How to find your perfect property on the Costa del Sol

WHEREVER you’re thinking of looking for your next home, purchasing a less than perfect property in the best possible location always makes more sense than buying an ideal home in the wrong place.

The oldest adage in estate-agent speak – location, location, location – sometimes falls on deaf ears in today’s rising market.

Buyers on the Costa del Sol, particularly those from overseas who are searching for a holiday home in the sun, are often willing to trade off location for the comfort and convenience of a brand-new home.

Their reasons for preferring turn-key properties are, in theory, sound: Spain’s labyrinthine bureaucracy, language barriers, and the hassle of dealing with building work anywhere, let alone in a foreign country, are enough to put anyone off taking on a project to develop or redevelop property.

At the same time, on paper at least, new-build homes can look like great value.

They generally have modern layouts, designer kitchens, lots of bathrooms, and all the amenities – swimming pools, padel courts and landscaped gardens – that would-be purchasers put on their must-have lists.

But in markets like Marbella, finding a new property in a great location at a price most people can afford is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack.

Housing sales and prices have been on the rise here since 2009, bucking the trend nationwide because of the double whammy of limited supply and strong demand.

Compounding this, a lack of prime development land in the best locations and a dwindling number of homes for renovation mean that developers of brand-new properties buyers want are being pushed out to less, let’s say, desirable addresses.

The price of land falls proportionally the further you go from the action, giving builders room to still make a profit but leaving buyers potentially out in the sticks.

As long as the market continues to rise, people will take risks and buy new properties, wherever they may be.

But, just in case anyone has already forgotten, the Spanish housing market, even in buoyant areas like Marbella, won’t remain bullish forever and, when it does all turn bear-shaped, only properties in prime locations will hold their value and sell quickly, if push comes to shove.

Our advice for clients, even if they plan on staying put for life at the time of purchase, is to always think about selling when buying.

A shiny new home in an unconsolidated neighbourhood may appear to be such a good deal that people are willing to compromise on location. But that’s exactly what happened last time around…