Britons are still bullish about Spain

It seems nothing can make British buyers fall out of love with the home of tapas, paella and sangria
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Spain hasn't earned itself a great image recently among UK buyers: the strength of the euro, corruption scandals, overbuilding in prime coastal locations and global economic gloom has brought confidence in the country's property market to an all-time low.

Year-on-year house sales fell 32.6 per cent in 2008 and Spain's housing ministry reports that sales in the last quarter of 2008 were half of those in the boom years of 2005 and 2006.

Yet despite this turmoil, Spain remains the first choice for Britons seeking a home abroad, and the country can still make a very good case for a sale.

Spain is easy to reach on scheduled or budget airlines, it has reliably warm summer weather, a long coastline and second-home destinations are stuffed with excellent leisure facilities from lush golf courses to exquisite villages, where the laid back lifestyle leaves plenty of time for sampling the local paella, tapas and sangria.

Two-bedroom bungalows at Valle del Paralso
£145,400: two-bedroom bungalows at Valle del Paralso, from CAM Bank Properties (0844 736 5644)
And property prices have never been more affordable. With homes priced at early 2005 levels, is this the time to buy?

For cash-rich buyers, buying top-quality property in a downturn makes perfect economic sense and canny UK buyers can make up in negotiating power what they lose because of the exchange rate.

Large, three-bedroom villas at Puerto del Garo, El Portet
£684,000: large, three-bedroom villas at Puerto del Garo, El Portet. Call Moraira Dreams on 020 8920 5260
Location remains key so head for gold-plated destinations: the hillsides around Denia, the Mediterranean beaches of Majorca or the buzzy cities of Barcelona or Seville are all great places to live.

Financing a holiday home remains a concern for many buyers but 70 per cent mortgages are available, says Fiona Watts of International Private Finance (020 7484 4600; www.internationalprivatefinance.com).

"A Spanish mortgage lender will also carry out additional checks to confirm that the property is properly licensed, valued and has all the required planning permissions."

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