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Property Prices Wilt in Euro Drought
by: Roger Munns
Spain and Portugal have suffered one of their worst droughts
on record this summer, with consequences from empty
swimming pools for the tourist to economic disaster for
farmers losing their crops and livestock.

Roger Munns, Managing Director of Tribune Properties,
predicts that property prices in the two European countries
could drop as much as fifteen per cent in some areas as more
owners decide to put their villas and apartments on the

‘For many owners of second homes the original motivation to
buy was to have somewhere they could spend time in a
relaxing environment. Coupled with the thought of a good
investment for the future, the market for overseas homes
from buyers in the UK, Germany and Scandanavia has really
taken off in the last twenty five years.

But soaring temperatures and a strain on the water supply
could have consequences for their rental returns next year,
which many owners rely on to meet their overseas mortgage.

Many holidaymakers want to rent a villa with a pool – but
the attraction soon goes if the pool is empty. Some golf
courses are having to cut down on watering their greens too,
and it won’t take a big fall in tourism to mean the
difference between breaking even and not being able to meet
the mortgage commitments for some overseas property owners.

This autumn could see more properties than usual being put
on the market, with a consequential fall in prices’.

Early warning signs of a potential fall in property prices
have already been seen on the Spanish Mediterranean island
of Menorca, which has enjoyed better rainfall this year than
the Spanish mainland and no water restrictions, but some
villas being cut in price by over ten per cent.

Water restrictions on the mainland are having an impact on
potential villa buyers, with many questioning the value of a
swimming pool when they might not be able to use it.

Portugal has recently asked Spain for 6 million Euros in
compensation, as water levels in the River Douro which runs
through both countries fell below limits established in a
bilateral agreement,with Portugal coming close to accusing
her neighbour of stealing her water.

Good Time to Buy

‘For anyone considering buying a property in Portugal or
Spain, this September and October could be the ideal time to
buy’, say Tribune Properties. ‘Unusually many properties
were being reduced in price in August, traditionally a good
month for sales.

We normally see villa and apartment prices being dropped mid
September onwards when the tourists and potential buyers are
thinner on the ground as some owners are keen to sell and
don’t want to wait until the following Easter before having
a real chance of selling again.’

The drought isn’t the sole cause of property prices falling
add Tribune Properties, saying it has accelerated price
falls and come on top of an already poor year for many
estate agents in Europe.

‘A good barometer for European property are the tax havens
of Monaco and Andorra which don’t rely on ‘tourist’ buyers,
but usually have a steady supply of buyers interested in
taking advantage of the zero income tax rate. Andorra is in
the Pyrenees and has no water supply problem – but estate
agents were twiddling their thumbs this summer waiting for
buyers to to show – and they didn’t.

Monaco similarly has had no water supply problems, but has
also seen a lack of buyers. The tourists are still visiting
the Principality and hotels in Monaco and Monte Carlo
have been as busy as ever, but again there is a lack
of serious property buyers, and negative property inflation
is quite possible in Monaco this year for the first time in
a decade.

With more property available on the market we would suggest
buyers draw up a list of three or four villas they have
viewed and liked, and then suggesting to the owners that
they would consider buying at fifteen per cent below the
advertised asking price to see which ones are prepared to
consider it.’

Sea Water

One possible answer to secure the long term tourist trade
and consequential property market is to follow Malta’s
example of building desaliniation plants, converting sea
water to drinking water, sometimes known as ‘reverse

The Mediterranean island competes with Portugal and Spain
for the attention of second home buyers, and has a healthy
tourist industry – despite having no rivers and low
rainfall, allowing the island to function normally even in
drought conditions.

The water from this source can be used for agriculture and
ensuring adequate reserves to fight forest fires for example
- it might just be the answer too for the swimming pools and
golf courses – and would allow a plentiful supply of high
quality for domestic use.

About the Author

For real estate in Andorra ,
real estate Monaco

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