It’s a matter of fact that Marbella’s property market has been in a funk for years, starting long before the credit crunch struck, thanks to the venal greed and corruption of local politicians and some developers. But finally, some light at the end of the tunnel, argues Ángeles Muñoz, Marbella’s lady Mayor, with figures in hand to show the best property sales figures in 4 years (chart above).
If the figures are kosher, Muñoz has reason to be positive. A report from Marbella’s tax office shows there were 2,499 property sales in the first 3 months of this year, a rise of more than 200% compared to the same period last year. Look a bit further back and it appears the first quarter of this year was the best by far in the last 4 years.
Year – Sales in first quarter
2010 – 2,499
2009 – 820
2008 – 1,263
2007 – 1,602
2006 – 1,224
If correct, the figures show the market has improved by 100% compared even to the first quarter of 2006, before the ‘Malaya’ corruption scandal exploded, when the market was still relatively buoyant, just starting to come off the boil.
Does that make sense? Some argue it might be the increase in VAT in July bringing sales forward, but I doubt it. So have Marbella property prices dropped, and confidence returned enough to give the market such a big push? Well, I hope so, but I have to say it took me by surprise. I’d heard that there was some improvement, but nothing like this. It makes me wonder.
Ángeles Muñoz, on the other hand, has no doubts. As you would expect she is using the figures to vindicate her policies, saying that Marbella will be “first out of the crisis,” in a message aimed at local and international investors.
Marbella’s new town-plan is also helping. It comes into effect this month, legalises 16,000 properties, and enables owners to “sell, mortgage, swap or use as an asset,” properties that have been frozen out of the market for years, says the Mayor.