Norwegians caught in Spain’s crisis

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Spain’s economic crisis is affecting thousands of Norwegians who have invested in holiday and retirement homes along the Spanish coastline. Prices have sunk and it’s difficult to sell, but some are trying to cash in on the misery.

Coastal towns in Spain like Torrevieja, Alicante, Alfaz del Pi and Altea have long attracted Norwegian investors and holiday makers, and now those needing to sell are seeing their investments cut in half, or worse.

“We had a small apartment for sale for 70,000 euros,” Norwegian real estate broker Inger Romø told newspaper Aftenposten over the weekend. “It didn’t even sell at 50,000 euros. It ended up selling for only about half of that.”

Romø was among the first Norwegians who moved permanently to Torrevieja at the end of the 1970s. Lately she’s also been helping elderly Norwegians who suddenly discover that the bank branch they always have used has suddenly been closed.

Spain has been among the hardest hit by the euro zone crisis, with unemployment now exceeding 20 percent and banks suffering from heavy debt levels.

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN), however, reports that some Norwegians are hoping to cash in on the crisis by snapping up properties at rock-bottom prices. “We’re considering buying a holiday home,” a vacationing Kari Heggland told DN, after viewing a property with a view to the sea that had been cut in price from the equivalent of NOK 2.7 million (EUR 337,000) to NOK 1.8 million (EUR 225,000). “The place has a fantastic view and the price is by no means unreasonable.”

Views and News staff