Recently there have been numerous low-price properties in Spain to purchase. Oversupply, which leads to a surfeit of new properties, is one reason for this. The Spanish market now belongs to the buyers, which makes people return more and more. Property in Spain currently is still be a good way to invest if you are in it for the long-haul.
It is not difficult to find Spanish properties below £150,000. But first, that old chestnut – location. Get this right, and you’re on to a good start. Mark Stucklin, head of Spanish Property Insight.com (a property information website), advises: “In this market the strategy is clear: focus on established, desirable areas, then look for a good deal within that area. Everyone knows the location rule, but it’s the first thing that’s forgotten.”
Go for popular coastal locations with good rental or investment potential, such as the Balearics, the Costas, Marbella or Valencia. There are many locations inland that offer good value for money too, although you may need to look harder for somewhere with good amenities and ensure it’s not too isolated. “Look for quality of build and amenities, appealing surroundings that people can relate to,” adds Stucklin. Cities such as Barcelona and Madrid will always be popular, but property tends to be more expensive and appealing only to a niche market.
The type of property that’s offering the best deals is newly built, ‘key-ready’ accommodation, partly because there is so much of it just waiting to be sold. Paul McMullen, sales manager at Escape To Spain, explains: “There are some really good deals out there at the moment. The best I’ve seen are on new, key-ready homes. In many cases, the builders need to sell them in order to pay off the banks, so they are willing to accept up to 40 per cent less than the asking price just so they can close the sales office and move on to their next project.”
Victor Sagué, sales and marketing director at Taylor Woodrow de España, adds: “We have significantly reduced our prices on a selection of properties in line with the current market, with some homes now priced at just over £100,000. This has opened up the property market to those who may have previously thought they couldn’t afford to buy property in Spain.”
Julia Marriott and her husband, from Coventry, recently bought a townhouse through Taylor Woodrow at the Lagunas del Sol development in Riojales, Costa Blanca. Properties here were initially priced from £105,465. Julia explains: “We decided to move to Spain permanently to semi-retire. For us, the proximity to the UK was really important as we travel back to visit family. We looked all along the coast until we found Lagunas del Sol, and it just ticked all the right boxes for us. It’s close to the shops and beach, and our property overlooks the pool, which is great.”
Asked if she had any concerns about buying in Spain, Julia says they did, but they carried out their research carefully, choosing a good developer and location. “A good Spanish lawyer is essential!” she adds.
Lagunas del Sol is now sold out, but over in the Balearics, Taylor Woodrow is offering two-bedroom apartments at El Puerto II, Cala d’Or, Mallorca. Close to the beach and the town of Palma, the properties are set around a marina and are priced from £144,522.
If you’d prefer to buy inland, Key Ready Investments is marketing two-bedroom apartments near the historic city of Granada, Andalusia, for £83,638. Balcones de Iznalloz is a 90-minute drive from Malaga airport, and is also close to the Sierra Nevada ski resort. The complex features a large swimming pool, restaurant, gym and spa, and each apartment comes with a garage and storage room.
So, unlike the heady days of the boom, is off-plan now seen as too risky? McMullen says: “I wouldn’t advise anybody to buy anything totally off-plan at the moment – there’s just no point. Prices aren’t going up, so there’s no advantage – plus you always face the possibility that the developer might go bankrupt in the meantime, leaving you with a half-finished property and a legal headache in trying to recover your money. In the current climate buy something almost complete or key-ready.”
One example of a scheme that’s almost complete is being offered by Casas de Lorca. The Lorca Apartments, located very close the new Lorca University in Murcia, are due for completion in early 2009. The one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments are ideal for students and come with a guaranteed rental for three years. Prices start at £65,521 for a one-bedroom dwelling, and from £123,483 for three bedrooms.
If new-build’s not your bag, there are some good deals on resale (second-hand) properties, too. But be prepared to do some extra homework. McMullen explains: “Buying resales can be a little more difficult as you will find huge variations in price as some owners are more desperate to sell than others – so you can find identical properties within the same area for vastly different asking prices. The best advice is ask your agent what the same property would’ve sold for two years ago; if they are an established agent they will have this information, and then you can gauge whether it’s a good price or not.”
DLR Properties has on its books a resale two-bedroom Costa Blanca property, south of Alicante. Priced at £113,528, the property features an office annex and roof solarium. It is perfect for golf lovers, being situated between three golf courses – Villamartin, Campoamor and Las Ramblas – and is within walking distance of restaurants, bars and shops.
For something a little more romantic, Poets Cottage is a restored three-bedroom village house, on the market with Andalucia Exclusive for £142,842. Situated in the village of Arriate, near Ronda, the property retains many original features, including a well and a wood-burning stove. It has mountain views, a large terrace, and a garden with mature olive trees.
If your budget is really tight, Titan Properties is offering a two-bedroom terraced villa on the Costa Calida for an unbelievable £54,621. Located on the Camposol resort in Mazarron, Murcia, the property is within easy walking distance of an 18-hole golf course, clubhouse and four-star Spa hotel. It has never been occupied, and comes fully furnished with a suntrap roof terrace.
Or, if you fancy a restoration project, a large ruin is available in Almeria, with agent Casas de Lorca. The ruin comes with 30,000 square metres of land, with water and electricity, and offers the potential for four bedrooms. It is located in the peaceful countryside of Huercal Overa near Lorca, and is a short drive from villages, towns, beaches and a motorway. It is priced at £82,799.
Clearly, there are plenty of bargains on the market; provided you approach with care and research, and seek good legal advice, property in Spain can still offer a sound investment.
Taylor Woodrow’s Sagué agrees: “Unlike the newer emerging markets Spain is established and Brits have been buying property there for years, so providing you do your research you’ll have a good idea of what you’re getting in terms of product and location. If you look at Spain as a long term investment it will take some beating.”