British demand for Spanish property in Q2 – Part II: Comments from the front line

Having looked in part I at the key charts illustrating British demand for property in Spain in the second quarter, here are comments on the market from leading estate agents in areas popular with British investors.

Read part I: British demand for Spanish property in key charts

Estate agents are closest to the market in their area, and although they are vulnerable to the charge of talking up the market, the viewpoint of a savvy agent is the best we have to go on. It’s up to readers to decide how much to discount for bias but personally I think the comments below are offered in good faith.

Costa del Sol Property Market

Costa del Sol property market
The Costa del Sol

Smadar Kahana, Engel & Völkers Marbella

Q1 and Q2 have been challenging quarters for us here in Marbella as well as all over the world. However, we have seen a surprising rising demand from clients, especially in the months of April to the end of July that led to fantastic results! In terms of sales, it was the best summer we, at E&V Marbella, had in the last 18 years. In regards to British clients, as Engel & Völkers is specialised in the mid to high-end market, the british demands for this market was always very stable. During these months we had many more inquiries from British clients wanting to relocate with their families and searching for private villas with entertainment space in and outdoors, close to international schools. What we all learned from these challenging times is that much of our work can be done remotely, including online conferences, and I believe that this is also one of the reasons for this higher demand for a permanent home in Marbella. Visit website

Pia Arrieta, DM Properties in Marbella

We have had the same interest from British clients this year as last year, so nothing has changed. Demand has been steady. Visit website

Christopher Clover, Panorama

We see a continuing demand of UK citizens to purchase property here but as expected, a severe interruption factor due to the lockdown which only ended on June 21, thereby making Q2 very low in results, even though the enquiries were at the same level or greater than last year.

As soon as people could travel the market was in fact quite good in the summer, even better than last year, but now that there is a return of Covid there are very few people travelling to Spain which will affect the market for the next months.

So the demand is there, simmering, until there is more freedom of movement, with some purchases happening anyway as Covid-19 has in fact increased the demand for buying properties here. Visit website

Daniel Skinner, Right Casa Estates

The British demand in Q1 was definitely recovering, but of course Covid has virtually killed it since then – especially after the ludicrous quarantine brought in.

We are very lucky to be multilingual in our office, because we have sold a lot to the Spanish and Germans this year.

I am hoping there will be a British rush before Brexit, but I don’t see a huge increase in enquiries at the moment.

Many people are looking and waiting for bargains, but the Spanish market takes a long time to respond to demand. Visit website

Sotogrande Property Market

sotogrande property market

Michael Norton, Open Frontiers

Sales in Sotogrande were surprisingly good at the top end once the travel restrictions were eased, with buyers coming largely from Madrid, but the UK too. Sales in August were as good as any year, though the middle market is struggling. Most of the interest has been focused on plots and villas, with low-density being the watchword, which plays in favour of Sotogrande. The market in Sotogrande was much worse in the years after the financial crash, to put things in perspective. People who are interested in Sotogrande know that there has been a very low level of Covid-19 in Cadiz province, where we are, and that also helps boost confidence. Visit website.

Costa Blanca Property Market

Costa Blanca property market
Calpe, North Costa Blanca

Robin Brayne, HomeEspaña

We’ve had a challenging year, and we expect those challenges to continue well into 2021 as Covid travel restrictions and Brexit combine to sow doubt and delay into the minds of British buyers.

Covid rates remain low in the Costa Blanca, and we speak to eager British customers every day, so the desire to buy here remains strong – but it’s a question of confidence and timing. Murmurings this week that the UK Government might introduce testing at airports to reduce the quarantine period are welcome, but until we see a working, sustainable solution that makes people feel safe to fly, then things will likely remain quiet.

We know safe travel will resume eventually, and there will be clarity on Brexit – and all of this could even happen as early as January, when we’d then expect a small bounceback as pent-up demand is released. But no-one knows if that activity will be sustainable amidst the ongoing economic fallout of Covid and Brexit. Being realistic, we don’t expect the British market to return to pre-Covid levels sustainably until 2022.

In the meantime, we go about our business safely, we keep in touch, we sell to the clients who are prepared to travel, and we carry out remote viewings for as many clients as we can, so they are better informed and prepared for the future. Visit website

Julie Jones, Alta Villas Properties

In Q1 we were very busy with British buyers and vendors and had a good start to the year. Even January was busy, and in February we took reservations for several properties that did not complete until after lock down had ended. About 60% of these were British buyers. We only lost one sale just after lock down ended and that was a direct result of Covid. But we sold the property the next day to an English buyer.

In Q2, we were very busy with English buyers. The ones who bought were local but travel has been difficult for those based in the UK, so we have been doing more video viewings. We sold a property just by video to a British family who are emigrating here and a healthy pipeline of British people planning to come when the quarantine has been lifted.

All of the properties we have sold have outside space – 80% are villas, and in our area, prices have held firm

In terms of sales, we are already at the total we were for the whole of 2019 with 60% of those being to English. About 70% are British vendors. Visit website

Costa Brava Property Market

costa brava property market
Calella, Costa Brava

Warwick Pemberton, Costa Brava Fincas

Q1 saw an increase (from Q4 2019) of interest from the British buyer, predominantly due to pent up demand being released from Brexit being (almost) resolved, plus sterling (relatively) stable, and for those looking to purchase in the Costa Brava prior to 31/12/20 when the UK would officially be out of the EU. Plus of course those Brits who love the area and found themselves in a position to purchase.

Q2 needs to be split into two parts: the first part, for obvious reasons, was a complete reversal of Q1, with very little interest from the British. Or indeed any foreign buyer. A disaster for the local property market. The second part of Q2, surprisingly and certainly very welcome, saw a big jump in interest from the British market. Post lockdown, there seemed to be a percentage of Brits with a change of chip, valuing quality of life with a lovely Spanish property and looking to be bold and make the move now rather than later.

And Q3 is a completely different story again…Visit website

Barcelona Property Market

barcelona property market
Barcelona

Alex Vaughan, Lucas Fox

British buyers are a modest but consistent market for us in Barcelona, and the UK continues to be a source of high-end buyers for us in Catalonia and other parts of Spain. We can see that Brexit reduced British demand for property in Spain, but it also created a new market of British families looking to relocate to Spain as their first choice in Europe after Brexit. We also see Covid creating new demand for properties in Spain that offer outdoor lifestyles in low-density environments. We are confident that British demand will bounce back once we have Brexit and the coronavirus behind us. Visit website

Balearics – Ibiza & Formentera Property Market

ibiza and formentera property market
Cala de Bou, San Antonio, Ibiza

Cathy Ouwehand, Let Us Ibiza

After a quieter 2019 with the British wondering about Brexit, Q1 of 2020 started off with a lot of demand from the Uk market, then Covid – 19 hit and everywhere went quiet until travel opened up, with a significant amount of interest from the UK market. Despite the quarantine regulations, we still have UK clients wanting to buy for different reasons, life-style, re-location and Brexit. In total this year 30% of our enquiries came from the Uk market. Visit website

Barbara Caprara, Ibiza Sotheby’s International Realty

Spain ended the state of alarm at the end of June, so we were able to return to work from our offices only at the beginning of July.

Given the unfavorable circumstances, with the flights to the islands reduced, and few tourists just beginning to travel after months of confinement, any forecast was very difficult to make in relation to the activity that we would have had.

It was a great surprise to find us with a very active and healthy market, serious clients determined to buy, with great purchasing power and decision-making capacity to close operations in a short space of time. In addition, among the five Balearic Islands, all have had great interest, especially Ibiza and Formentera. The smallest island in the archipelago, Formentera, generated a remarkably great interest of buyers, today more determined to acquire a home than we used to experience before with the main reason being a safe and protected place from the expansion of the pandemic and where people love to spend their free time or in this case even have their home office.

Formentera is going through a generational change, in which properties are being put up for sale after being family properties for many years, so now the market offers a wider variety of possibilities and properties in front of the turquoise sea that characterizes the crystal clear waters of Formentera. Visit website

Lesley Hulme, Astbury Formentera

Great demand.
Never been so busy.
But not from the UK.
Mainly Spanish, French, Belgian
Swiss and German Visit website

Balearics – Mallorca Property Market

Mallorca Property Market
Market day in Santanyi, Mallorca

Engel & Völkers Mallorca group

Although in some areas of Mallorca, German-speaking buyers dominate the market, in the first two quarters of the year we have seen there is still strong demand from British buyers, and many of those have been making quite substantial investments, particularly in Mallorca’s Southwest region, where sales to British buyers have increased this year and almost tripled in sales transaction volume over the same period in 2019.

In the north of the island, which has always been popular with the British, this year Engel & Völkers report that 41% of their buyers were British (40% were German) and the average value of sales made to British clients was just under 1 million euros. In the first 2 quarters of 2020, there was a good level of internet enquiries from British buyers, so interest and demand are still there.

In the west, which is also traditionally very popular with British buyers, the split between sales to British and German clients is around 50/50 in the first 2 quarters of this year. In terms of online requests, the British market is the second largest group (and is fractionally behind the German-speaking group).

In the centre of the island, Engel & Völkers reports a 9% increase in internet requests by UK clients this year compared to 2019. Visit website

Canary Islands – Fuerteventura Property Market

Fuerteventura canary island property market
Fuerteventura beach

John Goldacre, Goldacre Estates

January and February opened really well, and we were in line with our budgeted objectives for both months exceeding our expectations , these months are always very buoyant in the Canary Islands real estate market.

The price range was across the board from people looking for their apartments as holiday homes to buyers looking to relocate for full time living. Prices ranges for January and February were between 100,000 euros to our most expensive sale at 750,000 euros .

March and April for us took a big slide in the opposite direction with March only achieving 30% of our budgeted objectives and April zero, due to lockdown.

We had a core of people working from home during the lockdown, and the enquiry levels remained strong, but with no flights coming in to the island our clients were kept away.

We used this time for planning regarding staffing and overall finances to reduce our cost base as low as possible because nobody knows where this was going and for how long. But at no time did we see any panic from our vendors, and nobody was rushing to reduce their selling prices.

In Q2 the interest from foreign buyers remained high with enquiry levels strong, and the price ranges of enquires actually increased to the more expensive levels of property values, with clients focus shifting to more lifestyle changes / permanent moves, Fuerteventura and the Canary Islands in general are seen as a safe haven regarding COVID with Fuerteventura recording only 45 cases total. Brexit was also a driver of British interest in living in the EU.

The big surprise for us as we came out of lockdown was the shift in the local market with a surge of interest from local buyers who had spent lockdown in small apartments looking to upgrade to properties with more outside space so these were our first sales after lockdown. June saw the first shoots of the resurgence in the market in terms of physical buyers on the ground, followed by our UK clients who were on the first planes out they could catch.

In Q3 with confidence coming back in terms of travel, July and August were our best months for many years, August traditionally is a quieter month for the Canary Islands real estate market because of school holidays etc but this year has exceeded all our budgeted expectations and historic results.

There has been a pent up demand with buyers wanting to move quickly to secure their purchases and get everything in place pre Brexit .

Sales have taken many forms with some clients from the UK buying on the basis of video and live online presentations, and it has been amazing to see the level of trust. Some of these sales have already been completed. Everything has been arranged for the clients without them having to visit.

July and August saw GoldAcre Estates achieving 200% of our objectives.

The Canary Islands market is robust and although volumes are generally lower because of flight restrictions being imposed today including quarantine, I see the market continuing to move forward because of the uniqueness of Fuerteventura and the safety it affords in terms of low density of population, the environment, and the year round good weather . Visit website

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