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26/09/2011 - Anger over "Property Roadshow" and EU funding

Victims of property abuses in Spain have voiced anger over possible EU funding of the government’s notorious Property Roadshow which returns to the UK next month.

The first phase of the initiative - designed to seduce northern Europeans into buying 700,000 unsold new homes in Spain - led to protests in the UK in May. The exact date and itinerary of the second phase – also referred to as the ‘commercial stage’ - has been shrouded in secrecy. However an internal government document reveals that the roadshow will be at Property Investor Show & OPP Live 2011 from October 13-15 at the ExCel centre at Royal Victoria Dock.

The second phase aims to put developers in contact with estate agents and real estate divisions of banks in Germany, the UK, Sweden, France and The Netherlands.
“It’s a good opportunity to show different quality real estate products,” states a government document. “Only participants that fulfil strict legal and quality criteria are allowed to take part.”  The same government document states that this ‘activity’ could be financed by European Union (FEDER) development funds, with the Spanish institute of foreign trade deciding on how these funds are spent.

Victims of property abuses in Spain - which include land grab, illegal homes, off-plan sales debacles, bank guarantee failures, etc – have contacted MEPs in the UK over the issue. Spokesman for the Finca Parcs Action Group Keith Rule said: “As a victim of bank guarantee abuse and on behalf of the Bank Guarantees In Spain petitioners I feel that given the serious unresolved issues currently associated with the Spanish property sector, it would be highly inappropriate for the EU to be funding the road shows in anyway.

“The Spanish government are attempting to paper over the cracks by introducing some measures which may assist those buying Spanish property in the future, however they have done nothing to address the serious problems still being experienced by many thousands of innocent victims.”

He said they will be attending Phase 2 on behalf of the petitioners.  “We are attempting to secure another meeting with the Spanish government and Banco de España to demand that they address immediately the serious issues surrounding off-plan bank guarantees,” added Mr Rule.

The Spanish government insists that it is ‘an optimum moment’ to get rid of the housing stock – with many of the properties in the hands of cash-strapped banks after building companies with loans went bust. The government source states that 'foreign vacational housing demand in Spain grew over 20% in 2010 with respect to 2009'. They are anxious to tell investors that 'the average price decrease in coastal provinces has been over 26% from the peak in 2008, reaching 40% discounts in certain municipalities'.

Last week the roadshow was in Hamburg buoyed by figures which show that in 2010 the number of homes bought by Germans in Spain rose by 13.1% on the previous year.
Housing minister Beatriz Corredor accompanied Spanish property agents, stating that they ‘want to recoup lines of communication and marketing which have been lost during the crisis’  She added that holiday homes 'represent a third of all properties in Spain'. In Germany estate agents presented around 4,000 homes ‘all of which have been evaluated by agencies of high standing’, according to a government press release. These are all over Spain including the Costa Blanca and Costa Cálida.
Article by Dave Jones -CB News

If you are in London the roadshow will be at Property Investor Show & OPP Live 2011 from October 13-15 at the ExCel centre at Royal Victoria Dock.