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Spanish Today news bulletin W/e 26th January
This week: Falling property sales, falling property prices, lowest annual inflation since 1961 and a growing tourism industry
Spanish news www.spanishnewstoday.com
The situation relating to ETA dominated the weekend press, as the High Court banned a proposed march in support of ETA prisoners. These marches have become a bit of a tradition in the Basque Region during January, as in spite of the ceasefire declared by ETA, there is still strong political support for Basque Independence. However, the battle is raging internally between those who seek a peaceful, negotiated end to the Basque conflict and those who still advocate violence is the only way.
However, within hours of the first march being banned a new march had been called in support of a peaceful solution to the problem, a march which the courts could not realistically ban, as it had not been called by groups believed to be actively supporting a terrorist solution, so a second march took place instead, attended by 110,000 people under the banner of “Human Rights. Consensus. Peace.” On Monday the press officer who had informed journalists of the imminent raid on the offices of ETA lawyers resigned, following a bungle which cost police valuable evidence, as journalists had turned up to take photographs before the police even arrived, giving those inside a chance to destroy evidence.
Violent protests in Burgos
Over this same weekend there were a series of violent protests in Burgos over proposals to build a multi million euro boulevard in the city, making headline news as the arrests continued for four consecutive nights. The story has rumbled on during the week as the protests continued, demanding the release of those arrested earlier in the week. By midweek the Mayor had stated that he would paralyse the project and carry out an assessment in collaboration with a working group which resident associations, but on Friday morning it was announced that the town council had voted against the proposal and decided to continue with the works. The news was taken badly by 2000 people waiting outside the Town Hall to hear the result of the vote, so this story looks set to run on a little longer.
Almería warehouse collapse
In Almería the strange case of an Ecuadorian woman injured when the agricultural crate manufacturing warehouse she was “living in”, along with a number of other people, collapsed on top of her raised a few eyebrows, querying the circumstances under which she was in the building. Although she may well have been a legal immigrant, those attempting to illegally enter the country have been causing problems this week, with a mass assault on the Spain-Morocco border at Melilla. Several police were injured trying to repel the assault.
Wanted British criminal arrested
Police have been busy as always, arresting a wanted British criminal in Málaga, accused of belonging to an armed gang, money laundering and drug related crime, and also continuing investigations into the tragic case of a family who died after eating a fish meal in Seville. Initially their deaths were attributed to having eaten out of date food scavenged from bins, but this has now been ruled out and it appears that the deaths were due to a chemical used in farming as a pesticide. How it came to be in the food the family consumed still has to be clarified.
Plan PIVE5 announced
This week the government have announced another extension to the Plan PIVE, which effectively discounts new cars by 2000 euros: good news for consumers, but is this government money becoming a drug on which the car industry is now addicted. Car sales concessionaries say they can´t survive without it, but how much longer can the government continue to subsidise this one segment of businesses with so much money.
Spanish property in the news
Spanish property has featured heavily in the Spanish news this week, Tinsa confirming that house prices have continued to fall right to the end of the year, meaning that Spanish property fell by -9.2% last year. This now means that average prices have fallen by -39.2%, and 47% along the Mediterranean coast.
Two sets of stats were released this week for November property sales ( these figures are always 2 months behind to allow time to gather data) and both show that sales of properties dropped considerably during November, both government stats and the notary stats confirming the same worrying trend. Although the drops were explained partially by increased sales last November due to the imminent increases in Vat and suppression of tax advantages on 1st January for those buying new property, the figures are still just a fraction of the sales levels registered prior to the construction implosion, and are far from positive.
The most important point to note is that second hand property sales are higher than newbuilds, meaning that the stock of unsold properties is reducing slower than the analysts had originally predicted, the glut of unsold property being the key factor which is driving prices down, particularly in the Mediterranean areas. This creates a danger that good properties are forced down lower by increased competition to sell, particularly on urbanisations where the decision of one desperate buyer to accept a lower price on a particular model of property pulls down other properties of the same classification, setting a precedent. This, allied with the aggressive marketing of those selling “cheap Spanish property” does nothing other than attract bargain hunters who are only interested in getting “cheap” deals, again, exerting downward price pressure. Undoubtedly low prices will bring buyers back into the market, but at what cost for all those who purchased in the boom years and look set to lose a lot of money. Good time to be a buyer, bad time to be forced to sell due to outside circumstances.
In this same week the both the Sareb and Sabadell released their figures showing property sales last year, and both announced that they would be spending money completing properties in city areas which could be easily marketed, there now being a shortage of newbuild property in residential cities, due to the financial difficulties of the construction sector who are bogged down with their unsold stocks on the coast. All of which applies downward pressure on prices…….
And interesting news that vendors and those renting their properties are still failing to purchase their energy efficiency certificates in spite of the legal requirement to do so. The disparity in price around the country and disorganisation in implementing the legislation hasn´t helped either.
The Exeltur report for 2013 concludes that over 60 million international visitors came to Spain last year, compensating for the lower domestic demand caused by the economic crisis. The UK was an important market, bad weather increasing demand for a bit of sun, Spain picking up an additional 3 million visitors due to the political problems continuing to assail Egypt.
Air traffic figures showed a positive end of the year and although the overall figures for the year were down slightly, international traffic increased considerably. The forecast for the coming tourism year is positive, and next week the big tourism trade fair in Madrid, Fitur, will keep travel writers in overdrive, as regions compete for the same business.
Readers might find a couple of concerts a lure to book a weekend break: Michael Bublé is in Spain during March for 2 concerts, Miley Cyrus tickets are on sale for one gig in Barcelona in June if you like semi naked gyrating, but bad luck, James Arthur has sold out for February.
“Sangria” can only be made in Spain and Portugal
Other news stories include the EU decision that the word Sangria can only be used in relation to products made in Spain, and all other products currently helping to reinforce the “Sun, sea and sangria” image which gives Spain so much lovely free publicity must now be marketed as “aromatized wine based drinks”. It doesn´t have the same ring somehow………although has taken highly paid eurocrats two years to push through this legislation.
The annual flu outbreak has started to gain ground this week, with the first deaths and the numbers of infected gaining ground in the second week of the year. However, there’s still time to get vaccinated before it reaches peak weeks.
Lots more news in the Spanish News Today page
Click for this week’s currency exchange report between sterling and the Euro.
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More News from Murcia and Valencia
Flu cases this week have more than tripled nationwide and the number of cases are starting to put pressure on health authorities. One man has already died in Murcia. There’s still time to get vaccinated, so if you haven´t had a flu jab, get one.
A sad case involving a British resident from Pilar e la Horadada in a hit and run has featured prominently in the Spanish press this week, the 82 year old man killing a cyclist on Monday in Torre Pacheco being four times over the legal alcohol limit. Hell’s Angels have also been in the news as their case comes to court after killing a bar owner in San Pedro del Pinatar and notary in Torrevieja.
Tourism is prominent in the news this week, Murcia preparing for the major Fitur tourism fair in Madrid next week, with the Paramount Theme Park project in Alhama de Murcia as the “star” attraction on the regional stand. This features the best model made to date and includes a 3-D guided tour, Pedro Cruz saying it is important to start promoting the project prior to construction. More info about the financial status of the project and construction plans in the link to the article above.
Corvera airport is also continuing to generate column inches, as the convoluted behind the scenes negotiations reach a fever pitch this week, due to the fact that the former concessionary, who is now apparently willing to open the airport without San Javier airport closing is due to go into bankruptcy proceedings next week. The regional president is involved in negotiations to try and finance the debt, allowing the airport to open. Full report in the weekly Corvera airport news round-up.
Meanwhile airport stats for San Javier showed that the airport rallied strongly towards the end of the year as the new manager started to achieve good results with extended flight routes, although the traffic is still way short of the boom construction years. To illustrate this, 28.603 passengers came through the airport in December 2013, compared to 105.645 in December of 2006.
In other local news, San Pedro del Pinatar are facing a bit of a local uproar over plans to put parking meters on the seafront, and Murcia’s football club is facing a spot of financial bother as Hacienda seeks a large wad of cash.
Valencia Today www.valenciatoday.es
IKEA has received 100,000 applications for just 400 jobs, showing that there are still a huge amount of people desperate for work ( Spain has more than double the European average) in spite of Valencia being one of the best performing tourist regions last year.
The 400 million euro Palau de les Arts will be repaired by the architect who designed it and the construction company who built it, with temporary works underway immediately to start repairs so that the operatic season can continue without losing over 600,000 euros per performance due to the façade falling off the emblematic building.
Flu cases have tripled in the region during the last week, and the region has reinforced numbers of medical personnel in anticipation, the region also announcing this week that record numbers of transplants were carried out in the region last year.
El Altet also had a good year, closing with just under 10 million passengers, a substantial increase on 2012, and results of the enquiry into the death of a baby who was crushed on the luggage carousel at the airport found that the airport had not been negligent: the accident was down to the mother who had placed the baby on the luggage belt.
Lots more local stories in the Valencia Today portal which also has its own newsletter for Valencia only stories.
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