Tuesday 28th June 2016

Brexit - Questions and Answers from Girasol Homes

How will Brexit affect British buying property overseas?

Following the UK's decision to leave the European Union many expats, holiday home-owners and investors have raised important questions about buying property overseas and their rights to live in another EU country. Here are answers to some of their concerns.

Can I still buy a property in Spain, France or Portugal?

Yes, nothing is going to change for some years to come. While the Brexit is being negotiated, Britain is still a fully paid-up member of the EU and, therefore, its citizens still have the same rights as they did before the referendum.

It is forecast that it will take at least two years of negotiations to leave with any changes to trade agreements taking many more years to settle after that. Therefore British property buyers should not feel any impact for some years and it's not expected to be major.

What could happen to my property when the UK does leave?

Spain and Portugal has a long history of welcoming overseas investors from around the world. Foreign buyers account for one in five property sales in Spain and, whilst many of these are from the UK, non-European buyers are also big investors and enjoy similar rights to EU nationals. 

This investment is very important to Spain's economy (and Portugal's) and so leaving the EU is highly unlikely to affect the rights of UK citizens to buy in Spain. Indeed many politicians have come out to publicly support expats, calling for calm and unity.

The president of the Valencian government Ximo Puig said: "The Valencian Community has been, is, and will be a welcoming land, a land that wants to do business for the benefit of all. Whatever the next chapter in Europe will be, we want it to be written with friendship and cooperation with the United Kingdom." Alicante and Murcia are big and popular areas for second homes and permanent residences for UK citizens and massive areas to holiday in as well.

Could the market crash?

This is perceived as highly unlikely. Although British buyers are the biggest overseas investors, it is still just four per cent of the property market. Many foreigners (Non residents) buy in Spain and Portugal from throughout Europe including Germans, Dutch, Belgians, French, Russian and Norwegian so the UK is a significant, but still small, sector. So even if the UK demand fell to zero - which again is highly unlikely - it would only create a very small ripple. 50% of Girasol buyers are now non UK citizens.

Spain's property bubble burst in 2008 (and Portugal) which saw prices halve in some areas. It has been recovering steadily in the past two to three years with prices in the popular areas starting to rise but it is still a long way off its peak. So the worst-case scenario of a Brexit fall-out would be restrained growth.

Will it still be possible to get a mortgage?

Yes. Banks in Spain usually ask foreign investors for a deposit of up to 40 per cent. It is possible that they could put this up but banks consider the current level to offer considerable protection. It is unlikely this will change considerably. The European economic climate goes hand in hand with low interest rates and so taking out a mortgage or loan is still very good value, we have seen 10 year fixed rates this week at 2.5%.

What could it mean for sterling?

The Pound has been volatile in the lead-up to the referendum and is likely to remain unsteady over the next few months. Effectively, a weaker pound will make property in Spain more expensive for UK buyers. The best thing to do is to use a currency exchange company as their experts can read the markets to get the best rates. We would recommend Foreign Currency Direct which offers a specialist foreign exchange service.

It is also worth bearing in mind that properties in Spain are still much cheaper than in most parts of the UK. If you are selling up in the UK, you are likely to get a lot more property for your money in Spain. Prices are still about one-third cheaper than at their peak in 2007 and so property is still excellent value for money.

What about my pension?

Obviously a weakened Pound is going to affect your spending money in Spain. You will find your pension still goes further than in the UK as prices are lower for so many day-to-day items including a few treats such as a glass of wine in a Spanish bar from as little as €1.50 or a pint of lager for €2.50. At present, UK pensioners living in any European Economic Area have their pensions and social security payments automatically increased each year just like their counterparts still living in the UK. This is a mutual EU agreement and is expected to form part of the Brexit talks.

At the very worst it could mean that expat pensioners are given similar treatment to those in Canada and lose their right to inflation-proof increases. Effectively it means their pensions are frozen.

Will I still get free public health care if I move to Spain?

Yes, at the moment. While Britain is still an EU member then these reciprocal health-care arrangements will stay in place. However, this could change. Many people moving to Spain are older people - pensioners or early retirees - who generally need more health-care than younger generations so this could change. At present, expats registering for a NIE number have to show proof of income and have private health insurance if they are not working or contributing to the Social Security system. If you need a quote for Health Cover please let us know by emailing*.  
It is likely that Spain will expect pensioners to take out private insurance* in two years' time. If you have a European Health Insurance Card, issued by Spain, Portugal or the UK, this will remain in place for at least two years too. This is an agreement within Europe to allow residents to benefit from health-care while travelling so it is possible this could be kept in place.

What about tax and inheritance tax?

All EEA residents, including British, pay the same inheritance tax as the locals. Also the double-taxation treaties are not made by the EU so Brexit will not affect any existing tax agreements between Spain and the UK.

So, what will happen next?

Nothing will happen for at least two years while the Brexit terms are worked out and so the best thing to do is to keep calm and carry on. This two-year period of talks will not begin until Article 50 has been triggered which is not due to happen until the Prime Minister David Cameron actually leaves office in October and his successor triggers this procedure.

The referendum is not legally binding and there is every possibility that MPs will squabble over what to do next, including who is going to be responsible for triggering Article 50, so it could be a very long, drawn-out process. The only thing we should notice is that exchange rates will continue to fluctuate for a while because of uncertainty over the future so make sure you get the right advice with this crucial matter from us as soon as possible.

In the meantime it is business as usual with Britons continuing to enjoy the benefits of being part of the European community for some years to come.

Any questions just ask us we are delighted to assist as always.

Nigel Salmon and the Girasol Homes Team

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Friday 24th June 2016

Post Eu Referendum Vote-Our take from Girasol Homes

Hi everyone, a quick note on the immediate reaction to the UK vote on the EU and I confess it was a surprise to many who assumed we would stay in the EU when the United Kingdom voted out. People are naturally asking us at Girasol Homes our position and opinion.
Keep calm and carry on 
Its been a busy day here with many people wanting to know what will happen next and both sides are either ecstatic (out) or down (remain). From our point of view we have had a very busy week with sales to clients from all nationalities, English, Dutch, Finnish, Scottish, British, Belgian and German and these were all "outcome unconcerned" clients. Sales are still happening today and expected to next week as well.
With the pound steady at around 1.24- 1.25 most things are continuing as usual but we expect this weekend to be a slightly quieter one. I think it is important not to over react to what has just happened, people are moving to Spain and Portugal for all sorts of reasons, investment, retirement, second homes, leisure and for business and these Iberian economies are recovering (and have been for a while).
Our currency partners said (Daniel Wright at
Following the decision for the U.K to leave the EU - Sterling exchange rates saw an immediate drop followed by a slow recovery throughout the trading day. The fact that the Pound has not dropped off by quite a lot more is surprising and should be seen as a positive for those looking to buy property overseas this year. Pressure may now start to mount on the Euro as other economies may seek to leave the EU and I would not be surprised to see Sterling come back up against the Euro in the coming weeks. Of course it is hard to know exactly what may happen next but we need to remember that at present nothing has changed and we will not officially be out of the EU for a long period of time.

Mortgages at great rates are still freely available to Uk and Non EU citizens and for us its business as normal, let us know when you are coming to view!

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Saturday 9th April 2016

Overseas buyers fuelling rise in Spanish property enquiries

Overseas buyers fuelling rise in Spanish property enquiries

The property market is enjoying a strong start to 2016 with 25% more enquiries from overseas buyers than this time last year reports Nigel Salmon from Girasol Homes.

International buyers made more than 100,000 enquiries in the first three months of the year, according to figures by Spanish property portal Kyero.

Demand has been strong in the Canary Islands while the Alicante region continues to be crowned the favourite spot for property buyers, generating more than 33,000 enquiries!

All the coastal regions of mainland Spain have reported increased interest with sales enquiries up 50.7% in Tenerife, 49.3% in Lanzarote, 38.1% in Tarragona, 35.8% in Mallorca and 34.6% in Alicante.

Most overseas interest is from British investors by far, with more than 62,000 property queries from January to March - a 30% rise on the same time last year.

More Germans, Dutch, Italians and Swedish are also looking to invest in Spain while interest from France has fallen by about 9%.

It seems the upcoming EU referendum has failed to dampen British interest in Spain, despite some uncertainty of what will happen to expats or second home owners if a Brexit is on the cards.

Property sales also rose last year with government figures for 2015 revealing more than 400,000 house sales for the year, up 10% of the previous year.

Again, international buyers played a significant part in the surge by generating more than 71,000 sales.

Spain is also showing other signs of economic recovery with a slight increase in domestic mortgage approvals and a drop in unemployment sparking a steady return in demand from Spanish buyers too.
It's looking good to invest into Spain.

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Friday 6th February 2015

Recent Market Data February 2015

As you probably know the Euro has been weakened significantly recently which provides an excellent opportunity for foreign buyers to save thousands on a European property purchase. In the last year the British Pound has seen a 10% increase in strength against the Euro – British buyers are now in a favourable situation where they see a seven-year high in exchange rates coupled with the lowest house prices in Spain in ten years. (Figures 1 & 2)

Figure 1 – Property price (€/m²) Source: Ministry of Housing Spain


Figure 2 - EUR/GBP 7 year profile. Source:

This correlates nicely with economic confidence also at a seven-year high, particularly in areas such as retail, consumer confidence and industry. Some good comparisons on last year to note would be:

·14.2% more mortgages approved in November 2014 compared to the same period the year before

·5.1% more new build permit applications submitted in 2014 than 2013

·2013 saw a record breaking number of tourists come to Spain and 2014 also broke records with a 6.5% increase on the previous year. These 65 million tourists spent approximately 63.1 billion €.

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Thursday 4th December 2014

Underground homes featured in the Telegraph

The Telegraph recently featured underground homes in its property section including cave houses found on our website from rural Granada. You can read the full article here.


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Friday 8th August 2014

Spain Still Number One for British Buyers to Retire to

property for sale in Spain

With a strong pound (up 10% in a year) and a recovering economy many United Kingdom buyers approaching retirement are heading back to Spain in ever increasing numbers as a recent survey has demonstrated. The survey from MGM advantage is shown in a table below (from the Daily Telegraph) and backs up Nigel Salmons view that Spain remains the firm favourite for Holiday Home and Retirement buyers from all across Europe.


Top ten retirement destinations

United States 
Far East 
South East Europe 

Source: MGM Advantage



Girasol Homes have recently opened their first Spanish Office and have set award winning customer service as their goal as well as the superb new designer property section - available for clients to design with their in house specialists and their wide range of modern new properties.

The new office can be contacted locally at the La Fuente Commerial Centre, Villamartin.


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Monday 20th January 2014

British head to Alicante and Murcia

British flocking to Alicante and Murcia

Alicante-Elche airport recorded the largest rise in passenger numbers during 2013 of any of Spain’s A list airports – up 8.8% on 2012

For the year ending December 2013 the airport registered figures of 9,638,860 just short of the record set in 2011 of 9.9m

The increase in numbers has largely been attributed to a 20% increase in international flights while domestic flight numbers dropped by 10%

Low cost airlines Ryanair and Easyjet accounted for 41% of all flights while British travellers made up 45% of passengers

In Valencia the airport at Manises recorded 4,599,990 passengers in 2013. This was 3.2% down on 2012 but numbers for November and December were both up on the previous year.

It was a similar story in Murcia and San Javier where overall passenger numbers fell by 3.5 % - however the figure for December was up an extraordinary 31.5% on the previous year,  this followed an equally impressive 14.3 % rise in November.  Over  28,000 of the people arriving in Murcia in December were British.

This is an edited article from a report in the Costa News – Jan 17th 2014

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Friday 10th January 2014

Girasol Homes Cave Houses on Channel 4's A Place in the Sun

Raving about cave houses on A Place In The Sun

Property for sale in Spain

The spotlight falls on iconic Spanish cave houses in this week’s edition of A Place In The Sun.

Property specialists from the popular TV show help two friends find their ideal property for sale in the Granada area of southern Spain, famous for its white cave houses, mountains and the world heritage site of the Alhambra palace in Granada city itself.

With the help of local expert Sean Lummis, award-winning Spanish Property finder Girasol Homes’ man in Granada, the show features two stunning traditional cave houses in the picturesque rural Andalusian countryside.

One property is amazing value at just €45,000 with three double bedrooms on the outskirts of a pretty Spanish village of Galera. The home has far-reaching views over the countryside towards the mountains.

The second property is part-cave part-townhouse in the peaceful village of Caniles. This three-bedroom property with plunge pool has lovely views and is on the market for just €48,000.

Sean Lummis of Girasol Homes said: "Cave houses are appealing for many reasons – they have a curious charm and each one has its own unique character. They are remarkably cheap compared to more modern homes and are often on the outskirts of villages, so you can enjoy the peace and quiet of the beautiful Spanish countryside and mountains.

"Cave houses are very environmentally-friendly. Because they are carved out of the rock, they keep the same temperature throughout the year, more or less. They are cool in summer and warm in winter.

The cave houses in the Granada region feature in A Place In The Sun: Winter Sun on Tuesday January 14, 2.10pm, on Channel 4.

Girasol Homes have over 17,000 live properties for sale in Spain on their website which is updated in real time. Their staff speak Spanish, Dutch, German, French, Russian and Hungarian.

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Tuesday 31st December 2013

Spanish President Optimistic for 2014 Recovery

Mariano Rajoy has said that the Spanish Recession is now over and is cautiously optimistic about the prospects for 2014 and beyond.

Mariano Rajoy

In his final speech of 2013 he said that "if 2012 was the year of adjustments and 2013 has been the year of reforms, 2014 will be the year of the start of economic recovery in our country".

He also praised the Spanish people "for their understanding, their common sense, their courage and their responsibility in tacking the last part of this stage which has been so harsh, so long and so difficult"

In terms of how the Spanish Economy and People were perceived he said 

"the whole of Spanish society has risen to the challenge at an economic level, which has resulted in a very significant change as regards the perception from both abroad and here in Spain. There is still a long way to go but we have set our course".
Although the perception of the Spanish Housing Market is open to many types of interpretation Girasol Homes and their Team of Spanish Property Finders have had another rapid year of growth in 2013.
Nigel Salmon and his team are hugely positive about 2014 and the prospects for Property for Sale in Spain and the Spanish Property Market which continues to be the largest and most dynamic Overseas Property Market.
Girasol Homes have also recently opened up new areas and new colleagues in the areas of Huelva, Cadiz and many more properties across the Canary Islands
Other areas for growth in 2014 are the superb modern properties across Spain which have proved to be so popular in 2013 and Small Hotels and Bed and Breakfast Opportunities across Spain and Portugal.

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Thursday 12th December 2013

Girasol Homes is Featured in the Daily Telegraph Property Newsletter

Girasol Homes (The Spanish and Portuguese Property Finders) have found themselves featured in the Daily Telegraph Property Newsletter with their superb 7 bedroom Castle for sale in Celra, Girona.


This amazing home is only 15 minutes from the International Airport and commands a kings ransom for rental at over £4,000 a week. Offered for sale at Offers in the region of 1.9 million Euros.

Full details here plus access to thousands of Property for sale in Spain.

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Monday 25th November 2013

New Homes Still Falling but Modern Styled Sales are on up

Number of New Homes Still Falling but Modern Style New Homes Sales are on the way up 
Modern Property for sale in Spain

Between January and August of 2013, 46,495 new home constructions were completed in Spain, which represented a decrease of 41.2% compared to the same period in 2012 (when 79,156 were completed), according to recent data released by the Ministry of Development. 

Whilst the trend is downwards the real story tends to follow in a few months and Girasol Homes Spain have spotted the trend of more modern style New home sales right across the board but mainly in the Alicante and Murcia Regions.

The rise of Modern Property for Sale in Spain is one trend to watch in 2014 and the new spacious designs which create much light and are designed for outside-in living are proving very popular.

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Wednesday 20th November 2013

British Pound Rises Against the Euro to over 1.20

The Pound has just breached the 1.20 mark against the Euro in afternoon trading following notification that the European Central Bank have been discussing the possibility of negative deposit rates. 

British Pound 

The British Economy is starting to see the signs of recovery and this is starting to show with a larger number of sales and enquiries from UK buyers.

1.20 Euros has been the catalyst for UK buyers to enter the market in even larger numbers and this will show through even in the months of November and December in terms of enquiries for property for sale in Spain and Portugal.

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Wednesday 4th September 2013

Perfect Time to Buy as Spanish Property Prices Continue to Fall

Drop in prices means now’s the best time to buy a property in Spain

 Property Prices continue to fall in Spain

Prices of property for sale in Spain fell by 12.8% in the first three months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.

This was the largest drop in all Eurozone countries where house prices dropped by 2.2% and the European Union which saw an average decrease of 1.4%, according to a statement by Eurostat.

The property crash means buyers can snap up property in Spain at bargain prices.

Nigel Salmon, managing director of Girasol Homes, commented:

"For those involved in property for sale in Spain we know that things have changed and many of the clients who were just looking two or three years ago have started buying in significant numbers.”


Property prices in Spain also fell 5.1% in the first quarter compared to the previous three months. The average decrease in the Eurozone was 1% and 0.6% in the whole of the EU.

Nigel Salmon added:

"This may be true for Spain as a whole but I know from experience in the Spanish property market, prices have settled down and firmed up in the past six months in the most popular areas such as Alicante, Murcia, Costa Blanca South and Mijas.”

Sales have shown significant demand for modern-style properties in Spain with enquiries being particularly high in areas such as the Alicante and Murcia regions for well designed Houses, Apartments and Villas.

With Spain recording the largest decline in property prices in the EU, there has never been a better time to buy a property for sale in Spain. Buyers are being tempted by the low prices and the Spanish property market is enjoying a revival. People who are a few years away from retirement are showing particular interest in buying a property in Spain. They are looking for a second home to move into when they retire as well as buying one or two-bed apartments to let out to provide an additional income.

Spanish Property for Sale

Girasol Homes has experts to help you to find your dream home in Spain. They can assist with all transactions and negotiations to ensure that you find the right property for sale in Spain in the right location and at the right price. 

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Wednesday 17th July 2013

UK still rules the waves in Spanish property sales

Sunny Spain is still a property hot spot for UK homebuyers. 

The United Kingdom is way out in front of a league table of property sales in Spain. Recently-released figures show 11,316 Spanish homes were bought by UK residents in 2012. France comes second with 6,778 sales while Russia is a close third by buying 6,555 properties.

Spain is also proving popular with Norwegian buyers with 4,390 sales. The sunny weather and the strong Norwegian krone against the euro are two major attractions for buying property in Spain. Their Swedish neighbours are also keen to invest in Spain and bought 3,236 homes to put them in fifth place.

As well as European residents, Spain is also proving popular in South and Central American countries with 846 homes sold to Argentineans. China is another surprising contender with 3,873 houses bought by Chinese residents.

Although the UK leads the way in sales, they are much further down the league when it comes to how much they pay for their villa or apartment. The average price of Spanish real estate sold to UK residents is €164,654. 

Only 903 sales were made to Danish people but they are buying more expensive homes with an average price of €210,377, which puts them at the top of the league. Fellow Scandinavians in Norway are also prepared to invest more in their Spanish houses with their average price being €200,678. 

Third in the league for the highest average price is the Netherlands at €199,095.

At the other end of the scale, there are people are looking for more modest properties with an average price of less than half those at the top of the league. The biggest bargain hunters come from Morocco where the average price spent on a Spanish property is €86,711. Romanians are also on the look-out for cheap homes and pay an average price of €100,214 with Colombians coming in next with an average price of €108,202.

Many investors are buying real estate at much lower prices than a few years ago, even in the popular areas around Alicante, Murcia, Malaga and the Balearic Islands. Spain enjoyed a property boom until about 2008 when sales fell and prices dropped. Prices have fallen by about one-third since 2007 in some regions, according to a Wall Street Journal report. There are also many repossessed apartments, villas and chalets for sale through the banks at knockdown prices.

Nigel Salmon, managing director of Girasol Homes, said: 

"There are some surprising figures in the table showing who is buying in Spain. It is interesting to see investment coming from the strong Scandinavian countries as well as further afield, like China.

"We are also very pleased to see that the UK is still No 1 when it comes to buying property in Spain and that their love affair with the home of flamenco, fiestas and fine cuisine continues.”

Property for sale in Spain

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Wednesday 20th March 2013

Spring brings record Enquiries for Girasol Homes in Spain

From Nigel Salmon, MD Girasol Homes. : "The first three weeks have seen a record number of enquiries on properties in Spain on our website.  In particular modern style and new builds are experiencing a surge in interest"  

Sunset over MediterraneanAt Girasol Homes we have expanded our team in Spain with the addition of specialists in the Alicante and Murcia regions..more news to follow.

The most popular areas over the last few weeks have been the towns of Guardamar del Segura, La Marina Torrevieja and Torre de la Horadada. Follow the links to see some of the fantastic properties for sale in these towns.

The website is undergoing some essential maintenance and we are developing a new, simple to use, registration form.  This is due for release in early April but in the meantime please help us to help you by informing us or your specific property requirements before you travel. 

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Wednesday 5th December 2012

Last chance to buy a new home with 4% Vat

Last chance to buy a new home in Spain with VAT at 4%?

Anyone thinking of buying a new home in Spain is being urged to move quickly before an expected tax rise is introduced next month. Girasol Homes is confident that with the right lawyers you can (if you are a cash buyer) get things completed before 2012 end.

Let us know if you are arriving this week?

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Tuesday 20th November 2012

Girasol Homes Wins International Award at the International Property Awards

Girasol Homes is awarded another International Property Award at the European Property Awards
The best developments, architecture and interior design from across the length and breadth of Europe were celebrated at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square on Monday (September 24th).
The leading property professionals behind these outstanding projects were invited to attend the European Property Awards in association with Yamaha and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Girasol Homes Spain was awarded the Highly Commended Property Consultancy Website for 2012-2013.
Nigel Salmon Managing Director of Girasol Homes Spain, said:" We are delighted to win another award this year, as this one reinforces our position as Professional Property Finders which is what we wish the public to know our company as".

These awards, combined with the other regional awards’ programmes for Arabia, Asia Pacific, Africa, the UK and the Americas, form the globally renowned International Property Awards. Now in their 19th year, they are the world’s most prestigious property competition and cover residential as well as commercial categories. Judging was carried out through a meticulous process involving a panel of over 60 experts covering every aspect of the property business.

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Friday 3rd August 2012

Spain overtakes France and USA as the UK’s favourite place to buy

Spain has overtaken France and the USA as the United Kingdoms favourite place to buy an overseas property, according to The Overseas Guides Company (OGC).

The firm reports that 22% of all enquiries that it received between April and June this year were for property in Spain, which represents a staggering 37.5% increase on the first quarter of 2012 when the country’s share of enquiries for the Company was just 16%.

Property in France pulled in the second highest share with 21%, followed by property in USA with 14%, each dropping just 1% compared to the first quarter.

This ties in with what we at Girasol Homes have seen with a massive surge in enquiries and sales for properties for sale in Spain in 2012, many more for properties for sale in Portugal and the United States as well.

The encouraging exchange rate versus a weakening Euro has led to many more viewing trips and Spanish Property Sales (Record July 2012) and is expected to continue through the Summer and Autumn.

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Saturday 7th July 2012

Pound at three year high and activity soars

The Pound to Euro exchange rate reached a fresh three-and a-half year high today of 1.2607 as wary investors sought to cut their exposure to the struggling currency bloc.

The Euro was already suffering from yesterday’s European Central Bank rate cut which sent the Pound a cent higher on the day, and the single currency was dealt another blow this afternoon as a disappointing US Change in Non-farm Payrolls print caused a decline in risk appetite. June’s figure of 80,000 new jobs undershot analysts’ expectations of 100,000 which gave investors cause for concern that the world’s largest economy is faltering. Subsequently the Pound was able to grow by a further half cent to reach a high not seen since November 2008 as Sterling benefitted from defensive inflows from the Eurozone.

At Girasol Homes we have never been so busy as we are this year with sales to buyers all over Europe, USA and from the United Kingdom.

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Sunday 10th June 2012

Spanish Repossessions and how an expert property finding company can help

The current black cloud brought on Spain by the Financial markets is having a positive effect in certain ways. The banks are being forced to lower some of their optimistic prices on their stock of properties in many cases and there are some very decent prices around in selected areas.

Coupled with the fact that if you do want to buy with a mortgage then in many cases to get a mortgage higher than 60% it is likely to be the bank route we will be offering you on your property search.

In the last few weeks we have sold various properties from various banks and because we are Spanish property finders first and foremost we have managed to get for our clients at bargain prices. The majority of the stuff from banks continues to be potentially overpriced, which may change, some of it is poorly located, but if as many clients do, if they work with us and trust our judgement they will get the right property and it may not be a bank repossession it may well be a well priced re sale property as there are many of these around.

As the bailout carries on, we expect the opportunity to grow. But heed this, the best properties in the best areas sell first and always at a premium compared to others, this does not change and many people are “snow blind” to values only and they should heed the fact that location is everything.

Discuss your needs with our expert property finders, this way you will get what you want, still at a super price but not located in a terrible area, poor position and a bad investment.

Don’t make the mistake people are making every week and becoming snow blind to price only, you may make a big financial mistake.

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Tuesday 8th May 2012

Buy at the Courthouse with our local experts in Florida

Florida Flag

Florida Flag

Buy at the Courthouse with our local experts in Florida –

Buying at the Courthouse – a new service we launched for our investors in 2011

Working in conjunction with our local team of experts, we can offer a bespoke bidding and buying service for clients dedicated to buying property that has been put up for sale in the American courts. Through the bidding process many properties are available for significantly lower prices than expected, meaning knowledgeable investors can turn a profit quickly, while holiday makers can find an ideal second-home in the US for a discount price.

How does this happen?

Due to the recent financial crisis to hit the USA, many properties have been put up for auction through the courthouse system, in order to secure a fast sale. With the necessity to secure sales, a lot of the properties are auctioned off for significantly less than their actual worth.

As the US economy emerges from recession, these auctioned properties have the capacity to increase in value, and dedicated investors can capitalise on their bargain bid and make a strong profit in a matter of months.

For example last year: On the 30th of July 2010, a property was auctioned off for $154,000, by the 15th of October 2010, it was sold for $202,000. A gross profit of nearly $50,000 in three months demonstrates the significant potential for lucrative investments.

But this service is not just for the real estate investors. People who holiday or work a lot in the States, or just wish to have a second home abroad, can capitalise on the bargains available through the foreclosure court system, and find a suitable property for a moderate price.

How does our service work for you?

Working with Terence Hawkins who heads up our locally based team, we help establish a service tailored to your requirements. By establishing a property wish-list and budget, Terence will research and locate a selection of properties that match your criteria. Once finalised, Terence and his team will bid on your behalf at the courthouse for the properties you want; if the winning bid is yours, then the property is yours.

It is as straightforward as that.

As Terence puts it: “Tell us what you want and we’ll find and buy it at the courthouse; saving you thousands of dollars off the current market value”

For Serious Buyers

One thing to keep in mind; this is a very secure service but requires dedication from the buyer. Payment for the property is needed to in full and on the day via cheque from a US bank account (this can be set up via our team). There is a buyers fee that is a % of the property purchase price that is payable to the local team as well.

If you are interested in our latest bespoke property buying service then get in contact with us as soon as possible and register for the lots that are sold at the Court every day (free service) and take a look at our rolling results list to see some of the recent deals that have been secured in the courthouse. Your ideal property could just be a bid away.

Many Case Studies and Client Recommendations on Request

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Monday 2nd April 2012

Girasol Homes pulls out of Cyprus Market

The professional property finders Girasol Homes have decided to withdraw from Property Sales in Cyprus, poor local economic conditions and the difficult property market and partnerships have made the decision straightforward.

High levels of property sales in Spain and in other markets have reinforced the decision to concentrate on markets which are continuing to bounce back and with the majority of clients looking to buy in Spain, USA and Portugal it makes economic sense for the company to service it’s core markets.

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Saturday 10th March 2012

€530 Billion Euros Set To Boost The Eurozone Property Market

€530 Billion Euros Set To Boost The Eurozone Property Market And US Recovery Sign

This week 800 Euro zone banks tried to replicate Americas success in raising consumer confidence and brought €530 billion in the largest ECB liquidity operation of its kind.

To be clear this is not a Greek style bailout. This is a growth stimulus, which in theory should boost the property market as banks start lending again.

America initiated a similar scheme last year and since the start of 2012 America has:

Reduced unemployment by 250,000 people.
Consumer Borrowing is near a 10 year high.
The DOW Jones has breached the 13,000 mark for first time since 2008.
US property prices have risen by 4.3%.
US GDP has increased by 3%
New build property is up 9.9% when compared to the same period in 2011

These figures are in complete contrast to the storm of negative media in the UK and Europe which has sapped consumer confidence to the extent that potential buyers are tuning off and walking away from fantastic buying opportunities. Fortunately a lot of professional investors feel the recent surge in positive US data coupled with the boom in US property prices and the 5% drop in Gold is proof that the USA has “turned a corner”.

As the saying goes “when America sneezes the world catches a cold”.

We have personally noticed a change in client activity and the mind-set of the majority of international agents we work with. With the exception of international agents with strong exposure to American and Australian clients, most agents are experiencing a slow start to the year in terms of sales but are receiving an unprecedented level of enquiries. This is a key indication that huge numbers of cautious buyers are sitting on the fence or waiting for a chance to buy, most buyers normally fit into 2 groups.

The first group are cash buyers that sit on their hands and wait for the “dust to settle” that almost always have 1 of three common reasons not to buy today.

First Group

They think the Eurozone will collapse and they feel more comfortable leaving their money in a bank. In reality the collapse of the Eurozone would cause Financial Armageddon and the first thing to go in the UK would be the finance sector which would cause the banking system to fail. Think Northern Rock times 100. If you’re one of the many who feels this is a possibility ask yourself, would I rather leave my money in a bank which is not generating me any interest and wait for the banking system to collapse or should I buy a hugely reduced, tangible asset?

The majority of cash buyers waiting for the “right time” feel property prices will continue to fall whilst the Eurozone problem continue to dominate the media. On Wednesdays Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB) said that a “a major, major credit crunch” had been averted in Europe. This has and will continue to inspire confidence in the future of Europe, especially once the record breaking investment becomes available in the shape of loans and mortgages.

Furthermore if you are waiting for prices to fall in the areas most heavily affected by the economic downturn like Spain you have to ask yourself how much further can prices go? Can sellers reduce their property price even further? The answer is no as a lot of sellers have started taking their property’s off the market in response to buyers bullishly trying to negotiate on hugely reduced properties?

The governments cannot allow this to happen and have stepped in with the €530 billion to turn things around.

The third reason normally relates to seasoned investors whose appetite for risk goes up when the average person loses all confidence in the markets (these are the people that make the most money when the average person thinks everyone is losing money, the same people that brought oil and gold during the banking collapse. At a time when the media last told you the world was going to end these investors doubled and tripled their investment in the safest sectors in the world). They have seen exchange rates move by as much as 12% in their favour as property prices have decreased.

Since the banking grant was released on Wednesday our currency broker has experienced a surge in clients buying their currency on a forward contract. It’s been noticed that the clients buying are mostly seasoned investors who feel we are looking the bottom of the market.

Second Group

The second group represent the majority of potential buyers that need a mortgage in order to buy. The €530 billion will take some time to circulate through the banking system in order for the average person to receive a mortgage. When mortgages do become available what do you think will happen? Do you think buyers will turn down the opportunity to buy half prices villa in the sun? I don’t think so.

If you are a cash buyer you wont get a better opportunity to buy than the one today! Professional investors and representative’s for companies from Scandinavia, Russia, China and America are already buying. Let us know how we can help.

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Friday 19th August 2011

Spanish Property Tax is reduced to encourage sales

From the Wall Street Journal

MADRID—Spain will temporarily lower the rate of value-added tax levied on purchases of newly built housing as it looks to boost its moribund property market, part of a slew of new policies to help the economy and cut the government’s budget deficit.

At a press conference following an extraordinary cabinet meeting, Finance Minister Elena Salgado spelled out several measures, announced in recent days, to bring forward corporate-tax payments and reduce drug-procurement costs in the country’s state-run health service.

She also said the reduction in VAT on house buys—to 4% from 8%—will only be applied until the end of this year, and seeks to cut the large number of properties built in recent years that remain unsold. As Spanish property prices have tumbled since 2008, the number of transactions and employment in the sector have dropped significantly.

“This measure will help to generate economic activity,” Ms. Salgado said, adding that it should have a positive effect on government revenue, which she didn’t specify, through a significant increase in taxed transactions.

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Wednesday 29th June 2011

Air Traffic Rises across Spain in May 2011

From Moodies Report

SPAIN. Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea (AENA), the country’s airport and air traffic control authority, posted a +6.4% year-on-year increase in passenger traffic in May to 17,883,637.

Madrid-Barajas Airport experienced a -1.7% decline to 4,213,488 but Barcelona El Prat Airport posted a +22.3% surge to 3,072,750.

All top ten airports, other than Madrid, posted year-on-year growth. Pallama de Mallorca was up +6.8%, Malaga +9.8% and Alicante +7.3%. Tenerife Sur was the fastest riser, up +22.1%.

For the first five months, passenger numbers across the AENA network rose by +8.5% to 75,001, 913.

Madrid-Barajas Airport experienced a +1.3% gain to 19,516,202, while Barcelona El Prat Airport posted a +20.0% increase to 12,639,500

All top ten airports posted year-on-year growth for the period.

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Thursday 23rd June 2011

Housing Market in Spain predicted to bottom out

The Spanish housing market has been predicted to “bottom out” in the next year, providing an ideal environment for international property investment.

JP Morgan Chase said Spanish property will be available at bargain prices in the next 12 months, before starting to recover.

New rules that banks must adhere to by September, set down by the Spanish government, is expected to see lenders selling off their property assets to try and increase their capital.

Banks are also easing back on their lending criteria for distressed property in a bid to encourage investors, meaning borrowers can get up to 100% mortgages.

In a statement, JP added: “There is still some way to go, given the large overhang of land, further write downs to come and further de-gearing by property companies and banks.”

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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Wednesday 25th May 2011

Portugal Property Market Analysis

Residential Property Market in Portugal, Silver Coast Area

Nigel Salmon MD of Girasol Homes ( recently spoke to his colleague Craig Anderson in the Silver Coast Region of Portugal regarding the marketplace and current conditions locally.

Nigel: “What is the market like locally?”

Craig: “At the moment there is a lot of press with regards to the current climate in Portugal which is fuelling some concerns about the financial and political stability of the country. With the current Centre-Left government resigning and the press bandying around phrases like “Financial Bailout”, “Austerity Measures” and “Recession” like they were confetti, it is no wonder. On the back of this there have been some reductions in the asking prices of some properties, and coupled with some reports that property prices are in “Free Fall”, seems to be giving the impression that there is also a real instability in the residential property market”

Nigel: “But is this really the case?”

Craig: “Every market is unique and has unique opportunities, let me explain”

There are several factors that make this market different from markets which may be more familiar to people such as the UK or Spanish Residential Property Markets.

1. Land classifications have been created with there being 4 main types. They are Urban, Touristic, Rustic (or Agro-Florestal) and Eco-Reserve Land. This allows for the control of where, as well as what type of properties can be built. For example you can’t build an apartment block on Rustic land. Rustic land generally only allows 1 detached or 2 semi-detached properties to be built.

2. There are very strict guidelines when it comes to building in Portugal. These include very rigid rules regarding the size of building in relation to the land that it is being built on as well as the maximum height and so on. This is designed to prevent overbuilding, or the construction of high-rise apartment buildings etc.

3. Proximity to the Ocean. There are restrictions on the various land types as to how close to the Ocean you are allowed to build. Recent changes have meant that it is no longer possible to build on certain types of land, such as Rustic land, if they are within 800m of the coastline.

4. There is a minimum land requirement meaning you must have a certain amount of land in order to be allowed to build on it. Again recent law changes saw the minimum requirement for Rustic land changed from 2,000sqm to 40,000sqm which greatly reduced the availability of building land over night.

5. Mortgages, for some time now it has been virtually impossible to borrow money from a bank to buy a piece of land. Therefore virtually all the land is debt free in Portugal and the owners, generally, are under no pressure to sell the land to clear debt.

Nigel: “So what does all this mean?”

Craig: “If you take all the factors and apply them across the board, it means that the supply of land is very limited. It means that any available land with a good sea view is at a premium and will only sell at a premium price. As you move inland the price does drop a little but the scarcity of Rustic land means that land prices are still fairly high. It also means that landowners are not desperate to sell their land and therefore you are unlikely to see wholesale reductions in the price of land. It means that existing properties, particularly those with a good sea view or some other unique feature, will hold their value because it is generally no longer possible to build a comparable property given the new and current building restrictions.”

Nigel: “So why therefore are we seeing some reductions in asking price?”

Craig: “There are reductions in the asking price of some properties, and whilst most property owners seem to be more receptive to negotiating than before, it tends to be the developers who are making large scale cuts in the asking prices. This is occurring for 2 possible reasons.

1. The builder may have borrowed during the ‘good times’ at low interest rates to make speculative builds and they may have designed their properties to cater specifically to international property buying market. Now that ‘harder times’ are here, they are being squeezed by higher costs, and interest rates at the same time when the international property buying market has slumped because of exchange rates and worldwide economic woes. Some builders are left with little choice but to slash the price of their property in order to liquidate the asset, clear the debt and basically get out. We have already seen a number of builders shut up shop under current economic pressure. We do have access to advertised and “un advertised” discounted homes.

2. Not all builders however are in the same dire straits. Many are in much stronger positions but possibly need to make just a single sale to ensure they are able to weather the current economic storm. However because other builders are cutting their prices, the stronger builders are being forced to follow suit in order to remain competitive in the eyes of the few bargain hunters who are out there. It is also worth noting that most of the price reductions are coming from the luxury market and tend to be on properties that are priced in excess of €500,000. At present we are seeing only a few obvious price reductions on properties below this figure.”

Nigel: “So what impact is this having on the market?”

Craig: “Things have changed and the change has been very rapid. The new property market is split between properties priced over €500,000 and those priced below this figure. The higher priced properties are seeing a reduction in the asking price which has yet to filter down to the properties below €500,000. The resale market tends to see prices remaining fairly steady although vendors seem to be more receptive to negotiations. The plot and build market is the one seeing the least amount of activity at the moment because of the increase in VAT and the general rising cost of materials. 12 months ago you could have bought some land and built a property for as much as 25% below what you would have paid for a comparable, existing property. Unfortunately this is no longer the case as the price differential has slowly been eroded away. At the moment, particularly with the current reductions on Luxury Properties, it is now more sensible to buy an existing property and enjoy it now, rather than build your own property for much the same price but have to wait up to 2 years for the result.”

Nigel: “So when do you believe it is the best time to buy a property and why?”

Craig: “I believe now, Summer 2011, is the time to buy because the current prices will not remain as they are and there are some exceptionally good bargains around. The next election here in Portugal is set for the 5th June. In the short term, it really doesn’t matter which political party gets elected to office because they are all bound by the terms of the “Bailout” to implement the same measures. Then the agreed financial rescue package needs to be delivered and be in place by the 15th June. Once these two events take place, the dust will begin to settle.

The world will see that there isn’t such a major problem in Portugal and the confidence will begin to return and people will start investing in property again. Once this starts to happen, the price reductions will quickly disappear as the laws of economics kick in. We will see the demand for properties increase as the confidence returns and the limited supply of properties will reduce as properties are sold to satisfy the demand. Increasing demand and a reduction in supply will inevitably result in the prices going up. Initially I don’t expect there to be a huge increase in prices, those that have been reduced will revert to their pre-reduction prices and the rest will probably remain as they are, there will just be less room to negotiate. However, as time goes on and confidence continues to grow, we will see a shortage of available properties with the result that it will become a sellers’ market, and then we will see prices increasing.”

Nigel: “But won’t they just build more properties to satisfy the demand?”

Craig: “Possibly. However for at least the last 18 months the banks in Portugal have not been lending money to builders to make speculative builds and there is no indication yet that this situation will change in the near future. If the situation does change it will take at least 18 months for newly built properties to be ready, and due to the reduced number of available builders, the number of new properties coming onto the market is unlikely to be large enough to have a significant effect on property prices as a whole. It is more likely that these new properties will be priced in keeping with whatever the current value of the market is at that time.”

Nigel: “Could I not just wait and buy a repossessed property from a builder that has gone out of business?”

Craig: “Yes you could. However, repossessions do not operate the same way here as they do in other markets such as the UK. Some things in Portugal move rather slowly and can be rather complicated. Therefore, depending on the circumstances, a property that is repossessed today could take as much as 2 years or more before it is put back on the market by the repossessing body. During that time the building will have been unoccupied and, depending on what stage the construction was at when it was repossessed, it may well have had the interior exposed to the elements. Therefore there may be additional hidden costs involved in getting the property back up to scratch and the price at which it is offered to the market may not be any lower than the current market value. So it is therefore better to buy it now, at a reduced price if possible, rather than wait for an undetermined period of time to buy the property, with little reduction in price, that has now deteriorated and needs additional work.

Therefore, whilst the Residential Property Market is being affected by current circumstances, it is not an unstable market. I believe as soon as the current situations are resolved, the market will very quickly revert to its natural point of equilibrium. I also believe we are unlikely to see the widespread peaks and troughs in Residential Property prices, which have been witnessed in the past in other markets such as the UK or Spain, as a result of bursting property bubbles.”

We have access to a larger than normal amount of quality properties in all price ranges and many great locations, if people are buying for all the right reasons and in the right areas they will find a great house with us in Portugal.

Craig Anderson is in charge of the Silver Coast Operations for Girasol Homes Limited.

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Thursday 6th January 2011

China gives Spain Vote of Confidence with 7 billion investment


— Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang Wednesday reiterated Beijing’s pledge to support Spain in a meeting with the country’s prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, as the two countries began signing $7.3 billion in deals.

Mr. Li, widely expected to become China’s next premier within the next two years, told Mr. Zapatero that China wanted a united, strong and stable Europe, with Spain an important player in multilateral international relations.

“China is a long-term and responsible investor in the Spanish and European financial markets, and it has confidence and great interest in the Spanish market,” Mr. Li said on the second day of a nine-day tour of the European Union in a show of support for China’s largest export market.

Excerpt from the Wall Street Journal 06/01/2011

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Friday 10th December 2010

Atlanta Investment Homes

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3rd in job growth
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Home to the world’s busiest airport: Jackson/Hartsfield International
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Visit our new USA IP section on this website

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Wednesday 1st December 2010

Property Sales in Spain Rise

The volume of Spanish property sold increased by 13% year-on-year in the third quarter of this year according to figures out this week from The Spain Property Registry.

The statistics show that residential property transactions were up by 13% on July to September 2009 to a total volume of 124,593 properties sold, with new builds increasing by 9% and re-sales by 17%.

The Instituto Nacional de Estadística (the Spanish National Statistics Institute) also revealed this week that the average value of mortgages constituted in September increases 4.2%.

“During the month of September, the average amount per mortgage constituted stood at 135,132 euros,” says INE, “a rise of 4.2% on that recorded in the same month last year, and 8.7% more than that registered in August 2010.”

The average mortgage loan value was €119,527 … 2.1% more than September 2009.

According to Mark Stucklin of Spanish Property Insight “on a rolling 12-month basis, there were 454,283 sales over 12 months to the end of Q3, up an annualised 4% and a quarterly 3%. Even if a percentage of these sales were banks swapping debt for property, I think the market has found its floor at around 400,000 transactions per year."

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Friday 5th February 2010

New Northern Costa Blanca Properties

Girasol have now got live on the website some of the best value properties across the Northern Costa Blanca and with the upturn in the market are urging clients who have been waiting for the right moment to start looking seriously now. Many of these properties are in very sought after locations such as Monte Pego and Els Poblets (right by the sea) and are priced from a superb 170000 euros.

We urge your fullest attention to benefit from these amazing bargains.


We have many beautiful villas in the stunning and much sought after town of Els Poblets here

Similarly we have a number of fantastic villas for sale in Denia and Pedreguer.

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