Wealthy Russians are heading to Spain
Investors looking for Spanish property will be pleased to see that tourism in the country is experiencing a boost from Russia. The Agence France Presse reported that the Eastern Europeans are heading to Spain in their droves, drawn by the sandy beaches, hot climate, history and culture the country can offer.
Roman Gavrilenko, a 26-year-old elementary school psychologist from Murom in western Russia, who visited the country, told the news provider: "People are very friendly. The Sagrada Familia was really, really impressive. It was psychedelic, it made my head spin."
With the number of visitors from Russia surpassing one million last year for the first time - a 39.8 per cent increase from 2011 - there are countless opportunities for investors to capitalise on this increased footfall in key holiday let areas. With property prices continuing to fall and a cash market emerging, conditions are ripe for buyers with money and good credit.
However, it isn't just the lure of the Spanish coast that is attracting Russians to the country. In the former Soviet Union, the expanding middle class is developing an appetite for foreign travel. The Arab Spring has dented the interest in popular holiday destinations such as Egypt and Tunisia for many, to Spain's advantage.
"During the Soviet era very few Russians had the privilege of travelling abroad. When Russia opened up to the world, Russians did not have any experience of travel and Spain was one of the countries that was most active in trying to capture clients," Mr Gavrilenko said.
Research from the Malaga Developer's Association has also noted an increase in the number of Russians buying property in Spain. In fact, they are now the second largest group of investors, overtaking Germans. While the British continue to be the most active in the country, Russians are increasingly entering the market and are coming with plenty of fire power - financially speaking.
The extent to which Russians are increasing their presence in Spain can be seen by the fact that plans are now in place to build the largest Russian Orthodox Church in Spain ten kilometres to the west of Marbella.