Capital gains tax dodge complicates Spanish property picture

01 May 2007
The practice of buying homes in Spain using cash 'under the counter' in order to evade capital gains tax has made it harder to work out what is happening to house prices, a financial expert has told the Scotsman.

Last week, analysts warned of a crash as the share prices of Spanish property developers plummeted.

But so few houses are now being sold and so many have been sold without full price disclosure that it is difficult to monitor changes in the market, Mike Boles, director at Savill's international division, told the paper.

And the plot thickens, added Stuart Law, managing director of property site Assetz news.

The reduction in the proportion of transactions which successfully avoid capital gains tax has actually distorted the figures on falling house prices, he claims.

Mr Law believes that house prices have not fallen as much as they appear to have.

There is simply more accurate pricing information than two years ago thanks to legal pressures reducing 'black money' transactions, he argues.

His position, however, remains a minority one – and most commentators continue to predict a crash.

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