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And Now For The Good News…

The definitive verdict is in. The relevant governmental authorities and other official organisations – as well as private institutions and business analysts – have concluded their data research for 2014, presented their annual reports and almost universally (there are always some incurable doomsayers) confirmed the news for which we have been anxiously waiting. Spain has turned the economic corner, the effects of the crisis are being diminished (albeit gradually in some aspects) and there is solid cause for optimism in 2015. Specifically, prospects in the real estate market – for both professionals and clients – are reassuringly positive. Bank of Spain: A “Financial Stability Report” from Spain’s monetary authority towards the end of last year noted that the Spanish property market had essentially completed its readjustment after the boom and bust roller-coaster ride of the past few years – and reported signs of recovery in the demand for housing, driven by foreigners. Bankinter: Arguing that the market circle had turned, the Spanish bank noted in its latest quarterly market report that growth in the economy, higher levels of confidence and an improvement in access to loans would consolidate an increase in demand for property in 2015, with a rise of more than 15 per cent in transaction numbers. The bank added that it expected demand from small investors to grow, as buy-to-let properties were a more attractive investment than, for example, bank deposits. BBVA: Spain’s second largest bank reported that the Spanish housing market had bottomed out in 2014, and 2015 would be a year of recovery. Its main reasons for optimism? Increasing home sales, growing confidence in the housing sector and more new-build activity. El Mundo: An article in the Spanish national newspaper quoted Ignacio de la Torre, a partner in the financial advisory company Arcano, as predicting that, not only would the Spanish property recovery take place sooner than many forecast, but it would also proceed with quicker price rises than those expected by the market. Another report in El Mundo quoted the views of four other experts who said they believed increasing demand driven by price stability, cheap and accessible financing and a growing supply of new building projects would result in increasing demand in 2015. International Living: Spain remains “by far the best option available” for a retirement haven in Europe, according to the latest InternationalLiving.com index for best places in the world to retire. A leading authority on global retirement and relocation opportunities overseas, the magazine noted… “property in Spain is often of a high standard and far better value than in many other European countries. Likewise, Spain's cost of living is lower than what you find in much of Europe… the aptly named Costa del Sol is blessed with some of the best summers (and beaches) in the world… and all the First World amenities you would expect of a European country are abundant in Spain”. Golden Visas: Reporting that, since the initiative’s introduction in September 2013, a total of 530 wealthy foreigners had taken advantage of special residency qualifications for non-EU citizens investing in Spain (including properties bought for a minimum of €500,000), the government announced a series of “technical” modifications aimed at easing the process, such as the inclusion of “de facto” partners (not just married couples), children over 18 and dependant older family members, and the option of not necessarily living in Spain for those requiring free movement elsewhere around Europe. General Council of Notaries: End-of-year figures from the council showed that the number of housing sales (i.e. those witnessed by notaries) rose by 19.1 per cent in 2014 compared with the previous year. This coincided with a 0.1 per cent rise in average Spanish house prices, the first increase since the crisis began. Ministry of Public Works: The ministry’s housing department reported that the number of new building permits issued in Spain in 2014 rose by two per cent, ending a seven-year run of declines. Mortgages: After seven years of falls, the number of new mortgage loans rose by 1.6 per cent last year compared with 2013, according to the Spanish Statistical Office, suggesting that mortgage lending had bottomed out – and demand by “local” buyers would give a further boost to the housing market. In Conclusion… according to the experts, on just about every front (battered so much in recent years), the real estate market is showing renewed strength: stable prices, improved mortgage lending, Spanish economic growth, greater consumer spending, record tourism, growing interest by buy-to-let investors, boosted demand for new builds in prime areas, strong non-euro currencies, and a general rise in confidence. And the bottom line? There is probably no better time to buy than now. Leave it too late – and the bargains may well have dried up. Special Selections We feature five top properties here – along the coast from Marbella to Sotogrande and up into the mountains at La Zagaleta – but perhaps they are not exactly right for you? If not, we invite you to have a look at our other special selections for: La Zagaleta, Luxury Villas, Golf Properties, Seafront Properties, Apartments and Special Offers. Click on the category of your choice and follow the link. Also please feel free to roam around our website: www.villamarbellanow.com.