Why The Brits May Miss Out!



By Sean Woolley, The Property Doctor


There is no doubt that the real estate market is moving again. Most reputable real estate agents reported 2013 as their best year for sales since the heady years of the last property boom, and early reports indicate similar levels of interest and activity so far in 2014.

It has been well documented that the Costa del Sol real estate market appeals to a broad range of nationalities but, whereas the boom years welcomed UK buyers as the vast majority of overseas investors, in 2013 there was much more of an even split, with the Belgian and Scandinavian markets particularly strong.

Of course, UK buyers have been hit by a triple whammy of a tightening credit market, a lingering recession and a derisory exchange rate that saw sterling reach parity with the single currency. But it seems the British love affair with Spanish property never really stopped. Evidence from within our own business points to 60 per cent of enquiries last year coming from Brits, but UK buyers only accounted for 25 per cent of our sales. This would indicate a “frustrated” demand: i.e. the Brits remained interested in buying, but there were simply too many obstacles in the way. It seems that this is set to change in 2014, with the UK emerging strongly from recession and the pound now valued at around €1.20. Put very simply, it means there is more confidence in the market and British buyers can get 20 per cent more for their money than previously.

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Of course, this good news also works in other ways. Firstly, British sellers in Spain will be 20 per cent worse off once their funds are exchanged back to sterling; and, secondly, higher levels of demand naturally lead to a hardening in prices. Already we are seeing the margin between “asking price” and “sales price” getting smaller and, although there are plenty of well-priced properties out there, buyers who think they can get lucky with half-price offers are in for a rude awakening, particularly in the most highly-regarded areas of the Costa del Sol, where properties are in high demand once again.
I fear that the thousands of Brits now ready and able to snap up a bargain on the back of outdated pricing “advice” they have read in the media are in danger of missing out. If 2012 was the year of the repo and 2013 was the year of the bargain, 2014 seems set to be the year of recovery.

Sean Woolley, our resident property expert, can be contacted at Cloud Nine Spain: Centro Comercial Guadalmina 4, Local 88, San Pedro de Alcántara; Tel. (+34) 692 254 432; sean@cloudninespain.com

What’s Hot!
San Pedro – that tunnel has made all the difference.
Home staging – a small investment for great gains.
Three-bed apartments for “two-bed” prices – bag one if you can.

…and What’s Not!
Crazy layouts – those villas won’t sell.
Banks – they need to dress their repos.
Poorly maintained gardens – not great for business.

Top Selling Tips
Invest in professional photography. If nobody likes your property’s photos, nobody will want to see the real thing.
Prepare your property for viewings, or ask your agent to help. Lights on, curtains open, blinds up….give your property that “show home” feel.
Invest a small amount in “staging” your property for sale. It needs to stand out from the crowd.
Be as flexible as possible with viewings. Your perfect buyer may only be here for 24 hours.

Best Deal
This charming beachside bungalow on the New Golden Mile with private garden and pool is a steal at €299,950.

house photo

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