To continue the theme from Tuesday:
The Spanish housing market is in trouble, something that O has been telling me several times, and something I have noticed myself when visiting O’s parents in their village. The village is full of half-built blocks of flats and empty apartments with Se alquila-signs hanging from the balconies.
Quite fittingly, BBC News made a very interesting report on Wednesday regarding the crisis of the housing market in Spain. Since 2004 more homes have been built in Spain than in Germany, France and the UK put together!! I remember hearing a similar report a few years ago and apparently the situation has not improved. So, the combination of high prices and a huge supply, even I who never finished the 1st semester of economics, can figure out that the market is collapsing!
In other words, I think that we are going to hold off for a little while longer before buying a home in Spain…
To answer some of the questions from my last post on the subject:
- Apartments in Spain are usually quite small – I have seen 2-bedroom apartments that are only 50 m2
- In other words – bedrooms are small! The ads usually make the distinction between double- and single bedrooms, i.e if a double-bed fits or not.
- Some apartments are sold without a fitted kitchen, but it seems increasingly common with cocina amueblada y equipada. The kitchen finishes are not really to my taste – only one sink (seems to be standard in most European apartments!), flowery tiles and cheap-looking cabinets. And yes, in most European countries it is popular to tile all the kitchen walls, which for many Swedes make them look like bathrooms!
- One bathroom is standard, and the French / Belgian habit of separating toilet and bathroom doesn’t seem to have caught on in Spain.
- Groundfloor apartments are rare, the groundfloor is reserved for commercial spaces, and sometimes garages. However, with the current crisis, the groundfloor is very often boarded up as there is nobody interested in renting the space!
- Parking space is most of the time sold apart – and expensive!
- Balconies or terraces are more common than for example Belgium. The balcony is very often connected to the kitchen and used for laundry, with an extra sink, washing machine (which is otherwise in the kitchen) and drying rack for clothes.
- Floors are usually marble / stone, wood is not that popular.
- Staging is something that seems to not have arrived to Spain yet (not to Brussels either for that matter) – or at least not to the apartment ads on the internet where apartments are messy, photos are badly taken and it is difficult to get a good idea of how the homes really look like.
- Windows – it always strikes me how the shutters are always closed on Spanish windows! I understand that it is an attempt to keep the sunlight and heat out but it is sooo depressing with dark apartments. O gets annoyed when I question if Spaniards even need windows – if they are always covered up!? Nevertheless it is fascinating that ads point out that apartments are bright and then the windows are covered with dark curtains, blinds or external shutters…
Here are some examples of apartment ads:
49 M2, 3 DORMITORIOS, SALÓN, COCINA Y BAÑO. BALCON. TODO PARA REFORMAR. 112.000 €
– Can you imagine 3 bedrooms, one livingroon, kitchen and bathroom on less than 50 m2? Well, it is possible apparently!! (oh, and the apartment was in a terrible state according to the photos, so the ad was not lying about having to re-do everything!)
PISO DE 70 METROS, 3 DORMITORIOS Y SALON, CALEFACCION INDIVIDUAL, EXTERIOR, MUY LUMINISO. MUCHAS POSIBILIDADES. NECESITA REFORMA. 144.242 €
– A 3 bedroom apartment of 70 m2, individual heating, exterior (means that the apartment is facing the street), very bright, many possibilities, needs to be re-furbished. And I agree, the apartment seems to have some potential!
I am sure that I will have opportunity to come back to this very interesting subject, especially if we end up moving to Spain next year…
Tonight we are off on our Labour weekend trip to Washington DC and Virginia. I will be back next week with hopefully lots of nice photos and stories!