Don't believe everything you read in the press...
by Steve Lean
No matter what the doom-mongers may say, the Costa del Sol will always be the place where most of Europe wants to either spend its holidays, buy a home or retire to.
Being so close to Africa gives Spain's southern coast its perfect climate, yet it's only 2 - 3 hours away from most northern European airports.
Ok, it might not be exotic like India or the Far East, or spectacular like the Rocky Mountains, but to most of Europe it's... near! Plus it's still in Europe, with all the infrastructure and familiarity that goes with it.
So contrary to what the nay-sayers would have you believe the Costa del Sol is still here and hasn't sunk under a tsunami of greed and corruption.
Granted, we've had more than our fair share of this but this has always been the way of the Spanish authorities. Corruption is a part of life, it just comes with the job. Most of the time it's done under the table and doesn't really affect your average citizen.
Unfortunately a few mayors and developers have got a bit too greedy, putting a handful of ordinary people at risk of losing their homes, and this has hit the media who have grabbed it in their slavering jaws and shaken it to death.
This has given much fuel to the 'Spanish Bashers' who read this sensationalist rubbish and are adamant that Spain, the Costa and its property market are finished, destroyed by its own greed.
It has also contributed to the rise of all the dodgy real estate 'consultants' who have fled Spain and are now remorselessly pushing their dubious developments in Bulgaria, Turkey, Romania, et al. Are they seriously trying to tell us that these places are models of democratic fairness? Do they really think that we believe there's no corruption going on in these places too?
I think not! If these countries are such a "ground floor investment opportunity" why are a good proportion of their own citizens banging on the door of civilised Europe in search of a better life?
At least Spain has got a modicum of democracy and a fairly modern infrastructure. An infrastructure, incidentally, that they're now spending millions on to improve.
Things like the new airport terminal at Malaga, tripling its capacity to handle over 20 million visitors a year. Also the new coastal railway line, motorways, hospitals and schools.
High speed rail links to northern Spain are also on the agenda. Ask yourself this: Would they be spending all this money if they thought for one moment that the Costa bubble had burst forever?
In reality the Costa del Sol has already had its 'boom and bust'. The boom happened between 1999 and 2004 and the bust came between 2005 and 2007. So when the rest of the world had its financial meltdown in 2008 it didn't affect us much because we were already there.
Granted, the property market is pretty-much a buyers one today but the buyers are there, and more and more are coming back, because prices are realistic at the moment.
The Costa del Sol was ahead of the meltdown and it will lead the recovery because it's where people want to be. Why else would Spain be spending so much on its facilities and infrastructure?
We knew all about the pain of recession before the rest of Europe so we're ideally placed to gallop ahead once the recovery starts in earnest. With the rise in buyer numbers and the more positive outlook of the market we're already taking the first steps.
So don't believe the Spanish Bashers, the Costa del Sol will remain Europe's Hot-Spot for a long time yet.
Steve Lean is a writer, photographer and Spanish food nut. He lives in Andalucia, southern Spain and is the webmaster of Proper Spanish Tapas. Here you can find recipes, ingredients and “everything you ever wanted to know about tapas - the small plate with the BIG flavour!”
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