“Why I don’t regret buying into the Spanish property dream”

January 19th, 2010

It may have gone sour for some, but the coverage of the reality faced by second home owners like us omits some important truths. By a Citywire reader.

In the foreground there were sheep grazing on rough, undeveloped grasslands; in the background mountains.

When built, the bungalow would sit at the end of a row of white homes, with a triangle of land that would remain undeveloped at the end. There would be nothing across the road from us apart from a few buildings in the distance and then the mountains beyond that. We had our own part of the Spanish dream, having saved for decades to fulfil it.

Ten years later and everyone now knows how the developers got greedy, the cranes took over, promises were broken and property values plummeted; in some cases bizarre land laws meant that people lost their homes.

That story has been told over and over again. But this is not a piece complaining of the ruthlessness of the Spanish authorities, fraud on the Costas, nor the overzealous developers.

The value of our house has of course dropped and the weak pound has taken its toll. The developers’ broke their promises – high rises now obscure our view of the hills – and this is no sleepy Spanish idyll. But it is a place boasting the best climate in Europe. It remains five minutes from the beach, and provides a sanctuary we are fortunate to enjoy from the bitter grey British winter.

Thanks to Ryanair it is cheap and easy to get to. And while the British influence is increasingly widespread in this part of the world (the Costa Blanca since you ask), speak a little Spanish – and it doesn’t have to be fluent – and the locals will cheerfully speak it back. The pound is weak, but that wont last forever and the Menú del Dia is still a bargain.

The value of our home may have dropped but like most of the Brits with houses in the Med, but this is not our first home and it is not our retirement fund. This is not because we are loaded; far from it, we bought it to enjoy it, which we have many many times.

The newspapers may be full of reports that the dream of owning second homes in Spain is dead, but for the majority of people – at least those who are in it for the lifestyle not a money-making opportunity – it’s alive and well.

That is not to say that people in our situation haven’t been faced with property nightmares, but that over the years the coverage and hype surrounding this has been disproportionate: for the fortunate majority the Spanish property dream is not dead.

Story from Citywire

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