The obvious reason for buying property on the Costa del Sol is to enjoy the region’s fabulous weather and quality of life.
Now, you can argue about the quality of life – some people say that life on the Costa del Sol isn’t all it’s cut out to be – but you can’t really argue about the weather. The Costa del Sol, and especially the area around Marbella, has the best climate in mainland Europe, with abundant sunshine, and pleasant temperatures in the winter months. Most people would concede that life is much easier to enjoy when the sun is shining, and you are not shivering with cold.
Then there is the fact that, for all its faults, the Costa del Sol is a very well established destination for tourists and people looking to make a permanent move.
Access by air, rail and road is good and getting better all the time, with a new terminal at Malaga, increasing flights into Gibraltar, and fast train and local rail upgrades underway. Easy access from all over Europe is one of the Costa del Sol’s big selling points, and will always give it an advantage over longer-haul destinations with good climates.
Once you are there, the Costa del Sol has everything you need to enjoy life or a holiday: beaches with some seriously cool beach bars, numerous golf courses, wonderful countryside, a great selection of shops, bars, restaurants, and countless things to do to keep everyone in the family entertained.
Leisure and fun is only half the story. The Costa del Sol is also well endowed with key facilities such as schools and hospitals, which are important to people living there year round. A large and growing English-speaking resident community (not just Britons, but Irish, Americans, Dutch, Swedes, etc.) means you can have an interesting social life even if you don’t speak Spanish.
The quality of life and cheaper cost of living (though it is not as cheap as it was) explains why many people have chosen to retire to the Costa del Sol. The average age of a British person buying property on the Costa del Sol is around 50, but things are changing, and younger people are starting to emigrate to the Costa del Sol as the economy develops.
As time goes by an increasingly diverse business community is putting down roots in sectors such as financial and internet services. Changes in communications and technology mean that highly qualified and internationally mobile professionals can do their jobs just fine from the comfort of the Costa del Sol. If all you need is broadband internet and a good airport, then why live in London, Stockholm or Hamburg if you can do your job from the Costa del Sol? That’s a question an increasing number of ambitious young professionals are asking themselves, before voting with their feet. For those who want to raise children in a more family friendly environment, the decision to relocate to the Costa del Sol is even easier.
Having raved about the Costa del Sol, it’s important to point out that it is far from perfect. The urban planning model is broken, many areas have been mindlessly over-developed, municipal corruption has been a disaster, roads are bad, certain types of crime are on the increase, and there are plenty of sleazy people around, many of them in property. The property market is also in crisis (2008), and for lots of reasons one has to be extremely careful when buying property on the Costa del Sol.
But, despite all its faults, the Costa del Sol is still a great place to live or go on holiday, and compares favourably against many of the alternatives. So if you buy carefully, for the right reasons, and do your research, you are unlikely to regret buying property on the Costa del Sol in the long term. But before you buy, make sure you know what is going on in the Costa del Sol property market.