This is a time of great change in Spain. Covid has ushered in unprecedented unemployment and the impacts to the economy of Spain, as well as the rest of Europe, has been like a bomb went off. Taking small businesses and the tourism industry with it. Spain, more than any other economy in the Europe, is reliant on it’s very small businesses. And the tourist industry here is king. Without them Spain’s economic engine withers and dies. And this year there are no tourists.
On top of all that, Brexit is come up fast and furious. The transition period ends on New Year’s Eve at midnight. When the clock strikes twelve, or 00:00 here in Spain, the Brits are no longer operating under EU rules for trade, fishing, immigration, emigration, and a whole host of other areas. What this means is that those Brits who live in Spain and do not have ‘settled’ status will have to apply for a visa – just like us Americans – if they want to stay more than 90 days. Aka live in Spain. Doesn’t matter if you own a home here and have done so for 30+ years waiting to retire to the Costa del Sol. You will need to apply, and qualify via your proof of income, and be granted a visa. It means that Brits will now have to purchase health insurance here to qualify. No more National Health reciprocity that all EU countries enjoy. Covid aside – this has sent a shockwave through the Brits who own second homes here. And we are now the wonderful recipients of the aftermath. Imagine Arizona or Florida seceding from the US. It’s like that.
Every day Jeff checks the real estate listings, both on the Med and elsewhere in Spain. Just on the coast south of Valencia hundreds upon hundreds of homes, apartment, estates, small farms – are going up for sale daily. It’s a buyers market. People are putting houses for sale and slashing the prices the next day. They can’t wait until December 31st. They want out now. And it’s driving down all housing prices here. How does that impact you guys, though, Kelli and Jeff? You might well ask. Here’s how.
In Valencia, landlords around the city are wanting to dump their rental properties. Air BnB’s are empty. No one to fill them up. But more than that, even just someone who inherited an apartment long ago and used it for extra income wants out. Last week alone, we know 3 couples who have been notified that they have 60 days to find a new place. And then our wonderful landlord, Javier, called. He came over last evening and gave us the news.
‘I must sell. January 1st the housing market in Spain is going to crash. I have to get out now. I have listed the apartment and need to bring people in to look at it. I can not wait.’ He said, apologetic. But he has a small family who rely on him. He has to think of them.
If we had gone through with the house in Portugal we would be moving now, so no problem. But now? We need to decide if we rent another short term apartment here – competing with all the other people we know looking for places. Or do we do something about heading to Galicia – as we’ve planned all along?
When we got home from Portugal I was ready to take a breath. But it seems the Universe is telling us we need to get a move on. Don’t fall back into what’s familiar and easy. It’s time to make a move towards where we really want to be. After we said goodbye to Javier, Jeff smiled.
‘When we moved here we said we’d live in the apartment for one year. We’ve been here nearly 3. You don’t even like this place. It’s just easy because it’s the known. You were ready to let another 6 months go by. I know you. But we do need to get on with our lives. This just puts a time limit on it. And I’m kind of glad. ‘
And he’s right, of course. Did I think we would be heading back up to Galicia so soon – before Christmas? No. I mean, I like change but whiplash is a whole other ballgame. Yet that’s how things go and we need to react. We’ll find a place we like because more and more homes are going for sale, even up there. Yesterday, I started a search on Idealista. Today I got a notice that one house in my custom search area has slashed their price 50% overnight. Maybe the universe it trying to tell us something. The time is now. We can’t wait. Because the world keeps turning and we need to go with it.