Expat business in Spain fear results of Brexit yes vote

Published:  18 Apr at 6 PM
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Brexit is fast becoming the topic of the decade for UK expats living in Eurozone countries.

Rumours, speculation, whispers, reports, blogs and more, but no real information as to the effect on the British people and British expats living in Europe. This is Brexit 2016, and the furore is expected to increase the closer it comes to June 23.

As well as causing controversy within Europe’s widespread UK expat community, Brexit is topic of the times across the world. An Australian government minister stated recently that everyone in the country is backing a ‘stay in’ decision, and even USA President Obama is due in England at the end of this month to urge a No vote.

After reading about the possible plight of retirees in Spain’s coastal cities, on Gibraltar and Malta, in Cyprus and Italy, it’s now the British business owners in Spain’s chance to evaluate in print what might happen should the UK divorce itself from the EU. Just as are officials in other EU countries, the Spanish government is keeping its views close to its chest.

One business sector most likely to be affected by a UK withdrawal is Spain’s property market, with uncertainty not only for potential buyers in the UK but also for panicking expats wishing to sell up and move elsewhere. A British chartered surveyor in Estepona states that effects are already being felt, but it’s almost impossible to predict long term effects.

A hotel owner in Molino de Santo agrees that prediction is tricky as no-one really knows what alternatives might be presented during the two-year withdrawal period. A fall in the pound is certain, he says, making everything dearer for UK visitors as well as expats living locally. Tougher border controls might also cause problems, he adds.

A British lawyer working in Marbella says the decision to leave would have a profound effect on both the UK’s and EU’s futures.For British expats who remain in Spain, he expects higher taxes, especially for those staying in the country for less than 183 days each year.

Spanish mortgage broker Tancrede de Pola points out that Brexit is already proving bad for his trade. Last year’s welcome improvement in Spanish property prices has now slammed into reverse, he notes, and clients are putting off their decisions to purchase.
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