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PROPERTY

Spain’s property prices to see Europe’s biggest drop in 2021 and then rise in just one year: S&P

If you're wondering when the right time to buy a property in Spain is as a result of the coronavirus crisis, Standard and Poor's has reported that the window of opportunity won’t last as long as many are hoping for.

Spain's property prices to see Europe's biggest drop in 2021 and then rise in just one year: S&P
The beautiful city of Girona in Catalonia. Photo: Dovile Ramoskaite/Unsplash

One of the expected consequences of the coronavirus crisis on Spain’s economy is a marked drop in the price of properties once government aid packages aren’t propping up the labour market and the full extent of the pandemic’s consequences are known. 

Different real estate experts, from popular property search engines Idealista and Fotocasa to market trend analysts, can’t seem to agree over just how sharp this price reduction will be, if there will be one, and when house hunters in Spain can expect to see proper bargains.

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US credit rating agency Standard & Poor's has been the latest to provide its findings on the matter in a report into what it expects from the housing market in the main European countries in the coming years.

Spain stands out in this report as S&P forecasts that the Iberian nation will go from being one of the countries where prices fall the most as a result of the coronavirus crisis, only to then be among the markets where housing will become more expensive.

According to their figures, the fall in property prices in Spain this year will be 1.4 percent, the second steepest decline after Ireland’s forecasted 1.6 percent drop.

Portugal is the other European country where a price fall is expected (-0.5 percent) in 2020 whereas S&P believes that in France and the UK housing will become more expensive by around 1.5 percent, in Italy it’ll rise by 0.5 percent, in Belgium by 1.8 percent, while in Germany and the Netherlands the upswing will be around 4. 5 and 6 percent.

So, while the trend in most of Europe’s biggest economies is for house prices to actually rise in the midst of this pandemic, in Spain it’s the opposite, an outcome which is in line with the IMF’s October report naming the Spanish economy as the most affected of all major economies globally (a GDP drop of 12.8 percent so far). 

It’s worth noting that a 1.4 percent price drop is nowhere near the plummeting rates seen in Spain in 2014 during the height of the previous financial crisis, where properties cost 35 percent less on average than in 2008.

However, S&P estimates a rapid rise in house prices in Spain which will reach 1.8 percent already in 2021, in line with the rapid increases predicted for Sweden and Germany for next year.

By 2022, Standard & Poor's expects a sharper rise still in terms of house prices in Spain – up to 4.5 percent – only surpassed by the 4.6 percent in Ireland and 5 percent in Portugal.

All this means that within the space of one year, house prices in Spain will experience one of the biggest price fluctuations (fall to rise) of Europe’s main economies, from a 1.4 percent fall to a 4.5 percent rise. The property markets in Ireland, Portugal and the Netherlands are forecast to experience similar price fluctuations.

This may not seem like good news for prospective buyers who are wondering if 2021 would be the right time to buy.

But as with all other property forecasts, a lot of it is largely guessing, and there are plenty of sources saying that 2021 will be the year of price drops in Spain, not rises.

As an example of this, Bankinter’s latest property report predicts a 9 percent drop between 2020 and 2021.

Consulting firm Forcadell and the University of Barcelona forecast an even bigger price fall in a study they published in October: -16 percent in 2021.

Which estimate will be closer to the situation of Spain’s property market in 2021, we simply don’t know.

When it comes to property hunting, it seems that the most effective tool that someone can use is their own research geared towards their own specific needs and goals.  

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LIFE IN SPAIN

What to do about insects and other pests in your Spanish home?

Bugs and insects can sometimes be a problem in Spanish homes, particularly during the summer months. Here's what to do if you get an infestation and how to prevent them from happening.

What to do about insects and other pests in your Spanish home?

Fruit flies buzzing around the bins, cockroaches in the kitchen and ants invading your food cupboards can be a common sight in your Spanish home, more often than not in summer.

But what can you do when insects invade your home? 

What types of pests are common in Spain?

Bugs and insects that commonly invade homes in Spain include fruit flies, ants, stink bugs, cockroaches, pantry moths, plaster bagworms and mosquitoes.

Those who have pets may also have a problem with your animals bringing fleas and ticks into the home too.

READ ALSO: Ticks are proliferating in Spain: How to avoid them and protect yourself

These can cause a nuisance, not only flying around your home and biting you (in the case of mosquitoes, fleas and ticks), but they can get into your food and lay eggs in your cupboards.

How can I get rid of bugs in my home?

One of the most important ways you can keep insects and other bugs out of your home is to eliminate food sources.

This means always doing the washing up as soon as you’ve finished eating so there are no scraps laying around, sweeping kitchens and dining rooms regularly and putting opened food items in the fridge instead of the cupboards.

You also need to make sure you regularly empty your rubbish bin and that there are no gaps between the lid and the bin that flies can get in through.

Dusting, hoovering and general regular cleaning will also keep other insects at bay such as plaster bagworms and moths that lay larvae on your walls and ceiling.

Those with pets should make sure that animals are treated with flea and tick protection and combed through with special flea combs to make sure bugs are not stuck in their fur.

Summer can of course be very hot in Spain, with temperatures regularly in the high 30°Cs or even low 40°Cs in some parts of Andalusia and other regions, meaning that windows and doors are often left open to ensure a breeze. Unfortunately, this means that your home is more accessible to insects too.

If you can, get a fly screen for your doors and windows, so you can leave them open, but no bugs can get in. These fine mesh screens can be bought from hardware or home stores such as Leroy Merlin and can simply be lifted into place when you need them.

If you can’t get screens installed, then consider planting certain plants on windowsills or balconies. Lavender, basil, lemongrass and mint are all natural insect repellents.

Electric fly swats, ant traps and sticky paper can also all help eliminate pests in your home. 

READ ALSO: What venomous species are there in Spain?

Insecticides

When the situation becomes worse, simple everyday cleaning won’t suffice and you may need to use insecticides to kill the infestation. There are many different brands in Spain. Both Protect Home and Compo have several different products you can use.

If you don’t want to use chemical insecticides, natural ones made from white vinegar, citrus plants, or peppermint oil can also work.

Pest control

If the situation becomes completely out of control and you find that insects are not only entering your home but that they are breeding there too, it’s time to call in the professionals. Pest control services are available across Spain.

The first step is to check your home insurance to see if they will cover this service. If they won’t, they may be able to suggest a company that can help.

Otherwise, a quick Google search for ‘Control de plagas’ (pest control) and then your area should provide you with plenty of options.

According to the home website Habitissimo, pest control services in Spain can range from €80 up to €2,000 depending on the type of infestation you have, how serious the problem is and how big your property is. On average it will cost you around €267.

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