CostaLuz Lawyers releasing ‘mortgage prisoners’ through distressed holiday home service

  • Global financial crisis saw 36% fall in Spanish house prices (INE)
  • Prices now falling again, with 3.1% drop between March and September (Tinsa)
  • CostaLuz Lawyers facilitating below market value sales of distressed holiday homes before repossession

As Spain battles to cope with the economic impact of COVID-19, figures from Tinsa show that house prices have fallen by 3.1% since March – and by 7.6% in the Balearic and Canary Islands. It means that the country recorded its first year-on-year price drop for four years in September, with an average fall in value of 0.6%.

Yet for some of those who own property in Spain, this is just the latest instalment in a negative equity story that stretches back well over a decade. According to CostaLuz Lawyers, many families who bought holiday homes in Spain back at the peak of the bubble that burst so spectacularly back in the mid-2000s are still trapped in huge negative equity situations.

“Spanish house prices fell by 36.3% from 2007 to 2015 and many buyers are still trapped owning properties that are worth significantly less than they paid 14 or 15 years ago. With the economic situations in the UK and Spain both deteriorating as a result of the pandemic, and house prices in Spain starting to fall once more, many banks are open to taking back properties in lieu of the pending mortgage debt.”

Keith Rule, CostaLuz Lawyers

 Foreclosures in Spain were already on the increase before anyone had even heard the term “COVID-19.” According to the National Statistics Institute (INE), foreclosures in the first three quarters of 2019 were 11% up on the same period a year earlier. For new dwellings, that figure shot up to 36.9%.

Spanish banks are often keen to close such deals by the end of December, to tie in with the end of the financial year. This means that many British owners of negative equity homes in Spain will be feeling the pressure to give the keys back to the bank, particularly in light of prices now starting to fall once again. Yet these property owners are not without options.

“Homeowners facing this scenario often refer to themselves as ‘mortgage prisoners’ and believe there’s no way out of their predicament but that’s not necessarily the case. We offer two services that mean those trapped in negative equity can finally escape the situation.”

Keith Rule, CostaLuz Lawyers

CostaLuz Lawyers has a service that enables homeowners to offer their properties back to the bank in lieu of their outstanding mortgage debt, negotiating the property’s handover even when the amount of the debt is significantly higher than the value of the home.

However, the company doesn’t stop there. It also serves to pair those wanting a way out of negative equity with those looking to purchase a below market value property in Spain.

“Most services of this nature take the repossessed property after it has been returned to the bank, add on a percentage and then sell it. We take a different path. We negotiate the sale before the repossession, using legal arguments to show how this is favourable to both the bank and the owner. It’s also highly advantageous to the new buyer, who can usually pick up a property for around 60% of the price paid back in 2007.” 

Keith Rule, CostaLuz Lawyers

There is no time limit on the sale of these distressed properties, meaning that both seller and buyer can work together to find a solution that suits all parties, with CostaLuz Lawyers coordinating the legal side of the process.

CostaLuz Lawyers is already renowned for helping over 1,500 clients from across the UK and Ireland claim back deposits previously considered lost on properties that were never finished or built following the financial crisis. Now, their distressed property service is helping another swathe of property buyers who were caught out by the crisis.

 

For more information, please contact CostaLuz Lawyers’ UK office on +44 1908 635 111 and speak with Keith. To speak with Maria in the Spanish office, call +34 956 092 687 or you can visit www.costaluzlawyers.es