Thursday, November 29, 2012

Someone in the Spanish government has been daft enough to officially predict how house prices will move over the next five years. According to him, they'll continue to fall for the next two years and then remain flat for two more years before starting to rise in 2017. So, no need to rush out and buy your castle in Spain. But, if you must, try to remember that you have the whip hand. And that the more an agent smiles, the more lies he or she is peddling.

Be particularly careful if the property you want is close to the sea.The Madrid government has trumpeted a willingness to relax the rule about not building within 500 metres of the sea – which appeals (guess why) to the local councils - but some regional governments have intimated they'll ignore this and maintain the restriction.
Again, don't rely on the selling agent if there's any doubt at all. Fleecing red-faced foreigners is a sport in some parts of Spain.

That old Constitutional Court nonsense again. The regional governments of Estremadura and Galicia have filed a complaint there about Madrid's decision to impose a moratorium on subsidies for renewable energy enterprises. The gravamen of the claim is that the Bill was rushed through parliament. I'm just surprised to hear that anything gets rushed in Spain.

Intriguingly, US Treasury officials have lashed out at Germany and other northern states. They'd told Congress that internal balances within the eurozone are disrupting the global trade structure, with almost nothing being done by north Europeans states to curb their huge surpluses. The US report said Germany’s current account surplus is running at 6.3% of GDP, and Holland is even worse at 9.5%. “Yet the countries still cleave to fiscal austerity policies that constrict internal demand.” Nice to know that the feckless southern states aren't the only ones at fault.

I saw some Spanish TV last night, for the fist time in a long time. Nothing much had changed. A serious discussion program contained the two features I've always disliked:-
  1. Everyone ends up talking/shouting at the same time,
  2. Part (all?) of the audience sits behind the participants, looking at the back of their heads. And smirking if they see themselves on the monitor. Weird.
I recall an attempt years ago to stop the first of these:- Each speaker was given a microphone that retracted into the desk when their time was up. The experiment was short-lived – probably because it meant the speaker started to shout louder and louder to compensate for the disappearing mike.

It's been alleged for years that socks go missing in washing machines. I, for one, believe this to be true but I knew a German once who said it never happened with Miele or Bosch machines. Anyway, I now have the same problem with CDs and DVDs. By which I don't mean I put them in my cheapo Electrolux; I mean I have several empty cases and no idea where the contents might be.

Finally . . . The Economist has produced a lengthy overview of the state of the Spanish State. I don't know why I have to pay to read it but you can get it free on the internet a few days later but, anyway, here it is. It was written before Sunday's Catalan elections but remains a good and valid read.

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