ESTATE agents are eternal optimists, even in the most adverse of circumstances.
Ask them for a forecast in the current crisis and almost anyone whose livelihood depends on Costa del Sol property changing hands – ideally frequently and for as much money as possible – will tell you the future looks bright.
The esteemed economist John Kenneth Galbraith pithily pointed out, however, that “the only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.” Realists know that what truly sustains growth in any marketplace is demand outstripping supply.
But you don’t have to be blindly optimistic to forecast a sunny outlook for the Costa del Sol’s long-term prospects as a luxury real-estate destination.
In-demand enclaves like Marbella, Estepona and Sotogrande, along with exclusive urbanisations like La Zagaleta and El Madroñal, consistently draw wealthy people from around the globe looking for a place in the sun.
The global financial crisis proved a temporary setback, but these top destinations recovered quicker than most from the downturn. And a large share of that resurgence in demand has come from the top-end of the marketplace.
According to the latest Global Wealth Report from the Credit Suisse Research Institute, there are nearly 47 million millionaires, in US-dollar terms, worldwide. Of the top-ten places where they reside, five are found in Europe – the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain – all in easy reach of the Costa del Sol. It goes a long way to explaining the area’s enduring popularity with Europe’s richest citizens.
Curiously, the pandemic may even have bolstered the Costa del Sol’s credentials as a safe haven for property investment. Most of the world’s wealthiest have been confined to permanent residences in big cities where they live and work, and where the coronavirus risk is considerably higher. Lockdown has demonstrated that they don’t need to live in urban metropolises to remain productive, have access to world-class health care and ensure their children are well-educated.
Places like Marbella, Estepona, Sotogrande and Benahavis offer all that too, in spades, along with the privileged lifestyle wealthier property buyers expect as a matter of course.
Hence, I predict that the Costa del Sol’s time in the sun is set to continue for a long while to come. That’s not optimism. It’s logic.