If you are in the market for a main or second home in sunny Andalusia, this is a good time to 3km buy. Plenty has already been said about the ‘market discount’, the price correction that logically followed the general and property market-specific recession. An additional boon, if you buy in euros from a British seller, is that you could also benefit from a currency discount. When it was introduced to the general public nine years ago, the euro was worth about £0.6, so it is quite dramatic that its value now hovers just under sterling, at £0.9. One implication is that British property sellers in Spain wanting to convert back their money to pounds can afford to lower their prices even further than the property market has dictated, making finding a British seller a particularly attractive option.
Independently of these conditions, the big question is what kind of properties are on offer and exactly where. This article is a brief roundup, travelling from east to west, of some of the main areas on the Costa del Sol, each of which present specific advantages and characteristics. You can click on the hyperlinks to find more detailed information about each area. In terms of property types, there is a vast choice of apartments, townhouses, and penthouses in luxury urbanizaciones (gated complexes), ranging in price from 200,000 to over a million euros. Period homes which can be village town homes or detached, either restored or not, range from 200,000 to several million. There are also new or recently built luxury villas, many of them in golf and/or gated communities, that can cost up to several million euros.
Most of the above properties types are available in the various principal areas of the Costa del Sol. You’ll never be far from a golf course, the sea, or a variety of sporting facilities, but the relative importance to your family, guests, and yourself of any or several of these particular amenities may help determine which area or areas you focus on during your search.
The eastern Costa del Sol, including Torremolinos, Mijas, Fuengirola, Benalmádena, Calahonda, and other areas offer all types of apartments, some of them at quite attractive prices. These resorts are somewhat less exclusive than Sotogrande or those around the Marbella area, but they are also places that provide a lot of local colour. Of particular note is Mijas, up in the hills about 10 kms from Fuengirola. This typical Andalusian white mountain village has managed to retain its original look and has famously been the residence of foreign artists and bohemian types ever since the sixties, about the time when Marbella was being discovered by the world’s jet-set. Today, the village is still home to a large foreign population that seems to get on alright with the locals. Hospital Costa del Sol, a large city-like facility, is also located in this area, catering to residents all the way to Estepona and Manilva.
Marbella can be divided in four areas: Central Marbella, East Marbella, Puerto Banús, and Nueva Andalusía. Central Marbella has the great advantage of having a charming historic quarter, a truly Spanish feel, and easy beach access. Here you can combine the pleasures of a cultural life -by taking advantage of the exhibitions and concerts taking place all year long-and leisure living, with the greatest concentration of restaurants and shops on the Costa del Sol. Marbella’s Spanish population is particularly ubiquitous and influential, so it’s easy to get to know locals here. Adjacent Puerto Banús, which can be thought of as the marina of Marbella, has a similar cachet and offers some of the same advantages. It is home to a greater proportion of foreigners, however, and one of its key attractions is of course the pleasure harbour, frequented by some of the world’s largest private yachts.
Luxury department stores, outstanding dining facilities, and a multiplex cinema are all located at or walking distance from the harbour. You might choose to invest in a property at Puerto Banús because it is relatively less crowded than Marbella itself, with long-established luxury complexes offering large green spaces. If you want even more space and quicker access to a variety of golf courses, consider properties in Marbella East or Nueva Andalucía. The former, which mainly consists of the residential complexes and golf courses, has a reputation for being quiet, and offers a small marina that you might find more accessible and convenient if you have a small boat than Puerto Banús. Last but not least, Nueva Andalucía is the elevated area just northwest of Puerto Banús, on the other side of the N340. The area was thusly named because its homes have been purposefully built in a way reminiscent of traditional Andalusian architecture, with overtones of Roman and Moorish styles. Living here one feels more remote from Marbella, as if the place were a town of its own, complete with an international school and other learning establishments for the children. Nueva Andalusia has a bullring, extensive shopping facilities, and a wide selection of international restaurants. Last but not least, its elevated position means that the local golf courses provide challenging playing terrain and that the views to the Strait of Gibraltar and Africa are outstanding.
The next important place in the western direction is San Pedro de Alcántara, which has peldanía legal status, which means that although it is a part of Marbella municipality, it enjoys a town hall of its own with limited jurisdiction over local affairs. San Pedro is the starting point of the road to Ronda, on which some important golf resorts are found such as the world-renowned La Zagaleta, an exclusive golf and residential domain famous for its sloping hills and mansions. Further up the road is the Ascari race track, a sports car owners’ country club where the rich and famous including none other than groovy speed fan Jamiroquai can legally push their cars’ engines to the performance they were designed for. On the coast, San Pedro offers residences on both sides of the N340 road, with the beach-side residences forming nice neighbourhoods of private villas and gated communities that are a close walk away from the beach. The N340 road has seriously stressed the town centre with excessive traffic but this will end within a couple of years as the underpass is completed and a green area built atop. San Pedro has several long-established golf courses as well as other attractive amenities, such as schools, shopping facilities, an exhibition centre, and many restaurants. It also features Roman and Paleo-Christian ruins, as can also be found in Manilva and parts of Estepona. On a modern culture note, San Pedro is also home to Ganjazz, an outstanding band blending hip hop, funk, and Cuban sounds, by far and away the Costa del Sol’s best young musical act.