A Spanish road-show led by their development minister Jose Blanco and their housing secretary Beatriz Corredor is doing the rounds of Europe in an attempt to rehabilitate the Spanish housing market in the eyes of investors.
They are desperate to shift the massive 700,000 strong stock of newly built properties, of which over 400,000 are near the coast, that have now stood empty since the credit crunch started the economic downturn.
The first stop for the road-show was the UK, as 31.5% of foreign buyers in 2009 originated here and it is seen as a potential mine of new investors. That will be followed by the Netherlands, France, Germany, Sweden and Russia.
The aim is to assure potential new buyers that the corrupt practices of the past that left so many people owing on the the estimated million 'illegal' properties in the country, had been brought to an end and that investing in Spanish property was now safe.
Speaking in Madrid prior to the tour Jose Blanco said "The Road Show will highlight the strengths of our economy, transparency and legal certainty of our planning legislation. It is a good time to carry out this pioneering initiative because the markets that have the potential to invest in second homes are recovering and we must revive the holiday housing market to speed up the digestion of stock".
Whilst in London Blanco and Corredor pushed the case for renewed interest in Spanish property by saying that their residential property prices had dropped by 20%-40%, that there had been economic reforms aiding the recovery of the market and that the legal issues had been addressed so making buying a property in Spain a safe investment.
Blanco told Overseas Property Professional that he believes that now “is an ideal time to invest in Spanish real estate. The competitive advantages we offer all remain in place: safety, proximity, good weather, quality of life, first class public services, and infrastructure”.
This however has angered many people who have already been stung by the Spanish property market who will, it seems, be left to rot. They are adamant that the only true way to prove that it is safe to invest in a house in Spain is to give properly redress to the problems of the past. Not just claim it will all be different in the future.
Keith Rule of Bank Guarantees in Spain, quoted in the Telegraph said "This is an insult to all those of us who stand to lose so much due to the corruption and negligence in the Spanish property sector. The Spanish property sector certainly does not have any transparency or legal certainty. It is a serious mess and SeÃ±or Blanco and the Spanish Government have nothing to put on a show about. SeÃ±or Blanco must, together with his government colleagues, rectify the serious injustices that have taken place over the past decade in their country".
There are many places in Spain where it is safe to buy, but the cases of peoples' houses being torn down in certain areas to make way for a road with no restitution for the property owner has left a bitter taste in the mouth for many potential investors. It would therefore be a good move by the Spanish to deal properly with this problem by compensating these people, which would probably pay off in the long run.