Taylor Scott International News
The number of homes sold in Spain increased by 12.1% in the second quarter compared to a year earlier and was boosted by an increasing number of foreign buyers. Data from the Ministry of Public Works shows that a total of 91,338 homes were sold in the quarter, the best second quarter since 2010. It also shows that 16.4% of the sales were to foreign residents, as the number of purchases by non-Spanish citizens rose for the 12 quarter in a row. In the 12 months from July 2013 to June 2014, some 337,115 homes were sold in Spain, a 12.2% increase from the same period a year earlier, according to the Ministry’s data. The gains were led by a 12.2% increase in the Canary Islands. Other areas continued to see sales declines but much more moderate than in previous quarters. Meanwhile, a judge in Almeria has awarded €135,000 damages to three British families who bought illegal homes a decade ago in Albox, in a case which might open the door for similar legal action around Spain. The judge ruled that they bought their homes in ‘good faith’ and decided that they deserved compensation for living with the possibility of losing their home. The judge also awarded €7,800 to another British family, whose savings were trapped in a home that was half built before work was stopped. It is estimated that more than 250,000 homes were built illegally in Andalusia during the boom years, creating an emotional and complex issue for local authorities. A plan was approved by the ruling junta in 2012 to legalise homes, but there has been little progress. A few weeks ago junta president Susana Díaz announced an additional 25,000 homes could be saved from destruction, under a new amendment to the plan. But there is still uncertainty about the fate of and ultimate legal status of the homes. For years owners, many of them expats, have not known whether their homes would be demolished. In many cases they could not rent or resell their property with the legal case ongoing. Last month prosecutors called for the demolition of 93 homes in Albox but the local mayor said the homes would likely be saved by the new legislation. ‘This whole drama of illegal homes remains a terrible stain on the reputation of Andalusia as somewhere to invest, discouraging fresh money and ultimately impoverishing the local community,’ said Mark Stucklin of Spanish Property Insight. ‘People who bought in good faith and ended up with illegal homes through no fault of their own have been treated appallingly by the Spanish authorities,’ he added. ‘It’s very probable that the homes might be legalised in a time frame that depends upon administrative procedures,’ the sentencing judge said but the judge in the Albox case went a step further, awarding damages to the owners. Developers and architects are liable for the payments. But if they can’t pay, the judge ordered the local town hall to pick up the bill for failing to control the situation and… Continue reading →
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