SPAIN is the 5th Largest Economy in Europe (after Germany, UK, France, and Italy), and is typically no more than a 2 hr flight time away from most large European cities. It has the same time zone as S Africa in SA Winter, and -1hr in SA summer.
Spain is also one of the largest members of the EU (European Union and its 28 Member Countries). Its currency is the Euro, as adopted by 19 of the EU countries. It is also a signatory to the Schengen Agreement of 1993, which agreed to open borders between the 22 signatory members.
Whilst Spanish is the national language, the migration of approximately 1 million people from Britain to mostly the Spanish coastal areas over the last 25 years means that English is fairly widely spoken in these areas.
Similarly, there has also been significant immigration from other countries such as Germany, France and Scandinavian countries.
Located at the west end of the Mediterranean, Spain in its East and South Coastal areas enjoys a superb climate (300+ days sunshine per year).
It is known for its friendly, laid back and outdoor lifestyle.
It is rich in agriculture and fabulous foods.
Main Industries include Tourism, Agriculture (including being the World’s 3rd largest Wine Producer), Manufacturing (including Textiles), Pharmaceuticals, and Financial Services.
A simple 'word map' on what Spain is known for:
The Country is made up of 17 semi-autonomous Regions, each with its own elected authorities.
Spain is a 'Constitutional Monarchy'. The current King is Felipe VI, who took over the reins from his father Juan Carlos in 2014
The Spanish Constitution supports respect for cultural and linguistic diversity.
Religion: 70% of Spain's population are Catholic Christians, and the remaining 30% are aligned to a wide range of other religions. As a generalisation, overall, there is a trend towards somewhat less devout adherence of strict religious principles and more towards more secular principles.
The 2008 global financial crisis had a significant impact of the Spanish economy.
Today, the economy is more mature, more diversified, and more resilient.
It is now considered by many as one of the best times to invest in Spanish Property. Property purchase prices have increased over the last 2 years (after a long period of decline and flatness since 2008), but are still not at 2008 levels. On the other hand, Property rentals prices, on average, are now higher than before the 2008 peak's, underpinned in many areas by Spain's continued growth in Tourism.
The graph below (based on Banco de Espana data) shows how the Spanish property market has been recovering in recent years after the impact of the 2008 economic crisis.
In the latest update on the national Spanish House Price Index--as of end of March 2019 -- the national index increased by 6.24% over the preceding 12 month period. (In the previous 2 year period it was 5.6% (last year) and 4.7% (2 years ago). Most Property Industry Analysts suggest that this trend looks set to continue during 2019 and through 2020.
See 'NEWS' page on the very latest HSBC Global Expat Survey and how (highly) rated SPAIN is !