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The London Spanish Film Festival is returning to the capital from 25 September to 5 October. Now in its 10th year, it will be offering 10 days filled with a wealth of Spanish film screenings, Q&As with actors and filmmakers, as well as a variety of talks and presentations. Organised by Tristana Media in collaboration with the Institut Français, the Cultural Office of the Spanish Embassy and the Instituto Cervantes, the festival will take place at the Ciné Lumière and Instituto Cervantes.

Opening with the delightful comedy Tres bodas de más and Sánchez Arévalo’s latest comedy-drama, La gran familia Española, the festival has a wide offering which aims to astonish, educate and entertain audiences.

Tres bodas de más Trailer from Tristana Media on Vimeo.

Among the catalogue of films through the 10 day festival lies an assortment of cinematic classics. A special feature on one of Spain’s most renowned filmmakers, Vicente Aranda, will open with the Prada Brother’s documentary, Vicente Aranda: 50 años de cine. There will be an exploration of some of the most important films of his career followed by an exclusive interview with him.

The films vary in genre and cover a broad scope of Spanish destinations to offer a glimpse of every-day life in Spain, as well as showcasing the current and future situation of Spanish cinema. The ‘Catalan Window’ will showcase the talent and craft of Catalonia’s film industry through a selection of films including producer Lluis Miñarros’s first feature film, Stella Cadente and the tense thriller, Purgatorio by Pau Teixidor. Basque cinema will also be celebrated via the screening of Álex de la Iglesia’s Las brujas de Zugarramurdi and three short films from American filmmakers Orson Welles and Cyrus Sutton.

The London Spanish Film Festival will end with a classic treasure from the archives, La vida en un hilo, a comedy by Edgar Neville, featuring one of Spain’s most popular actresses of the 1940’s and ‘50’s, Conchita Montes.

Spain’s economy has been looking up of late, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) adjusting its growth forecast from 0.6% to 1.2% for 2014. James Daniel, head of the IMF’s mission to Spain, explained recently,

“The economy has turned the corner, recovery is on the right track and the outlook is better than it was a year ago thanks to society’s efforts and adopted measures.”

Longer-term, the IMF is projecting steady growth as far ahead as 2019, by which time the rate should reach a comfortable 2.0%.

With the Spanish economy turning the corner, the news on the housing market from Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) is also positive. The INE data shows that Spanish house prices have begun to rise, increasing 0.15% during Q2 2014. The figures also highlight a boom in residential property transactions, which increased by 48% during Q1 2014, compared with a year earlier.

The improving economic picture, along with Spain’s continuing popularity as a tourist destination, are leading many second home buyers to see now as the perfect time to invest in their dream Spanish property.

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of leading Spanish developer Taylor Wimpey España, comments,

“Spain has long been a popular second home destination for buyers from across Europe and the Balearic Islands in particular have seen significant investment from those looking to purchase the ideal holiday home in the sunshine.

“While Spain has an abundance of beautiful locations from which to choose, the island of Mallorca remains a firm favourite thanks to its stunning beaches, vibrant capital city and wonderfully cosmopolitan lifestyle.”

Indeed these magnetic draws have once again made the Iberian country a hit with tourists this year, with a record-breaking 28 million visiting during the first half of 2014. The figure, reported by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, represents an increase of 7.3% over the same period in 2013. In June alone, over 6.5 million international tourists visited Spain, some 4.5% above the same month a year earlier and another record-breaker.

The good news looks set to continue further into the summer, with the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism predicting that Spain will receive some 22.7 million international tourists during the third quarter of 2014, with projected spending in excess of €23 million.

Data from Ibestat also confirms Mallorca’s popularity with tourists, with almost 9.5 million visiting the island during 2013. Many visitors use the opportunity to consider the local property market, which includes gems such as Taylor Wimpey España’s Cala Magrana III development.

Cala Magrana III is the epitome of luxurious island living, with two bedroom apartments starting at just €230,000. The apartments afford delightful views out over the sparkling sea, while peaceful sandy beaches, hidden coves and crystal clear waters just wait to be discovered. A generously proportioned swimming pool complements the beautifully designed properties with their spacious terraces.

With Spain’s housing market once more on the move and with positive economic growth predicted for at least the next five years, it seems that the time is ripe for those looking to pick up their perfect second home in the sunshine.

For more information please contact Taylor Wimpey España today on 08000 121 020 or visit www.taylorwimpeyspain.com. Those residing outside of the UK should call 0034 971 70 69 72.

The prestigious Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) is now a major date on the international yachting calendar and competing teams include America’s Cup participants.

From 2 – 9 August , a week of frantic activity will begin both on land and on the acclaimed racing area of the bay of Palma, where more than a hundred boats will compete for the glory of the 33rd Copa del Rey MAPFRE.

King Juan Carlos I of Spain is a former competitor and won the trophy twice in the nineties while skippering Jose Cusi’s Rogue. The King now regularly attends as a spectator with an entourage of Spanish royalty, as well as a number of local worthies including the Mayor of Palma and the President of the Balearic Islands. The Real Club Náutico de Palma (Royal Nautical Club) has been hosting the event since its birth in 1982 and has proved itself to be one of the Mediterranean’s premier yacht clubs.

The Copa del Rey has been a success for three decades and is regarded at one of the key high summer regattas in the Mediterranean. The Real Club Náutico de Palma hosts many top international regattas from Olympic dinghy classes to Maxi yachts.

New research has revealed that more than 6 million UK adults are planning to head overseas when they retire, with Spain’s sunny shores emerging as their destination of choice. The poll from MGM Advantage identified some 3.2 million adults looking to leave the UK in order to retire to European destinations, with Spain garnering 26% of the vote and topping the list of preferred destinations.

Spain has long been popular with Brits looking to pick up a holiday home in the sunshine and for many families the property also acts as the bolt hole to which they plan to retire. The gentle climate, delicious cuisine and stunning coastal scenery of Spain have proven a consistent draw to UK holidaymakers and those in their golden years.

Andalucia, in particular, attracts tourists and retirees in their droves. The southern Spanish region, which is home to the perennially popular Costa del Sol, attracted some 7.9 million international visitors during 2013, up 4% on the previous year, according to Anadalucia.com. The site reports that 26% visited for the climate, 17% for cultural reasons and 15% for the beach.

Taylor Wimpey España, the Spanish arm of prestigious UK homebuilder Taylor Wimpey, is extremely familiar with the British fondness for the Iberian country. Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director for the firm, comments,

“Our buyers are looking for high spec properties in Spain’s most popular areas. The relaxed pace of life in Spain, together with the weather and the wonderful culture, combine to create the perfect destination.

“For many of our buyers, retirement to Spain is the ultimate goal when purchasing their property. They want to use it for holidays with family and friends while they are still working, then move into it permanently to enjoy their golden years.”

Such buyers have a clear vision in mind of the property they want, which has helped to shape Taylor Wimpey España’s offerings over the years. Developments consist of Mediterranean style buildings that blend delightfully with their surroundings in areas of outstanding natural beauty.

La Floresta Sur in Elvira, Marbella, is the perfect example. The exclusive development offers two and three bedroom apartments as well as penthouses from just €178,000. The apartments benefit from both sea and mountain views in a UNESCO natural biosphere reserve and are surrounded by the region’s lush and peaceful pine forest. They are located close to Elvira’s stunning beach, while the resort also offers two communal pools. Large gardens and terraces make them ideal for outdoor entertainment and enjoyment of the wonderful Spanish climate.

As the UK remains Spain’s largest inbound tourism market, with UK visitors accounting for 27.6% of total arrivals during May 2014 based on Ministry of Industry, Energy & Tourism data, demand for second homes there remains strong. Key-ready properties are extremely popular, such as the delightfully appointed apartments at Brisas de Alenda Golf in Elche, on the Costa Blanca. The private complex comprises beautiful three bedroom townhouses that are perfectly located for those looking to hone their golfing skills during their holidays and on into their retirement. Priced from only €145,000 for the split level houses with private gardens, and just 15 minutes from the beach, the development is understandably popular with British buyers.

As the cost of retirement in the UK seems to rise inexorably, with a 2013 study by retirement specialist LV showing that Brits need some £225,756 in their pension pot to enjoy a typical 17 year retirement fully, it is clear to see why the lower cost of living in Spain, as well as the country’s countless other charms, is leading to so many UK adults planning their retirement overseas.

For more information please contact Taylor Wimpey España today on 08000 121 020 or visit www.taylorwimpeyspain.com. Those residing outside of the UK should call 0034 971 70 69 72.

The residential property market in Spain is set to bottom out next year and see a 2% rise in prices in 2016, according to ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.

It is well documented that the fall in prices has been slowing in recent months and the agency is predicting that prices will fall overall by 2% this year compared with 4.6% in 2013.

Property prices in Spain have fallen around 30% since the economic downturn hit the country’s real estate markets in 2008.

S&P says that the positive outlook for the property market is down to a faster than expected recovery of the Spanish economy and a subsequent quicker fall in unemployment.

According to the Spanish Central Bank the country’s economy grew by 0.5% in the second quarter of 2014, the fastest rate in six years, and the latest job figures show that 192,000 people had joined the country’s workforce in the 12 months to the end of June.

Experts say there has been a change in trends in the Spanish property market in the last 12 months with the arrival of British and US property funds who are taking advantage of the offers in the Spanish property market.

But the market is unlikely to recover everywhere at the same pace. It is predicted that properties on the coast, including areas popular with second home owners, will see prices rise first.

However, according to S&P the long term recovery of the property market could be kept on a leash by the high number of properties on the market in Spain and the country’s population decline could also put a brake on the long awaited recovery.

S&P said in January that Spain’s housing market was overvalued by somewhere in the region of 12% to 20%. According to Mark Stucklin of Spanish Property Insight, Standard & Poor’s is a bit more pessimistic than other agencies, who believe a recovery may begin as early as 2015.

Several reports in recent weeks have spotlighted the slowdown in the price declines, prompting different analysts to predict the bottom of the market may be nearer.