As cranes and new construction sites have reappeared across the Costa Blanca in the last 18 months, a new survey suggests that the Valencia region accounts for 19 per cent of the total of Spain´s unsold new properties, and that the possibility of renting them out is not being seized.

The figure stands at over 97 thousand of the half-million plus empty buildings in the whole of Spain, with a number of new construction sites on the Costa Blanca already being slowed down or even suspended, as the take up is not what was expected last year.

The survey backs up figures from Spanish notaries who report a buoyant market in second-hand sales, especially in tourist areas, but a slowing-down in new property deals.

After Valencia, the largest figure of empty new constructions is in the north-east region of Catalunya at 16 per cent, closely followed by Andalucia in the south at 15 per cent.

Housing expert, Ferran Font, said that the large number of new empty properties was also contributing to rent rises across Spain, which still has a large number of unused housing, as construction still continues, and that an opportunity is being missed.

Font says that promoters have got themselves into a bind where they won´t even consider getting some rental income for unsold properties, because they are worried about what kind of condition the home will be left in, once a lease period ends. Defaulting on rentals is another concern.

His survey says that the total of empty new properties that are not rented out in the Valencian region means that around six million euros of rent is not gathered in each year, at a regional average of over 11 thousand euros per property per annum, which with rent hikes, is 16 per cent more compared to 2018 average levels.

The Valencia rental possibility is a mere snip compared to the possibility of a Madrid property earning over 20 thousand euros per annum, and the Balearic Islands standing at 16 thousand euros.

Spanish homeowners with a mortgage due for an annual review at the end of last month will see their monthly payments drop again after the Euribor hit a new historic low.

The Eurozone interest rate, upon which mortgages in Spain are based, ended July on -0.282%, breaking the record low set in March 2018 of -0.191%.

From then until March this year, the Euribor continued to rise, but only very slightly and remained in negative figures.

It has now been in negative for 41 consecutive months and no interest rate rise has been put into place since 2011.

Last year, homeowners in Spain were, in many cases, starting to consider switching to fixed-rate mortgages due to the very tiny but steady rise in the Eurozone interest rate which experts had been warning of for some time.

Many feared it would rocket to its highest-ever level, which was 5.393% and reached in July 2008,- but the Central European Bank (BCE) has never introduced a sharp hike and has long been keeping rates down to aid growth in the common currency area.

Its chairman Mario Draghi had been talking about a possible slight increase after the summer, but in March he announced there would be no plans to do so until at least the year 2020 due to a weakening in the Eurozone economy.

Last year, the Euribor closed July on -0.18%, meaning mortgages due for their annual revision will see a saving of approximately €4.50 a month based upon a loan of €100,000 over a 25-year term.

A figure and loan term such as this would typically involve monthly repayments last July of €368.74, but a review of it in July would see these fall to €364.24.

But even if the Euribor shows signs of rising, mortgage holders in Spain would not need to rush to apply a fixed rate.

Unlike in the UK, where the central bank interest rate on the day the monthly repayment is due applies – leaving quotas constantly open to fluctuation on a variable-rate mortgage – in Spain, repayments are adjusted annually.

This means that if the Euribor starts to rise, homeowners have a full 12 months between reviews to decide what to do.

A woman said she was left amazed by an “extra special” Amazon delivery after a box of LED bulbs was apparently thrown through an open upstairs window.

Claudine McLaren, from Houghton on the Hill, Leicestershire, returned home on Monday to find a note saying the parcel was put through an “open window”.

She found it “weird” as all the downstairs windows were closed, but she then found the undamaged box upstairs.

“We thought it was hilarious, he must have been confident,” she said.

Amazon said it expected all packages to be handled with care from its delivery partners.

“The window is ten foot up and there’s no evidence he’s used a ladder,” said Claudine.

“It’s quite a public place, someone must have seen him do it. I’d love to find out.”

“I guess I’d have felt differently had the bulbs been broken.”

The parcel was about 22cm x 22cm in length and the window not much bigger at 42cm x 48cm.

“My mum said he was probably a cricketer,” Claudine added.

Don´t mention anything about a wee dram to a Scottish couple who claim that the “angel’s share” from a whisky bond has blighted their property have been given the go-ahead to take the case to court.

Thomas and Gail Chalmers claim that the vapour has caused damage to outdoor furniture and their house in Bonnybridge, near Falkirk.

The couple are suing drinks giant Diageo for £40,000.

The firm is contesting the legal action, claiming the property’s value is not adversely affected.

The “angel’s share” is the term given to the loss of whisky volume, into the wooden cask and through evaporation, as the spirit matures. Up to 2% can enter the atmosphere a year.

In the action, the couple, claim that the “nuisance” of the ethanol vapour has caused a black fungus on their home.

They say the fungus has also attacked wooden garden furniture, paving stones and damaged a sundeck.

From the “you can´t make it up” file, there´s news of two parents who sent the RNLI a bill for a £7 lilo after their child was saved in a £7,000 helicopter rescue.

This is not a wind-up, trust me, as the fools sent the bill to rescuers after her life was saved when she drifted out to sea off Porthleven in Cornwall.

Mike Carter, president of the RNLI branch, said a rescue helicopter had to be used to save the youngster when she got into a precarious situation.

A crew member then jumped into the water to save the girl, but left her inflatable lilo in the water.

Mike said: “A family bought the lilo from a local shop and went to the beach, and there was an off-shore wind as the parents immediately experienced their child waving goodbye as the lilo went further and further out to sea”.

“The coastguard scrambled the SAR helicopter and a diver jumped from the the chopper and saved the child. He instantly put a knife through the lilo to save any further drifting and they were both winched to safety.”

After receiving the invoice, Mike said the rescuer replied saying they would happily pay – if the family paid for the cost of launching the helicopter, and not surprisingly they have not got a reply.

What a shame the family have not been named!

FIVE PEOPLE have been arrested for assaulting a 68-year-old woman and stealing 102 thousand euros from her at her Elche area home, after threatening her with a kitchen knife.

The incident at her La Marina village property was an inside job, as two of those arrested were a Spanish couple that knew her well, including her hoard of money and her gold jewellery that was also stolen.

A getaway car used by three of the gang was chased by a Guardia Civil patrol vehicle on the N-332 and crashed in Santa Pola, with local police officers helping to arrest the trio after they fled on foot.

All of the money and jewellery was recovered, with the woman being thrown onto her bed during the ordeal and gagged, whilst a knife was waved in front of her face.

Unfortunately for the crooks, a neighbour spotted them leaving and heard the woman´s cries for help, and immediately called the police.

The gang, which included a Columbian and an Ecuadorian, as well as three Spaniards, were all refused bail after appearing before an Elche court.   

Italy´s Andrea Dovizioso edged out Spain´s Marc Marquez to win a thrilling Austrian Moto GP race last Sunday to deny the world champion a first win at Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring.

Marquez claimed a record 59th pole position on his Honda with Ducati’s Dovizioso qualifying third.

But the Italian passed Marquez on the final corner to win by 0.213 seconds for his second victory of 2019.

Dovizioso is now 58 points in the standings behind Marquez with eight races left, with 25 points on offer for a race win.

The next race is the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday, August 25th.

Head coach Eddie Jones said England “need people who have got a samurai spirit” after naming his squad this week for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Jones gave shock call-ups to flanker Lewis Ludlam and uncapped wing Ruaridh McConnochie in the 31-man group.

Gloucester scrum-half Willi Heinz, 32, whose England debut came in Sunday’s win at Twickenham against Wales, is also in the squad, but centre Ben Te’o is not.

“You need guys who are mature, who enjoy life,” said Jones.

“And we’ve deliberately picked a squad like that because it’s going to be an important factor.

“This is an enormous cultural event apart from being a sporting event and you’ve got to be able to cope with the different culture.”

The World Cup runs from September 20th  to November 2nd , with Jones naming his squad well before the deadline of September 8th.

England have another warm-up clash against Wales tomorrow in Cardiff.

CABIN CREW staff on flights to and from Alicante-Elche airport are all too used to getting drunken abuse from passengers, but there was a fresh twist last weekend, as an Easyjet cabin attendant was arrested and escorted off a plane at Newcastle for allegedly being drunk during the flight.

The captain of the Easyjet flight alerted air traffic control as the plane from Alicante-Elche airport was about to land in the north-east of England, and police carted off 48-year-old Julie Birkett from Huddersfield for being under the influence of alcohol.

Birkett faces an appearance in front of North Tyneside magistrates early next month, and she has already been sacked by Easyjet. 

 

A BRITISH tourist has been left with an unexpected long stay on the Costa Blanca, after giving birth to her first baby three months early while on holiday.

Birmingham couple Shannon Holbrook and Matthew Beach travelled to the Costa Blanca at the beginning of July, but six days after they arrived, Shannon, who was 26 weeks pregnant, suddenly went into labour.

She’s now been told that her child, Scarlett-Rose, who was born weighing just two pounds, cannot fly until she is 35 weeks old, as per health guidelines.

The couple had the good sense to take out travel insurance, so their medical bills are covered, and they also have a place to stay – but it’s an hour away from the San Juan de Alicante hospital.

Shannon´s sister has started a fund-raising internet page to help meet their costs as they have stay in the area until baby Scarlett-Rose is allowed to travel.