Ricky Bean

Articles by Ricky Bean

Merger in the south of France dents Catalan pride

A regional renaming in south-east France has put the Catalan nose out of joint. But you can’t keep a Catalan down for long, they’ll probably turn the event into a party. We live close to the Spanish border in an area sometimes known as Catalonia, which straddles both sides of the border. There are around 450,000 French Catalans, largely based around the city of Perpignan which was a strong fortress in medieval times. The Catalans are a proud people, with their own language; a rough mix of French and Spanish.

The message from France: buy, buy, buy?

Buyer’s market or Brexit bust-up? What is happening in the French property market and is it still a good time to buy? The good news is that the French property market remains a very stable one pricewise and conditions continue to be ripe for British buyers. There have been signs in some areas of small increases in property value, mainly Paris, the Cote d’Azur and the Languedoc Roussillon, but it is important to note that the market is really nothing like the UK one and things happen much more slowly in France, property price changes included!

Spanish taxman’s spy in the sky

The Spanish tax authority’s use of drones and satellites has netted an extra 1.25 billion euros. Now it is extending the programme throughout the whole country and the Balearics. Don’t be caught out, make that declaration! The Spanish tax authority, called the Hacienda, is resorting to hi-tech methods to discover buildings which have not been declared for tax purposes. Since the end of 2014 they have found 1.69 million undeclared or illegal properties and they’re looking for more.

Firefighters save hundreds of British-owned homes

From Galicia to the Costa Blanca, Spanish firefighters have been battling wildfires that have devastated large areas perilously close to popular expats hotspots. The first few days in September have been the hottest in Spain since 1988, with temperatures in the south soaring to over 40º and leaving the countryside tinder dry. The conditions, helped by arsonists in some cases, have led to forest fires across the Spanish mainland.