For tourists and property buyers in 2017, the sun is already shining in Spain. Following dramatic falls of 50 per cent from the hyperinflated prices of a decade ago, the economic indicators in our favourite holiday destination are looking positively rosy.
Over 70 million international visitors arrived in Spain last year, including 12 per cent more from the UK in September alone. The value in the property market is also compelling. Prices in general still lag behind those 2007 peaks, while figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development show Spain as one of the world’s most undervalued housing markets.
For buyers, location is crucial. Potential rental income is an important consideration and remote homes are less in demand. Consider ease of access to airports that offer a wide selection of year-round flights, and look for nearby sports and cultural activities, restaurants and beaches.
BARCELONA: THE CITY OPTION
Why buy? Wonderful weather, a historic old town with atmospheric tapas bars, plus easy escape routes to the mountains or the ever-smart Costa Brava make Barcelona the perfect city by the sea.
One of the world’s most-visited cities, it boasts stunning architecture, wide boulevards and beautiful, spacious period apartments and houses of outstanding value.
Joanne Leverett of Cluttons estate agents says: “The Barcelona market is strong, with prices up 7.5 per cent this year. Properties are moving fast with typical sales prices of £294,000 to £462,000.”
Where to buy: most in demand are two-bedroom refurbished apartments in historic buildings offering good original features such as Catalan vaulted ceilings, wooden floors and balconies, especially in Eixample and the Gothic Quarter, says Leverett.
A restored 710sq ft one-bedroom flat in an 1850s building in the Gothic Old Town is £334,000. Nearby in El Poble Sec, a three-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor of a classic building offers interesting period detail and is on the market for £457,000.
COSTA DEL SOL: THE COASTAL CHOICE
Why buy? At Europe’s most southerly point, the Costa del Sol’s long, sun-kissed summers and mild winters make this a year-round favourite. It is served by efficient rail, road and air networks, while there are 42 golf courses within 30 minutes of Marbella, shimmering marinas to enjoy, and it’s a short drive inland to Andalucía’s fabulous Pueblos Blancos — the “white villages”.
Sale prices last year averaged £425,000 for apartments and townhouses, and from £680,000 for villas, according to local Savills associates, Panorama.
Where to buy: popular locations include the Golden Mile from the east of Puerto Banus to the west of Marbella. Up in the mountains, Sierra Blanca is an exclusive community with top security and good access to international schools.
“Buyers want a comfortable, modern lifestyle with an absence of headaches — and that means the market has gravitated towards larger apartments and smaller villas,” says Christopher Clover of Panorama. “There is a continuing trend for minimalist, contemporary styling with an emphasis on big windows and plenty of light.”
A spacious, carefully renovated two-bedroom apartment west of Marbella in the gated community of Las Brisas is newly reduced, down from £488,500 to £420,500 through Savills. There is a communal pool and this property offers good views of the sea, dramatic La Concha mountain and surrounding golf courses.
MAJORCA: FOR ISLAND LOVERS
Why buy? Along with neighbouring Balearic beauty Ibiza, Majorca has resolutely bucked any market slowdown for years. Even in the dark days of 2012, one in every four Spanish properties sold to foreigners was in Majorca — an island loved by German, Scandinavian and British buyers.
Majorca combines 24 golf courses, 32 marinas and 40 five-star hotels with an enviable mix of rustic charm, natural beauty and modern infrastructure.
Where to buy: Alejandra Vanoli, managing director of Majorca Sotheby’s Realty has noted increased interest, particularly in the prime south-west and the capital, Palma. Son Vida is also a firm favourite with international buyers for its careful landscaping and three golf courses, all within 10 minutes’ drive of Palma.
In Port d’Andratx a delightful four-bedroom townhouse with no outdoor space is £415,500. A five-bedroom house with a pool in substantial grounds, just 15 minutes from Palma and looking over the bay and the Tramuntana mountains, is priced £1,428,000 through Sotheby’s.