This four-bedroom villa, built in the 1950s and expanded in the 1990s, was originally a one-story fisherman’s house. It overlooks the Mediterranean and the bay of La Fosca on Spain’s Costa Brava, and is a 90-minute drive from Barcelona. Clad in white stucco, the house has a red tile roof, arched doorways and terra cotta floors. The front porch has arched windows on three sides, and the arched front entrance opens into a hallway. To the left is a large room that contains the living and dining areas and has a working fireplace, white-painted ceiling beams, and glass doors that open onto a terrace facing the bay. To the right is a kitchen with white marble countertops, a breakfast bar, oak cabinets and a shelf above the stove adorned with painted tiles. Behind the kitchen is a bathroom with a shower stall and a bedroom overlooking the garden.
A staircase in the front hall leads to the second floor, which has two bedrooms on the left, facing the water, and one bedroom on the right. One of the bedrooms facing the water is used as an office. The other is the master bedroom, which has exposed ceiling beams stained light gray, a fireplace, an entire wall of built-in wardrobes and a glass door leading to a balcony overlooking the bay. The master bathroom has white tiled walls, a shower stall, and a vanity topped with white marble. The third upstairs bedroom, across the hall from the master suite, has an unpainted wood ceiling and a view of the garden behind the house.
|(Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The house is directly across the road from the unspoiled beach at La Fosca bay. Palamós, a bustling fishing port, is a 20-minute walk and has a marina and many well-regarded restaurants. From the house, a 20-minute walk along a rocky coastal path leads to the remote beach of Platja Castell. The house is about 40 minutes from the airport in Girona, and the Barcelona airport is an hour and 40 minutes away.
The global financial crisis hit Spain hard in 2008, and no recovery is in sight, said Mark Stucklin, the owner of the real estate Web site Spanish Property Insight. “There’s no denying that there’s a savage adjustment going on here,” he said. The problems stem from overbuilding, easy credit and inflated housing prices. Prices in most of Spain are down 75 percent from the peak in 2007, and new construction is down 95 percent, Mr. Stucklin said. ‘That’s a collapse of the house-building industry by anyone’s standards,” he said.
Yet some small segments of the market, such as luxury homes for buyers prepared to pay cash, are reasonably healthy. “There’s a market for the really good stuff for people who have the money to buy it,” Mr. Stucklin said. In Barcelona, for example, prices have dropped only 20 to 25 percent because a limited number of building sites are available.
On the Costa Brava, the coastal region in northeastern Spain where this house is located, prices have dropped about 30 percent from their 2007 peak, according to Alex Vaughan, the owner of the real estate company Lucas Fox. Most sellers in Spain are willing to negotiate a price 10 to 15 percent below their asking price, he added.
Prices vary widely depending on the location of the property. Mr. Vaughan said a typical villa costs from 750,000 euros to 3 million euros ($938,000 to $3.75 million at .80 euros to the dollar), depending on the area and its proximity to the beach or a town center. The property described here is priced near the middle of the range at 1,990,000 euros ($2.47 million).
WHO BUYS ON COSTA BRAVA
Traditionally, most of the foreign buyers in Spain are European, although Mr. Vaughan said that metropolitan areas also attraction buyers from Asia and the Middle East. Most of the foreigners who buy on the Costa Brava are from Northern Europe, especially Britain, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany, Mr. Vaughan said. In recent years, the region has also drawn buyers from further afield. “Increasingly in the Costa Brava there are Russian buyers, American buyers and even a few Asian buyers,” Mr. Vaughan said.
Foreigners must obtain a tax identification number and a local bank account, but there are no special requirements for buying property in Spain. Transaction costs are usually about 10 percent of the purchase price, said Tom Maidment, the Barcelona-based director of Lucas Fox Costa Brava and the listing agent for this property.
Transfer taxes are 8 percent of the purchase price. However, Mr. Vaughan said that this year the government has reduced these taxes to 4 percent for new properties bought directly from the developer, with the hope of stimulating the property market and reducing the glut of unsold new homes. The government is also considering new immigration rules that would allow people from outside the European Union to acquire Spanish residency if they bought a property worth at least 250,000 euros ($300,000), Mr. Vaughan said.Notary costs for a property like this are typically about 1,500 euros ($1,875). Mr. Maidment said land registry fees are usually about 1,000 euros ($1,250). Legal fees also vary, depending upon the complexity of the transaction. “It’s not actually typical for Spanish nationals to use a lawyer,” he said, “but we advise all foreign buyers to use a lawyer.”
Government of Catalonia: gencat.cat Costa Brava and Girona Tourism site: costabrava.org
LANGUAGES AND CURRENCY
Spanish; euros (1 euro=$1.24)
TAXES AND FEES
Municipal taxes for this house are about 1,200 euros ($1,500) a year, the listing agent said.
In addition, nonresident foreign owners who have vacation homes in Spain pay an annual tax, equal to 2 percent of the assessed value of the property. The assessed value is usually significantly lower than the market value. The tax for a house like this would be between 2,000 and 4,000 euros ($2,500 and $5,000).
Tom Maidment, Lucas Fox Costa Brava, 011-34-933-562-989; lucasfox.com
Taken from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/30/greathomesanddestinations/real-estate-in-spain.html