Investors in Spain hopeful of an amnesty for many illegal properties

Real estate investors in Spain whose properties have been affected by the crackdown on illegal planning are hopeful that an amnesty is on the horizon.

They say that the sheer number of properties that have been apparently built on the nod of corrupt officials will make it unlikely that they will all be demolished.

In Malaga alone it is estimated that 40,000 properties were built illegally at the height of the planning law corruption boom.

Marbella is expected to be among the first to announce an amnesty for around 20,000 illegal properties. Malaga is also considering such a move. Salvador Pendón, president of Malaga's Provincial Council, has told property owners privately that he expects to make an announcement soon as many of the illegal properties are not built on protected land.

But on cases where vast blocks of concrete apartments were built on protected land demolition will go ahead eventually, he also said.

'Things are looking more hopeful. I think the authorities are realising at last the demolishing all these properties will not only cost a lot of money but also in many cases simply does not make sense as they are not on beaches or protected land,' said James Jones who owns a property under threat in Malaga.

In Mijas the mayor, Antonio Sánchez, has announced that the town hall will no longer fine owners of illegal properties who fail to carry out demolition orders. Owners will be given breathing space of around a year and a half before a new town plan is passed that will make many of the properties legal.

Meanwhile the latest Spanish property price figures show further declines. The May property index Tinsa, one of Spain's leading appraisal companies.

Prices fell by 9.8% over 12 months to the end of May with coastal areas suffering the most with an average price fall of 12.8%. Cities and provincial capitals saw a 10.1% decline with the suburbs seeing a downturn of 9.6% and the Balearics and Canary Islands a 9.8% fall.