26 Apr, 2014 @ 16:00
1 min read

Spain still number one for Brits looking to leave

DESPITE recent reports in the UK press, Spain is still the most desired country to live for Brits at 13%.

It also emerges that 12% of Brits are considering emigrating, with the country’s ‘broken society’ their biggest concern, as well as the weather, crime rates and the costs of living.

While the UK was named the worst country for quality of life in Europe by the uSwitch survey, Spain emerged proudly in second place, behind only France.

Just 5% of those questioned said they were happy in the UK, which contrasts recent research suggesting expats are less happy after moving away from Britain.

The study examined 16 factors such as net income, the cost of essential goods, as well as lifestyle factors such as hours of sunshine, holiday entitlement, working hours and life expectancy.

France claimed the top spot for the third year running, but was still second behind Spain in terms of where Brits most want to relocate to, at 7%.

Tom Powell

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  1. For Goodness sake – don’t tell the Spanish authorities this – after the ‘90,000 Brits leaving story’ we had just about got them by the short ‘n curlies.
    In sober truth, Spain is a wonderful place to live. I couldn’t stand the idea of being obliged to dwell in the UK.

  2. My wife and I have only lived in Spain for six years and feel that this is now our home. We live up in the mountains about an hour from the coast. We go back to the UK about four times a year to visit family and sometimes friends. We now see our little grandchildren 56 days a year which is probably more than most grand-parents manage to see them, who live in the UK. This removes the one regret that we had when we left England as we now have the best of both worlds. I’m not surprised at all that some people want to leave the UK and settle elsewhere. It’s an adventure that, with careful planning, can be made a reality. It’s unfortunate that the jobs are not available here at the moment for a young family to live here but for the older generation it’s a flyer!!!

  3. If everything is that great and that number of people really do want to move to Spain, we would have been able to sell our house by now bearing in mind we have dropped the price several times.

    One agent told us that foreigners going to Spain at the moment are very cautious and prefer to rent because (a) they fear being stuck with a house they cannot sell if they want to and (b) demolition horror stories have given them the heebie geebies and they have no confidence in the property laws and fear buying a house that is illegal.

  4. Hope you sell your place soon Lou. Where we visit at the coast, houses are being sold left right and centre, mainly to Scandinavians. Let’s hope the Spanish government wakes up though and makes the home buying process safer. It’s not a hard thing to solve surely.

  5. Is this the start of a Damascene conversion ? Derek admitting something could be “unsafe” about the Spanish property market?
    Welcome to the Dark Side Derek.

  6. Derek: You STILL don’t get it Daddy. I have never seen anyone slag off Spain on here. The Administration, yes, many times.
    The attitude to animals, certainly and justifiably so. The cancerous hold of the Church, of course, (somewhat fading now)
    But the country and people are always spoken of in warm terms – sunny even! Most adverse comments about Spain are made more in sorrow than anger. Disappointment and disillusion are the chief emotions when folk recount their experiences.
    Apart from you of course, whose blinkers allow no view of clouds and rain.

  7. You STILL don’t get Brit humour do you Christine ?
    Well done for spotting the Star Wars reference though. That’s sharp for a Yank.
    Apart from all this jollity, how about the serious stuff ?

  8. Sharp for a Yank as oppose to being a whiny Brit…better? Am I catching on? Having lived in London, I get it fine. I’ve come to find on here when I do talk serious, name calling always comes into play something I always found rather sophomoric and takes the conversation way off base.

  9. See you have a new pal Christine. Another one who “doesn’t get it”. Bet you’ll agree on all kinds of subjects. You’ll be able to explain jokes to each other.

  10. if a lot of Spanish people were buying in the UK and their houses were being declared illegal

    I think there would be a lot more shouting and screaming about it
    /I mean what is more against Human Rights that the EU is always shoving down peoples throats than having your house taken away from you and loosing all your money or if you are awarded compensation you never seem to get paid

    yet Spain seems to be getting away with it /The EU is not taking any effective action against Spain and the UK Govnt does not seem to be putting any pressure on the Spanish

    so criticism of Spain is actually kinder than it could be

  11. ‘I have never seen anyone slag off Spain on here.’

    You’re joking Stefanjo aren’t you! Get a life! That’s the funniest thing I’ve read for a while on here.

    Where have I ever said Spain doesn’t have problems? It’s so lame to simply point them all out . A 5 year old could do that.

    I just don’t glorify in them like you lot on here. Spain isn’t JUST like that.

    You’re not living here either are you?

    So boring!

  12. Stefango the Dancer,

    I must have missed your admiration towards the Spanish way of life and of it’s quality. Could you please direct me to a write-up that you may have posted. I don’t mean all the crap you write about on how bad it is living in Spain, ya know, something sensible and positive, and why you are living in Spain. Is it because you enjoy the Stefango dancing.

  13. @Rob,
    I’m not trying to take the blame away from Spain in regards to the Illegal buildings but they were declared illegal by the Junta of Andalusia a legal government body and basically boils down to a civil matter and nothing to do with the law of the land. I don’t think the councils or Spain are in a financial position to compensate the many illegal buildings

    Where the EU may be able to step in is to give advice in suing the appropriate bodies involved which would be fruitless as most of the builders may have gone bankrupt, but, and I say but, the solicitors acting on behalf of the purchaser’s must have had some form of a liability insurance policy, but then again this would take years to come to a conclusion.

    So basically the E.U, U.K and other countries of expats involved can do nothing as the actual law of the land is being upheld.

    Just a thought, one must hope on the sympathy of the Spanish government to step in, which I doubt.

  14. rob, you are dead right, if Spaniards were getting their houses demolished in the UK there would be a public outcry. What a pity it does not cut both ways. When moving to another EU member state, one has the right to expect it to meet certain standards and Spain does not meet EU standards in either property laws or judicial laws.

    A British couple recently received a suspended prison sentence for being in receipt of a so called illegal building licence that was issued by their town hall. They used a reputable lawyer, went through all the correct channels and had absolutely no idea that they were doing anything “illegal”. They have now abandoned their house in Spain and gone back to the UK for fear of getting as much as a traffic violation which would result in the prison sentence being upheld. What an utterly pointless exercise.

    People affected by the so called illegal property scandal and the Junta de Andalucia’s program of mass destruction have every right to shout as loudly as they can to as many people as they can. How sad that some people can’t face it, bury their heads in the sand and become apologists for such a despotic regime.

    Until these life ruining, human rights issues are addressed, Spain does not deserve any good publicity, they must earn it first.

  15. caccia, this is the last time I am going to reply to you in person on any subject because I think you are trying to play devil’s advocate. Why you feel the need to defend the lunatic, spiteful and destructive actions of the Junta de Andalucia is beyond me. For your information, far from upholding the law, they actually broke the law and demolished the Priors’ house illegally.

    They failed to police the region and took no action for over 10 years while all these properties were being built. They had ample opportunity to impose these so called laws but instead they sat back and did nothing while happily accepting all the tax revenue that was being generated by all the so called illegal building. The buck stops with them and it is their responsibility to run the region they are elected to govern. They failed so they must now pay the price for their gross negligence in the form of an amnesty.

    Many of the people affected have paperwork with a Junta stamp/logo on the front cover – how would this be possible if they had no knowledge of it? Nice try on that one.

    Why you have such a strong personal interest in the Junta de Andalucia and feel the need to support them in this way is something of a mystery. I have yet to meet a Spaniard who agrees with the Junta’s program of demolition or who would agree with your personal views. If you are British then this is a very strange way to offer support to your compatriots – or perhaps you are not British, I note your American spelling. At no point have you shown any empathy towards the people who find themselves in this desperate situation.

    To that end, I am sure you would like to contact Helen and Len Prior (demolished January 2008 and living in a garage with no electricity ever since) and John and Jan Brooks (demolished November 2013) in person to offer your support and express your sympathy, I did. You can contact them via AUAN (I am sure you can find their website) and they will pass on your message. They will be most interested to hear your views and I am sure you will explain to them in detail as to why their houses were demolished and you might even be able to sell the Junta de Andalucia’s program of mass destruction to them – good luck with that.

    I am equally sure you would like to contact the 17 homeowners in Alcaucin (via the SOHA website) who had their licences revoked in December of last year and who received their demolition notices on Boxing Day. They would love to hear your views and your explanation justifying the actions of the Junta and in particular the way they forced the town hall council to vote in favour of revoking these licences or be removed from public office for life – very democratic I am sure.

    While you are at it, you can explain where all the missing millions of EU money went – money that the Junta could have used to compensate their victims and indeed pay off their future victims, then they can bulldoze away to their heart’s desire. Great stuff, I wonder if they have any more great ideas like that stashed away.

    What a great advertisement this is to anyone who is thinking of moving to Spain and hoping to create a support network.

  16. @Oh dear Jane,

    Sorry if I had upset you. I have never said that I agree with the Junta, they are the people that have caused this upheaval not ME so basically you should direct your anger to them and it’s fortunate that you have the freedom of speech to express your views.

    There are NOT many things that I do not agree with in Spain but choose to live here quite happily in my retirement and had the good sense to rent, could have purchased when places were at give away prices when Franco was alive prior to the onslaught of the building craze. It would appear that you maybe one of those stuck with unsaleable properties in which case can understand your anger.

    I am not a crusader, never have been, had my own problems in life and if I was a crusader I would be perhaps in China or Russia expressing my views, but can understand the plight of unfortunate people that have villas raised to the ground.

    My view is that the current Junta is the law and can be voted out and if voted out the law regarding illegal properties may change that’s all one can hope for, but to indicate that I agree in the wholesale demolition is unbelievable due the questions you have thrown at me.

    If as you say people have legitimate paperwork signed by the Junta with legal Junta/stamp heading (which can be fiddled) or whatever paperwork is required as being classed as legal then the governments of these people should step in but, lets face it do all illegal properties have this. I don’t know, do you.

    And your suggestion that I should perhaps meet these people and do what, wrap an around their shoulder and say, “Sorry mate, terrible thing the Junta have done”. Jane, do me a favor, they have enough problems.

    So please point your anger perhaps at the British Embassy in Spain or the British Government or even the EU who have done absolutely NOTHING to help these poor people, NOT ME.

  17. @Jane,

    P.S. If you say that people have legitimate paperwork then surely the lawyer/s should take the Junta to the courts in Madrid including the EU human rights and put a stop to all demolitions until a final solution had been sought.

  18. Paperwork is a complex business, and just because an owner has some paperwork, it does not always make it valid unfortunately. A common issue has been that the local authority issues paperwork, such as a building license for example, when the legality of the land, itself, is in question. That then nullifies the legality of all the paperwork. Building projects happen in isolation and there is very little checking up on such projects, so they progress, sometimes over decades, and then people see them as being “legal”. But they never were to begin with and the Junta is playing “catch up” with these properties. Some can be legalised, but many cannot e.g. those in protected land areas.

    Many mayors, some now in prison, have issued licenses when the land itself was non-urbanisable or protected. They knew that at the time, although many have argued that they didn’t and that the records were out of date etc. The Junta and the local ayuntamientos are totally out of touch with one another. The new PGOUs (local plans) are designed to document all of the legal properties, and those that are not, so that the issue can be sorted out, but it progresses at a snails pace and of course the Junta don’t always agree with the PGOUs submitted. It will take decades to sort out.

    Purchasing a country property is highly inadvisable in my opinion, unless it is ancient (mine is an old convent).

  19. Did I read somewhere that a Spaniard was given permission to erect a shed on his land which finished up as a villa. Big hue and cry because it had to be demolished. Think it has now or about to be demolished. People do stupid things and then try to pass the buck onto the Authorities.

  20. Sheds (or almecens) being turning into villas has been a frequently occurring issue, but has nothing in common with the issues faced by SOHA and LOUA members. There are many categories of “illegal” buildings, some of which do deserve to be demolished. However, if your town hall issues licenses. connects services, and takes IBI payments for over a decade, then those people should have a strong case for compensation. This is where Spain falls down badly – it will not admit it has made a mistake and never compensates people. I would not invest in Spain again on that basis, but that’s just my opinion.

  21. @Fred,

    As you well know councils do not connect services, perhaps allow sewage if the property is legal and close at hand and if not one uses a septic tank. This also happens in the U.K.

    Other means of services are available which does not require the services of companies.

  22. Not at all, it is very easy in Spain to build a small house and live in it without telling anyone. That is illegal, but it still happens. There are many houses on building supply electric and well-water that have never been legalised, indeed would never be allowed to be legalised. There are so many different categories of illegal and irregular properties, but the issue is that we mustn’t confuse those types of property with those from SOHA/LOUA members, all of whom used lawyers and notaries etc.

  23. I have mentioned on another thread sometime ago now that there is a beautiful canyon just outside Guadix that culminates in the village of Lugros. There was an almecen at the highest point of the village, breathtaking views to die for.

    I did’nt trust the old man that was trying to sell the property so I visited the alcalde in his office “is it legal to convert this ‘almecen’ into a home, he dithered and did’nt want to answer, finally he said “there are lots of illegal houses built around here” – “so why don’t you pull them down, indeed why did you allow building of illegal houses to continue” – he just shrugged his shoulders – says it all really does’nt it.

  24. Caccia, your comment seems to jest over the Prior’s predicament. I hope you will tell the blog that isn’t what you intended.

    The Prior’s were scapegoats and a Judge even ruled the demolition was illegal afterwards (not much help). The case of the Prior’s highlights why noone should consider purchasing in Spain, because that’s what the authorities could do to you.

    I am also reminded of a picture in one paper earlier this year (Sur in Engish I recall) showing two Spanish parents sifting through the rubble of their house after it was demolished, looking for jars of baby food for their newborn child, while dozens of other houses with the same legal status appear all around it. Today we also have the story of the 104 year old lady in Madrid who is being evicted. Spain is not a nice place when you scratch the surface.

  25. Right again Fred. I too heard about that Spanish couple who had their house demolished recently and there is also an older Spanish couple who are currently in prison because they refused to allow the Junta to demolish their house. I imagine this is a short term situation because, sadly, they will not be able to prevent the demolition indefinitely.

    The Priors are still living in a garage with no electricity and a campervan for a bathroom. It is actually the garage next to their demolished house that was on a separate building licence and much as the lunatic Junta de Andalucia would have loved to demolish that too, it was a bridge too far even for them.

    Knowing how inhumane the Junta are, I would not put it past them to evict the Priors from their garage at some point.

    The Priors managed to rip the kitchen and various other items out of their house just before the bulldozer struck the first blow and now they just struggle on living in their garage with a generator – this has been going on for six years.

    Interested parties can see the footage of the Priors’ and the Brooks’ houses being demolished on Youtube or the SOHA/AUAN websites.

    The Priors were scapegoats and the authorities also used them to set an example (yes, that clapped out old cliche). Of course they got it dangerously wrong and the reality is that far from setting an example, it destroyed the property market in one hit of a bulldozer and is set to become the world’s most expensive demolition – the actual cost in terms of lost tax revenue, jobs and business is simply immeasurable. This has to be the greatest own goal of all time.

    I agree with Fred once again, Spain is not a nice place if you scatch below the surface and many people will not want to live in/invest in a place that treats people in this way. This is now a human rights issue and the Priors and others in Almeria/Malaga are waiting for their cases to be heard by the ECHR but it is a very slow, expensive process and many of these people could be dead before they get any compensation.

  26. ON topic FRED. I’m really interested & fascinated why you like living in Spain?

    I can understand people who don’t like Spain and are back in the uk, for various reasons, most sounding extremely bitter on this website against Spain (just like Jane – there’s a mini rhyme there for you)

    Do you like your life here?


  27. Derek, this not a Fred Q&A blog. When you point out what is incorrect in my posts above, we’ll talk again perhaps. Btw there’s nothing bitter about stating facts. Btw, has anyone shouted at you in the street lately?

  28. Someone at work wants to buy a place in Spain and asked me about it. I did not want to sound negative (Derek, you know that is not easy for me!) but explained how careful you need to be with the legal side of things but added why don’t just get a buy to let in the UK and rent for peanuts in Spain when you want to go on holiday or even rent if you live there one day. After you have purchased you can’t easily sell like the UK, the Spanish are going to or have put laws in place to try and stop you renting easily so they can fill the hotels up, it is difficult to rent outside of the kids holidays for most places, running costs for my places are in 4 figures without a mortgage and before I have even paid for the gas, electric or water and that is without any repairs .. The list goes on.

  29. @Fred and Jane,

    I happen to mention the Prior’s due to Jane bringing their name into a conversation. At the time their photo etc appeared in the press I actually copied and sent the write up etc to my agent in the U.K to warn other clients that may be contemplating to make a life in Spain to be vigilant, that’s if they intend to purchase. I don’t wish to prolong this discussion further but there appears to be a double standard of thinking here regarding the law. One minute a Judge was correct in saying the demolition was illegal (although illegally built) and yet there seems to be a disagreement that another Judge was correct in allowing a hotel to continue construction, both I might add on land to be built on. I could go on and on about the rights and wrongs of what is happening in Spain but it does not solve the problems.

    I’m not sure of the legality of the garage etc on the Prior’s land, and although it was not demolished at the time would indicates that it was legal.

    This all stems from a conversation I was having with Fred regarding services to property. If one owns a plot of land one can park a large caravan or some other form of movable living quarters without being connect to a supply company. One uses their own form of service’s, ie; electricity via a generator or battery, water delivered if large quantity is required into a large storage tank and sewerage disposal via chemical toilet as in all boats, or better still a septic tank.

    That’s all folks really, so please don’t make a song and dance over the matter, but to give way in making one property legal does open the flood gate and it’s matter for the government or the Junta to decide. Some councils are fighting hard to legalize some properties but unfortunately some will be demolished.

  30. @Fred.

    Derek may have a valid point here in asking you why you are living in Spain and which to his opinion requires a reply as you tend to give your opinion on many other subjects. Nothing to be ashamed of if you love or do not living in Spain, just another opinion required from you.

  31. @Reap,

    It’s not a case of the laws being introduced regarding the letting of property, the problem has been that for many years flats or villas were being let without declaring the income. Same law applies in the U.K all unearned income must be declared, so if the suggestion to your friend is to buy and let in the U.K he would need to declare. Don’t wish to dwell on this subject but lets face it expats of any nation had been fiddling.

  32. @Caccia, I am living in Spain currently because I had the perception that it could be a good destination to live in, and I purchased a property on that basis. In hindsight I would not have made that decision, but that’s life. That doesn’t mean others can’t have a good life here. Does that answer your question sufficiently?

  33. Everything that Fred and Jane have said makes a great deal of sense. We only ever wanted a holiday home in Spain which we are now trying to sell because we want to get our money out of there asap.

    It really is time to face some facts here, the property market in Spain will never recover until they do something about the property laws. What is wrong with them, are they blind, stupid or what? They need to act now, not next month or next year.

    The UK and Spanish economies are growing further and further apart not just in terms of house prices but GDP, economic performance, jobs etc. A right thinking person would assume that the Spanish Government would take one look at the UK and want a slice of the action. But no, they still want to have loads of empty, unsold properties that nobody has the confidence to buy, mass unemployment (no wonder there are so many Spaniards working in London huddled together having their fag breaks) and a crashed economy that is gradually sliding into the third world.

    There are Brits who would like to move to Spain but will not do so while all this crackpot stuff is going on. Here in the UK, people are selling their houses with ease and in many areas, you virtually have to queue up to buy a property – dream on Spain.

    I blame the Junta de Andalucia for this entire mess and what I think about them is unprintable and would not get past the moderators. The really frustrating thing is that this so-called illegal building problem could so easily be resolved by the Junta having an amnesty and then, as so many people have said on here, creating some property laws that actually work.

    This problem affects everyone who owns property in Spain because even if you don’t own a rural property, the demolition issue has dented confidence in the entire Spanish property market and you will still struggle to sell. I feel for anyone who needs to sell in Spain and move back to the UK, they are really going to struggle.

    That video clip of the Priors’ house being demolished was really harrowing. How must Mrs Prior have felt when her husband was being taken off in the ambulance and she was left on her own to watch her house being demolished. What a despicable way to treat someone who has spent money and invested in your country. Unforgivable.

    Spain has had a real drubbing in the UK press over the past week or so and boy do they deserve it.

  34. @Fred,

    I knew what your answer would be but Derek was not quite sure. Things will get better in Spain but at the moment it is going through a bad patch financially like many other countries had but slowly coming out of it. The only problem I see is the subject of illegal building which will eventually be sorted out and all other matters are not really that much different to other European countries. If it’s money one is chasing then one is not looking for quality. We had the same problem in the U.K quite a while ago but on a much much smaller scale, the fault of illegal building or extensions etc was drafted to the builder and not the owner who would often say “could you pinch a foot or two”. I refused to build an extension on the back of an hotel due to the owner asking to extend the whole back by 3 feet. I said get the plans altered and past and I’ll give you a quote. Never heard from him after that. (mind you he was a Greek).

    Not before long you will be at a retired stage and believe me Fred if ya keep ya nose clean you will have a better life in Spain which is part and parcel of quality, besides Dutchland is a far more expensive place to live then in Spain.

    The people that have made various complaints about Spain are those that have been effect by the illegal buildings and of having no work and the dream of a happy life did not meet their expectation. But there are also thousands that have found happiness in Spin and have no intentions of moving back to the U.K. It’s not all bed and roses there and one only needs to read and see the news. Latest news, Tax man to raid your account in the U.K if tax payments have not been met. Starting to follow the need for money like all other countries.

    Ah well, could go on and on.

  35. @Lou,

    Was it a holiday home that you wished to have and for what reason. You could have purchased one in the U.K, on the coast line, or even saving wads of money in purchasing a mobile home if it was just a holiday home you were after. Why did you not do that. Would it all be down to finance so lets be honest about the real intentions, all I have heard is being stuck with property.

    I take it you still live in the U.K so how has it affected your holiday home, why sell, leave it to the kids to enjoy.

  36. To all those that wish to return to the U.K check this out and it’s become worse since that report was published. Who could afford to purchase a descent property back there now, and for those that use villas and flats as holiday homes here, keep em, why give them away, use them for what they were purchased for.


  37. Caccia, my nose is clean, don’t worry lol. Holland is more expensive, but Spain can be expensive too (8-10% purchase taxes, etc), then again there are no hustler estate agents (property sales are all centralised) and the laws are much more reliable and the red-tape is much less. I’ve done more business in one year in Holland than nine years in Spain. It’s a no brainer for me, but that’s just my experience. Spain has so much more risk, and that’s the turn-off. Andalucia is the wild west still.

  38. P.S Fred,

    How does living in Dutch-land compare with living in Spain who are retired, do not work, do not need to work, do not encumber their lives with estate agents, live in legal proprieties and are financially secure.

    Therefore does the cost of living and quality of life come into the equation and if Dutch-land can offer this type of life style then Dutch-land is a good place to live. but then
    again why do millions come to Spain for holidays and thousand make Spain a second home and not Dutch-land.

    You see Fred, people who are retired, financially secured, live in or rent legal properties, have no problems regarding
    the laws of Spain and are not really involved with all the problems that crop up regarding illegal properties, work etc
    are quite happy living the “Spanish Dream”.

    Just a thought.

  39. I was wondering if anyone has experienced what I have I bought a flat in Marbella Puerto Banus in 2012 I paid 335 euros for the flat when I purchased it I had to pay 279 for it and give the owner 50 thousand euros cash I hired a solicitor which the agent suggested. I then paid tax on 377 not 285 the price of the flat as the solicitor suggested this so I paid up. One year later I received another letter from the solicitor saying that the tax to the government I have paid isn’t enough and I now owe tax because the flat is worth 515.000 euros and not the price I paid, the solicitor asked me for 1.400 euros and a surveyor employed by the government cost 735 euros to prove that this flat isn’t worth 515.00 euros and near what I paid. I’m waiting for the final outcome it’s been very distressing time. I would like to here is anyone has this same problem.

  40. @rosemary g s

    Sorry I cannot contribute to any of your questions as I have not been involved with any purchase of property here, but other on this site most probably can.

    What I do know though is that over the years money had been passed under the table when a purchase had been made and was one of the reasons the government stepped in to view if the prices of property were correct and not a cash fiddle.

  41. “How does living in Dutch-land compare with living in Spain who are retired”

    I’m far from retired, so I don’t really know. I’d expect the retired folks in Holland have a very good quality of life. Comparing only the retired to the working population as the basis of “quality of life” is a flawed comparison btw.

    @rosemary, this issue is sadly very commonplace in Spain. You need to try and get the valuation revised. Prices have fallen massively but valuations have not. All you can do is get your lawyer to get the valuation revised. If that is not accepted, you will alas have to pay the difference. Why did you *have* to pay 50K in cash? That sounds like the very reason why the problem you now face occured.

  42. @Fred,

    You see Fred, I have lived through your year and you have yet to live though mine. Perhaps when you have been retired a few years your perception of life may alter somewhat.

  43. Caccia, equally, perhaps I’ll not make the same mistakes that you did? I’m glad you mentioned “perception” since that what is the key thing here. We perceive a lot of things, but reality is not perception. Retiring and renting in a country is not the same as working and purchasing a property.

  44. @Fred,

    You still don’t get it do you. What mistakes are you talking about, the mistake of not purchasing property and thinking of making a profit but instead getting stuck with a non-retrievable capital perhaps similar to you which could drag on until you are well into retirement age. Mind you, you are correct on one thing though, your quote:-

    “Retiring and renting in a country is not the same as working and purchasing a property”. That say’s it all.

    The mistake you made was to purchase, I didn’t, so please don’t confuse me with the mistakes you have made.

    I could also say you are making a gross mistake of confusing people that are still working and people that are retired. You really are not in any position to give any comparison as you have yet to experience retirement except waffle on about the differences. Keep working Fred like we all did to achieve the Spanish dream, or should I say the Dutch dream.

    No need to go into what a Brit who has lived in Spain for 35 (not me, only been here 20 years) years and now retired say’s about Spain, seen the good times and bad, but still here.

    So why don’t you just accept that retired people that are financially secure, have legal properties, are happier living in Spain then elsewhere. Simple really.

  45. Caccia, you’re jumping the gun a bit. If I end up selling my property in Spain at a considerable profit, then will it still be considered a mistake? I work because I enjoy it and it’s also nice to be in demand and work on interesting projects. I did actually try retirement first in my 30’s, now that was a mistake.

    Retired people that are financially secure, and have legal properties can be happy anywhere in the world. Spain does not have a monopoly on happiness, and that’s the mistake you keep on making. Spain is not the only country with Sun.

  46. Fred,
    I’ve never heard of the Netherlands referred to as ‘Dutchlands’ have you? perhaps he is een betje gek.

    Yes the retired Dutch do have a good life. They have 2 pensions, a state one and a private one, which they have to pay into. Thanks to not having a rip-off financial services industry, a Dutchman/woman will have a private pension pot 3 x times that of the Brit.

    The climate is crap especially winter – rain and wind incessantly but most Dutch being ultra prudent have a foreign home to retire to either full or part time, quite easy when you retire on 90% of your final salary.

  47. @Fred,

    So why is the largest contingents of retired folks head for Spain. I did notice the word “if” by the way. Hope you do sell your property and hope things change for people that have properties for sale in Spain, don’t like seeing anyone suffer under those conditions.

  48. @Stew,

    U.K is rated as the lowest payment of pensions in the E.U. Sensible people, that is those that can afford it, tend to take out private pension schemes. (which the Brit Gov are looking into to rob) That’s what the Brit Government have been advocating people to do.

    Why do you think most of the Brit pensioners are suffering.

    Not so sure about 90% of final salary, new one on me and pleased to hear they also have a 2nd foreign home to retire to, most probably Spain.

  49. Hey Stew and Fred,

    Something you can both ponder on.

    “http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=Spain&country2=Netherlands”


  50. @Stew,

    Been in business long enough to know nobody retires on 90% of their final salary, but I do know of 80% of their final salary plus pensions, but that is a different matter which I will not go into now and perhaps beyond you, take too long to explain.

  51. Caccia, I think Spain is seen as an easy choice. It’s near, it’s easy to fly to, it’s in Europe, it has a hot climate for at least half the year and some things are cheaper than Northern Europe e.g. alcohol. What is more of an interesting fact, to me at least, is how many of those retired people really integrate into Spain, and how many really just want their own home country lifestyle, but in a warmer climate. I think the latter category would be a much higher percentage, but proving that would easily be as futile as trying to work out where people would be “happier”. People move abroad for many reasons, and they try to seek out happiness from their new experiences. Who am I to say that if they are happier or not, but what I am saying is that moving to Spain does not guarantee happiness.

    Out of a whole lifetime of experiences in their home country, I’ve yet to meet any ex-pat who has more happy life than they have had in their whole life up to that point in the country they’ve moved to. That’s happiness for you, it comes and it goes depending on your life experience, and as they say, there’s no place like home, and I’ve met dozens of people who said they’d never leave Spain, but have done so nevertheless.

  52. @Fred,

    You may be right in many things and basically we do agree on certain matters and each individual has their own conception of happiness. It’s pointless really in perhaps both trying to convince each other what is right or wrong. Myself i’m quite happy and content in living in Spain regardless of many things one finds incompatible the same as in the homeland and perhaps you will find your happiness in the Netherlands.

    You know the old saying, “Never argue about politics, religion or football, perhaps they should also add, the best country to live in. I’m sure each national will argue that the best country is their own regardless.

    Hope you do well during your working years and make a few bob when you eventually sell your convent, in-fact I hope everyone does well, life is too short to get bogged down with negative comments.

  53. @Fred,

    Mind you I will continue to pick on subjects that I don’t agree with but it’s all in good fun.

    There are many topics one could discuss but unfortunately they never seem to appear on OP.

  54. Caccia, Dr Phil is not a medical doctor. You need to watch more daytime television. After all, you’ve got all the time in the world and it would be an alternative to trolling on here all day. I ask you, is this really what your retirement time is best used for?

  55. @Fred.

    You don’t seem to do badly for someone that is not retired and supposedly still working. Does your boss know.

    Dr.Phil McGraw graduated in 1975 from Midwestern State University with a B.A. degree in psychology. He went on to earn a M.A. degree in experimental psychology in 1976, and a Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology in 1979 at the University of North Texas,[8] where his dissertation was titled “Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Psychological Intervention”.[9] McGraw was guided through the doctoral program by Frank Lawlis, who later became the primary contributing psychologist for the Dr. Phil television show.[10][dead link]

    After obtaining his doctorate, McGraw joined his father, Joe McGraw, in Wichita Falls, Texas, where the elder McGraw had established his private psychology practice.

    Fred, another one of your B/S lessons. at least he didn’t have a OU Ph.d

  56. Cacca,

    You know sweet nothing about pensions, why do I say this, because I worked in pensions and investments for a few years.

    I got out because in the UK it is was full of conmen in smart business suits. The Dutch and Germans have been retiring on 90% of their final salaries for a long time now, having worked in both countries I know this for a fact.

    The UK financial services industry is one big scam operation, churning/initial charges amongst so many other scams/frauds is obviously something you know nothing about at all.

    Now it might be dementia (probably is) but my name is Stuart not stew, perhaps we should all refer to you as Khaki – now that is entirely appropriate.

    Your premise about Spain being a good place to retire to, if you have plenty of income could apply to any country in the world.

  57. @Caccia, I am my own boss luckily.

    Let us recap on what you said:

    “It’s unfortunate there is not a Dr.Phil available.”
    “I was talking about a medical Dr …”

    Yes, you were talking about a Medical Doctor, and Phil McGraw is not an M.D., he is a PhD. You don’t understand the difference between a medical practicioner and a doctorate qualification lol.

    And what is your bugbear about the OU? You are insulting tens of thousands of students and professors with your incredulous statements. Even your own children and grandchildren, who have studied at University you say, would cringe in embarassment if you said that to them. Go and ask them.

    Now Caccia, how are you going to extricate yourself from your Dr Phil cock-up?

  58. Stuart,
    Are you telling me that the population in Holland and Germany retire with 90% of their final salary, or are you talking about a certain section of the society that get the 90%, which I do not believe, but I do know of friends that have the OBE and MBE get 80%, but that was for serving their country.

  59. See what I mean. Deleted comments. No point in replying to anyone if it’s classed as off topic, whereas they were replies to comments being made.

    Perhaps if I was a moaner about Spain I might have a chance or agree with everything Fred comments on.

    My first comment regarding Dr.Phil was directed to Jane but then OU Ph.d stepped in and my replies were deleted. Just can’t win on OP.

  60. @Caccia, what on earth has Dr Phil got to do with Jane’s reply? Your comments and replies are so confusing. I think you do it on purpose to keep posting irrelevant commentary. How this thread went from Spain being #1 for Brits to “Dr Phil” is classic Caccia. I’m out of this one.


    They were replies to questions that should also have been deleted. Example. My first comment was to Jane dated MAY 13TH, 2014 8:06 AM due to her animosity towards the Junta which in fact was carrying out the law and not to the acting lawyer’s of those unfortunate people stuck with illegal homes, but then your mate Fred had to put his piece in leading to comments which had nothing to do with the subject such as pensions, medical Dr etc.

    The problem is too much Spain bashing going on. Perhaps you should have a column purely for this subject so that all these unhappy people could vent their feeling to each other and not take it out on people that even suggest they are happy and contented living in Spain.

    You only need to read what I have consistently maintained and that is “Retired pensioners that are financially secure have a better life in Spain or they would not have moved here”.

    But then you get Fred saying that Spain is not the only place that could be found but tends to forget it was Spain that was chosen. Lets face it 99.9% of comments are from Spain bashes and at the end that’s all you will get, a column of Spain bashes.

  62. It’s surprising that with all the doom and gloom that one read on this site people are still purchasing properties in Spain, legal one’s I might add, wonder why.

    Now lets see the replies and hopefully they will be moderated.

  63. What you believe is irrelevant, facts are facts. you epitomise so many Brits that know nothing about mainland Europe only getting their information/brainwashing from the likes of the Daily Mail.

    I state again that the UK financial services is full of con artists. The only private pension worth having in the UK is a SIPS – self invested pension scheme and even then you have to use an insurance company to administer it.

    To accuse Jane of animosity against the Junta de Andalucia shows just how self centred and egotistical you are. Jane is absolutely correct to lambast the Junta because it is corrupt and it does’nt matter whether it is Left, Right or Centre parties.

    Instead of making insulting comments (always a sign that you have lost the argument) you should spend some time reading through back issues of the OP.

    This publication has done an excellent job in exposing all the various forms of corruption that are rife in Andalucia and indeed the rest of Spain. I will repeat again what I have said before on this forum – had the OP been in existence whilst we still lived in the UK we would only have come to verify all the numerous articles which the OP quite rightly published.

    Perhaps all you self centred posters should decamp to other English language forums where they blame those who have been shafted by the corruption as culpable for the terrible position they found themselves in

  64. Stuart, Fred and Lou, your sensible comments are so refreshing, thanks. What a pity so many sites are highjacked by trolls, many of whom are fantasists and do not live where they say they do. I never feed trolls.

  65. Stew,

    See Dr.Phil. Are you confusing pensions with salary. It’s not what I believe Stew it’s a fact. Not one pensioner I have known in the twenty years of living here have voluntarily returned to the UK because they don’t like Spain. Many pensioners I knew had passed away with family members flying over for the funeral.

    My contention has always been That if a retired pensioner that is financially secure has a better quality of live in Spain then back in the U.K speaks purely by the amount of pensioners that have retired here. It’s a choice people make and if that kind of life does not suit you or anyone else then so be it, but please accept that thousand of expat pensioners of various nationality live a happy life in Spain. That’s a fact.

    By your comments you sound a very bitter person. Are you one of those that cannot sell their property, that’s if you live in Spain. Please don’t put your sorrow’s onto other people. I choose to rent when I came here so I don’t have the problems that are consistent of illegal property owners. In-fact you should be pleased that some people have not been “Shafted” and are quite happy and contented living in Spain.

    Stew, it will all be sorted out eventually, Rome was not built in a day and through the centuries people have suffered along the way. I’m not condoning what has happened and all the moaning on these sites do not solve the problem.

    The Junta are not really to blame in-fact they are trying hard to reverse the court ruling on the hotel wrongly built so as it can be demolished. Is that right or wrong. Perhaps the same principle apply’s to illegal properties, but hope they have a change of heart and allow illegal properties to become legal as it affect so many of peoples lives.

    As I have said, this site appears to be for moaners.

  66. Jane, Stuart, Fred and Lou, your negative comments are so lame and obvious. Come up with something constructive for a change. What a pity so many sites are highjacked by people glorifying in the most negative aspects of Spain. Most of whom do not even live here.

    Not my Spain.

  67. @Fred,

    Even the U.K are following Spain to a certain degree.

    Finance Minister George Osborne sought to calm the rampant overseas interest that risks transforming parts of the city into ghost streets, by announcing in March a new tax on properties owned by non-residents.

  68. @Stewart,

    Can you name a company that retires all employee’s with a 90% salary, or are you talking about top up pensions which employee’s and companies contribute to which comes under state pension. This also happens in the U.K.

    But the majority of people in Holland and the U.K are not covered by this scheme and rely purely on a state pension.

    The people I had mentioned that have the OBE and MBE are not paid by the British Government.

  69. @Jane,

    I hope you don’t class me as trolling as I only reply to people that troll such as Fred and Stew. Believe they may have been trolling for years on OP.

  70. See there is not much of a write up on Olive Press regarding the good news of Illegal properties, but then we only get the bad news.

    For the 3000 illegal homes built in the Mijas area some good news. The Mijas Town Hall are striving to make them legal.

  71. Hey Fred,

    Looks like you will be making a fantastic profit on your property quicker then you think. Reinvest the profit in another cheap property in Spain and continue to live the “Spanish Dream” in ya old age, not all doom and gloom as prices will rise again. Too cold in Dutch-land for the old bones. Best of luck.

    Spain topped the poll of places new buyers want a holiday home despite the problems suffered by some UK owners of buying illegal Spanish property and the financial crisis.

    The top reasons for moving overseas are for better weather and a more relaxing lifestyle according to the survey of 3,000 people by Right-move Overseas.

    Brits aiming to buy property abroad are more likely to set their sights on Spain rather than traditional favorite France.

    According to the Right-move report, 51 per cent of those looking to make a purchase in the future will be buying a holiday home but will stay resident in Britain, while just over one third plan to emigrate for good, with 13 per cent buying as an investment.

  72. Just bringing some more good news. Ya know the American saying when stocks or properties fall, “Buy, Buy Buy”.

    Spain has gone from being the black sheep in the property sector to become a “star market,” a study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) says.

  73. We are from Belgium and moved to Mijas in early 2011. Even though we used a lawyer and performed all of the correct checking of paperwork etcetera, we have recently found out that only half the property is illegal! The police served us a notice and came by car to deliver it! It seems the plot only allows for a house half the size. The lawyer did not say anything about this, nor did the notary, and both checked over the paperwork. This would not have happened in Belgium I can tell you. We have been here three years and only now it comes to light.

    I could not ever recommend moving to Spain, it has been a nightmare for my family with all the uncertainty, and now we have no way of making our house legal as the amount of land we require does not exist any more. We at an impasse and the lawyer cannot do anything except tell us to ‘wait to see what the Junta say’. We cannot take action again anyone, get compensation from anyone and there is just nothing that can be done. No other European country I have lived in (I have lived and worked in three) works like this. Spain just abandons you. We are now in the process of relocating back to Belgium because we risk fines and possible legal problems. It’s just a nightmare to contemplate and it has ruined our life here. How Spain can allow people to move here and destroy their lives like this is just criminal. I am writing to my MEP and will try and pursue this in the European courts.

  74. Oh dear caccy,
    every post you make is full of abuse and snidy comments and never do you quote facts.

    You hav’nt got a clue about the pensions in the Netherlands or Germany but your old tired ego cannot accept this. I get my Dutch and German friends to read what you write and they all say he must be on medication, if this is true you need a new prescription but on the bright side you do make them laugh.

    Read what I wrote and do try to reply with some measure of sanity – in the Netherlands it is obligatory to not only pay into a State pension but also a private one as well and yes the Dutch and Germans do retire on 90% – now what part of that don’t you understand.

    Sadly like your friend Dr Rev. ya ya Derek you can never be wrong. I’m sure that like him you are vertically challenged, small stature/big ego.

    You mouth of about all the illegal building but by your own admission you have never bought but only rent – says it all really.

    You and your buddy always mention this word bitter about myself and others – no rational person would describe my comments as bitter just factual and correct – perhaps you have the same medic.

    BTW – PWC signed off an awful lot of companies as being solvent when they were’nt. Unfortunately for you I read the FT online every day.

    Calling me Stewart and not Stuart just shows what a petty little man you are

  75. Stew, the name is caccia and calling me caccy just shows what a petty little man you are. Quote.

    I SAID:-
    Are you confusing pensions with salary.

    Can you name a company that retires all employee’s with a 90% salary, or are you talking about top up pensions which employee’s and companies contribute to which comes under state pension scheme. This also happens in the U.K.

    Read what I wrote and do try to reply with some measure of sanity – in the Netherlands it is obligatory to not only pay into a State pension but also a private one as well and yes the Dutch and Germans do retire on 90% – now what part of that don’t you understand.

    What did you not understand what I had said. It appears you do know the difference between a pension and a salary. When you reach retirement age a company ceases to pay you a salary. You then draw state pension and on the private pension scheme which had been contributed to. Ask your mate Fred, perhaps he can explain it better to you.

    Problem is Stew you have been living in France too long and not really understanding English anymore.

  76. @STUART,
    Just to recap. You said on MAY 12TH, 2014 5:43 PM. Quote:-

    “Yes the retired Dutch do have a good life. They have 2 pensions, a state one and a private one, which they have to pay into. Thanks to not having a rip-off financial services industry, a Dutchman/woman will have a private pension pot 3 x times that of the Brit”.

    I think that CONFIRMS what I have been saying. No mention of retiring on a 90% company salary, or did you mean equivalent to a company salary, and naturally this also depend’s on the amount of years contributions have been made.

  77. @Luc V,

    Sorry to hear of the position you are in. I find it strange that only half the property is legal. You say that the lawyer and all the paperwork had been checked but apparently not so. Who do you feel was at fault here. Just curious to know.

  78. Alas, Luc’s problem is commonplace in Spain. Land parcels are often divided up incorrectly and then the house cannot occupy the space it stands on. Seen this happen quite a few times to people over the years. As soon as the Junta catch up with you they start to issue notices and you only find out years later. You actually found out quite quickly Luc, although no consolation to you now of course. Very depressing.

  79. @ Luc V,
    Your story of what has happened to you in Spain is not an isolated one and it is yet another warning to anyone thinking of buying property in Spain. Lawyers and Notaries in Spain will take your money any way for any property transaction – simply because you asked them to carry out the legal process is good enough for them – they don’t ensure that the property you intend to buy is legal (that isn’t their job) – if you ask them to help you buy a property – that’s the deal and nothing else and after all why would they risk losing fees on a failed sale/purchase? If something comes out of the wood work at a later date – tough on you. Luc V, you say that your life is ruined here – you are not alone as it is the same for thousands of others, look at the Priors and others that have already had their HOMES demolished. Don’t despair and leave Spain if you must – Spain doesn’t deserve your investment and others should consider theirs. Good Luck in the future.

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