Top 10 Things To Do On The Costa del Sol

There are hundreds of things to see and do along the 150km of the Costa del Sol from water sports, to museums, to climbing, to zoos. You are sure to find something to fit your preferences.

If you do a search on TripAdvisor you will see hundreds of results and it could take a while to look through them all. As summer is approaching and tourists are planning their trips I thought it might help if we looked at the Top 10 and hopefully it will help you with at least a few days out during your visit.

1. Puente Nuevo Bridge (Ronda) / El Tajo (Ronda)

The Puente Nuevo Bridge over El Tajo gorge
The Puente Nuevo Bridge over El Tajo gorge

The Puente Nuevo Bridge is in the picturesque city of Ronda, around 40 minutes inland from the coast. It is the newest and largest of the three bridges that span the 120m gorge that splits the city and in which the Guadalevín River flows.

Construction of the bridge began in 1751 and took a staggering 42 years to complete. Over 50 builders lost their lives during construction.

Above the central arch there is a chamber that was originally used as a prison. During the Spanish Civil War, it is alleged that the chamber was used for the torture of captured enemy forces. Some were allegedly killed by being thrown from the chamber onto the rocks at the bottom of the gorge, named El Tajo.

Today, the chamber contains an exhibition of the bridge’s history and construction. It is a very popular tourist spot and a must-see for those visiting the coast. The bridge and the nearby viewing platforms provide astonishing views while the town centre provides a mesmerizing array of Spanish tapas. The square is encircled by coffee shops, tapas bars and restaurants.

Put Ronda on your list of things to do!

Trip Advisor Ranking – Puente Nuevo Bridge – 4.5 (2,091 reviews), El Tajo – 5 (975 reviews)

2. Parque De La Paloma (Benalmadena)

Parque De La Paloma, Benalmadena
Parque De La Paloma, Benalmadena

The Parque de La Paloma (Park of the Dove) is the largest green space in Benalmadena and is considered to be a central meeting point for the locals.

Situated in the small town of Arroyo de la Miel, the park consists of over 200,000 square metres of green space. It contains an artificial lake containing plenty of fish, turtles, ducks and the occasional swan. You won’t be alone even if there are no other people in the park thanks to the surprising amount of animals living there. Expect to see peacocks, hens, chickens and rabbits. You can also see mountain goats and ostriches, yes, ostriches. Other facilities include two children’s play areas, walking paths with clear signposting, natural wildlife and a restaurant area.

Parking and good disabled access are provided. More Information.

Trip Advisor Ranking – 4.5 (2,593 reviews)

3. Marbella Old Quarter (Marbella)

Plaza de los Naranjos (Orange Square)
Plaza de los Naranjos (Orange Square)

If you know Marbella at all you will think of it as a modern, bustling, tourist hotspot and probably the most popular and well known town on the Costa del Sol.

Take a step back from the main road though, and you will find yourself transported back to before the rest of the world discovered it and started to fill its beaches.

It is difficult to imagine a town that is so popular with modern culture managing to preserve so much of its past and also to retain its appeal with today’s demanding travellers.

As you walk through the narrow streets you will discover plaza after plaza, each surrounded with tapas bars and restaurants, and most filled with people. Orange trees line the paths and during summer the smell of orange blossom adds to the beauty of this small area of the coast.

Plaza de los Naranjos (Orange Square) is arguably one of the most popular, partly thanks to Judith Chalmers, ex-host of UK holiday show “Wish You Were Here”. Ms Chalmers was a frequent visitor to Marbella and often said Orange Square was her favourite part.

Many of the narrow streets are lined with small boutique shops and bars. They are very small and personal and most are open every day. Beware of the siesta though. A lot of the smaller, independent shops will be closed from 2pm to 4pm for a nap. This is more prevalent during the summer when daytime temperatures regularly exceed 40 degrees.

Trip Advisor Ranking – 4.5 (2,492 reviews)

4. Museo del Vidrio y Cristal de Malaga (Malaga)

Museo del Vidrio y Cristal de Malaga
Museo del Vidrio y Cristal de Malaga

Malaga’s Museo del Vidrio y Cristal sits within beautiful restored 18th century house not far from the city centre.

It provides visitors with the chance to browse “the history of humanity by means of glass” by viewing its private collection of over 3,000 pieces of glass and glassware. The exhibits are accompanied by photos, furniture and other decorative items that sit within each historical period represented.

The exhibits are accompanied by photos, furniture and other decorative items that sit within each historical period represented.

The museum aims to be not only a museum of objects and history but also a point of reference for artisan techniques from the past, many of which have been consigned to the history books, or museums just like this.

The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 11am to 7pm. All tours are accompanied by a guide but there is no extra charge for this. If your group consists of more than ten people you may need to book in advance.

Visit their website for more information.

Trip Advisor Ranking – 5 (1,069 reviews)

5. Automobile and Fashion Museum (Malaga)

One of the largest collections of vintage cars in the world
One of the largest collections of vintage cars in the world

The Museo Automovilistico de Málaga is one of the more recent additions to Malaga’s list of things to do having opened in 2010. It is housed in one of the city’s most architecturally wonderful buildings, the old tobacco factory.

The museum houses the private automotive collection of Portuguese car fanatic Joao Magalhaes and its estimated value is around 25 million euros. It is claimed to be one of the most important, and significant collections of vintage cars in the world.

The display consists of more than 80 cars, both vintage and modern, alongside other travel-related memorabilia from the 1920’s through to the 1950’s.

Covering 6,000m² and with high ceilings and long thin windows, the museum is a great place to view these automotive artefacts. The display is split into ten sections, each covering a different era. These include Belle Epoque, the Art Deco 30’s, Dolce Vita 50’s and English Tradition, in addition to more modern themes including alternative energies, and tuning.

Like cars? Make sure you visit this museum. You won’t be disappointed.

Trip Advisor Ranking – 4.5 (1,216 reviews)

6. El Torcal Natural Park (Antequera)

Unusual rock formations at El Torcal Natural Park
Unusual rock formations at El Torcal Natural Park

El Torcal de Antequerra is a reserve of 17 square kilometres in the Sierra del Torcal mountain range, south of the city of Antequerra.

The park was designated as a Natural Site of National Interest back in 1929, but wasn’t declared a nature reserve until 1978.

The park is well known for its unusual rock formations and shapes. The limestone is about 150 million years old and time has shaped it, along with water and wind, to form strange “piles” of flat rocks, balanced impossibly on top of oneanother. Many have evolved into seemingly familiar shapes with some being nicknamed. You can look out for the Sphinx, the Jug, the Camel, and the Screw.

The area also includes caves and other underground formations. Some of these are of historical importance like the Cueva del Toro (Cave of the Bull) inside of which, Neolithic artifacts have been discovered.

Find out more on the official website.

Trip Advisor Ranking – 4.5 (970 reviews)

7. Celia Morales Traditional Flamenco Guitar (Ronda)

Celia Morales entertains with her flamenco guitar
Celia Morales entertains with her guitar

There isn’t much in the world that says Spanish Culture more than Flamenco Guitar and Flamenco Dancing. If you are visiting the coast, or any other part of Spain you should definitely try and see a show. I saw one in Granada a few years ago and it was very impressive. The effort and emotion that goes into Flamenco guitar is like nothing I have ever seen.

Celia Morales has been playing guitar since she was 8 years old before later studying classic guitar at Malaga’s Music School. In 1998 she decided to focus her efforts on Flamenco Guitar.

You can see Celia perform in a very small, intimate showing every day (except Sunday) from 19:30. The price is 15 Euros per person. You will be very close to the performer which will immerse you in the emotion and elegance of the flamenco style.

More information on Celia’s website.

Trip Advisor Ranking – 5 (242 reviews)

8. Alcazaba (Malaga)

The Alcazaba Fortification, Málaga
The Alcazaba Fortification, Málaga

The Alcazaba of Malaga palatial fortress originally built to deter pirates around 756-780AD.

Built on a hill in the centre of the city, it overlooks the port, and consists of two walled enclosures, or an inner citadel and an outer citadel.

Initially, it was also connected to the city ramparts forming a third defensive line but today only two inner walls remain. The first, built around the topography of the hill, completely encloses the second inner area and is dotted with defensive towers.

As you move through the fortress you will see a number of immaculately manicured gardens and elaborate fountains, in addition to simply stunning architecture. You will also be able to see beautiful arches, towers, gates, and original marble columns. There are also dungeons, a mosque and baths which are usually accessible.

The Alcazaba is open from 9am to 8pm although entrance is permitted only until 7:30pm. Entrance is only a couple of Euros so if you’re in Malaga you should definitely take a look.

More information here.

Trip Advisor Ranking – 4.5 (3,884 reviews)

9. Benalmadena Puerto Marina (Benalmadena)

Benalmadena Puerto Marina
Benalmadena Puerto Marina

Benalmadena Marina has twice been awarded the Best Marina in the World and when you see it you can understand why.

It is without doubt the most amazing port and residential complex in Europe with a mix of architecture from Indian, Arabic and Spanish cultures. Many of the structures sit on artificial islands which add to the allure of the area.

There is a huge array of shopping facilities and eateries catering for all appetites, all available to eat in the sun at the water’s edge. Can life get any better?

You will also find a casino, bars and clubs, in and around the marina with golf courses close by. The marina provides everything you need from leisure to entertainment to food and drink to shopping – enough to keep the most demanding visitor occupied.

The area has held a European Blue Flag for its beaches and water quality since 1987! More information can be found here.

Trip Advisor Ranking – 4.5 (3,443 reviews)

10. Cueva de Nerja (Nerja)

A cave large enough to host concerts
A cave large enough to host concerts!

Cited as one of Spain’s most popular and historically significant sites are the Nerja Caves – a series of large caverns covering almost 5km and housing the world’s largest stalagmite – a 32m  formation which measures a jaw-dropping 13 metres by 7 metres at its base.

The caves are split into three galleries – Show Gallery, Upper Gallery and New Gallery – each consisting of a number of Halls. Some of these halls contain prehistoric cave paintings but due to their delicate and important nature these areas have limited access.

The caves were discovered relatively recently, in 1959, by five local boys out hunting for bats. Not long after, in 1960, the caves were officially inaugurated and opened to the public.

The caves are open every day of the year except Jan 1st and May 15th. For 2016 some new guided tours have been introduced including The Secrets of the Caves, The Discovery Tour and a Night Tour.

Find out more here.

Trip Advisor Ranking – 4.5 (2,495 reviews)

So there you have it! This is only a tiny selection of things to do on the Costa del Sol. TripAdvisor lists over 500 activities and places to visit so get your bags packed and head on down here for the summer. You will not be bored!

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Average House Prices Increased in Q1

Property prices saw encouraging growth in Q1
Property prices saw encouraging growth in Q1

According to data released by Tinsa, average house prices in Spain increased by 1.4% during the first quarter of 2016, when compared to the same period in the previous year. This is the second consecutive quarter to finish with an increase, and comes despite the fall in prices for resale property.

As far as regions go, the two clear winner were Catalonia and Madrid who saw year-on-year increases of 8.2% and 7% respectively.

For the first time since the crisis of 2007, more autonomous regions recorded an increase in prices than a fall. Following the aforementioned “winners” other regions that saw significant price appreciation were the Balearic Islands with a 3.8% increase, Castilla La Mancha which saw a 3.5% increase and also the Canary Islands where property prices increased 2.4%.

Only two regions recorded a price fall – Aragon and Galicia – where prices fell by 3.5% and 3.1% respectively. When looking at how prices have or have not recovered since the crisis, property in Aragon is now 51.3% lower than in the peak of 2007. Castilla La Mancha has seen prices fall 51.2%. The smallest shift in prices is recorded in the Balearic Islands where prices are currently 28.9% lower than pre-crisis levels.

Provinces

By province, the largest quarterly increase was recorded in Barcelona where prices increased 8.9%, followed by Albacete (+7.6%), Madrid (+7%) and Lleida with a 6.5% increase. A further 12 provinces managed increases above the national average of 1.4%. The recovery seems to be continuing and also spreading out across the country.

The provinces that registered the largest quarterly fall were Álava, Teruel and Jaen, with decreases of 7.8%, 6.7% and 6.3%, respectively. Cordoba, Pontevedra, Palencia, Burgos and Zaragoza also saw prices depreciate by more than 3%.

When comparing the provinces to pre-crisis levels, the largest adjustment is in Toledo which has seen depreciation of 55.1% since 2007. Zaragoza and Guadalajara also saw falls of over 50% registering cumulative declines of 54.3% and 54.1%.

Selling

When selling a property in Spain, the average time required from putting the property on the market to closing a sale is currently 10.5 months. However, in Cantabria the average time required is 19 months, while sellers in Avila require an average of 17.1 months to close a sale. At the other end of the table Ceuta, Melilla, and the provinces of Las Palmas and Madrid have average selling times below seven months.

As previously mentioned, Barcelona and Madrid have seen increases in value and the demand for property in those areas is also reflected in the time required to sell. In both cities the average time required to sell is less than six months (5.9 in Barcelona and 5.6 in Madrid). In the city of Valencia, the trend is reversed with the average time to sell being over a year, standing at 13.2 months.

Personal Situation

As the rate of decline in property values has been more pronounced than the reductions in wages and the cost of living, the requirement to purchase a property (to afford mortgage payments) during 2015 was 22% of household income, compared to the 33% that was required in 2007. Only Malaga exceeded this average. Buyers in the Andalusian province will require 33% of gross household income to purchase a property.

In both Zaragoza and Valencia, the requirements are well below the national average with 19% and 17% respectively.

The requirement in Barcelona is 23.3%, while Madrileños require 21.5% and those in Seville will need 20.5% of household income. The area with the highest requirements is the district of Sarria-Sant Gervasi (Barcelona), where buyers will need 39.9% of household income to pay a mortgage.

When looking at the requirements in terms of yearly salaries, the current requirement is 6 years’ salary, compared to 8.1 years during the boom years. In Malaga, however, eight years’ salary would be required, while buyers hoping to purchase on the Balearic Islands will have to fork out an average of 14 years’ salary. This is mainly due to the busy residential market on the islands aimed primarily at foreign buyers.

You can see the full report here (in Spanish).

 

Licences for Housing Increased in January

The once familiar cranes are returning to Spain
The once familiar cranes are returning to Spain

As I’ve been saying lately, the Spanish property market is recovering well from the tumultuous few years following the crisis and the number of building licences issued in January this year appears to back me up.

January saw an increase of 39.7%, when compared to January 2015, in the number of building licences issued with 4,774 authorised new constructions, according to data released by the Ministry of Public Works.

47.8% More Apartments

Of the total, 3,572 licences were issued for apartments within a block representing an increase of 47.8% over the same period last year. Licences for single-family homes increased by 20.3% with 1,201 new properties given the go-ahead.

This continues the upward trend that began in 2014, a year which saw the first positive signs following seven years of negativity, and culminating in 2015 with the number of licences up to 38,873, an increase of 1,.7%.

The Spanish property market suffered terribly after the 2007 crisis with 2013 marking a record-low in the number of construction licences approved, down to 34,288 units. This was less than a tenth of the 2006 peak of 865,561 licences, a collapse of 96%.

 

Q1 2016 Saw Property Prices Fall 0.7%

Prices have gone up and down across the country
Prices have gone up and down across the country

Property portal Idealista have released data showing the prices of resale property in Spain fell an average of 2.8% during Q1, 2016, when compared to the same period in 2015.

A square metre will now cost an average of 1,552 Euros compared to 1,597 Euros 12 months ago.

However, the results are very different when looking at different areas of Spain.

In Barcelona, for example, you will now see an average cost per square metre of 3,478 Euros, an increase of 6.6% on the inter-annual rate. However, prices in the city are still 26.9% lower than during the peak of 2007.

Madrid saw a 2.2% average increase leaving a square metre at 2,832 Euros. Again, this is far below the pre-crisis peak when the same space would have cost you 4,035 Euros.

Despite the community of Valenciana seeing a drop of 2.2% in the inter-annual rate, property owners in Valencia city have seen their property values increase during the first quarter by an average 2.9% over the same period in 2015, leaving a square metre costing 1,471 Euros. This is 47.5% lower than the pre-crisis peak prices.

The two island communities, The Canary Islands and The Balearic Islands both saw increases in the average cost of a square metre with inter-annual increases of 4.1% and 3.9%, respectively.

Andalucia and the Costa del Sol

In Andalucia, the average price has fallen a slight 0.2% in the inter-annual rate, leaving a square metre costing 1,385 Euros.

Of the Costa del Sol areas it appears most are well into the recovery and many have seen price increases, some quite substantial. For example, in Manilva, prices have increased 15.7% in the last 12 months meaning you will now be looking at 1,324 Euros per square metre.

Estepona, Torremolinos and Coin also saw increases well above average with prices going up 7%, 6.3% and 5.6%, respectively.

In Marbella, arguably the most famous area of the coast, prices have increased by an average of 4.8% leaving a square metre with a cost of 2,425 Euros. At the end of Q1 in 2015 this cost was 2,313 Euros.

Of all the towns in Andalucia the majority finished the quarter on a positive with the exception of Antequerra, Caleta de Velez, Cártama, Ronda, Torre del Mar and Torrox.

This confirms the general feeling amongst agents here on the coast who have noticed a renewed interest in property for sale, as well as a very notable increase in tourist numbers. Some of the increases are due to security concerns in other countries with many tourists feeling Spain is the only “safe” option for a European holiday. These threats are not likely to continue indefintely and we will surely see a drop-off in tourist numbers as people start once again to visit Turkey, Tunisia, Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, all countries that have suffered of late. Hopefully, by the time that happens Spain, and specifically the Costa del Sol, would have had a great year for both tourism and the beleaguered property market.

You can see the full report from Idealista here.

More Mortgages Written in January

Despite the number of property sales falling slightly at the start of the year, when compared to last year, the number of new mortgages written in Spain increased in January by over 10% with 23,275 new mortgages recorded.

Also on the increase is the average amount of the mortgages written which increased by 14.2% compared to January 2015, to stand at 133,461 Euros.

The total value of mortgages written on urban properties amounted to 4,229.4 million Euros, representing a 16.3% increase over the previous year. Of those, the amount borrowed against residential property increased by 10.8% to 2,459.7 million Euros. Mortgages on residential properties accounted for 55.3% of capital borrowed in January.

Interest Rates

The majority of new mortgages written in January (89.8%) were variable rate mortgages, compared to only 10.2% on a fixed rate. In 94% of cases interest was based on the Euribor rate which has been consistently low in recent months.

The average rate of interest applied to new mortgages in January was 3.21% with the average term being 22 years. On residential property the average rate was 3.27%, representing a slight fall of 0.4% compared to January 2015.

By Community

Andalucia, Madrid and Catalonia registered the highest amount of new mortgages with 4,684, 3,976 and 3,857 new mortgages, respectively.

By growth, the winning communities were Castilla-La-Mancha which saw a 30.4% increase, followed by Madrid with 22.9% more mortgages and Andalucia with 22.2% more than in January last year.

When comparing communities based on the total amount of borrowed capital Madrid easily dominates with 576.9 million euros lent out during January. Catalonia followed with 457.2 million and Andalucia with 411.8 million Euros.

The largest monthly variation recorded, when compared to the previous month (Dec 2015), was Castilla y León which saw an increase of 53%, while the number of mortgages written in Castilla-La Mancha increased 43.6%.

The only two communities that recorded a fall in the number of mortgages written were Cantabria (-10.9%) and Galicia (-8.0%).

Read the full report here: INE (in Spanish).

 

Tourist Numbers Increased 14% In February

Tourist numbers continue to rise
Tourist numbers continue to rise

Tourists continue to flock to Spain as other once favoured destinations are avoided due to continuing security fears.

February saw 3.7 million international tourists travel to Spain representing a 13.7% increase over the same period in the previous year, according to data released by the National Statistics Institute.

British tourists came in the largest numbers, once again, accounting for 22% (806,835) of the total arrivals during February. This representas an increase of 17.1% when compared to February 2015.

French and German tourists were the second largest groups with 529,716 and 481,219, respectively. French travellers increased by 8.5% on the annual rate, while Germans increased by 7.4%.

The UK, France and Germany have long been the largest source of tourists for Spain but this year has seen increases in numbers from other countries too. Traveller numbers from Russia have increased substantially showing a 19.8% gain, when compared to Feb 2015. American traveller numbers increased by 18.4% while the number of tourists from Ireland grew by 17.3% during February.

Tourist Destinations

The Canary Islands proved to be the most popular area attracting 30.3% of the total travellers. This was followed by Catalonia with 25.3% of the total, while Andalucia accounted for 13.4%.

The Canary Islands saw a 10.5% increase, when compared to the same period in 2015, rising to 1,114,737 tourists. The majority came from the UK with 31.9% of the total, while Nordic countries accounted for 22.3%.

The number of tourists visiting Catalonia during February increased by 13% over the same month in 2015, to over 930,000, while Andalucia saw annual growth of 14.3%, representing almost half a million tourists.

The Balearic Islands saw phenomenal growth for February with an annual increase of 42.1%. This has been put down, in part, to increased supply of accommodation. Valencia saw an increase of 24.4% whle Madrid saw gains of 12% over 2015.

Where, Why, and How long?

Hotel stays increased by 16.3% during February while the numbers renting a private property for their stay fell by 2.1% on the annual rate.

The number of tourists staying with friends or family rose by 13.6%.

The main reason stated by travellers for the visit was leisure, recreation and holidays, accounting for 2,814,038. This represents annual growth of 7.3%.

Business travellers represented 439,747 visitors during February, a huge 45.4% increase, while 37.4% of travellers stated “other” as their reason for travelling.

The number of travellers that stayed for between four and seven nights increased 17.1% to 1.8 million, while 681,851 travellers stayed for between eight and 15 nights. Long stay travellers (more than 15 nights) increased by 6.5% on the annual rate to 275,876.

Semana Santa (Easter) came early this year and has just passed. It was very, very busy with unusally hot weather for this time of year adding to the madness. Marbella and Puerto Banus were chaotic! The roads were jammed, parking was scarce and the beaches were full. I look forward to seeing the offical figures for March and expect them to be high!

If the trends of the first few months continue then 2016 is going to be a great year for tourism!

 

Spain Ranks Third For Investment in Europe

Madrid remains popular amongst investors
Madrid remains popular amongst investors

Further to my previous article regarding foreign investment in Spain, research released by the CBRE has placed Spain as the third choice for European investment in real-estate.

According to the ‘Global Investors Intentions Survey 2016’, 10.2% of respondents suggested that Spain would be their third choice for European investment during 2016. Only Germany and the UK came ahead with 17% and 15.1% respectively, beating other once popular European countries like France and the Netherlands.

When looking at cities within Europe, Madrid maintained its position as the second most attractive city on the continent for real-estate investment, chosen by 12.2% of respondents, just behind London, but ahead of Paris, Berlin and Warsaw.

Diversification is the word of 2016 according to the report with more cities getting a mention than in similar research conducted in previous years. The top 15 saw first time entries for cities including Budapest, Prague and Bucharest.

Product Choice

While 30% of investors specified the housing market as their first product choice, other markets have also made gains with student residences, health centres and leisure facilities all being noted as worthy of investment this year.

The retail sector also appears to be making a recovery thanks to rising consumer confidence and increased consumption. The sector accounted for 22% of investment in 2015 with a predicted rise to 27% in 2016.

Despite this, office property continues to hold high interest for investors with 37% of respondents stating they have or would invest in business premises.

Backing up thoughts that residential property is back on investors’ shopping lists is a 7% increase in residential investment making it the fastest growing sector with 12% of respondents putting their money into homes.

Of the respondents 82% stated that their investment activity during 2016 will be the same or greater than in the previous year.

Rest of the World

North America was the global first choice with 48% saying they had or would invest in the USA in 2016, while 26% named Europe as their first choice. Other once popular regions didn’t fare so well with Asia Pacific seeing reduced interest partly due to concerns about the China slowdown and a “murky outlook” for other emerging markets in the region.

Only 4% suggested Central and South America as their investment choice while 1% chose Africa for their money. Central & Eastern Europe also failed to make an impression attracting only 8% of the reports respondents.

 

Foreigners Invested More in Spain in 2015

Foreign residents invested heavily during 2015
Foreign residents invested heavily during 2015

As we continue to see markers suggesting the Spanish property market has recovered from the crisis, the Ministry of Public Works has released data that corroborates what we’ve been seeing.

During 2015, investment in real-estate by foreign residents increased by 15% compared to the previous year. In monetary terms this amounts to 9,918.6 million Euros.

The data shows that of the total investment, the vast majority was for resale, or second-hand, properties accounting for 8,808.6 million Euros of the total. The remaining 1,110 million Euros was invested in new-build properties.

When comparing the data to 2014 we see that the resale market has increased by 14.5% while the market for new-build property grew by 18%, El Economista reported.

There are no surprises when looking at the regional distribution of the invested monies. Andalucia attracted the most investment from foreign residents accounting for 2,255.6 million Euros. The usual suspects, Valencia and Catalonia, predictably came close with 2,202.3 million and 1,797.2 million Euros of foreign investment, respectively.

 

Property Foreclosures Fell in 2015

Home repossessions fell 13% in 2015
Home repossessions fell 13% in 2015

Following the financial crisis many Spanish mortgage holders defaulted on their mortgage and found their properties being repossessed.

The number of repossessions has since fallen as the market levelled out and 2015 showed a continuation of this trend.

In total, 2015 saw the commencement of foreclosure proceedings on 30,334 primary residences which represents a 13% fall when compared to the previous year, according to data released by the National Statistics Institute.

Q4 – 2015

When looking at the fourth quarter of 2015 the total number of foreclosures registered was 22,540, representing a fall of 16.2% over the previous quarter. This also shows a 27.8% fall when compared to Q4, 2014.

Regular homes accounted for 76.8% of those foreclosures, a huge 23% fewer than in the same period in the previous year. Meanwhile, 2,080 foreclosures were on “second” homes, meaning that the property was not the primary residence of the owner.

Out of all the registered properties in Spain (18,395,100) this suggests a very small proportion, only 0.037%, were affected by foreclosures.

The total number of foreclosures initiated during Q4, 2015, consisted of 14.7% new properties, while the remaining 85.3% represents resale properties. These figures represent falls of 29.1% and 28.1%, respectively.

Many, in fact over half (56%), of the foreclosures are on homes which were mortgaged between 2005 and 2008. 18.5% were mortgaged during 2007, which as we all know is when the market collapsed.

By Community

Andalucia was the community with the highest number of foreclosures registering 5,723 certificates. Valencia followed with 4,011 with Catalonia coming a close third with 3,475. At the other end of the scale, Navarra recorded the fewest foreclosures with only 112 certificates registered, while the Basque Country and La Rioja also showed low figures with 137 and 176, respectively.

When looking at primary residences, Andalucia recorded 3,376 foreclosures with Catalonia and Valencia registering over a third fewer with 2,313 and 2,290, respectively.

Year End – 2015

When looking at the figures for the full year the total number of foreclosure registrations was 101,820 which represents a 15.5% fall when compared to 2014.

Of the total, 30,334 foreclosures were recorded on homes (77.9%). This represents a 13% reduction compared to the previous year. Non-primary residence foreclosures also fell ending the year at 8,609, a fall of 14.4%.

NB: The data provided herein is based on the registration of a certificate of foreclosure but this does not always lead to an eviction/repossession. Legal proceedings and other agreements can change the course of the process.

 

Property Rental Prices Lowest Since Crisis

The cost of renting a property in Spain has fallen by an average of 239 Euros since the peak of 2007, according to analysis by property portal Fotocasa.

Pre-crisis the average cost of a rental property in Spain with an area of 80m² was 810 Euros, or 10.12 Euros per m². In February 2016 the average price had fallen to 571 Euros, representing a 29.6% fall over the last nine years.

Rental costs lowest since 2007
Rental costs lowest since 2007

Beatriz Toribio, responsible for fotocasa studies, said “Renting a home today is almost 30% cheaper than in 2007, but in the last two years we have seen rental prices have begun to recover due to growing interest and increased demand since the crisis erupted. This explains why owners are increasingly reluctant to lower prices and closed 2015 with the highest increase (3.6%) in the history of fotocasa’s real estate index.”

By Community

The autonomous community that registered the largest fall in rental costs was Aragón where rental prices have fallen an average of 349 Euros over the last eight years. Prices in the community peaked in June 2008 at 10.85 p/m², or 868 Euros per month for a property of 80m². The fall is 40.3% with the same example property now costing only 519 Euros per month.

Conversely, Castilla and Leon has seen the slightest fall in prices over recent years. The average reduction in Castilla and Leon is 81 Euros since its peak in May 2008 when an 80m² property would cost 532 Euros to rent. In february this year the cost stood at 451 Euros.

High / Low

During February this year the most expensive part of Spain to rent a property was the Basque Country where the average rent is 813 Euros. Here, prices have fallen by 13.5% since the peak, an equivalent value of 127 Euros.

The cheapest place to rent a property is Extremadura where the average cost to rent an 80m² property is 358 Euros. This area saw its peak in June 2008 when the average price was 443 Euros. February’s costs represent a reduction of 85 Euros, or 19.2%.

By Province

When looking at the rental prices across the country’s provinces, Huelva recorded the largest fall. Prices in the province have fallen considerably since their peak in May 2007. Back then, a rental property would have an average monthly rental cost of 851 Euros. By February this year this cost had fallen a massive 43.9% to only 478 Euros per month for an 80m² property.

The lowest fall by province was recorded in Palencia. Here, property rental costs, while still cheaper than they used to be, have only fallen by an average of 38 Euros over the last nine years. Renting a property in Palencia in February 2016 would have set you back an average of 438 Euros, 7.9% lower than prices in 2007 when the average stood at 475 Euros.