26 Apr, 2020 @ 13:00
2 mins read

COVID-19 and the actions to slow its spread have changed Spain and the world, writes surveyor Campbell Ferguson in the first part of his quarterly property report

Military Disinfection Team After Disinfecting A Care Home  9
Military disinfect one another after cleaning down a care home (PHOTO: Mike Riley)

IT is firstly vital to thank the frontline staff, or worker bees, without whom our hive would not survive.

But it is fairly obvious that with everyone stuck at home in Spain over the last six weeks, and with the leisure and hospitality industry closed indefinitely, normal business life has effectively disappeared. Our commercial ‘reason for being’ has been taken away.

LOCAL IMPACT

  • Spanish and expat income has all but stopped as if a tap has been turned off. Time hangs heavy as the weeks of lockdown drag on
  • Some people have found home working possible, enjoying and learning from the experience. The ‘inconvenience’ of being interrupted by the children is counterbalanced by the savings of not having to commute or even get dressed! 
  • Thanks to a fast internet connection Survey Spain has been adding to building survey and valuation reports
  • The local economy may take years to provide the services for the demand that will certainly return, not helped by the attitude of the Government to freelance workers (autónomos), the source of many jobs and tax income.
  • The nature of tourism must surely change when it restarts.
  • Climate Change inexorably affects our lives and the virus hasn’t changed that. Reductions in energy use and CO2 are still vitally important.

INTERNATIONAL IMPACT

The world economy will continue to take a huge hit.

Military Disinfection Team After Disinfecting A Care Home  9
‘NEW NORMAL’: Military disinfect one another after cleaning down a care home in Barcelona (PHOTO: Mike Riley)
  • Airlines are the most immediately affected and this will have a big impact on expats with family and businesses in the ‘old country’ who have relied on the many flights ‘home’. When they are permitted to fly will dictate the resumption of ‘normal service’. Some tourists will hesitate, others will be desperate for the warmth, sun and escape of a holiday. Without ‘health passports’, then a reliable vaccine, it will happen slowly, as people accept that the virus is another risk of life.
  • Financially individuals, businesses and governments are all affected. Unemployment has risen substantially. Some businesses have gained, e.g. health service suppliers, Amazon and the like. All have learned that the ‘just-in-time’ economy supports a national manufacturing base but doesn’t replace it.
  • The recovery of tourism will gradually rise to the numbers we depended upon before. There will have been soul searching regarding Life/Work balance and we will see more families coming over to start a new life.
  • Brexit’s deadline could create a mini boom, with the usual mix of well-informed and naïve dreamers, each to be assisted in their own way.

Easing lockdown restrictions gradually will bring life back to normal for some, though many will be depending upon government assistance and regulations for fixed cost deferrals, such as rent and mortgage payments, to survive financially. 

Others who ‘slip through the net’, will be depending upon charities and other organisations for survival, with their provision of food, clothing and shelter – the basics of life. 

Never forget how lucky you are, only having to sloth about in the house all day. 

The alternatives for many are not attractive.

Campbell D Ferguson, FRICS is the director of Survey Spain SL. Contact him at admin@surveyspain.com or call 00 34 952 923 520

Campbell Ferguson (OP Columnist)

Campbell Ferguson, FRICS, working from Estepona since 2001 plus three years in Madrid, is at the heart of the Survey Spain Network, which links 15 RICS qualified chartered surveyors located all round Spain and the Canary and Balearic Islands. Tel: 34 952 923 520 Fax: 34 951 239 216 Email: info@surveyspain.com From UK Direct: 0870 800 3520

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