Puerto Banús: Spain’s moment in the sun continues

The Costa del Sol coastline attracts more than five million visitors every year

 

Ireland regularly features at the top of lists of great places to live. One of the things that can’t be argued, however, is that the Irish weather is at best unreliable. For this reason, when the Irish started to look for places overseas in which to spend a portion of the “months with an R” they took a leaf from their UK counterparts and headed for Spain.

Much like Ireland, Spain has suffered a crippling economic contraction over the past eight years. There are signs of a pick-up in fortunes, particularly in high-traffic tourist areas, but it is tentative. It is also taking time to transfer into positivity in the property market. Property is a lagging indicator of economic fortunes, particularly in tourist -areas. Desire for holiday homes takes a back seat in times of economic adversity.

This year could be patchy for Spain with worries over a British exit from the EU and an enfeebled Russian rouble. Both are markets on which the Spanish tourist sector relies heavily. On the positive side, its single biggest tourist provider, Germany, is in robust good health.

Since the Irish started to visit coastal Spain in serious numbers, the Costa del Sol – mainly southwest of Malaga airport – has held a particular attraction. Being Irish, it was inevitable that we would aspire to property ownership there. Once large-scale Irish purchasing began in the mid-1990s it gained incredible momentum until the catastrophe of 2008. One Irish agent on the coast said “it just fell off a cliff; we came in one Monday morning and the phones didn’t ring.” They haven’t done much ringing since. The company let its workforce go and downsized to its principals. They have recently re-hired three staff, but recovery is a long, slow road.

The positive news, if you are in the market for a property in Spain, is that prices are still down more than 50 per cent from peak in most areas. The higher end has not been affected as much, as there are usually more owners who can afford to hold out for better market conditions, but it has still made an enormous difference to asking prices.

Marbella is the brand leader of the Costa del Sol. Some of the prime attractions include a stretch of upmarket real estate termed the ‘Golden Mile’. The name is a bit misleading as the area in question runs to around 4 miles along the coast and back into the mountains. When selling, property agents could make it span significantly more.

Playground of the wealthy

Puerto José Banús, named after its developer in 1970, is the area around which much of the entertainment, relaxation and dining in the area revolves. It is one of the more famed pieces of maritime real estate on this stretch of Spanish coastline. The port area is synonymous with wealth, often ostentatiously showcased in bars, restaurants and high-end retail establishments around its well-trodden perimeter.

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