Costa Brava property market report 2007

Spain´s Costa Brava or “wild coast” extends around 200kms of coastline and is incredibly diverse with a mix of tourist resorts around beautiful beaches, stunning countryside and medieval towns where the countryside is essentially unspoiled. The area between the coast and the beautiful provincial capital of Girona, is divided into two main areas Alt Empordà and Baix Empordà these are the top cultural areas in Catalonia and considered to be some of the most beautiful in Spain.

Report prepared by local estate agents

Alt Empordà

The Alt Empordà covers the north-eastern corner of Spain where the Pyrenean range of L’Albera separates it from France. The region marks the beginning of the Costa Brava and is perhaps most famous for its associations with Salvador Dalí who was born in Figueres, which is the capital of the region.

Empuriabrava is unique and is often referred to as the “little Venice” of Spain because much of its beautiful residential area is built on and around a system of canals. The majority of residencies have a mooring at the bottom of the garden making Empuriabrava the largest residential marina in Europe.

To the west of Empuriabrava lies the coastal town of Roses, which is located just 30 kilometres south of the French border. Roses is known for its wonderful fine sandy beaches and is a popular tourism resort with good facilities and infrastructure.

Further west lies the picturesque fishing port of Cadaqués with its steep winding streets and whitewashed houses. Further south you find the fishing town L’Escala which is an ideal location to enjoy any nautical pursuits and nature. The second home residential property market here is expanding and its proximity to Barcelona and the French border has made it popular with Spanish city dwellers and the French. Latterly, the Germans and British are also buying in this area.

Improved infrastructure with fast road access via a good motorway network, which will further be improved when the planned extension of the main motorway to Barcelona is completed. The fast European railway system TGV will create better communications between France right into Gerona and Figures and this will undoubtedly increase the French market in these areas. In addition, easy access is provided by the Girona’s International Airport featuring approximately 35- 40 daily scheduled flights into the main European cities with a variety of budget airlines, are key factors as to why this region has been earmarked as a hotspot for incoming investors.

Baix Empordà

The Costa Brava of the Baix Empordà is popular with tourists and city dwellers from Barcelona. The coastline features rocky crags, beautiful natural harbours and tiny coves. Just off the coast are the Illes Medes, an archipelago of seven islands that have been declared a marine reserve and are popular for scuba diving.

Inland, there are numerous medieval villages such as Peratallada and the old town of Pals leading on to Begur with its stunning coastline and beautiful bays.

The south of Baix Empordà takes in the Gavarres forest zone where the tree-covered hills are scattered with hamlets and traditional stone faced farmhouses and coastline resorts including Castell- Playa d’Aro. This area is an established tourist destination with excellent facilities, 3 kilometres of beach and two golf courses nearby.

The picturesque old town of Pals is located just a few kilometres from the sea. This is also an attractive area for golfers with 3 golf courses (a total of 72 holes), in the town and the Serres de Pals Golf Course just outside. In addition, The Emporda Golf Course at Torroella is located in the north east of Baix Empordà.

The Buyer

Generally, the Spanish, British, German, Dutch and Scandinavians are the main buyers in this region. In the Baix Empordà area the main clients are Spanish (50%), British (15%) and Scandinavian (10%) with an average spend of approximately €450,000 mainly for villas. The Dutch and French markets are also strong here. The Russians have started to buy and currently account for approximately 5% of the market, but they are big buyers and on average spend €1.3 million.

Whereas, in the Empuriabrava area, the main markets tend to be British (25%), German (20%) and French (38%). The British average spend of approximately €700,000 tends to be on townhouses. Other markets include Scandinavians, Swiss and French. The Russians have also come into this area and account for 10% of the market with larger average spends of €1.5 million. In both areas the most requested properties tend to be villas, projects for renovation, waterfront and designer properties. Clients now spend more time in their properties and visit 3-4 times per year with an average total stay of 2-3 months.

Property Values

In the past five years the property prices have rocketed in this region as much as 130% in some areas. In 2006 the market saw increases of approximately 15-20% and average prices in 2006 start at around €150,000 for an apartment up to €1,5 million for a luxury villa. The price of land has soared with increases of 250% in the past five years and is still going up by approximately 15% last year.

Investor Tips

The Alt Empordà region is known for its breathtaking scenery inland, its mountain ranges, wildlife nature reserves and and wonderful beaches along the coast. It features a great variety of sports activities on the ground, in the air and on the sea. It has two excellent golf courses.

Back in the early 1980’s/1990’s this area really took off and there was a huge demand in and around Empuriabrava where the fashion was to own a house on the canal or around the marina area. Today, this area is as popular as ever so much so that the demand for quality property exceeds supply. Last year prices started to stabilise and the average spend now starts at around 500,000 for a three bedroom house. Cadaqués

is also a town to watch out for.

Baix Empordà – this region has enjoyed popularity for many years with the most discerning Spanish clients from Barcelona. They love the region for its mix of countryside, beaches, quiet coves and historic medieval towns. In addition, there is a good range of property and opportunities to restore authentic historic houses.

The most requested villages or areas tend to be Pals, Begur, Calella de Palafrugell and Playa de Aro. However, for good value, Baix Empordà still very interesting and would be well worth investigating this year.

Alt Emporda Property Prices

Villa with views 4 350 1,100,000 60% 7%
Villa no views 4 350 600,000 50% 7%
Apartment with views 2 100 325,000 60% 7%
Apartment no views 2 100 225,000 50% 7%
Country house 3 350 750,000 50% 7%
Townhouse 3 180 500,000 50% 7%
Plot price €/m2 250 60% 10%

Baix Emporda Property Prices

Villa with views 4 350 1,100,000 100% 15%
Villa no views 4 350 800,000 80% 13%
Apartment with views 2 100 350,000 100% 15%
Apartment no views 2 100 275,000 80% 12%
Country house 3 350 1,200,000 120% 10%
Townhouse 3 180 750,000 100% 12%
Plot price €/m2 300 250% 20%

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