Spain’s ghost town shows signs of life

LAST UPDATED: 2 Nov, 2014 @ 08:37
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Spain’s ghost town shows signs of life

SPAIN’S ‘ghost town’ is showing signs of life amid a property resurgence across the country.

Sesena, in northern Spain, became a symbol of the country’s economic crisis after thousands of houses were built but never sold in 2008.

Houses and arcades were bricked up, parks were turned into tyre-filled dumping grounds and the town was labelled a ‘ghost town’.

Now, however, things look to be on the up.

Amid the desolation, a real estate agency run by Monica Solera is seeing life return and has sold over 50 properties in the past two weeks.

Solera said: “Housing demand looks to be on the up once more.

“Even the banks have started to lend again.”

27 COMMENTS

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  1. Truth is, most towns in Spain have something like this. In my local area there are office buildings that were built a decade ago and which today lay unused, empty and disintegrating. How can it take a decade to get those buildings up-and-running? Spain is such an incompetently run country.

  2. You are supposed to be a travelled person Fred, if we are to believe half of the drivel you spout on here that is though I’m not saying many of us do, in which case you would realise that there has been a global recession.

    Spain has been hit hard, the UK has been brilliant at covering it up and leaving it to their future generations to sort out and the Aussies, who didn’t let their bankers get away with half the scams that we did in the northern hemisphere, have faired rather better. To name but three. But it’s affected us all.

    I’m sure your perpetual black cloud and half-empty glass won’t allow you to see progress when there is some but thankfully the reset of us can. Our hope is that it will continue … oh, and that whinging poms such as yourself, to borrow an antipodean expression for a moment, would disappear back to Little England where I’m sure you’ll find things more to your liking.

  3. Why area all these blocks of flats built with retail units on the ground floor? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a block which doesn’t have some or all of the retail units bricked up. Such a staggering waste! Just multiply this across the whole country. This is, yet another, very clear example of the incompetence Fred mentions above.

  4. You have to laugh at these sales agents. there are millions of tyres dumped next to that ugly urbanisation. Recently declared and environmental hazard.
    Take a look at these photos.

    “http://www.weather.com/news/science/environment/sesena-spain-tire-dump-20141004”

  5. No, I’m not blind Fred, though my father is and it’s far from a pleasant experience. I just live life with a tad more positivity than you seem to manage.

    But nevertheless things seem to be improving, albeit far too slowly by any measure, and maybe bit-by-bit even those with a seemingly permanently miserable view of life will be able to smile once more. Maybe.

  6. @Stuart, I know you don’t like losing an argument but please don’t put words in people’s mouths. Did I say being blind was a pleasant experience?

    In your world people mustn’t complain or draw attention to problems. Luckily, we don’t live in your world, Stuart, and to get fixes to things, people must complain and draw attention to them.

  7. Not even you would be so crass as to think being blind is pleasant, Fred, and I don’t believe I suggested you’d said so. And I realise you see the comments that you so freely sprinkle into this site as being arguments, I guess it’s in your nature, but thankfully many of the rest of us prefer to think of ours as an exchange opinions.

    My opinion is that you don’t seem to be able to speak/type without being negative about something and I was merely pointing out that others, such as me, at least try to see positives when they appear. Maybe you could try it some time; you may be surprised.

    In my opinion, constructive criticism is the way to get things done and not by constant complaining aka whinging. But again, I guess that where we differ too.

  8. It is about time Derek changed his name again. He has had Derek far too long now. Stuart, I think there is nothing wrong with being realistic. Southern Spain is reliant on tourist money and retirees / holiday home sales, they should not bite the hand that feeds them but they have severely reduced the property sales by knocking some down so there is not much income left now. The corruption is why the big corporations stay away along with the far left employment rules. One big mess and not likely to change either. It is probably only one step up from Iraq with corruption.

  9. @Stuart, thanks for your opinion. I’ll treat it as that. You can treat my responses as opinions too and just ignore them, if you wish.

    Returning to topic it is incredulous that so many developments sit idle year after year, when they could be used for housing low-income families, or be opened on a peppercorn rent to allow someone to start a business. Many such developments are of course stuck in legal limbo. Something should be done to allow these to be taken over and utilised, but alas Spain simply not have the intelligence to enable this to happen.

  10. Fred and Reap are right. There are some very serious issues that readers of this newspaper face and it is intellectually lazy to simply label people who raise their concerns as “moaners”. Reap mentions the so called illegal property situation where people have had their houses demolished or received a demolition order because the Junta de Andalucia retrospectively changed the law and moved the goal posts. These people (many of whom are now old and/or ill) did not expect move to Spain with their hard earned money and find themselves in a impossible situation like this. What are they supposed to do, shut up and and put up with it? Would you?

    This violation of human rights is totally unacceptable and the damage caused to the Spanish economy is immeasurable. It is small wonder that the property market has collapsed because even people who do not have an “illegal” property find it almost impossible to sell. The Junta de Andalucia should ask themselves a simple question “were the demolitions really worth it?”.

    With staggering unemployment and the dreadful economic situation that Spain faces, they should be doing everything they can to encourage foreign investment but instead they choose to drive people away. Exactly what is “positive” about that?

  11. Sorry, Jane, I know you are attempting to start a whole new diversion from the topic, in fact multiple ones, but I don’t think anyone, least of all me, would say that the problems you mentioned are positive and nor did I in fact.

    What I said was I try to look for the positive on things where there are some, such as in the original story on which you have commented if you had but read it before going off into a rant of your own choosing, and it’s only a small band of moaners that seem to step up each time to peddle their misery even when the story upon which they are peddling is showing a glimmer of hope.

  12. Is it a glimmer of hope? The Agent says she has sold 50 properties in 2 weeks. There was a similar story last year about the same development! Does it sound feasible? The tyre dumps are still there too. More Estate Agents hype.

  13. Bryan, remember that article a few weeks ago here, where one area with almost 400k people had sold 13 properties in a quarter? Unless they are selling them for €5k it does smell of xxx xxxx, 50 properties in 2 weeks. I will say something positive about Spain, it is sunny there. There you go, what else that is positive can I say, fruit and veg are good… Property is cheap!! That is all I can think of.

  14. Dear editor: I think it might be useful if correspondents were asked to add a provenance to their name. Not a street address, of course, but just “Granada”, or “Nerja”, perhaps the more generic “Costa”, ” Sierra Nevada”, or even “Southern Spain” or “West Hartlepool”.

    This would help me understand debates like the one above, in which people who clearly hate Spain and everything Spanish, seem to be so regular in reading a Spanish newspaper, and prompt in submitting their negative opinions to it. Common sense would suggest that these folks couldn’t possibly live in, or even want to visit Spain but, if so, why are they so keen to write critically about it?

    Perhaps they work for a competing Mediterranean country’s tourist board, once had a bad TESCO frozen paella, are particular fans of Basil Fawlty, or Francis Drake. If they do live somewhere in Spain, then I’d love to know where, so that I can avoid the plague spot that has so soured their opinions of this wonderful, and progressive nation.

    – Alun Whittaker, Valle de Lecrin

  15. I take it you believe all the hype??

    Perhaps some have an illegal house or have been defrauded by a crooked Agen/Developer and don’t want people to make the same mistake they did.

    Frankly, reading your last para I think someone has lost the plot.

  16. Those correspondents you mention A.W. are generally well informed people who, based on their own experiences are trying to ensure many others don’t fall into the many traps that exist with buying property in Spain and a host of other problems that often occur.

    Like other posters who don’t like those with opposing views such as yours, you also use the word ‘hate’ when describing them, you throw that word around willy nilly. In fact most of those posters love certain things about the country after all many still live in Spain or did live in Spain but are fed up with the corrupt system that exists with diddly squat done to address it.

    The good news though is that I suspect many unwary folk have managed to avoid the many pitfalls due to their posts.

    What nonsense suggesting a provenance to their names, Lol

    Billy Bodkin, West Hartlepool

  17. Stuart, my comments regarding the demolitions in Andalucia may have been slightly off topic but their significance cannot be ignored. Indeed, they were instrumental in the collapse of the Spanish property market as a whole and highlight the destruction that has been caused by the hostile practices of both the regional and national governments. This has led to the virtual demise of the once very lucrative residential tourism industry at a time when they needed it most and it has affected the entire country.

    You may wonder what this has to do with a development such as this which would have been mainly occupied by Spanish people of working age. Spain is heavily dependent on conventional/residential tourism and foreign investment and it cannot survive without it. Once the foreign money dries up, fewer taxes are paid, there is less economic activity, shops and businesses start to go out of business, unemployment soars and before you know it, the population starts to shrink, the economy goes into meltdown and you have a Japanese deflation situation.

    It is impossible for any country to be successful unless it is business friendly, attracts inward investment from both individuals and multi-national companies, has reasonable tax laws, workable employment laws and economic activity. Unless and until Spain adopts these measures, it will continue in its cycle of decline. Yes, there has been a worldwide recession but Spain has fared much worse than most because of its outdated and draconian regime.

    This is not about liking or disliking Spain, it is a mere statement of fact.

  18. Probably some regulation set by a pen-pusher in Madrid. It’s incredible how they stick rigidly to some rules, even ones which cost them unnecessarily, yet completely ignore others, usually ones which are there for a good reason…

  19. I can’t believe the number of delusional people out there who are trying to ‘talk the job up’. It would be funny if it was not so pathetic. Just because a few ‘doctored’ figures from a corrupt government office show a pathetic increase in house sales/values, based on the previous years disastrous figures, we are home and dry! Face facts……. Housing will only become affordable when Spanish workers can afford them, the number of empty homes in Spain is colossal and repossessions are still a concern so a few sales to Russians and Chinese in exchange for a golden visa doesn’t alter the perilous condition of Spain’s housing, employment or financial situation. The ECB is clutching at straws and this will soon impact on most of Europe – we have a long way to go yet before any improvement will be certain and if of course we can stop this government funding ghosts airports and keep their fingers out of the till.

  20. Spot on posts Chris and Jane, just because some Costa agents have got a few more properties away this year and only in some areas, the talk-it-up brigade think the Spanish property mess is over. What is it, nearly 2 million properties for sale over Spain?

    Prices fell again in September 4.2% y.o.y. according to Tinsa, even at these prices it’s not a good investment once ridiculously high transaction costs are included.

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