One of the SPR workouts. | Sarah Forge

0

Project New House is coming along surprisingly well. The plumbing has been replaced, the rewiring is complete, and air-conditioning is being installed as we speak. Once we’ve laid down the flooring, slathered on a few layers of plaster, and fitted the kitchen and bathroom - a lick of paint and she’ll be good to go. And then what?

It’s a fine question. Given the way property prices are going, it has crossed my mind to put the apartment straight back on the sales market. While 2020 brought the Spanish real estate market to an abrupt halt, 2021 has seen a striking reactivation - not least in the Balearics. Figures from the National Statistics Institute (INE) show that Balearic house prices increased 5.7% in the second quarter of this year, versus 3.3% for Spain as a whole.

Real estate consultancy Colliers expects this upward trend to continue into 2022, with strong demand producing price increases of between 5% and 10% next year.
Like you would imagine, ‘foreigners’ are behind much of this momentum. As restrictions lifted and freedom of movement returned, overseas buyers were able to re-enter the market and stimulate those prices. The Balearics carry the greatest weight of home purchases by foreigners - 34.3% of all sales according to idealista.com - with Germans outweighing Brits for the first time. (Blame Brexit.)

To compound the issue further, the Balearics have a supply-demand dilemma due to a worrying shortage of housing - particularly of the affordable variety. The obvious solution is to build more but, as we discussed in a previous column, construction materials are rocketing in price. This could lead to an average increase of 22% (or more) to the price of a new build. Only the luxury sector can comfortably absorb these kinds of hikes. In short, my freshly-refurbished apartment could fly off the shelves at a tidy profit.

The long-term investment approach would of course be to rent it, and poc a poc pay off the mortgage. Rental prices are also on the up in Mallorca and, same story, supply seems to fall short of demand. A quick scout of idealista.com shows comparable three beds in the Club Náutico area of Santa Ponsa renting for 1,200 to 1,300 euros per month - not to be sniffed at.

Meanwhile, thanks to increased fuel and food prices, the Consumer Price Index currently stands at 5.6%. And, with most landlords pegging their rentals accordingly, those average rental prices could go up 70-odd euros per month next year. If you’re on a tight budget, none of this is easy to swallow.

Project New Body

Talking about easy to swallow, Project New Body is, dare I say it, getting a tad gruelling. Today marks day 61 out of 75 and the devil has taken up residence on my shoulder, trying to lead me into temptation. I am placing the blame squarely on the weather.

Six Pack Revolution Recipe Book.

When I started The Six Pack Revolution in October, the air was warm, the sun didn’t set until around 19:30, and I was full of beginners’ beans to get the workouts and the meal prep done. Then, a few weeks into a chilly, dark, rain-soaked November, I switched into the Xtreme group and had to up my sporty game at the exact same moment the sofa was begging me to stay.

Now, we find ourselves in December, and I am having to cram in daily push-ups, daily glute exercises, alternate-day ab exercises, thrice-weekly workout challenges, on top of food-planning and life in general. It sure takes dedication.

I also find myself on the receiving end of a constant barrage of, “you should be enjoying yourself”, “it’s nearly Christmas”, “life’s too short to say ‘no’ to a nice glass of red”… and so on. If I’m feeling strong, the comments don’t touch the sides, I stick to the plan and the path. If I’m feeling weak, the little devil whispers in my ear, “Sarah, they’re right, eat the cake”.

The one thing I have in my favour is that I am a stubborn individual. I always conclude what I start and will cross that finish line come hell or high water. I’ll stand my ground, even if the only people standing with me are my awesome teammates in The Six Pack Revolution. So, just a fortnight more and I’m done.

Recipe from The Six Pack Revolution.

To end on a superbly positive note, my health mission hasn’t gone unnoticed. Due to The Six Pack Revolution’s incredible success rate in turning around people’s mental and physical fitness, curiosity has been piqued in all directions.

A 70-something-year-old patient at my husband’s dental practice has purchased a copy of the official Eat Your Way to a Six Pack recipe book. She’s keen to try some of the meals (chicken madras with quinoa, jerk salmon with griddled vegetables, monkfish vindaloo skewers…) before she commits to signing up for the whole shooting match.

A 30-something private jet pilot pal of mine is trying to work out if she can make The Six Pack Revolution fit around her busy multi-national flight schedule. While a 50-something Facebook pal of mine has taken it one step further and handed over his readies in time for the next wave that kicks off in January - the best time of year to wipe the slate clean and start as you mean to go on.

If we’ve learned anything in these last two rollercoaster years, it’s that physical activity and healthy food choices can only be beneficial when it comes to reinforcing our natural immunity and viral defences.

I am sure my GP will be happy when I do my annual MOT. Almost three months off booze and naughty food will have undoubtedly done me, and my cholesterol levels, a world of good.