SUN-SEEKING expats and second-home buyers are rapidly opting for the beauty of the Guadalhorce valley over the glamour of the coast, according to local estate agents.
As Marbella drags the coastal property market out of the economic crisis, things are looking up in the valley too.
More and more buyers – predominantly British – are snapping up second homes in the region, more so than permanent moves.
And with the valley increasing in popularity, estate agents are discovering that supply is lagging considerably behind demand.
“We are desperate for people looking to sell property in the Guadalhorce valley, as there is no shortage of prospective buyers,” explained Jo Wood, owner of Grapevine Properties, based in Guaro.
“Prices won’t be dropping any lower now, and if things continue to be this busy they will begin rising again by next year.”
It appears that confidence is returning to the towns and villages of the valley too, with more bars and museums springing up encouraging more movement in the property market.
And there are numerous other reasons why people are lured north into the Guadalhorce valley.
The area has a great series of large market towns, such as Coin and Alhaurin el Grande, as well Malaga and the Costa del Sol airport right on your doorstep.
But Jo believes moving to the valley is more of a cultural than logistical decision.
“It is a different way of life and a far more authentically Spanish experience here,” said Jo, originally from Yorkshire but moved to Spain with her husband and three children 15 years ago.
It has been an exciting year-and-a-half for Alora’s leading agent Margaret Mitchell.
The boss of Alora Properties, who has been based in the area for 16 years, has had an incredible 30 offers accepted since January last year.
“And I completed on two properties alone on Friday,” added the friendly Scot, who was born in Faslane.
But it has been anything but an easy ride for Mitchell, who has seen 12 agencies close in the area over the last five years.
“Since the recession began it has been tough,” she explained. “There used to be 15 agents here, now there are just three.
“Between 2008 and 2012 nobody was buying, but now things are definitely picking up nicely and thankfully prices are not yet going up.”
Prices in the area are very reasonable with country fincas, the few that are left, coming in for around 150,000 to 180,000, three-bed country villas at around the 200,000 euros mark and townhouses for under 200,000 euros.
She explained that there was now a healthy mix of buyers from the UK, Holland and Belgium and she was expecting more to come next year.