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Spain is one of Europe’s most attractive countries, with much to offer those who settle there, as the hundreds of thousands of foreigners who have bought a Spanish property in the last three decades can bear witness.
There have been some problems with the property market, owing in part to the over-purchase of some people acquiring too many off-plan properties and then having being unable to complete on them as a result of the global credit crunch. This has led to a surplus of apartments and villas throughout the nation. Other issues that have been well-publicised in Spain revolve around the granting of illegal licenses for property development in certain parts of the country and corruption at the highest levels of local government.
However, property in Spain will always be popular with overseas buyers who are looking to relocate or who are buying for lifestyle reasons. While investors may choose to look elsewhere in the world, Spain remains one of the best countries for a relaxed way of life.
Spain still has much to offer the property purchaser, from small apartments and traditional fincas to palatial frontline beach properties and golf villas.
The Spanish Costas have always been among the most popular of tourist destinations. During the 1970s and 80s, Marbella, among other resorts, became very shabby, and it took the arrival of Mayor Jesus Gil for it to clean up its act. Many areas along the Spanish coastline have since followed suit, and today things have changed very much for the better.
The Spanish islands, including the Balaeric and Canary Islands, have long been popular tourist destinations, and are proving to be great locations in which foreign buyers can settle. In the Canaries in particular, the climate stays warm and sunny throughout the year, but anywhere in Spain is likely to be warmer than the UK for most of the year.
Also, in recent years there has been more interest in Spanish cities as destinations for leisure property as well as being a good investment to rent out to tourists on short city breaks. The arrival of low-cost airline flights to many of Spain’s cities has opened up the tourist market, while student properties near universities are also popular investment opportunities.
Househunters should consider Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Ibiza’s little sister, Formentera. The four islands have very distinct characters. Mallorca is the grown-up of the family, with its Opera House, the castle in Palma that King Juan Carlos uses, and its international smart set.
Menorca has a much drier climate, with a cooling breeze that takes the edge off the baking heat of the summer. The island has always pursued an independent path, thanks to its production of leather goods and gin.
For a while, Ibiza had a reputation for cheap tourism that did nothing for its image. However, there has been a crackdown in the last couple of years, and now it is following Mallorca’s example of improving what it offers to those buying a home there.
Formentera is an ideal getaway destination. It is quite possible to cycle around the island in a day, passing a mixture of attractive new developments and mellow old farmhouses.
One of the most popular Costas with British buyers, but is by no means a ghetto for fish ‘n’ chips and Robin Hood pubs. Its popularity with expats from across Northern Europe makes the Costa Blanca a cosmopolitan and varied place to live.
This is reflected in the diversity of the town along the coast – from the brash but established bright lights of Benidorm to the classy sophistication of Moraira and the family resorts of Javea and Denia, there are so many different types of towns along the coast and also running parallel to the coastline inland that there really is something for everyone on the Costa Blanca.
Alicante airport has served the area for years, and is now supplemented by the low-cost flights landing in Valencia at the northern end of the Costa. This gives tourists and property buyers great access to the region throughout the year, and with the Mediterranean motorway running alongside the coast for virtually the whole length of the Costa Blanca, moving around within the region is also easy.
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