Tuesday, April 08, 2014

More acceptable these days

Ask the locals about the original opinion they had of Villas Andrea and they will tell you two things; 1) the initial price of houses on the estate was way too high and 2) the Brits who bought them did not seem to want to integrate into the community.

1) When we bought our houses, we were largely at the mercy of the companies that brought us here on inspection trips. We had no real idea of the price we should have paid and the price that Spaniards would have been prepared to pay. All we knew was that, in comparison with similar houses back in the UK and those in estate agents windows they seemed reasonable.

I can tell you that my neighbour, across the road in a much larger house on a plot of land three times that of ours, paid a similar price to us.

2) When we first came to live in Bigastro, the community of Brits on the estate formed a resident's committee. One of the tasks of that committee was to fight for our rights as a community which, on reflection, probably made us seem aloof. We also organised our own entertainment at La Pedrera which must have given locals the impression we were set on recreating the scene they had observed along the coast here in Bigastro. On the coast, the Brits have their own bars, shops and associations, separate from anything Spanish.

Within a few years, the committee was dissolved and people started to become more involved in the local community.  No longer are we seen as Brits trying to recreate a part of our old country in the sun.

In terms of house prices, we have all seen the dramatic reduction that has taken place since 2007. Surveys show a drop of 52.5% in value for properties in this region, a figure that compares badly with an average of 47.1% for the whole of Spain. The major factor has been the lack of mortgages as banks struggled to cope with huge debts. The average value of properties is now said to be 928 euros per square metre of construction. Since most properties are flats, we can add to that figure for the land surrounding our houses.

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