SPANISH PROPERTY HOTSPOTS
There are a number of property hotspots in Spain to consider right now – in fact, some of them never really cooled off, such as recession-proof Mallorca, still attracting the mega-rich and royalty, and ever fashionable Ibiza, drawing the children of the buyers who discovered it in the Sixties. You can get a two-bed apartment in Mallorca from around €150,000, although you’ll pay a bit more in the charming city of Palma, that is currently reinventing itself as a more user-friendly version of Barcelona.
But the Balearics are a low-volume market compared with the mainland Costas, and the current favourites are the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol.
The southern Costa Blanca has so many advantages for property hunters, including a plethora of golf courses near popular towns like Villamartin and Playa Flamenca, and just about the healthiest climate in Europe. Prices vary between the desirable areas and the overbuilt areas but are generally low – two bedroom apartments near the sea from €50,000. In Cabo Roig, to take another popular resort, you might pay €85,000 for a spacious two-bed apartment with a sun terrace. Inland a little, in the village of Algorfa popular with expats, a comparable property will be nearer €70,000.
The northern Costa Blanca, less affected by development and with more building restrictions in place, draws buyers to towns including Moraira, Javea, Denia, Calpe and Benissa Costa. In upmarket Moraira, expect to pay €400,000 for a quality three-bed villa with a pool in a good location but in Benitachell you might get a four or five bedroom villa for €250,000.
Inland of these resorts, the Orba and Jalon valleys are increasing in popularity for buyers seeking a more tranquil location than the coastal resorts; and also more bang for their buck. In the Orba Valley you can get a three-bed villa with a pool for around €150,000-200,000, or a large restored finca for €450,000.
Going south to the Costa del Sol, glitzy Marbella might said to be well and truly booming, with new developments back in vogue and great demand for holiday rentals. You can get an apartment on a complex for €100,000 but a spacious apartment in a good gated community in a sought-after location would be nearer €300,000. Popular areas include Estepona, San Pedro (where our own presenter Laura Hamilton bought in 2012), Nueva Andalusia, Mijas Costa and Benahavis. The Anglo-friendly resort of Benalmadena is popular with tourists and expats and you can get a two-bed apartment there for less than €100,000.
The nearby Costa Almeria, a stretch of unspoilt coastline between Murcia and Granada, is not as developed as the Costa del Sol, perhaps not as well-known by the British, yet its fans like the fact its villages retain much of their Spanish identity – it’s the “real Spain” still. Mojacar remains a popular spot, less than one hour’s drive from the airport, and a central location for getting around Almeria as well as a traditional holiday destination – ideal for families and couples in its own right. You have plenty of choice of one or two-bed apartments with a budget of €100,000; villas range from €200k. A note of caution: there have been a few issues with illegally built homes in the Almanzora Valley (including Albox) – don’t forget your due diligence. In next-door Murcia, Albacete seems to offer a good choice for those seeking an inland base close to an historic city.
Fans of Almeria rave about the warm climate there but of course the Canary Islands have the perennial advantage of being the closest winter warmth destination to the UK – and are great for winter sun rentals. British buyers tend to go for either Lanzarote or Tenerife. A three-bed villa in Lanzarote will go from just under €200,000, but you can pick up a studio apartment on Tenerife’s Playa de las Americas from €60,000.
Of less interest to the masses are the Costa de la Luz for its great Spanish flavour (its frontier towns must not be missed), or the wonderful windsurfing of Tarifa. Or the Costa Brava, a string of beautiful little coastal towns where prices remain comparatively high, with the vibrant city of Barcelona within easy reach.