions will be uprated annually until 2023.
Blacktower found that Iceland was the best country for lowest average house prices, while Italy has the largest population over the age of 65 so retirees are surrounded by people of a similar age. Switzerland has the highest life expectancy rates across Europe, with people living on average to 83, and Georgia has the lowest cost of living, the firm discovered. Blacktower said of Spain: ‘The historic country hosts a wealth of great towns, cities and coastal locations which draw millions of retirees to its borders each year. ‘The great weather, food and friendly locals make Spain the perfect destination for anyone looking to relax in their “golden years”. Second in the rankings is the country of Finland. The laid-back Scandinavian atmosphere and magic of the northern lights sees many retirees going “off grid” to enjoy their well-deserved retirement.’

Source: Thisismoney.co.uk

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STRONG property market activity and growth is being experienced in five of Spain’s key cities, giving potential buyers a renewed sense of confidence, according to new analysis.
The highest residential prime property prices are in Madrid where values increased 9.7 per cent during the year to March 2019, and are 50.1 per cent higher than five years ago. This is the strongest growth of any region in Spain.
Transaction activity has also been strong and sales numbers are now just 23.6 per cent below their peak in 2006, compared with a national average of 39 per cent. These are the findings of an insight residential report compiled by international real estate advisor Savills. It points out that new residential projects are being built and the increase in construction looks set to be maintained.
Values in Catalonia increased 7.6 per cent during the year to March 2019, taking the five-year growth to 40.5 per cent and although price growth has slowed slightly, annual growth is still the second highest after Madrid. During the same period, transactions have doubled and the number of development permits has increased 523.9 per cent, demonstrating the renewed activity in the market.
Valencia is Spain’s third largest city and although it’s just an hour and 40 minutes by high-speed train to Madrid, property prices are significantly lower than those in the capital and Barcelona, which attracts investors looking for good rental returns. Price growth has been slower than some other regions of Spain, with values rising 17.5 per cent during the past five years. Yet, transaction numbers have doubled, indicating an active market.
Malaga has undergone a transformation in recent years, the report points out, and the city is no longer just considered as a gateway to other popular places along the Costa del Sol, but a destination in its own right. The average sale price for residential properties in the city in the first quarter of 2019 was 9.9 percent higher than the average sale price in the same period a year before.
Palma, the capital of Mallorca has become a high-end destination with new Michelin starred restaurants and five-star hotels opening. But across the Balearic Islands, although the average sale price is increasing, up 7.3 per cent over the year to the first quarter of 2019, the number of sales has slowed due to a lack of good stock. Annual residential transactions fell 6.3 per cent from the first quarter of 2018 to the second quarter of 2019. However, the city continues to attract a range of buyers. The Balearic Islands have bucked the trend somewhat with price growth of 37 per cent over the past five years, behind only Madrid and Catalonia in terms of growth.
Source: euroweeklynews.com

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ETCHED gracefully into the crown of Spain’s southern coast, Sotogrande shines bright like a diamond without ever being flashy.
The country’s largest privately-owned residential ‘super-state’ has long been the first port of call for the cream of European high society.
The radiance of this millionaire’s playground lies in its low-density living, stunning beaches and mountain backdrops, plus its amazing marina and golf courses.
Its privileged views of the Rock of Gibraltar and the Rif mountains of Africa have been enjoyed by the likes of ex-UK PM Tony Blair, the British royal family and countless European celebrities, who don’t want to be spotted, unlike those who venture to nearby Marbella.
But keep your eyes peeled and you might spot Irish motor racing guru Eddie Jordan, former Genesis keyboard player Mike Rutherford or the BBC’s Nick Knowles, who all have homes in the resort.
And then there are the footballers, including Glenn Hoddle and Glen Johnson, who have bought homes in Sotogrande.
Internationally renowned for its polo, golf and sailing, as well as a burgeoning gastronomic scene, this ‘mini Monaco’ of high net worth residents has all the hallmarks of what is often considered the top private resort in Europe.
Different from other ‘celebrity’ resorts where talk of wealth and fame is de rigueur, in understated Sotogrande they like to keep such talk, appropriately, ‘sotto voce.’
Mention the palpable sense of community, however, and you’ll discover how that is the privileged enclave’s true treasure.
Read the full story in theolivepress.es

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Foreign property buyers set a new record in 2018 with more buyers snapping up Spanish property than any other time since the financial crash.

A total of 65,295 properties were sold to non-Spaniards last year, representing a rise of 11% compared with the previous year, according to the first annual report by the Spanish Registrars Association. Read more »