Gone are the days when banks were happy to grant 30-year mortgages, and an extra bit of cash for furniture. Those conditions meant getting indebted for life. But these days, with the crisis still around, seven out of every home purchases in Spain are paid in full. There is an explanation for this: the rise in foreign buyers, who now represent 17 percent of the total, according to figures from the Public Works Ministry.
Niger Salmon is the general director of Girasol Homes, a property finder based in Wales that sells homes in Florida, Spain and Portugal. Their clients, he says, are mostly retired people who have been waiting for prices to go down during the last few years, hoping they could finally afford an apartment by the sea. Girasol Homes has listings in the Valencia Region, Murcia and Andalucia for as little as 50.000 euro. Buyers are mostly British, Dutch, Belgian, French and Russian. These have recently been joined by Algerians, because of the good sea and air connections between Alicante and Oran. “They are mid-to high-class citizens in the liberal professions”, says Brigitte Castaño, a realtor at ReMax in Alicante.
Notary statistics show that it is precisely these coastal areas that have been attracting most of the foreign capital. “Although transactions fell again in the first few months of 2013, there are provinces such as Alicante, Murcia, Tarragona and Almeria where sales have picked up”, says Luis Montes, director general of Grupo Banco Sabadell.
1. Say if the following statements, according to the text, are true or false:
1.1. The majority of houses sold in Spain nowadays, are paid with a bank loan and along the years.
1.2. The people buying houses in coastal areas of Spain are mainly old citizens from various countries.
1.3. In the provinces of Alicante, Murcia, Tarragona and Almeria, home sales have risen recently.
2. Match each term from the text with its corresponding definition :
1) In full
a) money (a loan) that you get from a bank in order to buy a house
b) buyer, people who buy something
c) entirely, not in parts differentiated in time
d) an older person who has stopped working and usually receives a monthly pension from the state
3. Complete each sentence with a suitable verb tense:
3.1. The strong price reduction ______ (allow) buyers to pay without the need for a loan.
3.2. Small domestic investors are _______ (buy) homes for 50.000 euro.
3.3. Banks have _____ (decide) to reduce their exposure to the housing sector.
3.4. Banks home sales ____ (reach) a historical peak in 2012.
4. Write a paragraph (between 50-80 words) on one of these topics:
4.1. Your opinion about the purchase of houses by foreigners inSpain.
4.2. Why cannot Spanish citizens buy houses now as they did in the past?