Once upon a time, in the golden property age, apartments, villas, casas and casitas were springing up all over the Costa del Sol. Developers, delighting in generous loans, built more than 760,000 properties in 2006 alone. By 2012, the bubble had burst and ‘Costa Catastrophe’ saw cranes, tools and shells of properties abandoned. The money had run out and banks were left with unpaid debt and empty, unfinished flats.
© Panorama Properties
After the few years of uncertainty and austerity that followed, experts are now talking of an unpredicted early growth in Spain. Indeed, 2014 saw the property market in the whole of Spain rise by 2.2%, the fastest rate since 2008. What’s more, it’s Marbella leading the story. Chris Clover of Panorama Properties, the longest established estate agency in the area explained, “Marbella started its recovery two years earlier than the rest of Spain, due to the fact that over 85% of the market is foreign based.”
Marbella is perhaps the highest-quality resort city in Spain. It has the best weather in Europe, and if you add to this the relatively low volume of construction when compared with the concrete jungles elsewhere on Spanish coasts, it’s easy to see how Marbella has sailed through the crisis. Also, prices have not yet caught up with pre-crisis levels, providing irresistible opportunities for investors. The weakness of the euro against the pound is the cherry on the boom market cake.
Houses on the mountain © Bigstock
Now there is even a shortage of luxury properties still available in Marbella. According to DM Properties, with most of the resale properties already bought, “a void in the market opened up, and the way to fill it has been with modern new-builds.” Plots are in increasing demand and are being snapped up by developers. Everything from luxury villas to apartment complexes are under way and many are being sold ‘off-plan’ once again.
The crisis may have frayed investor nerves but the industry has changed and moved on. Clover, an Eminent Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, says that yes, “potential buyers can have confidence in new developments, and most developers are highly professional but this does not avoid the classic due diligence”. Always ask, for example, if a building license has been issued, whether the specifications are detailed and complete, and if a date has been set for work to begin and end. Also, confirm that a guarantee is in place so that any payments are refunded if the project is not completed.
The upturn in Marbella’s property market is consolidated; just ensure you have an experienced lawyer to take you through the steps. Your life in luxury Marbella is there for the taking.