Marbella comes with a loaded reputation. It’s shorthand for super-yachts, super cars and super-size bling, but it is also the undoubted property hotspot of the Costa del Sol.
European royal families and Hollywood stars who came in the Fifties and Sixties have been largely replaced by Arab royalty hidden behind high palace walls, and by minor celebs, but the exclusive Marbella Club and Puente Romano Hotels on Marbella’s Golden Mile are still the places to be seen in summer.
Marbella’s appeal is based on easy access, strong infrastructure and a winning location, says Christopher Clover of Savills associate, Panorama Properties. “Marbella is at the most southerly point of Europe sheltered by La Concha mountain. Wonderful weather is a major draw,” he adds.
“Malaga airport has been transformed and offers direct flights to 125 destinations. Cordoba, Seville and Grenada are within three hours and Madrid is two-and-a-half hours on the high-speed AVE trains.”
In addition, all of Andalucía’s fabulous Pueblos Blancos — the historic Moorish White Towns — are nearby.
This is the most year-round of all the Spanish Costas, with enough residents even in winter to ensure restaurants and bars stay open, while the weather encourages an active, outdoor lifestyle. The Costa del Sol has 90 golf courses, 42 of them within 30 minutes of Marbella.
THE BUILDERS ARE BACK
“Prices have fallen up to 50 per cent in some parts of the Costa del Sol since 2008, so second-home values are now very good,” says Joanna Leverett of Cluttons. “Marbella is the main prime market and is leading a slow recovery. You can get a two-bedroom flat along the coast from £116,000 and a good apartment in Marbella with sea views for around £700,000.”
After eight years of falling prices and little new construction, the cranes are back. A prime example is Icon, a development in the hills above the Golden Mile, where Spanish developer Urbania has plans to build 200 homes over the next six years.
Icon offers large, detached villas on big plots with good views over the golf course and to the sea, and — unusually — a full concierge service and property management. In glass, white stone and wood, the open-plan designs by six different architects are all strikingly contemporary.
Villas at Icon start from £694,000 for three- and four-bedroom homes of 2,690sq ft, and from £1,304,000 for the 20 signature villas of 3,767sq ft. Buyers have come from across Europe and the first residents move in at the start of next year.
The overwhelming majority of sales in Spain are resale homes, perceived as more affordable, and currently in far greater supply than new build.
Resales in Marbella include a three-bedroom townhouse on the prestigious Golden Mile — the road linking the east to Puerto Banus in the west — reduced from £540,500 to £382,000 through Panorama Properties (through Savills).
The attractive home is in Lomas Pueblo, an Andalucían-style village with 90 homes set around a communal pool and clubhouse, with cobbled streets, small fountains and pretty gardens.
It’s a peaceful and delightfully Spanish setting, yet the beach is only a 10-minute walk away. Annual community charge is £2,300.
A three-bedroom duplex with partial sea views in a gated community within Las Lomas del Marbella Club on the Golden Mile is for sale at £251,000, also through Panorama.
With some modernisation the 1,280sq ft property would make an ideal holiday home, 15 minutes from the beach and with three communal pools, tennis courts, a gym and sauna.
Five miles north of Marbella, a charmingly renovated old village house in quiet Ojen is £212,500 through Cluttons. It has two bedrooms and a roof terrace giving views across the white rooftops to the mountains and the sea.