Spanish Property Market Slump

From the New York Times:

MÁLAGA, Spain — Oscar Agudo, an architect who has designed everything from apartment blocks to soccer camps along the Mediterranean coast of Spain, is now keeping busy mostly by valuing repossessed houses and analyzing real estate disputes for the courts.

In less than a year, Spain has gone from brisk growth to acute distress as a housing collapse, high energy prices and the world financial crisis have drained its lifeblood — a building boom built on rising property values.

New housing starts peaked at over 900,000 in 2006, but home building in Spain is likely to fall to about half that level this year, the country’s minister of economy and housing, Pedro Solbes, said recently. “We’re suffering a perfect storm.”

High-rise apartments occupy much of the prime territory, while ridges and valleys are filled with wedding-cake constructions in the signature whitewashed Mediterranean style.

Manuel Ecijas, owner of Constru España 2000, has watched the cycle turn along the Costa del Sol and in much of southern Spain.

The Spanish government now projects unemployment, which slid to 8 percent last year, to rise to 12.5 percent in 2009. Distress is spreading rapidly in associated industries; Roca, a bathroom equipment supplier, recently laid off 400 people.

Spaniards are being squeezed not only by their own excesses but by the global reach of ravages emanating from the depressed mortgage market in the United States.

The mortgage payment on one of his properties — he owns three — has risen to 750 euros a month from 600 euros. 

About Luke Ford

Raised a Seventh-Day Adventist at Avondale College in Australia, Luke Ford moved to California in 1977. He graduated from Placer High School in 1984, reported the news at KAHI/KHYL radio for three years, attended Sierra College and UCLA, was largely bedridden by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for six years, and converted to Judaism in 1993. From 1997-2007, Luke made his living from blogging. Living by Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com), he now teaches the Alexander Technique (moving the way the body likes to move). Lessons cost $100 each and last about 45 minutes. In 2011, Luke completed a three-year teaching course at the Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles. His personal Alexander Technique website is Alexander90210.com. Luke is the author of five books, including: » The Producers: Profiles in Frustration » Yesterday’s News Tomorrow: Inside American Jewish Journalism
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