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BUSINESS

Why you’ll soon be able to set up a company in Spain with just €1 rather than €3,000

The Spanish government has approved a new draft law that will allow companies to start up with just €1 and for the process to be carried out quickly and entirely online.

Why you'll soon be able to set up a company in Spain with just €1 rather than €3,000
How you can start a business in Spain for just €1. Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

Currently, you must have to have a minimum of €3,000 to form a Limited Company in Spain, but if passed, the new bill will require you to only have €1, allowing the process to be completed electronically in just 10 days.

By doing this, the law includes measures to diversify sources of financing and promote non-bank financing, on which the majority of companies depend.

The bill’s main objective is to remove obstacles in the creation of companies in Spain.

The draft bill also looks at expanding activities for which you won’t need to obtain a license and promotes the use of electronic invoicing between companies and the self-employed, which will contribute to the digitisation of business activities.

Another aspect that the bill covers are ways to support financing for business growth, such as venture capital and crowdfunding platforms.

The Vice President and Minister of Economy and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, has indicated that this is one of the “most important” structural reforms of the Recovery and Resilience Plan which Spain submitted to the EU, and is aimed at “improving the performance and productivity of companies, as well as job creation “.

Defaults are one of the main problems that threaten business solvency for many Spanish companies because invoices are often not paid by the maximum legal term of 60 days. This problem particularly affects the self-employed, who allow large companies to take much longer to pay invoices for fear of losing more work or damaging relationships in the future.

For this reason, they do not usually demand legal compensations such as recovery costs or indemnities, even though it puts pressure on their margins.

To combat the wide non-compliance with this maximum period between companies, the new bill also suggests an incentive system for meeting payment deadlines and implementing electronic invoicing.

Together with the Startups Law and digital nomad visa, which the government also recently proposed, it aims to promote entrepreneurship and tackle the problems faced by Spanish companies, which makes it difficult for them to grow, go international or restructure debt.

READ ALSO: Tax cuts and special visas: Spain’s new law to attract foreign startups and digital nomads

Spain ranks only number 30 out of 190 in the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ report in terms of business climate, behind many other EU countries.  

The bill is expected to reach the Congress of Deputies at the end of this year and if passed, will come into force in 2022.

COMPARE: Could Spain become the best country in the EU for digital nomads?

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PROPERTY

EXPLAINED: Will Swedish housing prices plummet as interest rates rise?

The Swedish financial supervisory authority warned on Wednesday that rising interest rates could lead to house prices falling "quite sharply". How likely is it that this will happen?

EXPLAINED: Will Swedish housing prices plummet as interest rates rise?

What financial circumstances might make it difficult for borrowers to repay loans?

With an increase in the cost of living, including rising interest rates and rising electricity prices, there are plenty of circumstances that may make it difficult for borrowers – especially those holding large debts in relation to their income – to repay their mortgages.

Households with large debts are therefore more sensitive to an increase in interest rates, according to the Swedish financial supervisory authority, known in Swedish as Finansinspektionen (FI).

The agency published its annual Swedish Mortgage Market report on Wednesday.

“Large debts also mean a higher sensitivity if you were to suffer unemployment during an extensive recession,” said Henrik Braconier, the authority’s chief economist.

Other factors that could stretch borrowers’ finances include rising energy prices, higher food prices, and growing inflation.

“Apples, oranges, tomatoes have gone up by 30 percent,” said Américo Fernández, a household economist at SEB. “Wheat is coming from Ukraine and it’s getting harder and harder to get hold of.”

READ ALSO: 

Will homeowners become unable to repay their mortgage loans?

Not according to Fernández.

“One of the last things Swedish households will fail to make their payments on is their mortgage and their houses,” he said. “They would rather decrease their spending on vacations abroad, or restaurants.”

The FI report noted that most new mortgages include margins that allow for fluctuations in the borrower’s finances. This means that mortgage holders have a cushion that allows them to handle financial changes.

“Our stress test shows that they can handle increases in the interest rate and also loss of income,” said Magnus Karlsson, FI’s director of macroanalysis. “New mortgages have margins in them calculating discretionary income, and will be able to absorb increases in interest rates and loss of income.”

SEB foresees an interest rise of up to three percent over the next two years, Fernández said,an increase that can be absorbed by most households.

Both Fernández and Karlsson agreed that if homeowners have to cut back on spending, those cuts will not come from debt repayment, but from their disposable income – the money they might ordinarily spend on entertainment, eating out, or travelling.

So while household spending may have to change, financial stability is not at stake for most households.

What’s going on with the housing market?

Right now, a record number of mortgage-holders have loans that are worth more than 4.5 times their income. This year, more than 14 percent of new mortgagors took on such large loans, compared to 6.3 percent last year.

A “low interest rate, increase in housing prices, increase in disposable real income and a housing market that is not functioning well” are all factors in the large debts that homeowners have incurred today, Karlsson argued.

Fernández noted that there is an imbalance between the low supply of housing and the high demand for housing, which is in part responsible for the high housing prices we see today.

He said a decrease in price of a few percentage points would not be surprising: “We’re coming from two years of exaggerated prices.”

Will housing prices begin to decrease after two years of increasing prices?

Calculations for three different scenarios tested by FI show that housing prices will decrease, Karlsson said.

While the agency does not predict housing prices, its report shows that under three different scenarios – the first an increase in mortgage interest rate, the second an increase in energy prices, and the third a combination of the first two with a reversal to pre-pandemic housing preferences – prices will decrease.

The Local Sweden reported last year about increasing housing costs in Sweden, spurred on in part by a desire for bigger homes further away from urban areas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fernández called the two years of increasing housing costs “surprising.”

“10-12 percent two years in a row, that’s historical in these uncertain times,” he said, noting that prices were still increasing in figures for March this year.

What sorts of housing will see the largest price decrease?

The FI report also included various scenarios of how the price of different types of housing may fluctuate based on changes in the interest rate.

One scenario assumed a 1 percent increase in interest rates this year and a 0.5 percent increase next year, and predicted that while the price of apartments owned in a cooperative – called bostadsrätter – would fall only slightly, the price of detached houses would fall by 10 percent.

Another calculation that accounted for rising electricity prices and a decline in new housing purchases found that the price of bostadsrätter and detached houses risked falling by an average of 30 percent.

Is there a plan to let borrowers end their mortgage terms early?

“We believe it needs to be simpler and more inexpensive for households to repay their mortgages early,” FI Director General Erik Thedéen is quoted as saying in a press release published by the agency on Wednesday.

To that end, Thedéen said at a press conference that the agency had sent a request to the government to change the calculation model for how banks are compensated when mortgages are terminated early.

“When you terminate a loan agreement and the bank incurs costs, it must be reimbursed,” Thedéen said. “But at present the banks are overcompensated, that is what our calculations show. If the government follows our line and changes the model and follows our line, then the banks must simply adapt.”

When asked about the likelihood of this request being granted, FI recommended reaching out to the Ministry of Justice for comment.

What does this mean for foreigners in Sweden?

If you’re already a mortgage holder, then as Karlsson and Fernández assured, mortgage calculations include a cushion that allow for changes in your financial circumstances.

If homeownership is in your future, housing prices may begin to decrease in the near future, so it’s worth keeping an eye on your local real estate listings.

By Shandana Mufti

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