The property market in Marbella moves at different speeds and the fastest of all is the luxury sector. In some parts of the municipality prices are now double those of 2011, which was the worst year of the crisis, as shown by the latest report on the market from Panorama, Marbella's longest-established estate agency.
The price increase in some of the most exclusive areas reflects a lack of supply compared with the growing demand from would-be purchasers. The sale of properties costing more than four million euros doubled in 2017, when over 40 were sold.
Although in other areas of the town the prices have not yet returned to 2006 and 2007 levels, when they were at their highest, the increases are notable in the most prestigious areas, especially on the Golden Mile, south of the main road.
Another highly-coveted area is the Casablanca residential development beside the Meliá Don Pepe hotel. The lack of land has meant that many investors have purchased properties in these areas in order to demolish them and build new ones.
The Panorama report shows that the Costa del Sol, especially Marbella, is one of the locations which drives the residential property market. In fact, the National Institute of Statistics (INE) confirms that Malaga was the fourth Spanish province in terms of property sales in 2017 (30,064 compared with 15,917 in the Balearic Islands), behind only Madrid, Barcelona and Alicante.
Two years earlier
According to the '2018 report on the Marbella property market', the recovery of the residential market in this area began in 2012, two years earlier than the country as a whole, which is why it is now more consolidated than other regions.
At present, the new-build sector is starting to pick up again, but it is a gradual process. In 2017 the College of Architects of Malaga approved 4,895 plans for new properties, but this was only 10.88 per cent of the 45,000 which were approved ten years previously.
The segments of the market which are the strongest and most solid at present are apartments costing between 200,000 and 1.5 million euros, and villas priced between 700,000 and 2.5 million.
Many of the properties which were built 20 or 30 years ago, or longer, in the best residential areas, are being bought either to be demolished so that new ones can be built on the site, given the lack of land in those sectors, or to be completely reformed, according to the report, which was produced by Christopher Clover, the CEO of Panorama, who has been analysing the luxury property sector on the Costa del Sol for 48 years.
Christopher also explains that the strength of the market in Marbella differs from the rest of Spain because of the extraordinary diversity of nationalities of purchasers, as they are protected from possible fluctuations in the property markets of their own countries.
The Panorama report shows that the rental market in Marbella is also performing well at present. Demand for property to rent has increased, and prices are at unprecedented levels, especially for modern luxury properties which have security measures in place. According to the report, demand for rental properties in Marbella last year rose by more than 20 per cent.
Marbella also has an influence on the property market in nearby towns and villages, and the figures show that last year there was also positive movement in the market in locations which are becoming increasingly popular, such as Estepona, Benahavís and Ojén.