Spanish Property Market 2010

The trends identified in my last market overview for autumn 2009 proved to continue right up until the Christmas break, with bargain hunters and of course vendors trying to close down deals. The popular property types include well located villas and apartments with the buyer’s definition of ‘well located’ including good proximity to the following:- -  An attractive coastal town with good beaches - within 30 minutes
-  A good choice of local restaurants and shopping facilities
-  Leisure facilities such as Golf (a golf course which includes a good hotel is also preferable to one that does not).
As far fewer families tend to be arriving in Spain when compared to 5 years ago, proximity to schools has become less important and most buyers are either retiring  (buying a principle residence), or close to retirement and buying  a second home. Airport proximity is important, but as most properties from Castellon to Southern Murcia are within 1 hr of a decent airport with UK flights, this factor is often taken for granted.
Of course some buyers are seeking to escape further inland away from all associations with tourism and other Brits, but it is a fact that this market has declined dramatically in the last 18-24 months. Improved knowledge about the down side of buying on ‘rustic’ land, has also channeled buyers towards urban properties.
I have noticed some buyer’s as having ruled out living on an ‘urbanisation’ after basing their judgment on just one or two examples. All buyers should note that urbanisations differ greatly, and whilst some may feel cluttered with high density housing, others may have a limit e.g. of one detached dwelling per 850m2 of plot and hence not only look relatively green (when established) but also offer a very tranquil existence, with less security risk or legal ‘unknowns’ than a rustic property example. The nationality mix of residents also varies greatly between areas. As always I would recommend that buyers travel a 1 hr radius from their ‘ideal’ location and keep a very open mind as to what they are looking for until they have seen different property types and areas. Advice from existing owners and agents is often valuable, but do go and look for yourself before ruling out certain zones. You may well be pleasantly surprised.
If you have your heart set on new, be sure to compare with old, if a villa is a ‘must’, at least check out an apartment or town house for the same money. A major part of buying involves truly knowing what you want rather than guessing, and this will only come from spending adequate time researching what is available and going to see it. Remember an estate agent (rather than property finder) will normally cover a specific geographical area and is hence unlikely to advise you that any area outside this is more attractive or represents better value.
In money terms, prices have remained reduced as the pound is still week against the Euro such that Brit buyers taking money back to the UK can drop their price and still get enough pounds in return. Properties owned by elderly German vendors still represent some of the best bargains, as some of these people bought for as little as 25,000 Euros many years ago and in old age (they are often returning to Germany for health reasons) the difference between 450k and 350k is not so important to them when compared with time. Whilst in Autumn 2009 some buyer’s were holding fast hoping for the value of the pound to improve and property prices in Spain to drop further, neither have materialised and most buyers now see that there are genuine opportunities available right now and are hence snapping up bargains with less hesitation.
It is increasingly noticeable that buyers are better informed as to the do’s and don’ts of buying here and will no longer accept the old unscrupulous agent’s claim that ‘they don’t do surveys in Spain’. Most buyers now seek independent professional advice which includes a structural survey and  independent legal representation. Further to this, the market downturn has weeded out some of the less professional agents, such that a surviving agency today is more likely to be a relatively ethical one (though of course there are always exceptions to the rule!). As a result the more astute buyer is avoiding the mistakes made by many others over the last decade.
A free 15 page property buyer’s guide is available through my website 
NB:- Information for advice purposes only. Proper legal and safety procedures should be followed for all property purchases and building works.
Information provided by Mark Paddon BSc Hons Building Surveying. MCIOB, Structural Surveys, purchase and defects advice throughout Valencia- Alicante – Murcia Spain.
Initial phone and e-mail advice is free.
T: 962807247  M: 653733066
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Copyright- Mark Paddon 2010

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