British Estate Agent Tony Barnes Feared Chinese and Russian Immigrants Would Change the Ambiance of Popular Spanish Holiday Resorts

While it is good to see movement in the property market, I have been concerned about the changing face of the popular resorts on the coast.
Costa Blanca property sales soared in 2013 to non-EU residents, as buyers automatically gained a residency permit in return for purchasing a Spanish property.

Javea, Costa Blanca, Spain — June 03, 2014 – Costa Blanca estate agent Tony Barnes, manager of “Immobilier Javea”, a real estate agency located on the Costa Blanca since 1985, revealed in 2013 the number of properties his company sold to Spanish nationals and expats from EU countries was significantly less than the number bought by non-EU subjects, namely buyers from China and Russia.

According to Mr Barnes, wealthy Chinese and Russian buyers snapped up properties in the area after the introduction of the Spanish government’s offer of a free residency with the purchase of a property over 160,000 euros. This measure was presented as a method of reducing the desperate problem of Spain’s huge stock of unsold housing, and aimed primarily towards Eastern European, Russian and Chinese citizens.

Considered a controversial move from Spain, the idea was met with some criticism from a number of Schengen zone countries, as the new residency holders would be eligible to move freely around all 26 countries in the zone without having to go through border controls, a worry for Schengen zone countries who are already struggling to cope with ever increasing numbers of illegal immigrants.

“While it is good to see movement in the property market, I have been concerned about the changing face of the popular resorts on the coast,” explained Barnes. For example, the Chinese have bought several properties on an urbanization located just outside the town of Javea, and although they are typically purchased by an older person with a businesslike aspect, within no time many occupants arrive. In some circumstances, it appears as though dozens of Chinese are sharing a property with only two or three bedrooms. Rubbish accumulates in the gardens, and there appears to be nobody taking responsibility for the upkeep of the properties, which lowers the tone of the urbanisation.”

“Chinese shops” are springing up the length of the Costa Blanca. These shops sell a wide range of articles, such as clothes, small electronic devices and toiletries. The products sold are mainly manufactured in China, and while inexpensive, frequently do not work as they should or break after a few uses.

The Chinese and Russian people arriving in Spain have not integrated into the local community, according to Tony Barnes. The Russian community tends to enjoy socializing and drinking, but are doing so only in establishments owned by their fellow countrymen, and it is not unusual for fights to break out in the neighbourhood of the bars as a result of too much alcohol. Less interested in going out, the Chinese people are rarely seen on the streets away from their places of work, and do not appear to frequent local restaurants and shop only at selected stores with the lowest prices.

Mr Barnes hopes to see a rise in the number of purchases made by Spanish nationals and European Union residents in 2014 to balance out the large number of non-EU nationals arrived in the area during the last 12 months.

“The outlook for buyers arriving to the Costas from the UK in 2014 is very positive,” states Barnes. The “A Place in the Sun Live” exhibition, held at the beginning of April in London, confirmed the real estate market in Spain is looking up, with record numbers of investors inquiring about purchasing a Spanish property. The areas that are of most interest to would-be British buyers are the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol, with the region of Murcia also attracting much attention.

While the property market in Spain is recovering slowly after the 2009 crash, Mr Barnes confirms there are still many property bargains to be found.

“When the market crashed, lenders repossessed around 400,000 homes due to their owners defaulting on mortgage payments. As the severity of the crisis became clearer, the banks realised releasing he properties onto the open market for resale would simply worsen the situation, as supply already far outstripped demand. However, after recent figures released by the government show improvement, these properties are now becoming available, keeping supply high, and therefore prices low,” explained Barnes.

Tony Barnes is the manager of Immobilier Javea, a trusted and reputable real estate agency located in Javea on the Costa Blanca. The agency offers a wide range of properties and investment opportunities ranging from empty plots of land ready for building a dream villa, to luxury villas with private pools and extensive grounds.


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Company Name: Immobilier Javea
Contact Person: Tony Barnes
Email: Send Email
Phone: (+44) (0)7767 421386
Address:Edificio Barclays Bank, Ctr Cabo La Nao 160a
City: Javea
State: Alicante
Country: Spain