THE boss of one of the Costa del Sol’s most established agents couldn’t make it clearer.
“Supply has quite frankly been turned off, while the demand has continued to rise,” explains Ben Bateman, the boss of Sotogrande’s longest-established agency Holmes Property Sales, (Holmes Sotogrande).
“We have a fraction of what we had on offer last year yet the buyers keep coming,” he adds from his office in the heart of the leafy enclave.
The figures could not be clearer.
Since this time last year his agency has seen a drop of nearly a third in listings from 650 properties for sale to just 451 this month.
After the hangover of the pandemic started to ease last summer and record sales were achieved by many agencies along the coast in 2021, there was very little stock left.
“The backlog lifted and after everyone came over to finalise sales the supply had gone and it has still not been replenished,” continues the father-of-five.
Last year was certainly a busy time for the agency that was set up over 40 years ago in the upmarket resort, home to a mixture of entrepreneurs, celebrities and royals.
Holmes agreed to the sale of nearly 60 properties in 2021, a number similar to what they would have expected in the years before the financial crisis in stark contrast to the average of 18 sales a year from 2008 through 2020..
“We had our best year since 2007, before the bottom fell out of the market in April 2008. Going on the high demand for the lifestyle we offer here, this year should also be a good year.”
But he warns, while prices are likely to continue to increase somewhat, it is impossible to say by how much. The price elasticity of the demand has not been tested yet as the market has not yet had time to respond to the change in supply and demand. He believes a number of unscrupulous agencies are already artificially bumping up values without the supporting evidence.
“We simply don’t know how far buyers are prepared to go and we don’t want to suddenly raise prices by 20% to replenish the supply in the market,” he insists.
“There is no doubt some big agencies will go in flattering owners and listing properties at five million say, on an exclusive sole agency agreement, knowing they will need to drop the price to three or four million to get a sale in six months time.
“Sellers should be very wary of who they list with and not get seduced by high, false prices.”
As for the profile of clients buying in Sotogrande, this has not changed.
“We are still getting all the entrepreneurs, bankers, lawyers and accountants, etc, and the lifestyle here, being able to work from home with security and good weather, an excellent international school is only becoming a bigger and bigger draw.
“Sotogrande is very family friendly with lots of outdoor sports and is near to Marbella, Malaga, Jerez, Sevilla, etc, and you can even go skiing every weekend in season in Granada, which is just two and a half hours away.”
He adds that setting up a home office has never been easier, with fast internet of 300-MB per second with unlimited data costing just around 35 euros a month.
And don’t hang around: the situation with Gibraltar and the final deal over movement across the border is likely months, if not weeks away, from being finalised.
“It will bring so much more confidence into investing in the area and it has nearly been completed,” adds Ben, who took over the agency from his father Ian, a few years ago.
“Once signed and agreed it will be very positive for Sotogrande and the whole of the Campo de Gibraltar.”
For more information contact Holmes at www.holmesotogrande.com