What are things really like on the Costa del Sol?

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Things to smile about on the Costa del Sol

There’s no doubt that 2009 has been a tough year, with the global recession and property market slump leaving a lot of businesses and homeowners in difficulties. However, tourist and residents on the Costa del Sol have had some things to smile about this year and there are positive signs on the horizon for 2010.  Read on for some great reasons to feel good about living, working or owning a property in Spain.

Spain tops the charts of best places to live in Europe

Spain was ranked second out of the 10 European countries for its standard of living by uSwitch.com, with the UK and Ireland officially ranked bottom. Some of the great reasons it highlighted to live in Spain:

1. Spain enjoys the most sunshine in Europe

2. The Spanish can expect to live a year longer than people in the UK

3. Spain enjoys the highest number of holiday days in Europe (41 days a year)

4. Spaniards pay the lowest fuel prices and the lowest prices for alcohol


The sun is still shining and tourists are still spending

Summer was glorious and the weather has been wonderful all year. Spain had the driest and hottest November on records and all this sunny weather kept tourists happy and people sunbathing on the beach until the beginning of December.

 Despite fears to the contrary the tourists still came in 2009. According to the data of the Association of Hotel Industrialists of the Costa del Sol (AECHOS) the average hotel occupation in July was 69.43%, very similar to the same period in 2008.

Self-catering accommodation was particularly popular, showing that people don’t want to sacrifice their holiday abroad, but do want to cut their expenses whilst they are there. HolidayRentalontheWeb.com found that their holiday rental bookings were significantly up over 2008.

There have been a series of successful events on the Coast this year, bringing in much needed funds and tourists. The Davis Cup Quarter Final in Puerto Banus alone generated 10 million Euros in direct investment into the restaurants, bars, hotels, shops and businesses in the area and there were many other important events such as the first Food & Sun Festival.

New Businesses Open

Despite all the negativity in the press, many businesses have experienced a positive winter season and there is much needed corporate investment coming into the area.

New shops, bars and restaurants are taking advantage of empty premises and reduced rents and re-opening their doors. The highest profile new arrivals have been Marks & Spencer in Marbella and The Hard Rock Café in Puerto Banus. These new businesses bring more employment, encourage spending and provide positive publicity for the region.

Even the Property Market shows signs of recovery

The property market and the construction industry has taken a huge hit this year and demand for new properties has plummeted. On the other hand however, there are lots of property bargains to be had, and the signs are that investors with ready cash are buying in the downturn to make money when the markets are on the rise again.  

As the rest of Europe comes out of recession, demand in Spain will rise again and interest in second homes will increase again. PrimeLocation International, a specialist property website, has seen a steady increase in searches for International properties since June 2009 and a 6% jump in November alone which is a good sign for things to come.

Experts are expressing the belief that things may start to improve sooner rather than later. Mikel Echavarren, head of Irea, a Spanish real estate consultancy was quoted saying “the recovery is underway”. He feels that prices have reached the bottom and he predicts a rise of 10% per year on prices from 2010 onwards. Of course this is only a prediction, but it indicates growing confidence in the market. More confidence means yet more buyers looking to take advantage of the bottom of the property market so it’s a positive sign of things to come.

There even seems to be some good news for the developers. The G-14 group of Spain’s leading developers have announced that the market for new homes is on the road to a mild recovery. The sector touched bottom in April 2009 and, following huge price reductions, they have been seeing a steady increase in sales from April to date. They predict that sales of newly built homes will continue consolidating in the coming months.

Let’s look on the bright side

We’re not suggesting that Spain is back to the highs of 2007, but things are certainly improving and it still is a wonderful place to live and take a holiday. Potential buyers and holiday makers can take advantage of the drop in prices for properties and holiday rental accommodation and we can all enjoy the great deals in the restaurants, bars and shops.

Marbella Town Hall are planning a new programme of events for 2010 and are launching an online marketing campaign with Marbella residents telling the world why this is a great place to live and work. They are also establishing a Tourism Consortium, working with International Businesses to promote the area and encouraging International Residents to register to bring more funding to the area.

All this must give residents, businesses and property owners hope that 2010 will be a good year for Spain and staying positive always helps!

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