This week I received the following email. I have deleted the name of the newspaper and sender but the message still stands.
“Reading this week’s newspaper I came across an article headed ‘Don’t buy in Spain.’ I don´t know about you but I am getting pretty fed up, sad tho’ it is, of hearing about the poor sods who are about to lose everything they own through inept and greedy lawyers, slick tongued developers and estate agents who do little or no research. I feel genuine sorrow for them, don’t get me wrong, but just for once could somebody with some clout speak up for the thousands of happy purchasers in Spain?
“These disasters are such a small minority but the bad publicity has spread like a cancer through Europe and is doing this country a great deal of harm. I for one have had to close my office, having not made a sale for 15 months, in a town that once thrived on tourism and foreign money. No doubt there are many more towns in dire straits out there.”
That property buyers foreign and Spanish have suffered in Spain is not in doubt – indeed the European Parliament, backed by Spanish MEPs, highlighted the injustices of the coastal law just last week. None-the-less as the above email rightly points out the vast majority of Britons who have purchased in Spain are completely happy.
In addition although some have fallen foul of Spanish property frauds there are many more who have been tricked out of their hard earned cash by property investment deals, time share scams or financial disasters peddled by British conmen or women. If you want to read some real horror stories go to the Costa Action Group website.
When I asked another ex-pat about the article mentioned in the email she told me she no longer read the newspaper because of its negative approach to the news. Well bad news might move newspapers but it certainly does little good to the image of Spain... a country both I and many others are now proud to call our home. Don’t get me wrong – wrongs should be highlighted but news should be fair and balanced to give an accurate overall view.
Another story given a negative twist was the fact that sixty per cent of Spaniards do not speak English. Look at it another way, forty per cent, probably fast moving towards fifty per cent do. Now ask yourself how many Britons in the UK speak Spanish – the world’s third most used language? Or how many Britons in Spain speak Spanish? Or how many Spaniards who have made their homes in Britain speak English. I don’t have the stats for these answers but I can make a shrewd guess – as I am sure can you too.
Half empty or half full?