Saturday, March 24, 2012

Where Have All the British Gone, Long Time Passing?

23 03 2012

Many reasons are proffered for the collapse of the Spanish real estate market and the departure of the British expat community here in the south of Spain.  The two most popular reasons for the British departure do not ring true.  These reasons are that Brit expats are poor due to the fall in value of the pound against the Euro and the collapse of house prices in UK.

Is it true?

Here are a couple of charts that give you something to wonder about, if you care so to do:

Exchange Rates - Pound v Euro for five years (thanks to yahoo)
First historical exchange rates over 5 years.  No question the pound has suffered since 2008.  In 2008 a pound got you €1.5 and today it buys only €1.20.  Pensioners living in Europe have taken a 20 percent cut in pay over the past years.  However the rate has firmed up and improved since 2009 so over the past two years those same pensioners have received a 10 per cent raise.  All this is over and above any increase in pension benefits that might have been bestowed.

The house price argument raises its own questions.  House prices last year did increase but by far less than inflation.  Real house prices fell again last year.  Except for the stupid years of the early 2000's prices are not substantially changed over ten or fifteen years.  The silly gains of the good years have been matched by equally tragic losses in the bad but overall the Brits aren't really that far back in terms of house prices: unless you believe the artificial pricing of 2002 and 2003 is a fair benchmark.

Almerimar was originally developed to be sold to Japanese.  The marina manager is Japanese and he decided to remain when his Nipponese employer sold out.  When the Japanese influx failed to materialize the project was repackaged for sale to golf mad Dutch.  Then the Brits found themselves marvellously enriched by the housing boom and a high flying pound and they formed the base of purchasing.  

Now no one invests here.

No one except a group of self styled real estate sharks.  These guys think they have found the money making bargain of a lifetime and so they are buying into the falling market of Almerimar.  Formerly mild mannered milquetoasts these newfound land barons picture themselves as predators swimming as equals with the sharks.  

I wonder why the real sharks are selling so cheap.

Regardless the last two years have not impoverished the Brits.  They have vamoosed for other reasons, if in fact they were ever actually here.  

No comments:

Post a Comment