Over the last few years the numbers of Americans deciding to leave the USA and move to a different country has grown massively. The Great Escape was stimulated by the Orange Sh*tgibbon but has shown no signs of letting up. We thought it was time to let you know why Americans choose to move to Valencia, specifically Valencia as opposed to Spain in general.
We had our own ideas of course after chatting with so many USA based clients over the last few years but also we sent out the Batsignal to our clients and asked them what it was specifically that made them choose Valencia and we have looked in a few online forums about what others were saying about Valencia. What are the reasons that made Valencia the choice for them?
In this post we are putting general points that lots of people seem to agree on and also quotes from our clients who sent us a response to this question and as usual the responses were considered, thoughtful and even eye-opening as to how people from the States (And the odd Canadian) see Valencia.
The Political Situation
Getting away from Trump, MAGAs, Gun Nuts and religious zealots along with dislike of the way the Supreme Court is going, maniacs like Marjorie Taylor-Green who make Sarah Palin look sane and any number of angry situations that can be inflamed at any moment and someone always has a gun! That's why.
America is viewed as dangerous now even by Americans, the rest of the World has known it for decades. It's as if the Goldfish have realised they are in a bowl suddenly and life doesn't have to be that way. Want to argue with me on this? Then realise that there is a Democrats Abroad organisation in Valencia but no Republicans/Maga Nutjobs Abroad. The sane escape*.
(*And for those saying you will lose potential clients by alienating the MAGA nutjobs I say, I don't care. Just in the same way as we don't want Brexit supporting idiots then we don't want MAGAs.)
The Realisation That Things Can Be Better Elsewhere
Americans always used to say that the USA was the best country in the World.
Then they discovered passports!
The realisation that things can be different, that you can live in places without owning a car, that things can be older than you are and be wonderful and that a different type of urban planning has always been there and available can be an eye opener for the American who does fifteen countries in fourteen days to do Europe. However with the ease of finding out information now on the internet the process of realisation has been sped up. People don't need to do Europe in a week on their short holidays to make the realisation now. However when they get here they are often bowled over when they see that the lies they have been fed for years are just that, lies.
The Value of the Dollar
The Dollar is the World's reserve currency still and the reaction to the Pandemic and issues that came with it has been to strengthen the dollar massively against most currencies in the World. It had been drifting for many years before but the dollar is now almost the Gold Standard in FIAT currencies again. The strengthening of the dollar by around 20% since the start of 2021 against the Euro and other currencies has made everything here seem cheaper, from the purchase of a property to everyday costs. Despite rising prices worldwide Americans have been sheltered from those rises when moving to Europe by this strong dollar.
The 15 Minute City
Valencia is seen as one of the major advocates of the 15 minute city concept first thought of in Paris. This idea that you should have everything to hand within 15 minutes of where you live is gaining popularity around the World and benefitting smaller cities that are just big enough to have all the facilities you may want while at the same time not being too big or overwhelming like the megacities around the World.
The concept of the 15 minute city is that everything you might need is located within a fifteen minute walk or bike ride (Sometimes public transport is included in the definition). That should include things like leisure, parks and entertainment as well as supermarkets, shops, cafes, and other amentities. Valencia is a brilliant 15 minute city and this concept of everything being to hand in your neighborhood is something that is hard-wired into the city and more importantly the town planners. Valencia has often been described as a collection of small villages within a city and this can be seen in "barrios" throughout the city and in the concept that brought us the riverbed park running through the city which is something the people of Valencia chose for themselves remember.
The Strategic Position
North Americans often mention wanting a base to explore Europe and Valencia being a Mediterranean city with excellent communications and the ease of getting to anywhere else be it by plane, fast train, road or even boat make Valencia attractive for those looking at a base within Europe while having quality of life at the same time and importantly not having to leave the city but having the opportunity to do so if wanted.
The World Health Organisation describes the climate of the Valencia region as being one of the best in the World in terms of health benefits. This is important for so many North American clients as it is neither too hot in summer nor cold in winter and without the extremes of weather that can make a climate unbearable. No hurricanes, no massive droughts in the area and a perfect climate for growing many crops meaning abundance of fresh produce all the year round. The WHO have got it about right.
The Ease of Life
Life is quieter in Valencia than in most places in the States. We don't have that rush to do everything right now. It takes time to get used to that for many people but the more relaxed pace of life is something that people come to appreciate very quickly. Elli's answer below was not specifically about Valencia but was about Spain in general. And yes, when you come from New York the pace of life is a lot slower and you can stand for a moment on the pavement without someone telling you to "get out of the way a***hole"
People Work to Live
Work isn't seen as the be-all and end-all of life. People get paid for doing a job and when their day is over they don't put in an extra five hours "to please the boss" with an eye on promotion further down the line in some mythical future a couple of decades away. People here prefer to leave work in order to spend those extra hours with their families and friends. None of that two weeks maximum holiday here, it's six weeks plus national holidays, Saints Days and bridges between holidays. People don't say, "I'll take this work home and finish it there and make sure to mail me if any issues come up on the project" You go to work to work and you leave work to leave it behind.
The Cost of Living
We did a whole article about this last year... nope, that was in 2021 now, Happy New Year by the way. In it we compared the cost of living in Valencia with various cities in the States and the differences are stark. Since then the USA has been struggling with very high inflation, even higher than Spain, and the dollar has got stronger meaning the perception of Spain and Valencia being cheaper has grown even further.
Almost everything is cheaper but the most important things that make the biggest difference are considerably cheaper meaning that someone on a fixed income, for example a pension, finds their money goes a lot lot further here than in the States.
This is one of the biggies of course. Americans are surprised at the price of and access to good quality healthcare. Those coming on the Non Lucrative Visa and Golden Visa among others always comment that the quotes they get for their healthcare are remarkably cheap compared with what they are used to in the States and even more importantly don't include any excess such as paying the first ten thousand dollars of any treatment which seems to be a common thing in the States. One thing all Americans should know is that the USA Health system rips you off massively. Those who up sticks and move realise that very quickly.
American clients coming to Valencia have often compared cities around the World for safety and found Valencia to be one of the safest places in the World. In terms of robberies, muggings, gun or knife related violence and more Valencia ranks very low. The likelihood of any of these things happening to you here in Valencia is virtually zero. We are not saying it doesn't happen, the odd bag snatch especially from the beach or parks happens and robberies from cars or of bikes are also relatively common but anything threatening your personal safety is very rare. For families this is an especially important consideration and the fact you can send your children to school without worrying about active shooters or bullet proof vests being part of the uniform is important.
Valencia is big enough to have a lot of cultural activities going on constantly. Theatres, cinemas, musical events, exhibitions and more can be found all over the city and that's before we even start to look into the cultural importance of sport and leisure in the Valencian lifestyle. The one downside is that the biggest concerts tend to only go to Barcelona and Madrid but as it only takes a couple of hours to get to Madrid and three to get to Barcelona for big concerts that's not a great loss. Remember Valencia is very well communicated. And speaking of sport, Bill mentioned one of those that attracts a worldwide audience every year.
A common refrain from people is that Valencia reminded them of California in the way the place looks and even feels. That's a California without the persistent threat of Earthquakes, a ridiculous drought, monoculture pistachio/almond fields drinking all of the water and eye watering prices for very basic properties, yes, we check out Zillow regularly. It's actually California in the mind of everyone who thinks that California is still what it was in the 1970's before things went really crazy and the advent of Silicon Valley and bro culture. Mark's answer makes it clear, get away from the crazies and you may find Valencia is very close to their California home.
Valencia Is Number One
Valencia has been discovered and according to Internations members is the number one place in the World to live and work. When you add to this all of the other awards and projects that people love in the city then you very quickly appreciate that the hype is real. We don't just write on these pages for the sake of it, we reflect the reality around us.
If you are an American thinking of moving to Spain then maybe it's time to contact us and let us convince you that Valencia should be that choice. There's a reason or two why so many Americans are deciding to leave the good old US of A and set up shop here and there's a reason that so many of them choose Valencia Property to help them with that move. Why not join them. Contact us and we can start your journey to living in Valencia.
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