The news from Spain this week is mainly very positive: the beaches, shops, bars, restaurants and nightclubs are open again, but all with safety measures in place to protect both employees and the public.
The World Health Organisation has heaped praise on Spain for its “swift control” in the face of new outbreaks of COVID-19. As one spokesperson for WHO, tweeted this week: “Staggering progress in the Spanish COVID response, guided by health minister Salvador Illa. 1% positivity rate, 60% of new patients through contact-tracing, testing capacity increased. Vigilance towards mini-outbreaks in the new reality. Full support by WHO Europe.”
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He also lauded the “change in people’s behaviour” regarding social distancing rules and the wearing of masks in public. “Bravo people!”, he tweeted.
Local lockdowns and health checks
Unfortunately though, there have been new outbreaks, despite the excellent response by the Spanish public to the virus. Last Saturday, a large region in the province of Lleida in Catalonia was totally locked down. This was due to a number of cases detected in groups of fruit pickers. The response was immediate and the Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, is patrolling all roads in and out of the area.
For the most part, national and international tourism has been revived. People coming to Spain can be comfortable in the knowledge that safety measures are in place everywhere. Be aware that additional staff are at Spanish airports to check the temperature of every single passenger, both manually and with thermographic cameras. Travellers with a temperature above 37.5º could be required to have a thorough health check before being allowed into the country.
People coming to Spain can be comfortable in the knowledge that safety measures are in place everywhere.
As a further measure, every passenger travelling to Spain either by air, car or ship will also be required to complete a public health form online before travelling. They will then receive a QR code which must be shown on arrival. This should be done no more than 48 hours before travel.
None of this appears to be deterring people from coming to Spain, both as tourists and as potential property purchasers. Demand for Spanish property has increased significantly since the lockdown ended. So, now could be an excellent time to find and buy that home you have always dreamt of.
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Buying property as an investment
It may surprise you to know that the average price of rental property increased by 1.2% whilst Spain was in total lockdown. Although Barcelona and some other cities have seen a decline in rental prices, it has been far more moderate than expected. Regionally, rental costs have gone up almost everywhere except in the Balearics.
Buyers are considering purchasing property as an investment, to let out and perhaps later on to become their second home or even their principal home. With the increasing rental prices, returns on an investment are likely to be over 5% to 7.5% in certain areas. This is undoubtedly better than leaving money invested in a bank or other financial institution. It also provides far more certainty than investing in the stock market. Madrid and Catalonia have the highest rents, but property there is obviously more expensive to buy.
If you’re preparing to come over to Spain to look at properties, make sure you know what to look for by reading our free guide, Your Viewing Trip.
Investors should considered Valencia
One of the less well-known stretches of coast, but well worth a look, is the province of Castellón in Valencia region. It’s along the Costa Azahar, and is one of the most reasonably priced parts of Spain’s Mediterranean coast, popular with Spaniards and foreigners alike.
The population is small – just 580,000 – with 85% living along its 120 kilometre coastline. There are opportunities here for investors too, looking for buy-to-let both to long-term tenants and tourist rentals, without spending a fortune.
The most popular town is Peñiscola, which is the third most visited in the Valencia region after Benidorm and Valencia itself. There are other pleasant places too, such as Benicassíma further down the coast, or Burriana, close to the provincial capital Castellón de la Plana. Also in the Valencian Community is the area of Elche, which offers an excellent return on investment.
Purchasing property as your home
Despite the lockdown and continuing COVID-19 situation, people still want to come to Spain to live. The country has been named as one of the safest countries by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It seems that people living in Spain “are feeling much safer and more satisfied with their lives” than 10 years ago.
Life expectancy is 83 years and 5 months, the third highest in the world. The excellent climate, the healthy outdoor way of life and the quality of the fresh food all contribute to this figure.
Smaller apartments, even on the coast, could be the best place to look to buy just now.
Following the lockdown, there has been some lowering of property prices. There are definitely good buys out there! But as the borders have opened, people from northern Europe, France and the UK are back on a property hunt, so don’t expect bargain-basement prices. And, yes, the Spanish themselves are now back in the market. Properties with space for a home office, a large terrace or garden and out of city centres are top of their list.
This means that smaller apartments, even on the coast, could be the best place to look to buy just now. Retired people don’t need office space and a small terrace will usually be enough for them. Two-bedroom apartments, certainly if they are not brand new, could be excellent buys at the moment. So, take advantage of the current climate and start looking for your new home.