By Lesley at Cadiz Casa
Well, I was glad to hear that the Spanish Secretary of State for Housing, Beatriz Corredor, had taken a proactive approach to our flagging property market and attended the Property Investor and OPP Live Show in London earlier this month but apparently the visit was slightly marred by a run in with the MEP Marta Andreasen.
The Secretary visited with a Spanish delegation to promote property purchases in Spain.
During her 30 minute keynote speech she claimed that there had never been a better time to purchase a property in Spain due to the falling prices, IVA reduction on new properties and the Land Registry now available in English.
Unfortunately, Ms Andreasen meeting her at a drinks party held after the speech saw it a bit differently and said that the Secretary “quite clearly lives on another planet. She refused to acknowledge the problems there have been and continue to be with people who have invested in Spain.
Through her denial, she is unwilling to help those who have suffered and I question whether she even cares given there’s an election in Spain in a few weeks’ time”.
An insider who witnessed the exchange told me there were raised voices and it was certainly a handbags at 20 paces moment!
In her defense, the Secretary is under pressure.
The latest published figures show 400,000 newly built properties near the coast not sold and prices having reportedly tumbled by 40% so the pressure is on to do something to get the foreign buyers back.
Spain has been keen to show how it has changed into a forward looking upstanding member of European society and embraced the new ideas being introduced to protect buyers but we need to ask why we need these counter systems if we did not have a problem before.
Fact is the Spanish property market has been marred by allegations of corruption and poor policing for many years resulting in people losing their life savings on bad property investments and many still trying to extricate themselves from bad purchases which are now worth less than they paid for them.
You only have to check out the Spanish press to see the mess that has occurred.
In the Malaya case alone we have 93 accused and two mayors about to appear in the dock.
Sadly it is not the only case we will see unfolding over the coming months and no doubt years.
But credit where credit is due, Spain has taken on board some new measures designed to help like the new cross border conveyancing scheme set up by the European Land Registry Association which will allow for the purchasing procedure for a foreign property to be settled in the buyer´s home country.
Property purchases will be dealt with under the protective laws of the purchaser´s country and they will be guaranteed against unknown restrictions and violations of the contract by the seller.
All this is good but what we really need Spain to do is man up a bit and admit the problems of the past and swiftly set about putting them right not just paper over the cracks by saying that they have changed and it will be different in the future.