REAL ESTATE AND PLANNING
Recently, Spain and its real estate sector were hit especially hard by a far-reaching crisis. The average house price has plunged from severely inflated to levels so low that they represent a real investment opportunity for foreigners. Now that doubts as to Spain’s solvency on international markets have been dispelled, interest in the real estate sector has been revived and there has been a gradual increase in individuals and companies who are looking to buy a house or get into property development in our country.
The figures speak for themselves: according to the General Council of Spanish Notaries Public, house sales shot up by 45.5% in the first quarter of 2014, with sales to foreign citizens representing 19.4% of the total. This is 27.2% up on the same period in 2013.
Although investing in this sector is appealing, the risks involved must not be overlooked because the amount of money involved in buying a house usually represents a large part of the client’s wealth.
One of the bigger problems that our region faces is the proliferation of houses built without planning permission, on land that is not suitable for residential use, sometimes even in protected areas that invade the maritime terrestrial public domain or affect drover’s roads. One particularly severe case, although unfortunately not the only one, is Chiclana de la Frontera, where some estimates put the number of ‘illegal’ houses at over 40,000, houses surrounded by thousands of houses in areas that do not seem to be problematic but are actually ‘time bombs’ waiting to go off and could end up being demolished at the orders of the Government or the courts. Dream house turned nightmare.
Right from the start, one of our firm’s main strengths has been, and continues to be, legal advice and support for property purchasing and development, ranging from small apartments to exclusive luxury villas. We make sure that our clients know the costs involved in purchasing or developing their property, we resolve any levies that apply, ensure there are no planning restrictions or proceedings that could potentially jeopardise the property, arrange the necessary permits, draw up the sale or building contracts, and later on register the property in the Land Registry.