Yesterday an old friend came bursting into the office all excited. “I finally sold my house, he exclaimed enthousiastically.” What do you mean “finally?” I asked.”You only had the house on the market for eight months.
This little conversation shows on the one hand that people in general often have unrealistic expectations and on the other hand that things are still moving in Marbella, despite all the gloom and doom.
So, why was my friend’s expectation that he would sell his house really quickly unrealistic? The answer is that the Spanish real estate market is in a depression. Transaction volume has come down dramatically, supply is overwhelming and prices are falling hard.
Under such conditions it is extremely difficult to sell a house in any case, let alone on short notice. In Spain the average time it takes for selling a house has increased to nearly two years!
So why was my friend so impatient when selling his house? It was because he knew that his house had a lot to offer, due to it’s superb location in a prestigious urbanization, with 360 degrees view.
Moreover, this urbanization is situated in Marbella, one of Spain’s most emblematic cities. Marbella does not seem to be fully affected by the general downturn in housing, probably because of the following reasons:
- Due to delays in the new zoning regulations, Marbella was not capable in fully participating in the housing boom. There simply is no big housing glut.
- Marbella really stands out with respect to the quality of it’s leisure possibilities.
- The Costa del Sol has Europe’s best climate with 320 days of sunshine.
- Marbella has a large international community, including some of the best international schools.
- Most of the homeowners hardly have any mortgage to speak of, so selling pressure is a lot less than elsewhere in Spain.
There is more anectodal evidence that Marbella does not participate in the general housing misery that holds the rest of Spain in a sufficating grip.
Investors are putting a floor under prices by quickly picking up distressed sales. Ambitious plans have been put in motion, like the enlargement of Puerto Banús harbour and new developments in Nueva Andalucia.
Waiting lists for the international schools points to an unabating inflow of foreigners and touristic activity has not leveled off.
So my friend was right in his expectation that he easily could sell his 1st class property at a good price. But he should have been surpriced by the speed of the sale.
Even in Marbella’s priviliged market it usually takes more time nowadays to sell a house. Due to economic uncertainties the housing market is rather thin. The excellent location of Marbella has prevented a collapse in prices though.