Prices continue to fall, repossessions continue to rise and there are still at least 700,000 empty properties on the Spanish market.
And new properties are receiving planning approval at the rate of only 7,000 a month, compared with a peak of 120,000 a month back in 2006. As Mark Stucklin reports, "Approvals have been flatlining at or below 10,000/month since the start of 2009. After 2 years of such low levels of activity, the residential construction sector has shrivelled up. Professionals in the sector like architects have been hit hard. When the time comes for Spain to build more new homes, it may be a problem finding the skills and resources to do so." Though I doubt anyone is worrying much about that right now.
But it's not all bad news . . . Despite all the talk of double dip recession, foreign investment in properties in the second quarter of this year was 16% up on the first and 37% up on the same period last year.
And that's about the only bit of positive news I could find from a UK vantage point. Anyone back home got something that would bring a smile to our faces? Apart from the prospect of Wales beating France tomorrow in New Zealand.
We're all Welsh now, of course. Though some of us have a better claim than others. Here, from The Times are 11 simple steps for establishing your Celtic ancestry:-
1. Drink a pint of Brains, but beware Double Dragon as it leads to Feeling Foul (Felinfoel, do keep up).
2. Pronounce Cymru “Cumree”, not Kimroo.
3. Say that Welsh back row Toby Faletau, who moved to Wales at the age of 7, has a lot better right to play for his adopted homeland than Manu Tuilagi has to play for England. The aquatically-gifted England winger was nearly deported from the UK last year after it emerged that he had illegally stayed on after entering on a tourist visa in 2004.
4. Refuse to work on September 16, saying that you are commemorating Owain Glyndwr’s uprising.
5. Have Budgie, the Manic Street Preachers, Super Furry Animals, Catatonia and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci on your playlist. Shakin Stevens and Bonnie Tyler, if you must. Try to avoid Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey.
6. Drop into conversation that Bassey does not come from Tiger Bay, as she claims, but from the less romantically named Cardiff district of Splott.
7. If you have a spare couple of hours, memorise Llanfairpwllgwyng-yllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Be prepared to trot out that it means St Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool of Llantysilio of the red cave. Then say they called it that only in the 1860s as a publicity stunt to attract the tourists.
8. While you’re on a roll, mention that the village of Llanfynydd in Carmarthenshire tried to steal the title of longest place name in 2004 by renaming itself Llanhyfryddawelllehynafolybarcudprindanfygy- thiadtrienusyrhafnauole, as a protest against plans to erect a wind farm. (It means a quiet beautiful village; a historic place with a rare kite under threat from wretched blades.) But it didn’t catch on.
9. Remind people of the pleasurably embarrassing moment when John Redwood tried to sing the Welsh national anthem without knowing either the Welsh original or the cheaty English phonetic version.
10. Sing the phonetic version of Land of my Fathers:
My hen laid a haddock on top of a tree
Glad farts and centurions throw dogs in the sea
I could stew a hare here, and brandish Dan’s flan.
Don’s ruddy bog’s blocked up with sand.
Dad! Dad! Why don’t you oil Aunty Glad?
When whores appear on beer bottle pies,
Oh, butter the hens as they fly.
11. Pob lwc. Cymru am byth! But if a real Welshman says Twll dîn pob Sais! to you, poke him in the eye.