From golden visas to the Golden Mile, this Costa del Sol city is glittering with new appeal — buy in from €250,000
Marbella is absolutely mad,” says David Thompson, who has spent hisfi rst summer in the Costa del Sol resort after relocating from Dubaiwith his wife, Carolyn. “The roads are jammed, the beaches packedand you can’t get a reservation in restaurants.”
But he wouldn’t be anywhere else in the world. Thompson is loving life in their three bedroom townhouse at La Quinta Hills, where the rooftop solarium offers sea views stretching for miles across to the Rock of Gibraltar. “We are planning to spend our retirement playing golf, padel tennis and exploring the fantastic areas close by like Granada and Seville,” says the 67-year-old, who used to work in insurance. He andCarolyn are in the slow process of selling their UK home, near Bognor Regis in EastSussex, to fully commit to a new life in Spain. “For us Marbella hit all the right notes:mild winters, good airport access, great golf courses — and we are in an ideal spot,
They are not the only ones moving to Marbella since the pandemic began. BetweenMarch 2020 and November 2021, the number of foreigners who registered theirpresence at Marbella town hall increased by 4,101 to 44,846. For the fi rst time,despite or perhaps because of Brexit, Brits led the way.
Holiday home-buyers are as diverse as they are prolifi c. “This year we have sold to 31diff erent nationalities in the area, with an average spend of €550,000,” says MarcPritchard, sales and marketing director of developer Taylor Wimpey España. “The[rising] price of oil has meant that Middle Eastern buyers are fl owing back again, butthe British are still at the top, and Irish buyers [are also] returning.”
Being close enough to dip into the bright lights of the Costa del Sol’s glitzy hub hasan awful lot of appeal to house-hunters, whether they are spending €300,000 or €3million. Buyers with smaller budgets might need to look to its fringes but theshopping and restaurants in Marbella continue to be a magnet — such as thebrasserie-style Babette in Puente Romano, which theatrically serves smokingcocktails from under cloches, to the more traditional appeal of boquerones(anchovies) and a beer under the trees of Plaza de los Naranjos in Marbella’s oldtown.
The top address, however, remains Nueva Andalusia on the edge of the Golden Milethat runs from the east of the city centre down to Puerto Banus, where palatialproperties sit next to apartment blocks. “Over half of our inquiries are for a two-bedroom apartment there, costing €250,000-300,000,” says James Vizetelly,marketing director of the estate agency Affi nity Spain. “There’s a status to living inthe area.” In the Los Naranjos de Marbella development, with its café andsupermarket, you’ll pay about €300,000 for a two-bedroom penthouse.
Kuwaiti and Saudi buyers have been among the 45 within the past year buying anoff -plan apartment (prices from €430,000) at Taylor Wimpey’s Marbella Lakedevelopment in Nueva Andalusia. Sitting next to an ornamental lake, thedevelopment is close to three golf courses and Aloha College, one of the area’spopular international schools.
Not everyone wants this buzz all of the time, though. Artur Loginov, CEO of the high-end agency Drumelia Real Estate at Nest Seekers, says buyers with bigger budgetsseeking privacy and space are increasingly favouring villas in the hills behind thecity, as well as applying for “golden visas” to stay for longer periods.
“Buyers want to be in the mountains, closer to nature, in a setting ideal to remotework,” he says. This means a villa in a gated development like Sierra Blanca, or onein Benahavis, such as La Finca de Jasmine, where a four-bedroom villa with seaviews costs €1.5 million, off -plan.
As construction costs ratchet up to increase the price of new-builds, buyers arebecoming more open to newer areas where land prices are lower, says Arjen Spittaelof the agent Lucas Fox Marbella: “West Marbella, or the so-called New Golden Mile,is fast gaining popularity — between San Pedro de Alcantara and Estepona. Newsupermarkets are popping up to keep up with the growing amount of people movingthere.”
Spittael says it’s possible to buy a good-sized villa with a decent plot for about €1.6million.
Need to know
● In Andalusia, property transfer tax is 7 per cent of the sales price on resaleproperties.
● British passport holders are permitted to stay 90 days in any one 180-day period inthe Schengen area.
● A golden visa off ers a residency permit with a property purchase of at least€500,000.