Where in Spain should I buy?
When it comes to buying property abroad, Spain is a well-trodden path for Brits. We account for the biggest proportion of foreign buyers in the country, with more than 750,000 of us now calling it home.
The reason for Spain’s widespread appeal is easy to see. Cheap flights, great airport access and plenty of sunshine make it a good choice for a weekend bolthole as well as the ideal place to retire.
Spain is big place though, so unless you have a well-loved spot that ticks all your boxes, where do you buy?
If good weather and simplicity are high up on your priority list, the Costa Blanca, which is south of Valencia on the east coast of Spain, is expat-friendly and has a climate judged by the World Health Organisation to be the healthiest in the world.
Head slightly north up the coast from there and you’ll find the towns of Dénia and Jávea, both of which are good alternatives for the same criteria. Or if you’re after a more authentic Spanish lifestyle, head slightly inland to the Jalon Valley.
If you travel south from Costa Blanca, the landscape becomes more arid. But the Costa Calida and Murcia, both rich in history, have seen huge amounts of development due to the much-anticipated new Paramount theme park. The project has been beset with problems and the resulting oversupply of property means there are plenty of bargains to be had. Look at the coastal towns of San Pedro Del Pinatar, Mar de Cristal and Santiago de la Ribera which hosts an international Jazz festival. Or head inland to the picturesque Ricote Valley.
Cala del Barco Beach, Murcia
Continue down to the southern coast of Spain and you hit the classic British buying destination of Andalucia and the Costa del Sol. Resorts like Nerja, Marbella and Estepona are energetic, vibrant and offer great facilities. But if you prefer a more traditional environment just a few miles inland are the grand old cities of Granada, Seville and Cádiz with plenty of rural villages to explore in the surrounding countryside.
Keep heading west along the coastline and you’ll meet the lesser known Costa de la Luz – a perfect spot for those who enjoy surfing, horse-riding and a generally more ‘undiscovered’ feel. Check out Tarifa, Bolonia and Zahora for unspoilt beaches and views of Africa.
Travel inland to the region of Extremadura and both the climate and landscape changes dramatically taking on a very ‘foreign’ feel. Peaceful, rural villages set in an area the size of Switzerland are dotted with huge lakes and mountains. Zafra is a charming old Roman town and Tajo-Salor contains a world heritage site.
Granada, Old City
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In the north of Spain at the Costa Verde the weather becomes much wetter which is why it’s known as ‘Green Spain’. Costa Verde stretches from the Portuguese border all the way west across to (and along) the French border. This part of Spain is much less touristy than its other coasts. And if that’s what you’re after, Lugo in Galicia and Llanes in Asturias are worth looking at, where you will find authentic townhouses with stunning views.
Moving round to the north east, the most well-known city is Barcelona and the most famous coast, the Costa Brava. Resorts here including Blane, Lloret and Tossa de Mar, offer good property choices and, although historically the area has had a ‘cheap package holiday’ reputation, it has made a concerted effort to edge upmarket in recent years. Sitges is its most famous ‘trendy’ resort – but has prices to match.
This leaves us with the islands of Spain. The Canaries, which are warm all-year-round, each offer something a little different. Gran Canaria is sandy and quieter than its volcanic and vibrant neighbour Tenerife while, with no direct flights, La Gomera is quieter still. However it still has a sound infrastructure. The Spanish islands all have a year-long holiday vibe making them a good opportunity for rental.
The three main Balearic Islands each have different personalities. Quiet, easy going Menorca is popular with families and less expensive than its neighbours. The Spanish Royal family holiday in Mallorca and classy resorts sit alongside the madness of the infamous Magaluf. Ibiza has inherited a cult status as the ‘party that never stops’ but often less celebrated attractions include hidden coves and pine-covered hills. Property is widely available at a range of prices.
Check list before you buy
There are some fundamentals you MUST consider before you start on your journey to purchasing a property in Spain. Download our free buying guides for a road map for your purchase (scroll below). We publish a short guide, and much more indepth guide with invaluable information.
Choose your agent wisely. AIPP (Association of International Property Professionals) members have all signed up to a strict code of conduct and are covered by the UK Property Ombudsman which makes for a much safer buying environment. You can search their properties by clicking the ‘Search Property‘ link here or at the top of the page.
Know your budget before you start your search. The Alliance recommends using a specialist overseas mortgage broker such as AIPP member Simon Conn who can assess your current situation and advise on what kind of mortgage would be available to you.
Lock in your exchange rate. With the markets a little volatile, it’s wise to protect your budget. By choosing a currency company who can offer you the best rate and fixing it with a forward contract you need not worry about political or economic factors influencing your purchase power. The Alliance works with Clear Currency. Hear what they have to say:
Engage the services of a fully independent lawyer. Your lawyer should work on behalf of YOU and YOU only – not the seller or developer or agent. You can search for an AIPP member lawyer here.
Seek advice on your tax, pension and wealth management requirements. By speaking with a specialist you can ensure your financial affairs are in the best order to limit your liabilities and future proof your income. The Alliance recommends speaking with international financial advisers Blevins Franks.
Speak to those who have gone before you. Join the Alliance of International Property Owners and gain access to our private members only forum (*coming September) where you can search and connect with members with properties in Spain and other areas you wish to know more about (and right now it’s free to join!)