Brits ditch Spanish dream: 90,000 left Spain last year

AOL Travel

More than 90,000 Britons left their 'dream homes' in Spain last year as the effects of the eurozone crisis, the large property slump and difficult job market took their toll. It's becoming increasingly clear that the Spanish dream has become more of a nightmare.

Town hall registers across the country showed a 23 per cent drop in Brits from 385, 179 on 1 January last year, to 297,229 at the end of December 2013.

These figures from the National Institute of Statistics show that almost a quarter of Brits registered with local councils in Spain packed up and left their dream behind.

Maura Hillen, the chairman of AUAN, a pressure group based in Almeria province that campaigns for the rights of British home owners caught up in a property scandal, told the Daily Telegraph: "Many people no longer wish to stay in Spain because of the never-ending fight to legalise their properties.

"There is a wider trend of Britons leaving. People who retired out here in their 50s and 60s have seen their circumstances change. Advancing age, losing a partner, and the rise in the cost of living make life here less attractive."

The new figures come as a separate study showed that moving to sunnier climes doesn't always mean you'll be happier.

The University of Leicester looked at 256 migrants from Switzerland, Germany, France, Netherlands, and the UK who relocated to Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus for a new life - and found they were not as happy.

Asked how happy they were on a scale of one to 10, the migrants scored 7.3.

In comparison, 56,000 people who stayed in the northern countries scored an overall 7.5 out of 10 for happiness.

And, according to the Daily Mail, the gap was even higher for Brits with ex-pats four per cent less happy than those at home.

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