Spain is Where the Heart Is

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Survey reveals Spain is still the top hot spot for people buying a second home abroad.

Over 50% of visitors to overseas property exhibitions say Spain is their top location. It wins hands down over the emerging property markets in Eastern Europe.

This finding comes courtesy of the Spanish estate agent, Home Espana and Country Home Espana. The company conducted a series of surveys at overseas property exhibitions and via the internet. Of 600 people questioned during 2004 and 2005, 52% put Spain as their first choice property location. The second most popular location was France, which attracted 12% of people. Other popular countries included Italy and Cyprus and less than 3% of respondents chose countries in Eastern Europe.

So why does Spain win over the emerging markets of Eastern Europe? Put simply, it seems people see Spanish property as a safer investment and the Spanish lifestyle as being more attractive.

Emerging markets may have mushroomed in size, hundreds of developments may be changing the landscape, but the local infrastructure lags far behind. Because there is no local precedent for this degree of buying and selling property, the future is uncertain. The current resale market is non existant or very small. Builders offering guaranteed rental income are lulling investers into a false sense of security. When a rental deal ends, it's hard to rent a property on the open market because there are more homes than people to rent them - there are just not enough natives or tourists to sustain demand.

In short, however tempting the emerging markets appear, people are still turning to their favourite holiday destination - Spain. It's been a top holiday hot spot for decades and its popularity endures. The were 46,116 Easyjet flights from the UK to Spain in 2006 compared to 5206 flights to the Czech republic (data from Easyjet 11.4.06). The market for both off plan and resale is safely established. Buyers can see for themselves the long term investment potential.

But it's more than a question of money. Spain is loved by so many people who have holidayed there in the past. It is very accessible from England and Ireland, and once there, travelling around the country is getting easier and easier. The excellent infrastructure includes modern airports and a fast, new motorway system. Then there's mile upon mile of spectacular beaches, a Mediterranean climate and some of the best golf courses in the world. With a stable economy, low cost of living and high quality of life, Spain wins all round. Above all you can't beat a glass of Spanish rioja and a plate of tapas.


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Emily Randall
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