With more than a quarter (26%) of Spain’s entire population now unemployed, it’s difficult to comprehend the fact that the European heavyweight’s employment sector enjoyed something of a boom from the very start of the millennium. Over five million expats flooded into Spain throughout that first decade, predominantly to cater for the widespread demand for international property, which as we know has now taken a turn for the worse.
That’s quite the understatement however, as more than 200k expat inhabitants have since left Spain, either in search of greater security overseas or simply to escape the on-going economic catastrophe. The development is unprecedented and the fact that this decade has seen Spain’s population reduced for the first time in its history certainly goes some way to illustrate just how subtle yet utterly devastating the effects of the Eurozone crisis have been.
More than 3m Spaniards are currently surviving on €3,650 per annum or have less than €7,300 in the bank. Almost 2m families now earn no income whatsoever and a tenth of all Spanish professionals haven’t worked for a couple of years. Secretary General Sebastian Mora of the Roman Catholic relief organisation Caritas has commented on the situation and has been quoted as saying “The process of impoverishment is spreading all the time”.
An adverse knock-on effect of this is that an influx of British repatriates brings greater demand for UK properties. So, whilst popular cities such as London could expect to see something of a boom in sunburned expat house hunters and homemakers, reports suggest that the current hive of activity surrounding the big smoke comes from the east.
Many professional expats have now repatriated in the hope of finding work in more familiar surroundings, but the current crisis is far-reaching. Given the economic climate, the impact of owning predominantly unsellable Spain-based property has been felt by many British expats; it makes you wonder how long it might be before Britain follows in those woeful Spanish footsteps.
By Anthony Standring
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