Thursday, 12 December 2013

Spanish house price index and October sales

Have prices stabilized in Spain


Data issued this week by TINSA one of the biggest valuation companies in Spain showed that in general house prices continue to fall in Spain but at a slower pace than in previuos years.

In a few pockets, which include the Islands both Canaries and the Balearics, the slow down in the decline is pronounced suggesting in these areas that we are about to enter a era of stabilization and possibly in 2014 increases in the average price per square meter. This data is backed up by the increase in the purchase of Spanish property in both of those geographical areas.

In the Coastal areas where prices rose at their quickest level in the boom times average pirces per square meter have now dropped back below 2002 levels suggesting again that a period of price stability and increased sales could be on there way.

Property sales in Spain

In general for sellers in Spain the news on number of house sales relating to dwellings remains in the doldrums. For potential buyers in Spain this may be seen as a positive as it means it remains very much a buyers market. Lawyers in Spain and agents report that it is still the case that offers well below asking prices are being accepted by sellers and the data suggests this trend will continue.

Overall property transfers are up 

Whilst it may appear on the surface good news that overall property transfers in Spain were up month on month this is because the amount of properties being transferred under "other titles" is increasing each month. In the section other titles sits the transfer of property ownership to Banks as they reach their court action conclusion.

The increase in this area is bad news all round as any sustained growth on prices or house sales will have to be supported by Spanish mortgage lending. Whilst Spanish Banks continue to have high default ratios it is difficult to see them changing their current stance, where tight criterias, and high pricing have depressed the lending market considerably.

Read the full article:  Property sales and house prices in Spain

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Divorcing or separating in Spain

If you are an expat living in Spain undertaking a formal separation or a divorce can be a minefield

Where should divorce proceedings take place in Spain

When considering divorcing one of the first things to establish is what jurisdiction will hear your proceedings. Legal advice in Spain should be taken to ensure the proceedings happen in the right country and within the right region of Spain. Who you are married to and where they are from may have less bearing than other matters like where you live and under what martial regime.

Court rulings

Like most countries it is always a good idea to get any agreements between the parties ratified by the courts. Whilst it may seem like a good idea to avoid the cost and time of this process when relationships perhaps remain quite good, failure by one of the parties to adhere to the agreements can only be enforced if there was a legal agreement in the first place.

Split of assets

Because of the emotions that run high during a break up often it is diffcult without third party intervention to agree what assets are common to both parties and what value should be placed on these.

Coming to agreements on assets is often the most lengthy part of any proceedings and can be sped up and agreed if a detached third party sits between the two parties. Of course a good Spanish lawyer will always work with the client who has appointed them, best interests as paramount, but they can also provide clear guidnace and advice across the whole spectrum and not be so hung up on individual parts of it.  

Children and dependants

The best interests of any dependants will always be a key focus for a parent. Whatever the issues between the partners most couples will want the best possible outcomes to prevail for the children. Spain has clear laws on custody rights, maintenance and visitations.

Read the full article: Family matters and Divorce in Spain 

The importance of having a Will in Spain

The laws covering inheritance and inheritance taxes is different in Spain to many other countries.

Why is it important to have a Will in Spain

Even if you have a Will in your own country of residency or domicilty, if you hold assets in Spain you should also ensure you have a Will written in Spain. The Will in Spain needs to work in conjunction with any other Wills you have written but should specify clearly what happens to the asset in Spain in the event of your death.

Failure to hold a Spanish Will can cause issues after your death, can lengthen considerably the time it takes for probate to be finalised and may in fact mean the assets do not finally go to the person you would have wanted to inherit them.

If I am married surely my partner just automatically inherits

In Spain it is not necessarily an immediate family member who is the only one with rights to the assets or part of them. Spain has no spousal exemption so a jointly owned asset between a married couple attracts immediate death duties for the 50% owned by the deceased and the asset cannot be transferred 100% to the joint owner until the death duties are paid. IHT taxes are the responsibilty of the beneficiary, not the estate, so assets cannot be sold to pay any death duties due.

What are Death Duties in Spain

Inheritance taxes vary from region to region and also can be affected by the relationship of the person who is the beneficiary, to the deceased. It is always best to take legal advice from a professional in Spain who can help you construct a suitable Will and help you understand and provide for any taxes that will apply.

Advice should be taken when considering buying a property in Spain at the outset to ensure the ownership is set up in the most cost effective manner to help mitigate as much Inheritance tax as possible.

Read the full article: the pitfalls of not having a Will in Spain