Unwilling to sacrifice their sovereignty at the altar of the ECB's contingent OMT (and unable to wrench 'help' from their previously colonized friends in Latin America; it seems Rajoy and friends are more than willing to sacrifice their actual land... and citizenship in order to maintain their 'independence'. Reuters reports that Spain is considering offering rich investors from countries such as Russia and China the right to settle in return for them buying up property in the stagnant housing sector. For buying property worth as little as $200,000, wealthy foreigners could be offered a residency permit, the country's commerce secretary said on Monday. This is the same nation with near 11% loan delinquencies, greater-than-50% youth unemployment, and a bad-bank loaded with heavily discounted real-estate assets that are still too expensive to encourage investors, and an ever-present devaluation risk hanging over its paralyzed economy.
We wonder how the other nations of the EU will feel about Spain 'diluting' the citizen-asset pool with this new non-tax-paying, non-labor-utilizing 'wealth'.
And for that matter, not just other mainland-EU countries but New York and London whose real estate markets have risen in the past year in the ultra luxury segment primarily courtesy of BRIC oligarch money.
How long before Greece sells plots on Santorini (w/passport)?
(Reuters) - Spain is considering offering rich investors from countries such as Russia and China the right to settle in return for them buying up property in the stagnant housing sector.
Spain has more than a million empty homes across the country and is setting up a bad bank to clean up toxic assets from a housing bubble which burst in 2008.
Foreigners could be offered a residency permit if they buy a property worth 160,000 euros ($200,000) or more, the country's commerce secretary said on Monday.
"We're looking at markets such as the Russian or Chinese, among which there is already a strong demand for Spanish real estate," Jaime Garcia-Legaz said during a conference.
Garcia-Legaz said his ministry was consulting the other departments about the idea and gave no figures about how many foreign individuals might be tempted to buy in Spain in order to get Spanish residency.
The government is also trying to drum up interest among foreign investors in participating in its bad bank and will meet with five banks this week, sources told Reuters.
Spain's second largest union, the UGT, criticized the proposal, saying immigration policy should be based on the needs of the labor market.
"It wants to attract foreigners who are obviously rich and able to buy and can supposedly remain in Spain without working with the aim of getting rid of a stock of houses that are largely in the hands of the banks," said the UGT in a statement.
Spain's economy has been either in recession or near-paralyzed since 2008 after the decade-long property boom went sour, sending housing prices tumbling more than 30 percent.
Real estate prices are expected to fall up to 30 percent more before leveling out, economists say, while there is estimated to be more than a million homes around the country.
Spanish banks' bad loans ratio hit a new high in September, the Bank of Spain said on Monday, with massive unemployment and the economic downturn hitting Spaniards ability to repay their debts.
The other point is that foreigners will simply laugh at this open invitation to invest capital directly knowing that as one after another insolvent country succumbs to the temptations of "wealth redistribution" (there is a reason after all why these uber-rich masters of the universe are seeking to park their capital abroad), that anything that is not airliftable may and will either be nationalized, or simply taxed to death.
That and of course, the question of why buy now when they can just wait for one more year and buy at 30% off. Or perhaps Spain hopes that like the ECB, these Chinese and Russian billionaires amassed their wealth by buying high... and holding to maturity.