Sitges (south of barcelona)

Sitges (south of barcelona)

Sitges, a beautiful beach town near Barcelona

The place to be; Art village Sitges

 

Sitges is located only 35 kms south from Barcelona. Protected by the Garraf mountains is has a kind of micro climate with very pleasant temperatures during the whole year. It offers 300+ sunny days per year with an average temperature of 18ºC! The ideal place to relax in combination with a visit to Barcelona. It has always been very popular amoungst the Catalan population and many have their second home in- or just outside the village. Its a very pintorestic area and artists love to be there.

You´ll find beautiful hitorical buildings, like the Iglesia de San Bartolomé (church) and Santa Tecla, directly on the boulevard, or the museums like Romantic, Can LLopis, Palau Maricel and the famous Casa Bacardi, where Facundo Bacardi lived before he went to Cuba. He was the founder of the worldfamous brand BACARDI.

 

Sitges offer at least 17 beaches, surrounding the village. You´ll find family beaches, with easy access to the sea, gayfriendly beaches, nudist beaches and almost inaccesable places, where you would be the only one! So everbody could find his own beach! White sandy beaches, small bays, Sitges has it all. On the boulevard, in the centre of the village you´ll find the first beach bar of Spain. It is called Chiringito (thats Spanish for old cafe/beachbar) and has been operating since 1.913. It is a meeting place for the locals and tourists to have a drink or a bite. There you´ll also find many artists catching up on whatever is happening in the world.

Wine, Dine & Fun

On the first line, on the beautuful boulevard, you´ll find many restaurants, coffeeshops, icecream bars etc. Anoungst them there is the popular restaurant La Santa María, where you have to queu-up for a seat. Other top restaurants are Maricel, la Costa Dorada (on the playa de Sebastian beach) or the centrally located Casa Hidalgo (Catalan menu) etc. To watch your favorite football match you go to the Sport´s Bar, where you could come across a famous tv star or footballplayer, as many of them live in Sitges. For a more relaxed dinner you could go to the marina (Aiga Dolce) area, 15 walking minutes outside the village centre. Since a coulpe of years the boulevard is connecting the village with the marina and it´s a fantastc stroll along the seaside.

It’s Party Time!

During the summer it is considered a “must do” to visit the famous Dos de Mayo street, which goes from the beach right into the heart of the village. During the evenings, the area is literally packed with a colourful variety of open-minded people, enjoying their stay in Sitges. There are many terraces and It´s the place to be, and to be seen!

Top-events

The Wine celebrations in September are famous and also the international Film festival during the spring is attractive. Moreover there is Carnaval, that seems to be one of the best of Spain, La Fiesta Mayor (local village celebrations in August) and the Gaypride in July. Around Easter there are the Corpus Cristus celebrations, where many streets are litterely coverd with flowers, offering a spectacular sensation.

Overnight in Sitges

Sitges offers many three, four- and five star hotels. Popular names are, Galipolis (on the boulevard), Melia Sitges (at the marina) and the new Dolce hotel.

Living in Sitges

 

Sitges hasn´t really suffered from the real estate crisis in Spain. Because of it´s unique location, with a kind of micro-climate, it´s (almost) always sunny. Many foreigners have settled down in this pleasant place, and there is a good balance between local, and international inhabitants. There are excellent connections with the airport (+/-25 minutes by motorway) and there is a good trainconnection with the centre of Barcelona.

First and second line properties are hardly available. If there would be a possible sale, most of the times they are not been published and simply sold by word of mouth. People say, the best area is el Vinyet, frontline beach. Most surrounding villages have “gone up with the successflow” of Sitges, although the prices are still reasonable. A little bit more inland, you find villages likes Olivella(+/-12 kms from the coast) and St Pére de Ribes (5 kms) where you could find very nice detached villas with private pools at excellent prices. You should count on approx 2.300-2.750 euros per m2. In Sitges centre, you should count on 4.500-5.500 euros per m2. First line properties would be a different thing, starting €1.500.000.- . Vilanova, at 10 kms south of Sitges is also a good alternative, however it doesn´t have Sitges´charm.

Connections

Airport: +/ 25 minutes by car.

Railways: various trains each half hour to Barcelona.

Motorway: There is an excellent motorway, although you have to pay for it, through the tunnels of Garraf. If you are looking for something more romantic, take the old coast road, with stunning views over the Mediterranean Sea.

Purchasing a property in Spain / Ins & Outs of the process

Purchasing a property in Spain / Ins & Outs of the process

Purchasing a property in Spain

Ins & Outs of the process.

If you decide buying a property in Spain is important to know, that “things go different over here”. The country is divided into 17 autonomous communities, that have specific habits and different tax systems. Below you´ll find a summary of the most important things you should be aware of.

In general, the properties for sale are offered with a net price for the seller. To calculate your total disbursements, you should count with the following costs.

1. Purchase Costs:

Taxes

If you buy from a private person, you must pay the transfer tax, at this moment 10% in most of the Spanish regions, if you purchase through a project developer, the tax rate would be 10% VAT, plus +/-1,5% stamp duty. The taxes will be calculated over the official transfer price that will be declared in the purchase Deed.

Notary and Registration costs

After the official Deed is signed at the Notary office, it must be registered in the so called REGISTRO DE LA PROPIEDAD (Land Registry). For these two items, you should calculate approximately 1,5% of the buying price. The Notary will require an estimation/up-front payment, which will be adjusted with the real costs as soon as everything has been registered.

2. Yearly costs

IBI (Councel Tax)

This is a local or municipality tax, to be paid every year. Although the amount will vary in each village or town, you should calculate with approx. ½ % of the cadastral value of the property. The cadastral values in Spain are still very low.
For instance: For a purchase of approx. 250.000 euros and depending of the cadastral value, you should count on 500-750 euros per year. It is recommendable to prepare an automatic payment through your Spanish bank accoun

House owners Society

In case you buy an property within a building or complex, you will automatically become member of that society. According to the statutes, you are obliged to pay a yearly service charge, for maintenance, general insurance, lift, administration fee etc.

Income taxes

According the Spanish law, you are expected to obtain a private use of 1,1- 2% of the cadastral value of your property. Over this amount there will be 19% applied (current rate in 2016) per year. In case the property is rented, the taxes will be 25% of your rental income. As a nonresident, you must present your tax declaration, the so called 210 form, every year.
For instance: Property of € 250.000, with a cadastral value of €150.000, the yearly cost would be between € 315-€570.

Capital taxes (patrimonial taxes)

To be paid for properties starting €600.000.

Financing / Mortgage in Spain:

Non residents in Spain could also apply for a mortgage. En general the spanish bank would finance up to 60/65% of the purchase value. For instance if you would purchase an apartment of €300.000.-, the schedule could be as follows:

Purchase price: 300.000 euros
Purchase costs: 39.000 (taxes, notary, lawyers, mortgage setup costs etc.)
Total: 339.000 euros
Mortgage: 180.000 euros (60% of purchase value)
Private funds: 159.000 euros

Actually we have different options available in Spain, either on a fix interest rate (for instance 10 years at 2%) or variable rates depending the economical situation.

Banks normally charge a kind of set-up/opening fee of 0,5-1% of the mortgage + the corresponding taxes (1,5% approx)+ the expenses of the notary Deed and the valuation report.

Necessary documents:

For the purchase:

• Passport
• Additionally, in Spain you would need a so called NIE number (identity number for foreigners) to be able to purchase a property. We can organise the necessary papers for you and will accompany you.

For the mortgage:

• Latest tax declaration, preferrably in spanish.
• Letter of recommendation of your home bank.
• Solvability document, issued by an official institute in you country.
• Other additional documents to justify that you are able to pay for the monthly payments, during the period of the mortage.

An example of the various steps during the purchase process

After you have visited various properties, either on with your personal advisor or through a real estate agency, you decide to start the negotiations with the seller of the property.
Either you accept the asking price of you make an official, written offer. Depending on the personal situation of the seller, a small discount could be accepted. Please check with your advisor, what would be the best way to negotiate.

The Standard purchase procedure would be as follows:

 

STEP I

  • Reservation document

Together with the offer on the property, the buyer will make a deposit at the estate agency, in order to show that he/she is serious. This amount could vary between 2.000 and 3.000 euros. Important that the amountthat has been offered is mentioned in that document. The seller will be contacted, and if he agrees, the sales contract will be prepared. In case the seller would not accept the offer, the reservation fee, will be returned to the buyer.

STEP II

  • Purchase contract

If it has been signed by the two parties, this is an official, legal document. All relevant detais have to be included, like total sales price, final date for the Notary Deed, detailed information from the Property Register and if there are any outstanding debts, like a mortgage. Upon signing of the contract, normally a payment of 10% is done.
In most cases there exists a so called “escape clause”. The buyer could withdraw during the process, and he would lose his downpayment/deposit in benefit of the seller. In case the seller would like to withdraw, he should double the amount received by the buyer, in order to compensate him/her.

STEP III

  • Mortgage

As soon as the sales contract is signed, the preparations for the mortgage could start. You should count on approx. 6-8 weeks. The fix interest rate is at thsi moment (december 2016) 1,75% and the fix rate could be approx 2% during 10, or more years.

STEP IV

  • Notary Deed

The last and most important part of the purchase will be the Notary Deed, at the spanish notary. Immediately afterwards the property will be presented at the Land Registry. On the day of the Deed, you will receive a so called “Copia Simple”,with is a copy of the document. Once the purchase has been registered, you receive the original document. This could take approx. 6-8 weeks.

Barcelona, December 2016

Paul van den Hout
Real estate agent
(Aicat: 4261)

8 reasons to buy an apartment in Barcelona (now)!

8 reasons to buy an apartment in Barcelona (now)!

8 reasons to buy an apartment in Barcelona (now)!

Barcelona is hot. Everybody you talk to, knows the city, has been visiting the Catalan capital lately, has friends who have been there once or twice or who plan to travel to BCN soon. A “must do”. I have been living and working in this beautiful city since 1.995. Every time I travel abroad, and when people ask me where I live, there is a big smile on their face when I mention Barcelona. “You are very lucky, because it must be a privilege to live there”.

Reason nº 1: Barcelona is a fantastic city to live

Chosen by many expats to be one of the best places to live. The Barcelona offers a great variety. The exceptional location, literary on the seaside, with spectacular white, sandy beaches offers a unique combination between the comfort of a big city and a holiday like atmosphere. From the city centre it´s only a 10-minute bus drive to the beach. Great Food & Dine, with local and many international top restaurants. Daily menus for 12,50 euros, or even less. Far cheaper than the major European cities. Several international schools in – and around the city, like The French School, The British School, The American School where students are taught in various languages. Or study a Master or MBA at one of the top Business Schools of the world, ESADE. Good social security system, with many hospitals.

Reason nº2: Great city to work or to start a business

I read lately, that Barcelona is number one of the Top 5 SMART CITIES in the world! Followed by New York, London, Nice and Singapore this is a great achievement. The Public Transport, environmental issues, support for electric cars and buses, excellent high speed internet were the main reasons. Barcelona is the city for start-ups (there is a great support from the local government), fashion & design, important trade shows, like World Mobile, Salón Nautica, Alimentaria (food) etc. You´ll find the charm of a Southern European city, combined with the business focus of the Catalan society, very international (18% of the population is from abroad). Setting up a new business is still not an easy job, but things are improving and the municipality is introducing a so called “express set-up” for new enterprises, simplifying the whole process. To mention that it isn´t a punishment to work here, seems obvious. In January, when it is cold and grey in Northern Europe, in Barcelona people are doing business on one of the terraces of the city, enjoying the Mediterranean climate.

Reason nº 3: Barcelona and its beautiful climate

I am pleased to inform, that the average temperature, on a yearly base is 15,3 degrees Celsius. In August, it could be hot, with temperatures between 23 and 30 degrees, and the coldest month is January, with an average temperature of 8ºC. Consider that is will be approx. 10 degrees hotter than Northern Europe, which, especially in the grey winter period, is a huge and pleasant difference! The average all year sea temperature is 17,1 degrees.

8 reasons

 

Reason nº 4: Excellent infra-structure

Barcelona is well connected with the world. From the international airport, el Prat, only 16kms from the centre, there are many daily flights to Europe, the Middle East, USA and the Far East. Low costs carriers like Vueling, Transavia, Easyjet, German Wings and Ryanair will take you, within two hours, to the major cities of Europe. There is a good railway system, connecting the rest of Spain and the famous Ave (TGV or fast train) takes you to Paris within 4 hours, or in less than 2 hours 40 minutes to Madrid. There exists an extensive underground network and the local buses, all air conditioned, take you around the city and are very cheap. If you are a bit sportive… take the BCN Bicing (cycling)card, and go for a ride.

 

Reason nº 5: Attractive city for others to visit you!

Business wise the city is attractive, and offers a positive image to anyone who comes to visit you. Fresh, modern, stylish!

 

Reason nº 6: Traditional and International

Spain is famous for its traditions and Barcelona is no exception. There are many things to visit as you could expect in a major city. Theatres, cinemas, museums (Picasso, Miró), local markets, a wide scale of restaurants etc. Barcelona´s old town (casco antiguo) takes you back to the Middle Age or go for some tapas to the Barceloneta quarter, right on the beach. The city offers an international, multi-cultural atmosphere.

Terrazas 8 reasons

Reason nº 7: Excellent rental market for a positive return on investment

As an investor you always look at the so called Retun on Investment(ROI). You like to know what kind of return you could expect. There is a huge demand on rental properties. Many locals decide to rent instead of buying a property and there is a continious demand for student´s apartments, either close to the Universities or downtown. There are simply not enough properties available so this could be interesting. The touristical use of the apartments is also interesting, with a huge return on investments. This is a delicate issue these days, as the governement is considering to allow only professionals to deal with this activity. At this moment, the touristical licenses are on hold. We expect the municipality to take a decisión during the first six months of 2017.

Reason nº8: The right moment to invest

The crisis seems to be (almost) over. We have left behind most of the troubles; the market has been cleaned up. Since the second half of 2016, the Spanish banks are “back in business” allowing first- and second homeowners to finance their purchase. With the extremely low interest rates, this is becoming very attractive. Foreign investments funds are searching all over Spain, but specifically in the major cities for residential buildings. Prices are still low, in comparison with other European cities. According to the Global Price Guide, the average cost per m2, in the major cities is approx. 4.409 euros, far away from prices in similar situations in The Netherlands (€6.609), Switzerland (€11.476), Russia (€11866), UK (€25.575) or Monaco (€44.522). Prices are expected to increase further, yes, there is a clear tendency upwards, with the demand exceeding the property offer, in most central areas. Spain is a safe country, so your investment will also be safe. No political unstable situation, no religion fights. Moreover, Spain is a full member of the EU, which makes things a lot easier. If you are convinced, don´t hesitate to contact us! Paul van den Hout Real estate agent (Aicat: 4261)

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