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The culture and leisure facilities, services and good communications are attracting buyers who are comfortably off and looking for homes in the centre or east of the city
30.10.15 - 12:40 -
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Malaga city is becoming more popular with people who want to buy a second home
Malaga is attracting potential buyers. :: ÁLVARO CABRERA
The real estate sector is reporting the appearance of a new profile of property-hunter in the city of Malaga: a couple, aged over 55, Spanish or foreign, comfortably off, and looking for a top-floor apartment in the historic centre or La Malagueta district as a holiday home.
Malaga is now high up on the list of popular places to buy a second home. Estate agents say this is because it has become a more important tourist destination in recent years, thanks to its museums, the traffic-free city centre, the increased number of cruises which call at the port and the fame of its gastronomy. The city centre and the east side are those which are most attractive to property seekers.
As a result, the Costa del Sol can no longer claim exclusivity for residential tourism in the province. The city has begun to attract people who want a second home but, rather than sunshine and beaches, are looking for “an urban setting, with good communications, services and leisure facilities,” said José Antonio Pérez, director of the Real Estate Chair of the Institute of Business Practice (IPE). And if that can be found beside the sea and close to other attractive places like Marbella or Granada, even better.
“The common denominator in this demand goes beyond nationality, because there are as many Spanish as Norwegians, Belgians, Germans looking for somewhere in the city... they are at a medium-high level in terms of wealth and are all over the age of 55,” he explains. The fact that Malaga has become fashionable as an urban tourist destination has a lot to do with their decision.
Scandinavia
In the few months that estate agency Engel & Völkers has had a branch in the centre of Malaga, its manager, Mario Garnica, has seen this trend for himself.
“About 60 per cent of clients are foreigners, mainly from central Europe and Scandinavia, and they are looking for a second home,” said the franchise holder of this German firm, which specialises in top-end properties.
With regard to the profile of the purchaser, Mario said, “There are different types, really: the person who already knows the Costa del Sol, who maybe has a place in Marbella, and is now looking for an apartment in Malaga; and also someone who comes from abroad and rents a house for a month while he looks for a property to buy.”
This demand has had a significant effect on the property market in the central and eastern districts of Malaga city, which have seen a major boost this year.
In many cases, the process which ‘captures’ these purchasers is similar to residential tourism in Marbella: “First they come and stay in a hotel, then they rent a house and after that they buy one,” said Iñigo Molina, the director of the Richard Ellis consultancy in Andalucía.
The problem is that there is very little property to suit these buyers. José Antonio Pérez said, “What they are looking for almost doesn’t exist; they want a small place, but one which has enough space. They don’t want a 50-metre apartment, but they don’t want one with four bedrooms either.”
It is a fact that the stock of new housing in Malaga city is virtually nonexistent, so those who want to buy have to look at the resale market. For José Antonio, the land which is going to be developed in the Tabacalera area would be ideal for property developments which are designed to meet the increasing demand for second homes in the city.
Some developers are taking note of this potential business opportunity. The director of Aguirre Newman in Malaga, María Monasterio, knows “several who are analysing the needs of this type of buyer, because they are thinking of building new properties in the centre of Malaga.”
And what are those needs? José Antonio Pérez pointed out that apart from some specific characteristics, older purchasers mainly want good facilities.
“The developers still haven’t cottoned on to this, but it is the future for our sector. For example, people who come to spend a few months in the city don’t want to worry about where they can buy a light bulb,” he explained. He also said that the excellent private health facilities in Malaga are an important attraction for people who are looking for a second home.
However, retired people are not the only ones to be attracted by the city. Plenty of professionals want to move to Malaga for work reasons. At least 50 per cent of the more than 300 apartments in Residencial Puerta del Mar, beside the AVE high speed railway station, are going to be occupied by people who currently live outside the city.
As Rafael Torres, the eastern Malaga delegate of Inmobiliaria del Sur, the developer of the building, explained: “Our purchasers include older people who want a second home in which to spend the winter, and people who come to Malaga because of their work, but in many cases people are coming because they want to, because they just like the idea of living here.”

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