Some commonly asked questions about Spain:
…Are there any real estate bargains in Mallorca?
I’m very interested in spending some time in Spain and Italy. Given the current seriousness of the economic situation in Spain, do you think it’s a safe place to hang out for a little while?
Ellen from NYC
With unemployment around 24% and youth unemployment around 50% why do see Spain as a desirable location for expatriation? Also, how are the millions of Latin Americans who emigrated over the last 10 years or do faring? Are they headed home or roughing it out?
> …Are there any real estate bargains in Mallorca?
About 6 weeks ago I spent 10 days in Mallorca and had the same curiosity. There are some real bargains to be had if you’re looking at the 1million Euro plus range. We’re talking 50-70% from asking price. Prices for other properties have also dropped but not as much. Mallorca is a desirable island but Spain is still sinking. My thoughts are prices on the island will continue to drop.
The mom and pop shops are closing down left, right and center due to many years of financial mismanagement. The (good?) news is the Russians are all stepping in and saving these establishments and paying ‘pennies on the dollar’.
It seems the average restaurant owners goal is too make enough money over nine months to support him over the next three months returning in early Spring to replenish the kitty. Not a good tactic in this economy and why many are failing.
I sat down with a Swedish gentleman whose well connected in Russia. He’s set-up a ‘conglomerate’ with the goal to buy as much of Mallorca as possible. This ‘group’ (I won’t use the words the locals use), and a few others are buying up these 1million+ properties and small businesses. He showed me his place he paid 2 million Euros but it was on the market for 7 million!
Bottom line, yes there are some real bargains if you’re looking at the 1 million+ range for a home or rental investment or if you want to pick up a local restaurant, bar, or other mom and pop (Warning- i do NOT recommend investing in any brick and mortar business in Spain, can’t expand on that now but trust me).
Oh yeah, final note, the Russians have moved in BIG time all over Spain with loads of cash and spending it like drunk sailors, buying up the country and living the good life cheap. But this just may be what saves Spain!
> I’m very interested in spending some time in Spain and Italy. Given the current seriousness of the economic situation in Spain, do you think it’s a safe place to hang out for a little while?
I can’t speak to much about all of Italy but just like Barcelona, the big cities in both countries petty theft is rampant and has been for many years. From my eight years of living in Sitges, just south of Barcelona, pickpocketing, beach theft, and car break-ins are a common occurrence. At the beach on Friday night and after a lovely swim, some clever fool took my iPhone right out of my shoe (no, I wasn’t wearing it at time!–) and I was practically standing over it. While at the beach again today, within 500 meters, 3 robberies had occurred . These beaches are packed, sometimes 7 levels deep (not my ideal setting but hey I’m here on business). I’ve never met or heard of anyone getting hurt from these petty thieves, just the opposite, if you see them in the act they run off. No knives, guns, bats, sticks, just super quick hands!
So, is Spain safe? The facts say ‘Yes’. Just remember Barcelona is well-known for these petty crimes so just be aware. In other parts of Spain, crime is much less, almost rare. Do a quick search, ‘crime in Spain’ and you’ll see that crime here is one of the lowest in the EU.
> With unemployment around 24% and youth unemployment around 50% why do see Spain as a desirable location for expatriation? Also, how are the millions of Latin Americans who emigrated over the last 10 years or so faring? Are they headed home or roughing it out?
As I wrote about in my recent report Spain has some terrific real estate investment opportunities. Not job opportunities. The country and banking system is nearly bankrupt and there are some real bargains to be found in wonderful locations. Spain has a more laid back lifestyle than most of Europe and some really friendly people. With first world services (for the most part), life is generally just easier for the expat with a little money and who’s not too caught up in the ‘system’ (remember what I said, just don’t start that mom and pop or any brick-and-mortar business because that will definitely spoil your experience here). Yes taxes and prices are rising but that’s everywhere. Think Portable Expat!
Are the Central and South Americans staying or going? There’s a real mix, yes, some have bailed out to countries where the economies are booming and there’s work, albeit at Latin American wages, but at least there’s work. Those who are staying seem to be the ones that are in the ‘system’ and are actually still employed. It’s a real mix.