House Hunter: 'I've had enough of the UK weather'

Bill Bridges and his wife Peta live in Canterbury but have had enough of the UK. They want to retire to Spain and they are looking for a property with a budget of about £100,000
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"We've been thinking hard about moving to Spain for a long time. With the economic climate and the weather, we've just about had enough. I want to retire over there but I'd like to still do a little something and my wife is very interested in alternative therapies and she hopes to do something with that.

"We've been thinking hard about moving to Spain for a long time. With the economic climate and the weather, we've just about had enough. I want to retire over there but I'd like to still do a little something and my wife is very interested in alternative therapies and she hopes to do something with that.

"Our house is not on the market yet, but an agent has told us that it will sell very quickly. We're attracted to Spain by the weather and the pace of life over there. Here, I start work very early and by the time I get home it's late and I fall asleep, so I've got to get out of this life.

"We've been to the Costa Blanca and the Costa Brava before and found that they were both building sites, so we're planning to look in Almeria, where we haven't been before. We're really very open about what sort of property to buy. There's only the two of us, plus our three chihuahuas, so a small villa or an apartment would suit us as long as it's not on a huge development. We'd like to be able to see the mountains but it would be nice to be near a golf course. I don't get the time to play here, but I will out there in Spain."

SIMON'S ADVICE

"Bill's story is a typical one. The UK traffic is getting to people and they are worried about their pensions not being as much as they anticipated.

"As for area, Almeria is hotter than the Costa Blanca in the summer and has the same sunny, mild winters. Most residents get away from the summer heat and either rent out their homes or let friends and relatives stay there, which is something I enjoy doing as it's nice to improve other people's lives by giving them some time in the sun. The area is also less built up and people find it is very unspoilt with clean, fine beaches all along the coastline. People who like this area tend to be those who prefer a quieter life and who want to escape the bucket-and-spade brigade and, if you like, we can find you a house right up a mountain. This time of year the area is very beautiful, with almond blossom everywhere.

"As for Bill and Peta's dogs, as part of our after-sales service we regularly put people in touch with English-speaking vets. Pets are very important to people, particularly in the later stages of their lives, and there is no problem taking good care of them here. People worry that they'll miss their families but they often find that they see more of them when they move out of the country. And grandchildren will thank them for buying a house somewhere warm and with a swimming pool.

"There are often more concerns from women coming out to Spain, but they can be sure that they'll meet many others in the same boat. Most socialising is done outside in the open air so it's easier to make new friends and couples normally find that they discover new interests and hobbies together.

"Few people return to the UK but, because prices have risen so steeply here, if they do want to go back then they won't have burnt their bridges."

Simon Lambert is MD of Parador Properties, 01737 770137

THREE PROPERTIES FOR BILL AND PETA TO VIEW

Property two: Marina de la Torre
Price: €136,480
Agent: Parador Properties, 00 34 968 152 502
Agent's details: This popular development built by Invercon Regia has just a few remaining two- and three-bedroom hillside apartments with views to the sea at Mojacar Playa. These are modern apartments and are all a short walk from the beach and an excellent golf course. Each has a front terrace leading to a spacious living/dining area, and the separate kitchen also has access to a utility area. The three bedrooms have fitted wardrobes and the apartment has a good-sized family bathroom.The complex boasts two swimming pools and underground parking facilities.

Property one: Aqua Nueva, near Turre
Price: Two-bedroom villas from €161,494
Agent: Parador Properties, 01737 770137
Agent's details: Traditional Andalucian-style development built by Mar y Casas. There is a selection of styles for these two- and three-bedroom detached villas with a minimum plot size of 400sqm, generally consisting of a large sitting room/dining area with access to sun terraces, and a fully fitted kitchen. Bedrooms have fitted wardrobes. The development is within easy walking distance of Turre, which has all local amenities. This area is popular with golfers, and has four superb golf courses nearby.

Property three: Aguila Del Mar
Price: From €106,217
Agent: VentaCenter, 00 34 965 323 010
Agent's details: This complex of two- and three-bedroom low-rise apartments is 3km from Aguila, near Cala Bardina beach. They include fitted wardrobes, bathroom, kitchen and separate utility area. Living/dining area leads to terrace and communal swimming pool and gardens.

BILL'S VERDICT

"We've now visited the area and, although we didn't buy any of the above properties, we bought on Las Ramblas Golf, a development we'd seen on an earlier visit, on the border between Costa Blanca and Almeria. We've bought a three-bedroom, two bathroom apartment on the second floor of a three-storey block, which is set on a beautiful golf course. Best of all, it's only about 15 minutes away from San Pedro, which is a very Spanish town. Peta is very excited now that we've actually found somewhere and we are putting our house in the UK on the market soon."

If you would like House Hunter's help, write to House Hunter, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail househunter@independent.co.uk

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