Costa del Sol Falling Property Market: A New Investment Opportunity

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With Property Prices in Spain's ever-popular Costa del Sol at best at plateau stage, Distressed Sales may be the way to regain the margins of 5 years ago. The current estimates put UK owners in Spain at 750-800,000. The decline in Tourism over recent years in some areas is causing in particular Buy-to-Rent property owners to default on mortgages or get into financial difficulties & leaving the way clear for investors to cash in.

The Mediterranean is the World's most popular holiday destination. Escaping to sunny climes every year, 220 million holidaymakers flock to it's coasts with numbers on the increase.

By 2020, tourism is projected to reach 350 million people - the population of the United States.(Source: BBC) On the Costa del Sol today, there is rarely a break in coastline development from Malaga to Gibraltar. The last 5 years saw buyers enticed to buy "off-plan" new developments on the expectation of realising up to 20 or 30% profit by completion of the projects, and an anticipated rental income of up to 10% per annum.

Recently Costa del Sol has seen more British families make the permanent move to Costa del Sol, due in part to a general feeling of unease with Youth Culture in the UK and the stronger family-orientated Spanish Society, coupled with more extensive cheap airline routes throughout Europe causing a decline in holiday rentals for apartments & leading to defaulted mortages. has a small but constant stream of distressed property coming to the market at up to 30 or 40% below market valuation. There has been a recent trend throughout Spain of banks offering finance of up to 90% of the purchase price based upon higher valuations, allowing property investors to see instant capital appreciation for very little investment.

Many Property owners are also turning to Real Estate auctions to avoid lengthy waits to sell property on the Costa del Sol. Once a bid is accepted, the buyer must put down 10% of the purchase price and has 28 days to arrange the remaining finance. This means vendors are accepting lower prices than previously in an effort to liquidate their assets in a shorter time frame.

Buying property at auction can be a profitable business, especially in a falling or "buyers" market where there are distress sales from vendors needing to sell properties quickly. The disadvantage is the ease at which buyers get caught up in the exciting and competitive atmosphere of a property auction and end up paying far more than planned.

Another option for vendors is trying new technology & marketing solutions to sell their property. More owners are arranging virtual tours of their properties now than ever before in Costa del Sol and thus privately arranging sales which may exclude Real Estate Agency commissions of 5 to 10%.

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Niall O'connor