Cantabria lies on the north coast of Spain between Asturias and The Basque Country. However despite being just next door to Asturias the property market in Cantabria has behaved quite differently. Property prices in Cantabria match the national average for Spain and property prices rose by 18.4% in 2004, above the national average property price rise of 17.4%.
The infrastructure and economy of Cantabria are more developed than in Asturias and it is home to Spain’s largest bank – BSCH – which recently bought the British building society Abbey. Members of the Botín family who control the bank are said to be very active property buyers in Cantabria, especially at the high end of the price scale. It is also home to the beautiful city of Santander, which along with San Sebastian, has always been one of Spain’s most popular summer resorts. Cantabria also attracts many buyers from the Basque Country next door for whom the prices in Cantabria are irresistible compared to the Basque Country. The fact that much of Cantabria is within reasonable driving distance of Bilbao airport (in The Basque Country) makes it reasonably accessible to foreign buyers. However strong local demand that keeps prices high acts as a disincentive to foreign buyers, compared to other northern regions such as Galicia and Asturias where property is much cheaper.
Prices in 2005? Tricky. I find the property market in Cantabria to fathom but I do expect prices to continue rising for the time being due to attractive prices relative to the Basque Country, a buoyant local economy and perhaps an increase in foreign demand as the whole of Northern Spain becomes more of a destination.
© Mark Stucklin (Spanish Property Insight)