As the Spanish economy goes from bad to worse, increasing suffering, sparking unrest and bringing the Catalan independence debate into overdrive, Spain is looking for investment wherever it can. Along with begging its former colonies to use their growing economies to invest in Spain, they are also turning to foreigners to clean up the remnants of the real estate bubble that started this mess.
As Ciaran Giles at Yahoo reports,
Spain is to offer foreigners residency permits if they buy houses worth more than €160,000 ($200,000) as part of an attempt to reduce the country’s bloated stock of unsold homes.
Trade Ministry secretary Jaime Garcia-Legaz said the plan, expected to be approved in the coming weeks, would be aimed principally at the Chinese and Russian markets as the domestic demand was stagnant and showed no sign of improving. Spain has more than 700,000 unsold houses following the collapse of its real estate market in 2008.
Spain is not the only cash-strapped country in Europe to do this – Ireland and Portugal have similar offers, but only for houses worth over €400,000.
This offers a great opportunity for Americans to take out massive loans back home to get the chance to live in, or recklessly speculate on Spain! Sure, in the wake of a similar crisis on this side of the Atlantic, they are trying to stamp out predatory, unsecured loans given to people spending far beyond their means, but so far the prosecution of reckless lending by banks has been limited, so it can’t hurt to try!