A decade ago Marbella investment properties were being sold to an demographic that was 70% British, mainly over-50 and often keen on golf. Traditional Andalusian architecture was favoured and those who could afford it focused on properties within Marbella-proper, preferably either close to the beach or with sea views.
However, in the years since the financial crisis, a Financial Times report on the local market for investment properties and second-homes, notes a ‘sea change’ has taken place. Buyers are no longer predominantly Brit retirees. They represent a far broader international mix as well as a younger demographic, most of whom are still an active part of the work force but are often able to work remotely.
While the climate is of course still important, the good airport connections, fast broadband infrastructure and presence of good international schools that have supplanted the golf courses as the main draw to the area. A property being located in Marbella itself has also dropped down the order of priorities with neighbouring Benahavís and Estepona, which offer newer beachfront developments in a more modern architectural style, now attracting the highest end of the market. Their development has been aided by the fact they do not fall under the control of Marbella’s local government and the glacial bureaucracy around new urban development that has followed the 2013 corruption scandal.
The prices of investment properties reflect that shift with the sales prices for apartments in Benahavís and Estepona rising 12% and 13% respectively compared to 8% in Marbella itself. The new crowd of European entrepreneurs and digital economy experts buying investment properties and first and second homes in the area has also seen prices recover from their post-financial crisis slump. A 2-bedroom apartment in the hills above Estepona would be expected to fetch around €400,000 (£357,000) in today’s market. 3-bedroom apartments in a new upmarket beachfront development located between Marbella and Estepona, however, move into a different price bracket and are selling off-plan for up to €2.95 million. 5-bedroom villas in the same development rise to close to €5 million.
So, anyone considering investment properties in Marbella that might one day become a second home for retirement should update themselves on the region’s new market dynamics. It’s a much younger, often wealthier market, where views, proximity to good schools and broadband are the USPs that drive a property’s sale or rental value.