AN overwhelmingly Spanish town with a great mix of properties and people, is how Adam Neale of estate agent Terra Meridiana describes Estepona.
“It is very Spanish and is always a nice place to come home to,” adds the agent, who arrived here nearly a decade ago ‘entirely by accident’ with his wife Theodora.
Living slap bang in the centre in a delightful town house, which was once a flamenco school, the family-of-five are well integrated into the town, speaking Spanish and sending their kids to local schools.
The English/Belgian couple have also just seen their agency have its best quarter for over five years.
This comes despite all the negative press the Spanish property market has had to endure in recent years.
An influx of foreign buyers from economies unaffected by the Spanish crisis and a strong pound are factors which have contributed to the unexpected jump.
“Many people have waited three years for armageddon but it simply hasn’t happened,” reasons philosophy graduate Neale. “I think there is a sense of realism returning to the market.”
Some of the success must certainly also boil down to the town’s easy-going attitude and charms.
“It’s in a great location for the Costa del Sol and also Gibraltar and has everything infrastructure-wise,” explains Theodora, who met her husband while working in marketing in Moscow.
“The town is very child-friendly and there are countless after-school activities,” she adds. “We have a sailing club, equestrian centres, tennis clubs, so much for the youngsters to do.”
Properties offered by the firm range from traditional village houses, such as Casa Matas for 100,000 euros, to front line luxury villas worth up to five million euros.
“You can even pick up a two bedroom apartment for as cheap as 80,000 euros or a nice country property for 300,000 euros,” adds Neale.
Neale is not the only person seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Chairman of Experience Group Alan James has run his Costa del Sol empire for 42 years from Estepona and has seen it all, including surviving three previous recessions.
“It isn’t easy but it can be done,”states James, 73, whose companies have been behind many developments and over 5,000 homes.
“People get fed up with austerity and having a holiday and buying a holiday home becomes a priority again, and of course what makes the Costa del Sol so appealing is the weather.
“We’ve just had our best financial results since 2005 and we’re looking forward to another good year.”
The entrepreneur has also recently launched a new fast internet and phone service for the coast – from Cadiz to Murcia – which is proving popular.
“People want to be online all the time now,” he explained. “Businesses need to be connected, but equally most normal people expect it as well.”
In a previous guise he used to run charity golf events, including one with Jimmy Tarbuck, who once owned a home in El Paraiso.
Visit www.terrameridiana.com and www.experiencegroupspain.com.
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