Beaches...mountains...fabulous cities...exciting festivals. And, of course, sunshine. It’s not surprising that southern Spain is the most popular area for Europeans seeking a second home.
How much for a house in Spain? Well, there’s a huge price variation across the 17 regions...and also from town to town within the regions. But while property prices have gone up in the past few years, it’s still possible to unearth village houses and small coastal apartments for less than $100,000...if you know where to look.
The global economic crisis popped Spain’s real estate bubble. That’s why today you could buy a spacious condo in a high-end community on one of the nicest stretches of the Costa del Sol with monthly payments from $483. That’s a low sticker price. And, this is a stunning place to visit and spend time. You have dramatic views along the coast. Long winding sandy beaches you can walk for miles. Quirky Gibraltar.
- Buy in Spain for Less Than the Cost of Construction
Posted on February 25, 2014 by Ronan McMahon
For 15 years, real estate prices in Spain soared. Then in 2007 demand slowed. By the time the worldwide economic crisis rolled through Spain and Europe, the real estate bubble had well and truly popped.
Seductive and sensuous, an amalgam of cultures, Andalusia gets under your skin. Maybe that’s why so many of Spain’s signature sounds and images come from this vast, southern region of the country: castanets, gypsies, flamenco dancers, bull fighters, strumming guitars…This is romantic Spain…the one the tourists flock to.
In August I visited a new luxury beachfront apartment building on the Costa del Sol’s new Golden Mile. Within eight days earlier this year, 122 apartments in the building sold. The fire-sale pricing was that good: $347,209 for an apartment. Seven months later, these apartments were listing for $528,396 each.
In medieval Europe, keeping an eye out for and guarding against invasion—a frequent occurrence in those days—was no easy feat. But one of a nobleman’s greatest defensive weapons was a castle perched on a rocky hilltop near an important mountain pass. The location itself—surrounded by steep cliff—offered protection.
For anyone who’s been there recently, it’s no surprise that Spain is one of the top five destinations in International Living’s Global Retirement Index—our pick of the top retirement destinations in the world. Spain is arguably the best bargain in Europe, offering First-World living at a cost that can compete with some Latin-American countries. Thanks to the ongoing recession, real estate prices in many parts of Spain have plummeted. Buying here is more affordable now than it’s been in decades.
- Buy a Traditional Mountain Home in Andalucía for as Little as $90,000
Posted on December 17, 2013 by Ronan McMahon
The white-washed town of Istán clings to the slopes of the Sierra de las Nieves (Mountains of the Snows). It’s a truly hidden place—yet stunningly and conveniently positioned. I’ve visited plenty of charming hill towns and villages in Spain, France, and Italy where real estate is cheap. But the downside has always been remoteness. Istán is different.
- Two Pockets of Opportunity in Europe—Window Now Closing
Posted on November 18, 2013 by Ronan McMahon
Real estate bubbles send all prices too high. When they pop, they bring everything down with them. Sometimes too far. The same irrational views that drove the prices up help push them down, and for a short time quality properties become very cheap. That’s when you should buy: before the fear subsides and prices go up once again.
- Troglodyte Homes: Around the World…and Underground
Posted on November 18, 2013 by International Living
The accepted story goes that as humankind progressed over the millennia, we abandoned our cave shelters in favor of constructed homes. But plenty of folks still live in dwellings carved out of volcanic rock, into mountains, rocky hillsides, cliffs, or quarries. And they aren’t living a primitive life in caveman-style homes, either (though they are referred to as “troglodyte” homes).
- The Secrets to Finding a Rental for a Trial Run in Europe
Posted on October 17, 2013 by Valerie Fortney Schneider
You’ve made plans, set tentative dates…you’re almost ready to take off on your three- or six-month European tour…the next step is a roof over your head. But the short-term rentals offered online can be sickeningly expensive. Fully furnished and ready to go they may be, but with prices often multiples of those you’ll find on the ground, there are better ways to look.
For thousands of years skiing was just a way to travel in winter, carry mail and goods to snowbound towns, or—believe it or not—charge into battle. Then in the mid-19th century the first races took place and before long enthusiastic amateurs had taken up the sport.
- You Make Your Money When You Buy—Finding Bargain Real Estate
Posted on August 20, 2013 by Ronan McMahon
There’s a way you can buy real estate in some of world’s most stunning locales and pay a fraction of what your neighbor paid. I’m not talking about buying in a depressed backwater.
- Discover the Mountain Valleys and Urban Beaches of Celtic Spain
Posted on July 23, 2013 by Eoin Bassett
High above me are slate-gray mountains capped with snow. Despite the altitude it’s 68 F and in the narrow valley the meadows are in full flush and horses take shade in the orchards
- Three Little-Known Havens in Italy, France and Spain
Posted on April 17, 2013 by Steenie Harvey
If you’re in love with classic Europe and its history, romance and culture, take heart: Spain, Italy and France aren’t only for the vacationer who saves for months just to visit. Each one of these three countries has numerous small towns and villages that lie under the radar—places with enticingly affordable properties to rent or buy
We’ve been keeping an eye on what’s been happening in the property market of crisis-hit Spain—and there’s no shortage of bargains. Check out the articles below for more on the type of real estate opportunities Europe’s economic downturn has thrown up in this varied, culture-rich nation.
In Spain banks have foreclosed on, or control, hundreds of thousands of completed unsold condos and homes. This is the type of scenario that could throw off some very interesting opportunities. As you know Europe is in crisis. But let me back up and take a look at Spain. Home ownership in Spain (now over 80%) is encouraged through policy and a range of tax breaks. Municipalities were encouraged via windfall payments to designate land for development.
- Europe: Now More Affordable Than Ever for North Americans
Posted on August 22, 2012 by International Living
Right now, doom and gloom in Europe runs deep. But there is a story not being told…one of opportunity borne of this crisis. A story of places where you could own your own piece of the Old World…for less than half the price of a budget family sedan. In Greece and beyond—prices are falling like a rock. And for anybody who ever mused about a European retreat, that’s the silver lining.
Everything is modern, new, and shiny. This area is convenient like Florida is to a New Yorker. The visitors I’m watching are desperate for some spring sunshine. Some (mostly Scandinavian or Russian) are even here to pick up real estate on the cheap. There are deals to be done.
- Spain’s Real Estate Market: Up to 50% Off Property Prices
Posted on June 26, 2012 by Ronan McMahon
Everywhere historic buildings bring alive the romance of old Spain. Granada is the country’s most beautiful city, the jewel in the crown of Andalucía, and today, thanks to the country’s crisis, you can ﬁnd distressed real estate here for up to 50% less than what you would have paid for it four years ago.
Steeped in history, Granada, Spain attracts visitors from around the world. Its international airport has flights from most major European cities, and it’s within a two-hour flight of northern Europe’s major population centers. This could just be the perfect location. There’s culture. Three World Heritage sites, including the exquisite Moorish palace of the Alhambra, are just the headline draws.
- Spain’s Crisis, Your Opportunity: Up to 50% Off the Jewel of Andalucía
Posted on May 28, 2012 by Ronan McMahon
The spring sunlight glints off the snow-covered Sierra Nevada mountains. When I left Marbella on Spain’s Costa del Sol, 90 minutes from here on a modern highway, it was a balmy 75 degrees Fahrenheit. I haven’t seen a cloud since. At 2,200 feet above sea level, in Granada’s historic center, it’s 63 degrees, and sunglasses and short sleeves are the order of the day.
A blue sky, blue-water scene is unremarkable in the tropics. But this is Europe. I’m in southern Spain, on Murcia’s Costa Cálida—the “warm coast.” Whoever thought up the name wasn’t exaggerating. Summer temperatures soar above 90 F, and there’s an annual dose of at least 320 days of sunshine. On the coast, spacious furnished rentals are $508 to $635 monthly.
Not needed: coat, scarf or sweater. But some sun-block would be welcome. Early December and the afternoon temperature is nudging 70 F. Sunbathers are on Isla Plana’s beach, and children are building sand-castles. I can even see swimmers.
Times are tough in Spain. Half her young are unemployed—if they haven’t emigrated. Her economy, banks and real estate industry is in tatters. Like in Ireland, they built too many homes. Homes that nobody would ever want. Speculators snapped them up, betting that prices would go even higher. Then the party ended in 2007. By 2008, all activity stopped completely.
The economies of the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain) are in disarray. Europe is in the throws of sovereign, political and financial crises. Greece is bankrupt and burning. Yields on Portuguese bonds hit 17% earlier this year.
Tucked between the southern regions of Andalucia and Valencia, Murcia delivers the best of Spanish essentials: mild winters, wine villages, tapas bars, fantastic beaches and (for Europe) relatively low living costs. You may ask “why Murcia”—a region that’s almost unknown to North Americans. Especially when Spanish property values have slumped.
Even travel writers need escapes. One of my favorite getaways is Alicante, a city on Spain’s Costa Blanca. Yes, I know I’ve disparaged “the Costas” in the past. Spain-without-the-Spanish…paunchy northern Europeans overdosing on sun, sex, and cheap booze…hideous plastic donkeys…concrete jungles…acres of lookalike vacation homes. So why Alicante? Well, there’s a big difference between seaside cities and purpose-built resorts. Alicante is lively, sunny, and inexpensive, for sure. But it’s also charming, fairly sophisticated, and its ambiance is as Spanish as that of Madrid.
The economies of the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain) are in disarray. Europe is in the throws of a banking crisis brought on by (among other things) exposure to Greek sovereign debt. Many of you have been asking if now is the time to jump in.
- Live Well in Europe: Where to Find the Good Life for Less in France, Spain, and Italy
Posted on August 29, 2011 by International Living
Europe has so much to offer a potential expat…great food, a diverse choice of cultures, stunning countryside where life is quiet and relaxed and the buzz of everyday life seems a million miles away, awe-inspiring mountains for skiing and soft, sandy beaches for wiling away summer days…
But isn’t Europe expensive? That’s the observation we hear most about Europe and the answer is that Europe can be expensive…unless you know the right places to look!
In this report we’ll tell you about our favorite places in “Romantic Europe” and hope to make you dream of new places in the “Old World.”
My friend and contact just caught wind of an amazing firesale deal in Spain (as you may have gathered, he is in this business). A 144-bedroom, five-star hotel (Lady Diana and the Rolling Stones have stayed there) overlooking Mijas golf course (actually on the fairway), 20 minutes from Marbella airport will be sold off over the coming weeks.
- Off the Radar: Should You Live in a Town Like This?
Posted on September 29, 2009 by Len Galvin
We ask five of our roving reporters where they’re hot on right now…simply pick the town that matches your plans.
- Beachfront, Bohemian Barcelona: Prices Dip to 2005 Levels…and Cash is King
Posted on July 30, 2009 by International Living
For a lifestyle change, sun-blessed Barcelona is thrillingly enticing. Few other major European cities can deliver on beauty, style, history, beaches, good weather, and arty bohemianism—and also be within a couple hours of ski slopes.
- Beach Houses that Earn their Keep—How to Cash in on Rental Income
Posted on May 22, 2009 by International Living
Beachfront property not only makes sense as a pure investment—after all, they’re not making any more of it—but it can also make an ideal second home.
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