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There has been a lot of controversy about the amount of money required to reconstruct France's most iconic cathedral and where that money should come from. The French government immediately committed to the reconstruction. It struck me that the Catholic Church itself, one of the wealthiest organisations in the world, would have been a better source
Although the overall level of property transactions are more than 30 % below their peak in the boom year of 2007, sales of existing houses, as opposed to new-builds, are fast approaching the levels seen in the boom. In 2018 422,500 used properties were sold compared to the height of 448.900 in 2007. More second-hand properties were sold in 2018 tha
The unemployment rate in Spain dropped, at the end of 2018, to its lowest level in a decade. From the peak of over 25% on 2013, the official rate has now fallen to 14.4%. Although still high compared to the EU average of 6.6% or the Eurozone 7.9% it is perhaps as well to bear in mind the prevalence of cash in the Spanish economy. Many people, altho
From 1st January 2019 the socialist government of Pedro Sánchez increased the minimum wage by a whopping 22%, the largest ever increase since the minimum wage was introduced. The level is now set at €900 per month in a 14 month year (double payments were traditional in May and August) or €1.050 per month if paid on a 12 month basis. There is even a
Recently published data on the number of mortgages conceded by financial institutions continues to show a modest but sustained upward trend as the graph from Idealist below shows. Rock bottom was hit at the end of 2013 but by late 2018 the number of mortgages granted, although a long way from the giddy heights of the boom years had returned to the
Partly caused by the banning of the minimum interest rate clause ( la clausula suelo ) in Spanish mortgages (see my earler article) there has been a dramatic shift from Base Rate Plus mortgages to Fixed Interest mortgages. At the end of 2015 Fixed Rate mortgages represented less than 10% of the total. By mid 2018 it was 40%. This has been accompani
Banks, not borrowers, must pay the costs The Spanish government, under pressure from the EU, has clarified who must pay what in terms of costs when a borrower agrees a mortgage loan with a bank. Previously, all charges were paid by the borrower and they were onerous. Now all of the charges, except a valuation of the property, must be paid by the ba
I read an article recently which highlighted just how much Spain has changed since the death of Franco in 1975 and the adoption of the new constitution in 1978. Whilst many countries have experienced significant change in this period, Spain's transition from a dictatorship, under which industries producing poor quality goods were protected, to a mo
Spain is in an anomalous position with regard to separating the state from the Catholic church .  State schools are all lay institutions and religion is taught only as an option. In my daughter’s school the majority of students opt for Valores Éticos (Ethical Values) instead. This is an interesting choice encompassing debates about racism, cit
On a recent trip through Sevilla province I stopped to meet a colleague at a roadside restaurant near Marchena. I ordered a bottle of water while I was waiting. The waiter asked what tapas I wanted with the water. I opted for chipirones (baby squids). The dish arrived with a  potato and red pepper salad. Delicious. When I came to pay I could b

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