Thursday, March 31, 2011

184000 Euros Valencia

Great flat with open space to develop and put your seal on in central Valencia

184000 Euros Valencia brings you a brilliantly renovated flat in the centre of Valencia just a five minute walk from the town hall. 1 bedroom, Open plan living room and kitchen, bathroom with shower unit and the potential for a mezzanine floor and even a back terrace. There is no lift in the building but it is on the third floor and not too difficult. Excellent value for an attic apartment in Valencia.
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Reasons Not to Fear a Spanish Default

Another interesting viewpoint on Spain and the economic crisis from the Guardian via Kyero

Reasons Not to Fear a Spanish Default

With all the uncertainty surrounding Portugal’s economy, many people are asking if Spain could be next to develop problems. I am uneasy about comparisons: the economic systems and the recent evolution of the two countries are very different. Why should Spain be compared to Portugal instead of, say, to the Netherlands?

The truth is Spain does not have a history of defaults. It did become a “serial defaulter” in the 16th century, after failing to invade England. But there are no plans for another invasion, so I do not see the danger for a default. Neither did Spain default in peacetime in the 20th century, as the US did in 1933, or seek a bailout, as the UK did in 1976.

More important, Spain has recently demonstrated a great deal of fiscal responsibility. From 2000 to 2008 it often ran budget surpluses. The moderate public debt went down from 66% to 47% of GDP in this period. Other countries that were also growing saw their debt increase during the same period, for instance the United States (54% to 71%) and the UK (from 45% to 57%), or they maintained debt at very high levels, as Greece did (from 115% to 105%).

This record was blemished in 2009, when the deficit climbed to 11%. Two factors played into this: first, the contagion from the bailout epidemic that swept the world that same year; and, second, it was a post-election year. But austerity measures were taken in 2010 and they appear to have brought back fiscal stability.

Most of the austerity measures just reversed tax cuts or spending hikes that had only been in effect for a year or two. For instance, civil servants’ salaries were cut by 5% but they had gone up by 3% the previous year, so the fall in purchasing power during the crisis was small. Another example: capital gains tax went up by 2%, and income tax for the top pay bracket by 1%-4%. But wealth tax was abolished in 2008, and inheritance tax has all but disappeared. Therefore total taxation on capital and income is roughly where it used to be.

This is one reason why the social backlash has been muted. The Spanish government has even undertaken some long-term reforms, such as postponing the retirement age from 65 to 67 and improving flexibility in the labour market. Compare this with the austerity measures in the UK, or with the inability of the American political system to lower the deficit this year.

The doomsayers have spread a huge amount of misinformation. I have read reports in the press that Spain cannot export, that it cannot compete, cannot employ its workers, run its fiscal policy, pay its pensions … I do not have the space to counter all these claims, but any comparison of actual data about deficit and debt, exports, growth, average retirement age, and cost of rescue packages with other countries, will reveal the true picture.

In fact Spain’s output is quite high: even in 2009 GDP per capita in Spain was essentially the same as Italy’s, very close to France’s, and only about 10% lower than Germany or the UK.

Certainly there are problems, as in almost every other country. The banking system has to be reformed; but the amount needed to recapitalise the system will be quite small as a percentage of GDP, much smaller than in many other countries. There is no need for the government to pick up the tab, and there is no indication that it will.

As is well known, the unemployment rate of 20% is very high relative to Europe in normal times, but this is in part because other countries are better at hiding joblessness, either by retiring workers from the labour force or by using part-time work. However, the high unemployment is an unavoidable temporary shock, since a large part of the workforce has to be reallocated away from construction. Once growth begins, employment usually grows quickly.

So please do not be deluded: there are no fundamental reasons to fear a Spanish sovereign debt crisis.

Story from Guardian

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Spain's family bonds lie at the heart and soul of great healthcare

Brilliant, brilliant article about Spain's healthcare system taken from today's Guardian

"None of this looks cheap, yet Spain's healthcare spending is not excessive. "We only spend 6% of GDP," says Dr José Martínez Olmos, secretary general of the ministry of health, although if you add in private sector spending, it reaches 8%. Most people use the state sector. As in the UK, the private sector offers shorter waiting lists, but for major illness, emergencies or cutting-edge treatment, public hospitals are the place to go."

"The healthcare system in Spain is not expensive," Olmos continues. "We spend €1,600 per head per year. This is a price that a developed country can afford."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Summer holidays in Spain 2011, book now or wait?

Summer holidays in Spain 2011, book now or wait?



The conumdrum for anyone thinking of taking a summer holiday in Spain is: do I book now – or wait until later and then pick up an ultra-cheap deal?

Obviously, getting a ‘good’ deal on your summer holiday in Spain is important but this year it is more difficult than ever to predict what will happen about the number of people coming to Spain. The latter, of course, will define how good a deal you can get on everything from flights to accommodation and car hire.

Needless to say the past two years has seen a slump in the number of people coming for their holidays in Spain. The current brutal recession has taken its toll on most people’s finances and this has been exacerbated, for Britons, by the past weakness of the £ against the Euro. This has made a significant difference to the affordability of holidays in Spain for anyone using Sterling.

So, what is likely to happen this year – are the tourist figures for Spain going to continue to be ‘soft’ or will the demand for summer holidays in Spain rise?

My instinct is that the tourist figures for Spain this year will rise above what we have seen over the past couple of years. I fear that this will have much less to do with a general sense of wealth and well-being (or even specific desire to come to Spain) – than that other Mediteranean holiday areas are suffering from political disruption.

Certainly, you would have to be brave to book holidays in North Africa at the moment and any Islamic country along the Mediterranean deserves at least some element of caution. After all, no-one could have believed that the present political turmoil would have occurred so suddenly and this brings into question the stability of other countries bordering the Mediterranean that, at present, appear untroubled.

Spain, by comparison, seems ‘rock’ solid. Indeed, it has not even suffered the huge demonstrations (let alone the violence) of last weekend’s riots in London. Indeed, the most serious trouble that I have heard about recently was restricted to a tiny riot that occurred when some fireman demonstrated during the opening of a new fire station!

The initial figures for tourism in Spain seem to indicate that tourism in Spain is on the increase. January and February saw some 5.5 million visitors to Spain and this was a 4.5% increase from last year and is a figure that appears to herald the first rise in tourism to Spain for 18 consequetive months.

What does this mean for you?

Well, on balance, you should probably be looking to book your holidays in Spain sooner rather than later. I suspect that, at least for this year, the brilliant last minute deals available during the past couple years just may not be present as the main holiday season approaches.

If you do book soon then make sure that you do not forget to book your car hire at the same time. Last year, despite the reduced number of tourists coming to Spain, car hire in Spain was a problem for many people. Not only was it expensive during the height of the tourist season but there appears to have been a shortage of vehicles in some popular locations.

Indeed, during July and August, I remember receiving a number of e-mails and calls from people who found, from different areas of Spain, that they could not get a hire car in Spain for ‘love or money’.

Whether true or not, I was told that this was because the car hire companies in Spain had not invested in new fleets (understandable given the state of the economy) and had miscalculated the demand. Either way, there are few things (apart from lousy accommodation) that can disrupt a holiday in Spain, or elsewhere, more than finding that you have no transport!

That said, I guess being unable to book a summer holiday at all (when desperately needed) or finding it exorbitantly expensive would be worse…


10 Essential factors to know when choosing  a holiday area in Spain

10 Factors that make a beach in Spain great!

10 Factors to look out for when choosing a holiday apartment in Spain

10 things to look for when booking a holiday villa in Spain

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Monday, March 28, 2011

The Guardian’s Special Report About Spain | Houses for Sale in Spain

The Guardian newspaper has a series at the moment about getting to know the neighbours. This week it focusses on Spain and today there are some excellent articles about life and living in Spain. I will be tweeting out the links this week as the articles are put out. If you want to follow me on Twitter to get an idea of what living in Spain is like today then follow me on @grahunt. I hope that you enjoy the series they are putting out. Not all comfortable reading but essential all the same.

Guardian Focus podcast: Spain’s long road to recovery

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Spain and the lingering legacy of Franco

The fascist dictator's shadow still hangs over Spain – but can this generation or the next finally bring catharsis to the nation?

Everything is as grey as granite. The skies, the mountains, the enormous crucifix hewn from the mountain rock – said to be one of the tallest in the world – and, in its shadow, the vast basilica of Valle de los Caídos in the Sierra de Guadarrama, near Madrid, where rests the body of General Francisco Franco, the last dictator of Spain.

Inside is no different. The church is as wide and tall as any cathedral, the distance from entrance to altar long enough to rival St Peter's in Rome. And all of it is filled with the cold, stone grey of the mountains. Above the pews, standing like sentries on their outsized columns, loom hooded statue monks, their granite hands resting on unsheathed swords, as if ready.

At the altar 14 purple-clad Benedictine monks conduct morning mass, a solemn ceremony faithful to the most unchanged Catholic ritual. An altar boy rings a bell and, at that second, the lights are turned off, filling this cavernous place with darkness – save for the beam shining on Christ upon the cross.

There is no denying the sheer, intimidating power of both spectacle and location: the Catholic-raised translator at my side gasps, confessing that he has never seen anything like it.

Spain's socialist government understands the potency of Valle de los Caídos, or Valley of the Fallen. Indeed, much energy has been devoted to taming it. Since 2009, the site has been closed to general visitors; only those attending mass are allowed. Just to make sure, a guard hands arrivals a slip of paper, reminding them that they are there "for religious purposes only".

To read the rest of this excellent article

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

380000 Euros Torres Torres Guesthouse For Sale. A video tour

If you have ever thought of owning a guesthouse in Spain then how does 10 bedrooms, 5 of them guest suites, 7 bathrooms, over 500m2 of house and 2800m2 of plot in the mountains and countryside near to Torres Torres to the north west of Valencia sound to you? Check out the video and get in touch if interested.

Friday, March 25, 2011

More Attic Flats in Valencia For Sale | Houses for Sale in Spain

Outside space in Valencia is at a premium as you may know so the demand for attic flats is high. This means they are good investments too as well as being the best places to live thanks to the fact that you can take your chairs and table out there and spend eight months enjoying the open air. These two featured attic flats in Valencia for sale are excellently positioned and should be seriously considered by anyone looking for a city centre pad. 

184000 Euros Valencia. Attic Flat For Sale Right in the Centre

Lovely place right in the centre of Valencia by the library just a five minute walk from the old town, town hall and shopping centre. 184k Euros. One bedroom, open plan living room and kitchen with the potential for a mezzanine floor due to the 5.5m ceiling and also the possibility of a terrace to the rear. Already budgeted at 16000 Euros for the two jobs.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Interview with Mark Stucklin from Spanish Property Insight and The Sunday Times

In this interview with Mark Stucklin, Matthew Bennett discusses the state of the Spanish property market and they come to a rather surprising, for some, conclusion. One I totally agree with. 


Win A Copy of the Work in Spain Book By Looking at Twitter | Houses for Sale in Spain

If you don't know what Twitter is yet then start learning. I wrote this article about the top 50 twitter users in Spain two years ago and told you to follow certain people in Spain to get more information about the country and life here. Well now it needs updating and I want you to help out. So if you fancy entering the competition to win a copy of the Work in Spain book then read on.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why Vodafone are Losing Clients All Over Spain, Including Me

My rant against the evils of Vodafone is ready for your delectation. Vodafone have finally lost my business today because of the straw that broke the camel's back.

Valencia Photoshoot. 21st March 2011. Playing with the Camera

At times when you have a new toy, in this case my new Sony camera, it is necessary to play. Valencia gives such great raw material that i thought it was time not just to point and shoot and submit but play around a little bit on iPhoto to see what the great raw material can give. So great camera + photogenic city + curiosity = Results. What do you think?

If you want to see more of Valencia in some photos taken well before I started messing about with cameras go here and download the Valencia Photo Report





Tebeos y Pelis



The Spanish Shirt



Lavando Con Manguera



La Colada



Bandejas Borrosas



El Cielo Amenaza



Los 70



Tango y Tapas


Saturday, March 19, 2011

What Is The Most Important Tool I Use In My Business? | Entrepreneur Solo

Why I use aweber in my business and why you should be using it too if you have an online business. Aweber is an autoresponder that requires a double opt in from clients, ie they have to confirm they want the information you are going to send them, and also and most importantly, it makes sure your messages get delivered to the inbox of your potential clients. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Really Great Deal In Finestrat Next to Benidorm. 3000 Euros Down and Rest on Mortgage

A Really Great Deal In Finestrat Next to Benidorm. 3000 Euros Down and Rest on Mortgage. Download the powerpoint file attached and get in touch with us to get yourself one.

I think you may really like this one

Bureaucracy in Spain. What really happens when you want to go self employed?

If you have ever thought of starting up a business in Spain you need to watch this video. So true to life it is unbelievable. (Yet extremely funny too)

110% financed properties from the bank in Benidorm.

Las Fallas, the joy, the beauty and the creativity!

Las Fallas, the joy, the beauty and the creativity!



Sometimes it really is good to be alive!  Today I have been down in my beloved Gandia, touring around the Las Fallas ninots and bathing in the celebrations of Las Fallas.  This is the eighth time that I have seen Las Fallas and I am still overwhelmed by the sense of joy that surrounds a major fiesta in Spain.

As I have written before, Las Fallas lasts about a month, although the peak period is from the 15th – 19th of March each year (the best time to come here for Las Fallas).  This is when Valencia province goes into fiesta mode and where you can enjoy terrific bands, parties, concerts, Mascaletás and, of course, the wonderful street life that surrounds the ninots (the effigies).  It is truly great – and something not to be missed.

Indeed, Las Fallas is a fiesta in Spain that you should make every effort to see, even if it is only once in your lifetime.  You do not even need to go to Valencia city itself because provincial towns like Gandia put on a display that is almost as breathtaking (but more intimate) than the ‘big smoke’ itself!

Rather than go on too much, I thought that you may enjoy some of the photographs that I took today.  In particular, note the amazing detail and artistry of the ninots and their sheer scale!  Incredible!

Also, have a glance at the Valencian traditional dress worn by the falleros – which has nothing to do with Flamenco.  It is, though, perhaps more gorgeous…


Las Fallas – an incredible fiesta in Spain

Running the bulls in Pamplona

La Tomatina – the greatest tomato fight in the world

Fiestas in Spain



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Today is a new day, the sun is in the Sky. I wake up this morning and greet the new day.