Getting To Know The Costa Blanca – Part 1 – Comaskey Properties

Despite the general doom and gloom about the Spanish economy the housing market in Costa Blanca is booming. Confidence in the area is at an all time high, proven by British Airways’ recent decision to re-introduce its service to Alicante from Heathrow, along with their plans to introduce 17 flights a week from Gatwick from the end of March 2013, as well as regular ongoing flights with Ryanair and Aer Lingus from Ireland.

Easy to reach sunshine

The attractions of buying in Costa Blanca are numerous whether it be for a new life or a bolthole in the sun. The weather is fantastic with 320 days of sun a year and average year round temperatures between 15 – 35 degrees centigrade. The World Health Organization even recommends the Costa Blanca as one of the most equitable regions in the world to live as it is not too hot in summer, and never gets too cold in winter. Many people with arthritis find their pains ease within days of arriving. The accessibility of the area is fantastic with several airports providing great connection to much of Europe. In fact some people even commute from the Costa Blanca back to the UK and Ireland as average flight times are only two hours, and two hours forty-five minutes respectively.

If you do plan to move to Spain full time there are a few things you need to bear in mind before buying. EU citizens are legally allowed to live and work in any other EU country, but if you plan to live there for more than six months you need to become a Spanish resident by applying for a residencia, after which you will benefit from lower taxes.

If you don’t become a residencia you’ll need to nominate a fiscal representative who must be someone who is resident in Spain. This person will receive official correspondence on your behalf, such as tax communications.

The search

From mountain to beach

The Costa Blanca region is large, stretching from Almeria and Murcia in the South to Benidorm and Alicante in the North. If you are looking to buy a property it is well worth properly exploring the area before deciding where you want to buy. The region offers extremely diverse property options ranging from beachside, city centre, mountaintop, and village or on one of the region’s many golf courses.

Explore the region

If you don’t yet have a set idea of where you want to buy then it is worth spending the time visiting all the different landscape options the region offers and getting a feel for each of them. This doesn’t just mean spending half an hour looking at them through a car window as you speed through, but spending a few days in each to get a true feeling for the area. Set a week to ten days aside, hire a car (get a good map!) and do a road trip of the area spending a few days in each location. It is important to spend time in each place overnight as well as during the day if you are seriously considering buying there as the noise levels of an area can change considerably at night. Bear in mind that bars stay open very late in Spain!

Prepare yourself

The cost of living is cheap in Spain which itself is another attraction for buying there. It’s worth budgeting how much money you will need for your road trip around Costa Blanca before you leave home so you don’t get any nasty surprises and can concentrate on the important business of getting to know the region. Meal prices vary from €3 for simple tapas and a beer, to €15 for a mid range restaurant to €35 and up for a fancy meal. Expect to pay about €15 for a hostel, €50 for a mid range hotel and around €150 if you really want to splash out. It is normal to tip in Spain at bars, restaurants, hotels and after getting a taxi. Between 5-10% of the price is usual. Take enough local currency with you as the banks have quite restricted opening times in Spain with the majority of them closing at 2pm.

This piece is courtesy of Jennifer Walters. More to follow soon and although we don´t necessarily agree with everything she advises, its good to get different opinions (especially next week when she promotes Benidorm !!).

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