Gran Canaria has long attracted British buyers but now Italians are moving in.







  • retirement village A development that is a ‘retirement village‘ covered by the Retirement Villages Act 1986 is a community where: most residents are 55 years or older or are retired from full-time employment (or are spouses/partners of such people)
  • expat – a person who lives outside their native country
  • disposition – a person’s inherent qualities of mind and character
  • to kick in – come into effect or operation
  • to void sth – declare that (something) is not valid or legally binding
  • privilege – a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group
  • reciprocal – (of an agreement or obligation) bearing on or binding each of two parties equally
  • safety net – a safeguard against possible hardship or adversity
  • pensioner – a person who receives a pension, especially the retirement pension
  • to spring upto start to exist suddenly
  • abandoned – having been deserted or left
  • laced with – given (something) a large amount or degree of a feature or quality
  • anxiety – a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome
  • to shoot oneself in the foot – inadvertently make a situation worse for oneself
  • to spell sth out – explain something in detail

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Practice Makes Perfect

FIND THE WORD: Use the words below to fill in the gaps. Go to Financial Times to find out more.

You never have to go far for a decent 1.________ in Gran Canaria. The Spanish island’s low corporation tax — most businesses only pay 4 per cent — and its reliable tourist flow has lured a steady trickle of Italian emigrant restaurateurs over the years.
Since Italy’s economy hit the buffers — quarterly GDP growth has passed 0.4 per cent only twice since the end of 2011 — this trickle has turned into a 2.________. In 2016 Italians overtook the British as the largest group of overseas buyers on the island, according to Spanish Land Registry data.


They are not the only ones. Recently, Calvo has noticed a growing number of Italian retirees among his restaurant 3.________. Pension reforms in Italy in 2011 removed the indexation of pensions to inflation for those above a certain level of income. The fact that 4._________ are generally cheaper in Gran Canaria than in Italy has only added to the 5.________. “They tell me they can save €1,000 per month on rent by moving out here.”
Historically, international buyers favoured the resort towns in Gran Canaria’s south — Playa del Inglés, Maspalomas and Puerto de Mogán — says Calvo. “The weather is more reliable, the homes are better set up for second-home owners and retirees — many 6.________ swimming pools — and you can get away without speaking Spanish.” Tranio, the European property website, is selling a five-bedroom villa by the golf 7.________ in Maspalomas for €1.05m.
Across the Canary Islands, Italians make up 23 per cent of foreign buyers, compared with 17 per cent from the UK and 13 per cent from Germany. The latter have long favoured Tenerife, as its 8.________ population, lush green landscape and favourable weather make it a popular choice for second-home buyers, says Gil, who grew up on the island.
Germans are so 9.________ in Puerto de la Cruz that the town has been twinned with Düsseldorf. Tenerife Broker is selling a five-bedroom villa in Puerto de la Cruz for €3.8m. To the south of the island, Inmobiliara Laguna Sur is selling a three-bedroom villa for €1.999m. 
Foreign buyers 10.________ for a much bigger share of sales in the 11.________ of Tenerife, Santa Cruz, than in Gran Canaria’s capital. This is largely because of the large domestic population that has grown up around Las Palmas’s bustling port, a stopping point between Europe, Africa and America.
Foreign demand did little to support either market following the financial crisis. Average prices 12.________ 35 per cent in Las Palmas province between the 2007 13.________ and the subsequent low point; those in Santa Cruz de Tenerife lost 41 per cent (the average drop across Spain’s largest 50 cities was 37 per cent), according to Idealista. 
However, agents say oversized foreign demand has been 14.________ in 15.________ the recovery. Since the second quarter of 2015 the average sale price in Las Palmas has gained 21 per cent, while Spain’s largest 50 cities have gained an 16.________ 16 per cent. The gap is widening, too: in the year to June, the Canary Islands rose 13 per cent, compared with a 17.________ of 8 per cent for Spain as a whole.
In both cases, strong 18.________ from foreign buyers and sluggish levels of building are helping inflate prices, says Idealista’s founder and chairman Jesús Encinar. “Most Spanish developers went 19.________ following the financial crisis,” he says. Trying to avoid a repeat of the housing 20.________, many city authorities have been tight-fisted with new permits. For the time being, this is helping the islands enjoy their time in the sun.

Answers:1. pizza   2. stream   3. patrons   4. rents   5. appeal   6. feature   7. course   8. sparser   9. numerous

10. account   11. capital   12. fell   13. peak   14. instrumental   15. fueling   16. average   17. rise   18. demand

19. bankrupt   20. bubble