Why Take A Place In The Sun?

By: Shaun Parker

For those who earn that little extra the idea of a second property abroad is becoming evermore realistic, the options of where to move are endless but Spain is proving a very popular choice. For the last ten years the Spanish property market has been in a bubble, prices for villas and houses have shot up at an extraordinary rate and those with the funds to afford holiday homes seem also to have increased.

Spain has benefited greatly due to its early participation in the tourism trade. The recognition that the small fishing towns of Spain could be transformed into bustling resorts for Northern Europeans was a piece of outstanding entrepreneurship. It turned Spain from a relatively poor country with little exports but olives and wine into a nation with a bustling tourism trade that brought a steady stream of finance into the Spanish economy.

Today the holiday market has changed, more people looking for bespoke vacations to suit their needs but Spain has adapted to the changes. In the early nineties some realised that those who liked to holiday in Spain would also appreciate cheap housing in the country so they could carry on holidaying in Spain for a fraction of the price.

Villas and houses cropped up everywhere and resorts built to totally suit foreign markets were constructed. The ability of marketers to be present these villa complexes as bits of Britain (or Germany), but with better weather was a masterstroke as customers bought the idea wholesale.

This was the start of the Spanish property market, and for a decade and more it has steadily grown. The original idea of creating a home away from home in the sun is still popular for many types of people. As long as weather and climate remain the same in Northern Europe there will always be some who wish to escape and grab some sunshine in the depths of winter.

The idea has changed somewhat, modern villa resorts include leisure complexes, gymnasiums, restaurants and golf courses. Those buying property can now totally isolate themselves within an artificial community whilst still enjoying the 300 hundred days a year of sunshine.

Personally I see this as sad, for me holidaying was always about sampling other cultures. The mass tourism of the eighties and early nineties removed this element and replaced it with a Saturday night on the tiles but abroad. The ramifications of this are vast, now thousands who buy property in Spain will never experience what Spain has to offer. Instead they will stay in their complexes surrounded by their countrymen.

This is all well and good for those who like it but if I were to buy a property in Spain it would be a remote villa in the mountains where I could grow olives and grapes. I would integrate myself with the locals and soak as much of the culture up as possible.

This however is just personal preference, I can understand why many appreciate the security that living in an ex-patriot community can bring, I also understand the need for a prime golf course on your doorstep and see that Spanish villas offer a fine retirement option for the rest of Europe.

Whatever the opinion you have of property in Spain there is no doubt it has bolstered the Spanish economy since the decline of mass tourism. Whether or not the Spanish property market bubble will last much longer remains to be seen but as long as there are Northern Europeans looking for somewhere warm to purchase a second home, Spain will provide villas for the purpose.

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