A Lesson In Survival

A Lesson in Survival

Mike Walsh


The maxim about the optimist seeing the glass as half full whereas the pessimist sees it as half empty certainly applies to the recession. With mixed signals spiced up by ‘experts’ conflicting opinions leaving us baffled it may be one of the few times when it pays to be a fence-sitter.
It is a good time to buy property and high value items if you are not looking for quick returns. Prices across the board are competitive though rivals pulling down the shutters may reduce competition. If you’re attempting to sell property you have a choice; sell at a loss, hang on in there; perhaps look for alternative solutions.

If you have no choice but to sell then stop reading now. Opinions can be disregarded but facts have to be faced and weak recovery elsewhere is not your green shoot. Spain is burdened by a near million unsold properties and continues to build faster than they can sell them: Figures vary but even the lowest touted estimate is daunting. Try selling sand in Arabia and let’s not even talk about the same number of re-sales.

I said: Cheer up; things could get worse so I cheered up and sure enough things did get worse. Unemployment is running at 20% whilst job insecurity paralyses risk-taking initiatives.

When buyers can be found the most formidable hurdle has yet to be overcome as buyers need mortgages; the banks need 30% and the two are incompatible. The sign on the bank’s mortgage desk may as well be; ‘Go away!’

Every sale has to have its Unique Selling Point (USP): Spain’s was a sun-drenched carefree lifestyle at bargain basement prices. Competition from rival destinations where prices also plummeted now entice buyers by the USPs forfeited by Spain. Those in the trade used to sell investments with assured returns. This hardly washes anymore either.

Much abused property laws are often repealed and anyway affect only .5% but good news doesn’t sell newspapers. Everyone in the UK is quite certain that your new home will be bulldozed and you will be sent the bill.

Throw into this cauldron the broken promises and cracking foundations of disreputable developers and Spain becomes as popular as a fox in the lobby of the Foxhounds Association.

You’re still reading? Oh well. In for a penny in for a pound! Sure property prices are lower but so is the exchange rate, which cancels out the advantages. Remember too that property prices in the UK fell at comparable rates so parity remains.

Window shoppers are as common as widow shoppers in Hastings and Brighton. You decide if the increase in window shoppers is a green shoot but as the saying goes, it isn’t over until the fat lady sings: The fat lady we are looking for, the bank transfer, is as elusive.

Debt-fuelled growth like Victorian hatpins is a thing of the past. The lessons have been learned by a leaner meaner generation less secure and more highly taxed than their parents. No one can afford to take on more debt. We are in for a long period of austerity.

Before lights out heralds a restless night it is well to remember that evolution whilst having no time for dinosaurs is supportive of those prepared to adapt. My advice is to blink in the glare of the oncoming headlights and seek an alternative. Stay if you can or downsize radically if need be.

A family consortium might be the answer to repayment problems. Others may sub-let and rent, or divide larger homes into two. There are solutions which you may decide are better than the conventional approaches but doing nothing is not a solution.


Walsh Legal Partnership: 672 834 622 E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a telephone or e-mail response.

Michael Walsh (The Voice of the Costas)
Channel 4 'A Place in the Sun'  'Spanish News'
Quality Media Valencia to Gibraltar

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