Searching for new Spanish options
Others have noted that Spain remains a popular place with buyers, many of whom are as much if not more interested in enjoying a bit of the sunshine lifestyle than making money, while at the same time long-termists could reason that the market will eventually pick up again, meaning any bargains bought now will be worth plenty more in a few years' time.
In examining the evidence, the latter issues are worth bearing in mind. Evidence of where and what people are buying cannot be distilled into investors and lifestyle buyers, while long-term intentions may be hard to read.
Even so, the evidence of property portal searches is that Spain is still the place more people in Britain look than any other. Publishing its list of the 101 places that the most online prospective buyer attention is paid to, (of which nine out of ten account for less than one per cent each) Spanish property accounts for 10.84 per cent, well ahead of second-placed France on 4.58 per cent. Add to this the separately listed Costa Blanca, Tenerife, Murcia, Mallorca, Marbella and Torrevieja (among others) and the figure rises further.
So if Spain remains the most popular, the question is what, and where, are people buying? One of the answers is quality. Homes Worldwide has reported that one of the emerging trends in Spain is that those looking to sell have sought to get a competitive edge over the rest by ensuring the properties they are making available are as good as they can be. According to CB Richard Ellis, this is an exact reversal of the much-mentioned lack of quality of some constructions during the boom years, when, it said: "mistakes and inferior products went unnoticed". Making a similar point, Mark Stucklin of Spanish Property Insight stated: "Only well located property with genuine appeal is selling."
Therefore, it may be that what is emerging in Spain just now is not just a buyers' market, but a quality buyers' market, which may ensure that property bought now will be of a type that remains in big demand. Not only may it afford a higher price in a market upturn, but it may be reasoned that by the same token that such dwellings are necessarily of a higher quality now they will still be valuable and saleable in any future downturn.
Alternatively, there is always the option for investors to decide themselves exactly what they want. Easier.com has revealed that specialist Spanish property firm Casas de Lorcais offering the chance for buyers to design their property themselves, including everything from the materials and the dimensions to the layout in relation to the position of the sun at various times of the day. It goes on to suggest that the uniqueness of such a property will be a valuable aspect if and when it is sold.
So while some suggest the property market in Spain is dead, perhaps it is more accurate to say that the days of low-quality, high rise apartments and other property of limited quality and questionable aesthetics is over. The discerning investor now may find something rather more attractive emerging from the ashes.
Assetz House, Newby Road, Stockport
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