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%.


  1. @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.

  2. @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.

  3. @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?

  4. 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.

  5. @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.

  6. @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.

  7. 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.


  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. @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.

  12. “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.

  13. 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.

  14. @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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. @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.

  18. @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.

  19. Hey Stew and Fred,

    Something you can both ponder on.

    “ living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=Spain&country2=Netherlands”


  20. @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.

  21. 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.

  22. @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.

  23. 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?

  24. @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

  25. 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.

  26. @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?

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. @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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. @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.

  36. @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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

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