The property market on the Costa del Sol was moving along nicely at the beginning of 2020 when the Covid-19 crisis struck and the region, like much of Europe at the time, went into a period of enforced lockdown. It lasted until well into May, when Andalucía slowly began a phased return to normality, including the return of tourists in July.
Slowly but gradually, café terraces, restaurants and shops began to fill again, and not only has the post-Covid crisis not materialized, but the Marbella real estate market has proven remarkably resilient. This started with the adaptability of many of its professionals, who continued to service their clients using modern tools such as Zoom conferencing and virtual tours.
Demand in Marbella stronger than expected
These measures produced a surprising number of property sales of homes not visited in person by the buyers – an indication of how homebuyers are also adapting to new technologies. What’s more, ever since the end of the confinement period there has been a surge in enquiries from across Northern Europe and even as far as the USA. The Covid experience in their own countries has encouraged a lot of these people to make the move and look for a property to buy in Marbella and surroundings, where they can enjoy the space, nature and more easygoing pace of life.
Rather than a property slump, estate agents and property developers are reporting high levels of interest and activity, with strong demand for Marbella villas and apartments across the price ranges, but especially in the higher and lower-mid segments. Particularly in vogue right now are properties with gardens, views and ideally space, close to nature and also amenities. This has brought areas such as El Madroñal, La Quinta, Nueva Andalucía and Guadalmina, as well as Marbella East and Estepona into particular focus.
Property values perform well
Before the end of the Covid-19 confinement period there had been widespread suggestions that prices would drop strongly this year, but this too has not happened, as Marbella property values and indeed those across the Costa del Sol have remained notably solid. From our own conversations with agents there have been a lot of client visits and sales, including remotely.
We believe this is because, in the upper end of the segment, a lot of people had been ‘dragging their heels’ in previous months and due to Coronavirus have made up their minds to buy homes in Marbella. There will no doubt be an impact on the economy both here and abroad, but people have proved remarkably resilient and continue to visit their homes and vacation in what they consider to be a more pleasant environment. The confinement period gave a lot of people time to evaluate their priorities, and a drive for quality of life is one of the trends that has come out of this.
Many of these people have now decided that they need to travel less for work, and by making use of video conferencing can spend fewer hours in office and be able to work more flexibly from home. Also with the professional services of a co-working centre nearby and easy flights to numerous international destinations. Once this decision is made, the next step is to choose a lifestyle environment such as Marbella over city life in the North. All of these factors have contributed to the current upsurge, in which Costa del Sol property values have remained solid and demand is strong. Covid-19 has made us value quality time as never before.
The construction sector is of course affected by all the above, with people rushing to finish projects and also starting new ones, resulting in a somewhat ‘crazy’ month of July. We think there could be a little dip later on, but the higher end of the market seems particularly recession proof right now, with Marbella offering the kind of lifestyle and setting many across Europe and beyond aspire to.