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Digital Nomads

Over the summer, the directors of Survey Spain worked as ‘digital nomads’ for 137 days from June to November, and nearly 13,000 kilometres travelling in a motorhome from Spain to the north of Scotland and back. As a result, we managed to miss the extreme heat of southern Spain in July and August, and instead enjoyed the more temperate climate of England and Scotland. Our stop decisions were based on the strength of the mobile signal and there were few places where it was too poor for us to connect. Most discussion on digital nomads is on them relocating to warmer climes and it was interesting to find that it works quite effectively in the other direction too.
Digital Nomads

Supply of Housing

Since coming back, we have updated ourselves on the market, although we had always maintained the valuation/appraisal side of the practise while we were travelling. Our building surveyors/home inspectors worked direct with our introductions. That’s the benefit of having a Network of local valuers throughout the Costa areas of Spain and its islands. Generally, the market has been steady and buoyant with values continuing to increase, largely because of a shortage of supply of resale property and the prices being obtained for new developments. This latter level is required due to the substantial increase there has been in building costs and materials, that must have caused a few revisions of the development appraisals over the two years or more from initiation to completion. There’s also the probability that phased developments will always show higher values in the second and subsequent phases so that purchases will appear to be a good investment. However, the high tax and fee costs of purchase and sale mean that any property needs to show an increase of 20+% to return the capital. However, the pleasure of living in the sun, full or part-time can compensate for much of that.

Supply of housing

Increasing Values

Reports from the authorities over the last few days have shown that the number and value of sales in Spain reduced during 2023 compared with the exceptional year of 2022. However, National Statistics are not the same as what is happening in the international Costa and Island markets. Apparently, Andalucía shows an increase in value of 4.7% and the Balearics a substantially higher 9.9%. This matches our stats, though our valuers report great variations depending upon views and condition. Perhaps the latter is due to the stronger planning restrictions which results in there are fewer properties available, but the demand still continues. Other town halls wanting to move up market could learn from this and perhaps reduce the steady erosion of the natural environment available to tourists and residents on the coasts as it gets replaced by concrete and brick developments.

Steady Demand

“It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good!” We have worldwide times of great uncertainty with wars in Ukraine and Palestine, plus potential expansion of those to other countries and bringing in other participants. Poverty and Climate Change continues around the world giving rise to even more displacement, both regarding finance and even life. Fortunately, Spain is looked upon as a stab

le, safe place to invest and live in and the Costas are benefiting substantially from this thinking. Money has been coming into the property business from Eastern Europe, excluding Russia of course, and lately even Israel, as those with the funds consider that it’s safer to have them elsewhere, and to have a house for their family to live in should the worst occur. We’re even seeing an increase of interest in property from the USA and Canada, with people there concerned as to what is to happen in the US November election and the potential for civil disobedience and worse no matter which way things go. The British Isles including Ireland, have always been a steady supplier of purchasers and investment funds and this continues, with again an election and major political change likely to be experienced in the UK in the second-half of the year. We value portfolios that require RICS ‘Red Book’ valuations, which are required for international financial acceptance.


Spain also went through a closely fought election, with the ‘left wing’ and regional parties working together to keep Sanchez and the PSOE in power. Their radical agenda, especially regarding tenants and squatters, and restricting rent increases especially for multiple investment portfolios, has made the shortage of long-term rental accommodation worse, with a further reduction in the availability of annual and longer tenancies being replaced by less regulated, higher priced, short-term tourist rental. That results in their being few places where catering and other workers can afford to live, which must be a reason bars and restaurant windows show jobs for waiters and the like in a country that used to ‘export’ them. Every country and city that has tried similar controls of tenancies and rents has found that it is not the answer. It’s unfortunate for its citizens that Spain must prove to itself that, this time, it’s not different.


Investment and Development

Developers and major investors are not slow to act on how things are going, and they see the increasing population in the ‘Ciudad del Sol’ and elsewhere giving rise to opportunities. Examples are the Hard Rock Hotel taking over one of the original hotels just outside Puerto Banús; the nearby Puerto Banús bullring being converted into an entertainment complex with retail; Google relocating their international Cyber Security Centre adjacent to the port in Málaga; and the successful Starlight summer concert franchise expanding by acquiring land and proposing a development in Estepona. That latter investment with its prospects for noise and fireworks will be of great interest to the neighbouring ‘residents’ of Selwo Safari Park! New routes are being proposed for the extension of the coastal railway line to Marbella and Estepona with its potential to join up to the existing railway at San Roque. It’s been proposed for decades with the costs and expropriation required increasing all the time but eventually, hopefully, it must happen. And all over the hillsides there are cranes building new villas and urbanisations of apartments and townhouses.

Interest Rates

As commented by the individuals below, the rise in interest rates worldwide had a definite braking effect upon demand and will have been a reason for the reduction in demand seen in the latter part of the year. Even those who can pay from their own resources will often seek a mortgage so that they can use their own money elsewhere to obtain a higher income than the rate they are paying on the mortgage. Fortunately, interest rates are now reducing, and brokers are finding that there’s considerable competition between the banks resulting in realistic interest rates being charged once again. However, those are unlikely to go down to the level of effectively zero that was seen not too many months ago.

Interest Rates


As we drove south returning home, we noticed a definite watershed about halfway down through France around the southern limit of the champagne district. North of that was green with people complaining of too much rain. South, it became steadily drier and ochre coloured with talk of another year of drought. OK, it was early autumn and the rains might just be a little late, but now it’s January and they still haven’t come to Costa del Sol. There’s need for more desalination plants, though they’ll give rise to NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) protests, and temporary and permanent ones are planned. The drought has been predicted for many years and evidenced for the last two, so why is nothing done until it’s too late? There are reduced pressure, reduced hours of supply and other restrictions already, and it’s difficult to see how the area will cope with the hugely increased summer population, especially if the heat is as prolonged as 2023. And what about all the new developments? Will they be permitted to connect to an already scarce resource network? Even the golf courses are affected, as although they are largely watered from the recycled water network, if there’s less ’original’ water being used, there will be less recycled available. We need to take these matters into account, especially in our building surveys/home inspections, and also the potential for flooding, should the predicted intense local rainfalls occur. Nature can’t be ignored. However, man’s ingenuity will sort out this crisis, ready to be deployed for the next one.

Climate Change

“We told you so”, is the cry from those who have been believing the evidence and projecting the probabilities. So far, we’ve escaped the worst of the winter storms, mini-tornadoes excluding, but these often arrive in February and March. They’re the ones that are likely to damage the shoreline and frontline properties, some of which will become increasingly susceptible to damage if sea levels continue to rise, and weather becomes more extreme. Longer term will we be seeing fewer tourists prepared to experience the extreme heat of midsummer and perhaps extending the season to the cooler spring and autumn months, with the midsummer tourists tending to go to the north of Spain and other more temperate climates which will be warming?

Climate change


As usual, we have kept a record of the average difference between Asking Price and Actual Selling price, where we have been supplied with that information from reliable sources. These are often from clients for whom we have carried out a building survey/home inspection, and they inform us what price they are actually paying for the property after receiving our report. We are able to use this information to improve the accuracy of our current market valuations.
Average Difference Between Asking Price and Actual Selling Price.
3rd Quarter of 2022
July to September. 7.09% – is the most recent quarter, where the market is perhaps beginning to reflect the seriousness of the European and World economic situation and sellers are more nervous and so willing to accept offers at less then the asking price.
4th Quarter of 2022
October to December – 6.29% – Strong demand and fewer properties available show that sellers don’t need to discount and buyers are prepared to accept asking prices. Fewer examples available, but varying from 4.2% up to 7.56%
1st Quarter of 2023
January to March – 12.03% More than double last year and standing out as very different from any recent quarters. The amount of evidence was small and was influenced by one property where the discount was 30.41% for an older, renovated property that had been on the market for some time, and the owners were at last persuaded that they weren’t going to get back the total cost of their improvements.
2nd Quarter of 2023
April to June – 7.86%. Back to a more realistic level reflecting the reality of the market, with the smallest being 5.41% and largest just short of 10%.
3rd and 4th Quarters of 2023 – 7.33%. Due to a shortage of information, we’ve combined those two periods, with the resulting figure supporting our impression of a steady market and the seller still having a stronger ‘hand’ due to the shortage of supply.

Changes in Multi-Listing Site – Resales Online
Comparison of figures are restricted to one region, and we have chosen Costa del Sol, as being the most active on the website.
We found on 12th January 2024 that there were –
• 13,835 properties for sale at 100,000€ euro or more, an insignificant 0.2% a slight rise on our last recorded analysis in August 2023.
• 3,973 (28.7%) were priced at 1,000,000€ euro or more, higher than 5 months ago,
• 153 (14.2%) of the total, a significantly increased %, were identified as representing new developments.
• 77 (50.3%) of the total of new developments were priced at more than 1M€ euro.
• 1,599 (11.6%) of the 100,000+€ euro properties are found to have a discount of 10% or more since first listing, which is slightly more than the previous analysis.
• Those increasing their price was 1,095 (7.9%), which is slightly lower than the previous period.
• 505 (12.7%) of the 1M+€ euro properties were found to have reduced their prices by 10% or more.
• 493 (12.4%) of the 1M+€ euro properties to have increased their price by 10% or more, which was less than the last period.
• Almost the same number, 1,476 were found to be available for long-term rental.
• 304 (20.6%) being available at 1200€ euro per month or less.
• 654 (44.3%) were available at 2,500+€ euro/month
• 271(18.4%) at 5,000+€ euro/month, both up slightly since August 2023.


The increase in price, both for sale and rental, is the most significant statistic. It will be interesting to see what long-term effect the inflationary increase to basic items and raised interest rates have on the longer-term statistics. However, as these are all less of a % of the household budget the higher the income, so they should not affect the buyers’ demand and ability to pay prices asked.

Climate Crisis
Nature has performed Carbon Capture for eons,
safely burying surplus carbon as oil and gas.
But we have released all that in a few decades.
The assets of the world are finite,
but we have been profligate in their use and not recycled.
Now we live with the consequences of these actions.
All of us have no choice,
but to reduce our own ‘carbon footprint’
by changing to the new reality lifestyle today,
and not wait until tomorrow.
Nature doesn’t respect mañana.
Campbell D Ferguson
Invocation to Rotary Marbella-Guadalmina

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