Spain set to reign again
Finca Zarita: villa with private pool, £2.03 million. Agent: Savills
The Spanish property basket case is puzzling the experts. How come prices are so low, yet Marbella, for example, reported tourism at a five-year high last year?
According to the latest figures released by the Institute of National Statistics, Marbella's tourism industry is well on the road to recovery. Other tourism figures are also reportedly up across Spain. Even Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha took a five-day break in Marbella last year, staying at the luxurious Villa Padierna Hotel.
With the Andalucían region coming out on top (compared to other regions in Spain), it looks like things are finally looking up for tourism.
There have been faint signs of improvement in the property market too. The key selling period of last August was the best month in housing sales since May 2008, according to the Association of Registrars of property, movable property and commercial.
Property developer Taylor Wimpey de España agrees. It began building again in October last year. Victor Sague, sales director of Taylor Wimpey España says: "It had become very apparent from our diminishing stock levels that we needed to start building to keep up with client demands."
Taylor Wimpey is selling Los Robles de Los Arqueros II, Benhavis, Costa del Sol. At the Los Arqueros golf course, this residential complex offers two- and three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments with sea and golf views. Amenities include swimming pools for children and adults, as well as community gardens and underground parking and storage. Prices start from 232,000 euros (about £209,000).
La Floresta at Elvira has two large communal swimming pools, landscaped gardens and private parking. There are two- and three-bedroom apartments. with private gardens for those on the ground floor. Prices start at 178,000 euros (£160,000).
Not everyone wants to be next to the coast however. Half an hour into the hills from the Costa del Sol is a pretty farmhouse with two newly-built holiday lets. Finca La Borrega sits among the orange groves near the village of San Pablo de Buceite, near Jimena de la Frontera. The main house has three self-sufficient units that could be united, totalling six double bedrooms. Who needs the Med when you have a 30ft covered terrace and similar-sized swimming pool?
Each of the two separate villas, Los Borreguitos and Finca Zarita, has two double bedrooms with en-suites, a large living/dining room with kitchen area, a utility room, a large covered terrace, its own swimming pool, barbecue and enclosed garden. They are both maintained to a high standard and produce a substantial income as holiday rentals, with 70 per cent of bookings returning customers.
This is a region that can experience six months of summer drought, but Finca La Borrega and its two cottages are close to the River Guadiaro, which is one of the few rivers in the region that "never go dry in summer". Savills is asking £2.03 million.