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Since 2012, property sales have been rising steadily in the Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera. In 2012 annual sales were just under 8,000 and in 2017 they were just under 16,000. However, 2018 tells a very different story: the year-on-year figures in May were 45% down and another 18% in June. On the other hand, the other parts of Spain popular with overseas buyers have seen an increase in the number of sales, so what has happened in the popular islands?

According to real estate agents operating in this market who spoke with Spanish Property Insight’s Mark Stücklin, the Balearics, which have a particular appeal to upmarket buyers, have enjoyed the longest and strongest recovery in property sales since the Spanish market turned around. However, that couldn’t last forever and it was inevitable that there would be a slow down at some point. One of the causes of this downturn are the restrictions that create a shortage of land to build on, and as they are islands, there really is no place left to go for developers.

Spokespersons from the major real estate agencies, the building contractors and developers all have a view on what is happening in the region.

For example, Marc Pritchard, Sales & Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey said, “Much of the declining sales rate is actually attributable to a significant shortage of available properties at affordable prices on the islands,” but added, “demand is still strong and Taylor Wimpey has seen reservations go up by 25% in 2018.” His view is that the market is still strong, but looks weaker because of supply problems.”

Lone Schaefer of Kelosa Selected Properties in Ibiza said, “I think it’s probably a blend of factors including a shortage of homes that people want or can afford, the holiday-rental restrictions turning off some buyers, but some segments completely unaffected, such as the large villas and country estates.”

In Mallorca, Alastair Kinloch, RICS surveyor and head of Property Works remarked that “only premium properties are shifting easily and those seen as ‘development opportunities.” He also believes that prices may have risen too steeply in the last couple of years and more competitive pricing is needed.

It would therefore appear that the depressing sales figures for 2018 are not a reflection of demand for this successful Spanish market – supply simply can’t keep up with it in the sectors below the most expensive properties.

Money Corp

For many people Salzburg is Austria’s most beautiful city and can even trump Vienna for charm and culture. Even Austrian’s think it is “more Austrian” than Vienna, so if the locals think that, who are we to argue. The city has so much to offer in the form of music, restaurants, sightseeing and shopping, plus it sits in the heart of Europe, making access easy by any form of transport, and is surrounded by some of the most stunning countryside.

  1. Salzburg’s Aldstadt
    Salzburg’s Old Town is famous for its Baroque architecture and it is one of the best-preserved examples north of the Alps and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The city has three universities, so as you can imagine it has all the buzz and culture that comes with a student population and the setting here makes it comparable to Oxford or Cambridge. It’s also a small city, so it is easy to get around and the Alpine scenery that is its backdrop is an added attraction.
  2. It’s the birthplace of Mozart
    As the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salzburg has flourished as a European centre for music and music festivals. Naturally, there is a Mozart museum and if you’re a fan of “The Sound of Music”, this city played a role in the film and you’ll be able to do the tour of all the main places used in this eternally popular film.
  3. It’s close to the Eastern Alps

    Many expatriates who plan to live in Salzburg are no doubt further attracted to the city for its close proximity to the breathtaking Central Eastern Alps, and the potential for adrenalin-fuelled weekends on the slopes. There are numerous ski resorts in the area that can be reached in under an hour from the city centre, meaning that skiing and snowboarding can be your new sports of choice.

  4. It’s not far from Munich or Vienna
    With Germany just a short distance away from Salzburg you can easily visit Munich. Trains run from the city centre every hour and the journey only takes 90 minutes. Alternatively, if you want to experience the hustle and bustle of Austria’s capital, you can, for example, travel by rail to Vienna in under 3 hours.
  5. There’s plenty of work in Salzburg
    Anyone from EU, EEA and Switzerland can work in Austria without the need for a work permit. After Vienna, it has the biggest job market in Austria with many small and medium sized companies based there. Jobs in the tourism industry are plentiful, and because of its location near the German border, Salzburg is also a hub for automobile companies, many of which have their registered head offices in the city. Furthermore, the city’s location at the heart of Western Europe makes it a popular choice for the European headquarters of many international companies. The Salzburg W.A Mozart Airport is just a 15-minute drive from the city centre and offers flights to destinations throughout Europe, perfect for those who travel regularly for business.

At Umuzee.com we have properties for sale in the Salzburg area – live here and you’ll have all the benefits of living in an historic yet progressive city that is surrounded by Alpine scenery and great ski slopes.

Money Corp

A British newspaper has recently published a story about a retired couple who lost their retirement home on Spain’s Costa Blanca and who have had to wait six years for the UK’s Court of Appeal to rule that they will be compensated for the loss of the property and £300,000 they had spent on taking legal action.

The sad story of Stewart and Linda Forrester is a reminder to all buyers looking at properties abroad that independent legal advice is a priority. The couple, who had saved hard to enjoy later life in Spain, bought the property through a Atlas International Property Services, a UK-based agent for developers Tecnologia Urbanista. Atlas, now in liquidation, told buyers it was a ‘one-stop-shop’ that would handle every aspect of the sale, including the services of Spanish lawyer Miguel Angel Aroca Seiquer, who was supposed to ensure they got the title deeds for the apartment.

After nine years of enjoying the apartment near Alicante and spending a significant amount of money on home improvements, the couple returned to the apartment to find the foundations had collapsed causing irreparable damage. The developers offered them another property, which they accepted.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. They discovered from neighbours in the same apartment block that mortgages had been taken out on the properties, even though the Forresters and others had bought the properties outright. The lawyer Seiquer told them not to worry, as they would have the title deeds soon. Instead, they discovered the property could be repossessed at any time. So, they took the decision to voluntarily give the apartment back to the bank.

Their legal battle against the developers, Atlas and the lawyer, in which seven other couples and two other people joined them, started in 2012 and has only finished in 2018 when the Court of Appeal in London upheld that the lawyer had been negligent. Lord Justice David Richards said Seiquer failed in his duty to advise the buyers about the risk of paying final instalments on their flats without ensuring that they would get mortgage-free title to the properties. Seiquer failed to tell buyers that the transactions were not guaranteed by banks, as required by Spanish law. And he neglected to advise them not to part with their cash until the developer could prove it had mortgage-free title to the flats.

The majority of developers, agents and lawyers are reputable, but there will always be some that act unethically. So, if you are buying a home overseas, get your own lawyer rather than one suggested by developers or agents, then you can be sure that your legal representative is taking care of your best interests, not somebody else’s.

Money Corp

Portugal is one of Europe’s hottest spots at the moment, and we’re not just talking about the weather. More people than ever are flocking to the country for holidays and to buy property, among them some of the world’s richest and most famous people. And, whilst many are looking at the less known parts of this delightful country, its Algarve region still holds a strong attraction for a significant number and here are five reasons why.

  1. Property at great value prices
    Property prices here are at a great level and there are so many options. On top of the pricing, which is more advantageous than in similar areas of southern Europe, the rental potential is strong here, especially for investors who don’t plan to be here all year round.
  2. Fantastic tax breaks
    Portugal’s new tax legislation is paying huge dividends for the country. The tax breaks for foreign investors, especially pensioners, with non-habitual resident status, means they can receive their pension tax free for 10 years. And if you haven’t retired, there is also a cap on income tax for a range of professions for services billed from Portugal.
  3. High standard of health care
    Portugal has a national healthcare system called SNS – Serviço Nacional de Saúde and it offers residents access to low cost care. There are also excellent private hospitals and clinics available all across the Algarve, and general health insurance is always available to cover most costs.
  4. Developed expat communities and businesses

    One of the things that makes Portugal attractive to overseas buyers is the fact that there are well-developed expat communities and that they have a good relationship with local residents. Many expat communities are meshed into the local social life and a good number of newcomers have thriving business ventures within the Algarve. In the Algarve there is an exciting expat and local community spirit built around activities at pubs, sports centres, golf clubs and restaurants, which all embrace the multi-cultural scene. You’ll never feel out of place or completely away from home in the Algarve.

  5. Outstanding weather and leisure
    A fantastic year round climate, a rich cultural heritage, a celebrated cuisine and a diverse landscape that ranges from golden beaches to ripening vineyards, plus excellent golf courses and vibrant cities all combine to make Portugal and the Algarve one of the most outstanding places in Europe when you’re looking for a lifestyle that will add years of pleasure to your life.

Browse the properties for sale in Portugal at Umuzee.com

Money Corp

Umuzee.com is a new entrant to the global property market and it plans to offer both buyers and real estate agents an advantage over other portals, thanks to its bespoke property search service.

Yes, Umuzee does stick with some property portal traditions in that it is a one-stop shop where buyers can look at a wide range of properties from several agents, and has all the bells and whistles you’d expect. Users can search by country, regions, cities and resorts within countries, and drill down further by selecting property types, minimum number of bedrooms and minimum price.

A global portal

But even in this respect Umuzee differs from some of the other portals, because it offers a diverse selection of countries in one place and it is working on expanding these. To give you an example: Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Brazil and Poland are recent additions. Some portals are country specific, or limited to Europe, which means as a buyer, if you wanted to look at properties in Spain and Cyprus to compare prices and what is available, you would have to use separate websites. With Umuzee, you can shortlist your favourite properties from the countries listed and review your choices at your leisure.

Umuzee does the work for you

Added to all this, Umuzee offers a find your property service tailored to buyers and investors very specific requirements. Umuzee has a team of property experts who will find what you are looking for. All you have to do is either fill in a short form telling us about the destination countries you are interested in, the type of property, your budget and reasons for buying, e.g. are you looking for a retirement property, a holiday home, a Golden Visa programme or something else. Or you can choose to have a live chat with one of the Umuzee team instead and get a referral to an agent.

The advantage Umuzee offers is that you can search yourself if you want, but if you’re short on time, then we can do it for you. Furthermore, we are in touch with thousands of real estate experts around the world. If you want to buy a property in Broward County, Florida, and you’ve given us all the details about what you’re looking for, we’ll contact realtors specialising in Broward County, because after all, who knows the area better than the agents that operate there week in, week out. They know the market and can offer advice about your choice of location. The same is true for every country we list: Umuzee has specialist contacts that can tell you about the possible future outlook of a resort area and what the amenities and infrastructure is like, and they can give you more detailed information than any standard listing possibly can.

Search for an agent

Umuzee can connect you with the right agent for the area of your choice, but it also offers buyers the option of checking out featured agents. You’ll find that the areas they cover are listed, making it faster for users to identify agents likely to have a property they might want.

Umuzee is all about saving you time

Want to know about Golden Visa shemes in Europe – Umuzee has the information. Want to know what the buying process is like in a specific country – Umuzee has detailed Area Guides giving you information on everything from the most popular areas, to schools, healthcare and transport, as well as what the rules are with regard to taxes on property purchases and every other procedure.

Choose Umuzee for a personal service

So, when you’re looking for a property overseas and you want to save time by talking to an expert who can give you the lowdown on a local area – choose Umuzee as your property finding service, because we made it our goal to make sure you find what you want without any hassle at all. 

Money Corp

Mark Stücklin, the knowledgeable founder of Spanish Property Insight, has highlighted an impending problem for investors buying property in Spain via the vehicle of an international company.

Until now, this has been a normal state of affairs. Wealthy investors set up an international company structure to buy properties in order to avoid tax, but it seems the Spanish tax authorities have plans to look into this and keep an eye on it. As Stücklin says, “it’s a ticking time bomb.”

Tax specialists Del Canto Chambers explained that the typical set up, which proved very popular from the 1970s to the early 2000s, usually consisted of, “International company structures, with some owned by double or triple vehicles involving a Spanish company belonging to a foreign company and, in many cases, a Trust on top.” The firm, which is based in both Madrid and London, believe that there are somewhere in the region of 5,000 properties in Spain, privately owned and using this investment structure.

Of course, it isn’t cheap to set up such a company structure, so the tax gains have to ‘vale la pena’ (worth the pain) as the Spanish say. They have been used to minimise tax payable to Spain and to make it easier to change the details of ownership and avoid inheritance tax. As you might expect, the properties owned under these company structures tend to be valued in the millions rather than a couple of hundred thousand.

Now Spain, like many of its neighbours, is taking a cool look at tax avoidance schemes, especially since its public finances are under pressure, and pensioners are marching in the streets for a better deal. Del Canto thinks that international company structures owning property have got a target on their back, and the taxation specialists are encouraging caution, because in their words, the Spanish are “high-handed and difficult to deal with.”

The report in Spanish Property Insight also suggests that the Costa del Sol is the first place the tax inspectors will go to “shoot first and ask questions later.” It is recommended that if you have a property under a company structure that you get advice about making sure you are tax compliant. Be prepared before the taxman starts asking questions – it is the best route to survival.

Money Corp

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