The Costa del Sol has long been the favourite stretch of Spanish coast for international home buyers. But with so many different options in Spain and its islands, why should we still be buying here? We spoke to local estate agent Shirin Sharifi of The Spanish Estate Agent…
Let me start with a little bit about the lifestyle.
My day starts looking out of the window to bright sunshine, blue skies and the sea. On my journey to work, driving down the Ronda Road with the Sierra Bermeja mountains behind me and views out to the sea in front of me, on a clear day I can see Gibraltar and Africa.
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As I drive towards Estepona, where the office is, I’ve got the sea on one side and the mountains the other side of me. It takes around 15 minutes to get to work and I rarely see much traffic except in the height of summer. Yes, it’s just a very pleasant journey rather than being stuck on the M25.
One of the things I love is that the Costa del Sol is a real mixture of cultures. It’s not just English, it’s not just Spanish; we have a big, varied community of nationalities and I think that brings a real wealth of positives to our lifestyle.
A healthier lifestyle
Our climate is unique. We have a true microclimate, which some coastlines claim to have, but we genuinely do because of the range of mountains behind us and the Mediterranean in front. We’re protected from extremes so it never gets too cold in winter and it never gets too hot in summer.
Having 320 days of sunshine per year means your money goes further! You can enjoy the property all year around rather than just the summer. Some people like to come in the winter and spend three months here (which is really good for, let’s say, a rental investment).
We’re protected from extremes so it never gets too cold in winter and it never gets too hot in summer.
The cost of living is way cheaper. Food and drink is not just much cheaper in Spain but we also have organic fresh food much more readily available. And the fresh fish! The fish counters are abundant in Spain in the supermarkets, and it’s all readily available and very well priced compared to the UK.
A sportier lifestyle
The weather means that we’re outside more, and there is so much to do too.
In terms of sport and leisure, we have an abundance of facilities. We have over 100 golf courses on the coast ranging from beginner courses right the way up to courses like Valderrama and Finca Cortesin, where you have championships being held and famous players from all over the world coming to compete.
Obviously being by the sea, we have lots of watersports. We have famous areas like Tarifa where people go in huge numbers to surf and windsurf and kitesurf, and all sorts of different water sports like jet skiing.
It’s the highest resort in Europe so we have really good skiing and plenty of snow!
What you might not have bargained on though is being able to ski! An hour and 50 minutes from Marbella we have the Sierra Nevada ski resort. It’s the highest resort in Europe and the facilities are amazing, so we have really good skiing and plenty of snow. Of course the mountainous roads also means that we’ve got great cycling and motorbike tours.
So adding it all up: the healthy Mediterranean diet, warmth and sunshine 320 days a year, all those outdoor sporting and leisure activities, it’s a much healthier lifestyle!
Where on the Costa del Sol?
The areas and what they have to offer are quite different. We listen to what it is that you’re looking for and what you want from your lifestyle; your likes and dislikes, and we try to place you in the best area.
For example, from Malaga to Fuengirola there’s a fantastic rail network and train, which means that you don’t necessarily have to have a car. It is busier and more built-up, but it has some beautiful beaches and it is still great for a lot of people.
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Coming away from those areas opens you up to more possibilities and we have properties to suit everyone. From the big luxury apartments and villas of Marbella to the normal holiday apartments – two bedrooms, two bathrooms, close to amenities – golfing properties, villas with beautiful olive groves and vineyards, inland cortijos and fincas, beautiful white villages with stunning views and lovely friendly people… So a different type of property for every type of lifestyle. We have anything you want in the Costa del Sol.
Malaga is now described as ‘Little Barcelona’ because it’s just so beautiful and buzzing!
There are also fantastic transport links between the towns, with great motorways as well as the fast train from Malaga to Madrid, which only takes two hours. Malaga is now described as ‘Little Barcelona’ because it’s just so beautiful and buzzing!
We do love Estepona. It’s why we opened our office here! Yet it’s still such an up-and-coming area. It was built and developed far later on than the rest of the coast, so it’s still super authentically Spanish and has a really quaint feel to it. Because it was developed later the building regulations are far stricter there a lot more green area has to be given up to any development that happens, so it’s much more green, it’s much more natural. It’s a far more desirable area than most.
They’ve spent millions on planting flowers, it’s renamed the Garden of Andalucía. It’s still so genuine but it caters fantastically for foreign visitors as well, so it’s very easy to live and work there, whether you speak Spanish or not.
The Costa del Sol property market
The Costa del Sol is now the second busiest and the most popular destination in the world. There are many reason for that. Malaga also has the third busiest airport in mainland Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. That’s fantastic for overseas clients because it means there’s so many cheap and plenty of flights.
The market itself, in terms of enquiries we are busy, busy. I’m working every day, whether it’s from the office or home, including weekends. We are inundated with enquiries and we have a huge pent-up demand at the moment.
In the current lockdown, many buyers are choosing to place an offer without viewing, subject to viewing when flights restart. Our surveyor partner can also check the property over for you. Click here for an introduction.
We have people buying remotely and also people doing as much homework as possible before they’re allowed to come over. I always say, as long as there is sun, sea and mountains, we will always have people wanting to buy and live on the Costa del Sol. It’s just so beautiful.
Shirin Sharifi, The Spanish Estate Agent