The professionals also say that in other places, such as Malaga city, Benalmádena and Torremolinos, it will be necessary to start building properties again within the next two years, before the stock there runs out.
These are just some of the conclusions in the Tinsa valuation company’s latest report on housing in Spanish coastal areas in 2015, which has just been issued.
The harshest years of the crisis left behind them large pockets of housing in many coastal regions of Spain and these were difficult to sell in such a slow market. In some areas, though, the situation is now very different. In Malaga province, for example, the Tinsa report points out that Marbella and Benahavís are exceptional because they are now in a situation of ‘recovery’.
In the case of Marbella, the report reflects something that builders and developers in the area have been saying for some time: there is little housing stock left, and what there is will be difficult to sell because it does not meet the demand from the mainly foreign clients who are looking for something exclusive, luxurious and modern in design.
During the past year, Marbella became one of the five coastal towns - excluding major cities - with the highest number of property transactions, according to figures from the Ministry of Public Works, with a total of 3,997 (28.7 per cent more than in the previous year). There was also a growth of 101 per cent in the purchase of new property. Manilva also experienced outstanding growth in this respect, with an increase of 193 per cent.
Most of the properties were bought by foreign investors, who played an increasingly important role during the crisis. According to Tinsa’s estimations, 60 per cent of property sales in Marbella and Manilva were to purchasers from the UK, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, France, Belgium, Switzerland, North Africa or the Persian Gulf.
The lack of housing stock, about which the professionals have been warning for some time, is compensated - although only incipiently - by some new housing developments upon which the work is just beginning and which will be sold off-plan. It is also evident that more new projects are planned, because of the amount of land which is being purchased.
The Tinsa report says that this reflects the present situation in Mijas, Estepona and Benahavís. The picture is encouraging but it coincides with the recent controversy caused by the annulment of the Urban Plan for Marbella and the Coastal Regulation Plan.
The consequences these will have on the development of construction projects which had already been planned have yet to be defined.
In Malaga province, the Tinsa report identifies three very different areas. In La Axarquía, it says prices are stabilising and demand from Spanish purchasers is reactivating. In the municipalities in this area, there is a significant amount of new housing stock, although it is beginning to reduce. No new projects appear to have started, and the little activity there is in the market has been in housing developments which were paralysed during the years of the economic crisis.
The situation in the area between Torremolinos and Mijas on the western coast is different, because there is a growing interest in the unfinished developments there. In this case, the pocket of available property is ‘relevant’ but ‘continually decreasing’, mainly thanks to a reduction in prices.
Also in this area, not all the property developments which were stopped for financial reasons have been reactivated, although some which had almost been completed have been put on sale by the banks.
The Tinsa reports detects ‘signs of recovery’ in Marbella and Benahavís and ‘signs of improvement’ in neighbouring Estepona, Casares and Manilva, where there is a larger stock of housing, compared with that in Marbella which is practically non-existent.
One important figure which is indicative of the confidence shown in the area, at least until now, is the fact that in the most consolidated places such as Marbella and Benahavís, 70 per cent of property purchases are paid for in cash.