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The Costa Blanca in 2021
Click here for lots more general information about the Spanish Property Market. The report below looks at the statistics relating to the Costa Blanca region. Click on the images to enlarge and find out where these fabulous beaches are.
The Comunidad Valenciana region comprises the provinces of Alicante, Valencia and Castellón. However, the area of most interest to overseas buyers is more often called the Costa Blanca. Wherever I refer the Costa Blanca in this report you can take it to mean the three provinces as a whole.
Before the virus struck the overseas property market in the Costa Blanca region was continuing its post-2008 recovery. At the end of 2019 the overseas sector on the Costa Blanca accounted for 28.8% of all foreign purchases in Spain. That dipped slightly in the first half year according to the Notaries’ statistics, to 26.3% but, as we all know, the market was only able to operate normally in the the first 10 weeks of 2020. Then COVID-19 arrived and Spain’s first lockdown started on March 14th.
To make any sense of the market it is important to try to isolate the statistics for Q1 of 2020. However, the statistics from the Notaries, usually the most reliable source for the overseas market, are published half-yearly. As a result, I think they are of limited value as Spain’s first lockdown started only 10 weeks into the year. After lockdown started, Notaries were operating emergency work only for many weeks and property completions weren’t categorised as emergencies. By the time they reopened for all business, travel restrictions were in place to and from many countries.
Therefore, I think it safe to assume that a majority of the overseas buyers counted in their 1st half year figures actually bought in Q1 and only a minority in Q2. So, I decided half-yearly statistics weren’t much use and I had to find alternative sources to extrapolate what happened before lockdown started. Therefore, this year I am using statistics from the Ministry of Development (Mo de Fomento) as well.
The Importance of The Costa Blanca Overseas Market
At the end of 2019, the Costa Blanca accounted for 15.4% of all transactions in Spain. Nevertheless, when you look deeper into the statistics it becomes clear that overseas buyers are a very important element, with a 34.4% market share of the overall regional market. That’s way above the national average of 18%. However, within the region, the three provinces perform quite differently.
Alicante is the most active of the three provinces as regards overseas buyers, and by a big margin. This one province accounts for 70% of all foreign buyers in the region. In contrast, Castellón, the most northern province of the three, represents only 11% of the overall property market. When it comes to foreign buyers in the whole region, Castellón has only 6% of the overseas market
Why The Costa Blanca
The coastline of the Costa Blanca runs for about 520kms, between Cataluña and Andalucía, It’s true there are several areas of high-density, high rise resorts on this coastline, most notably Benidorm and Torrevieja in Alicante province. However, there are also some of Spain’s finest beaches ranging from unspoilt white sand beaches to small, rocky coves.
What is generally thought of as the prime location on the Costa Blanca is in Alicante province. Often referred to as the Golden Triangle this is made up of the towns of Denia, Javea and Moraira. In addition, Valencia is one of Spain’s most beautiful and historic cities.
Getting there is easy with two major airports, Valencia and Alicante, plus the new airport at Covera in Murcia province. This facility gives good access to the southern Costa Blanca.
However, without doubt, one of the main reasons for its popularity is its affordability. Compared with the rest of the Mediterranean coastline it remains very competitive and is one of the least expensive regions.
The Price Per Square Metre Breakdown
As 2021 started the national average across Spain in terms of price per square metre was €1,351. In contrast, the average spend by a foreign buyer was €1,791. So, not only do overseas buyers make up nearly one-fifth of the property market, they also spend more. However, there is a lot of variation depending on where they but.
The top 6 regions in respect of overseas buyer numbers are: Andalucía, the Balearics, Cataluña, the Canary Islands, the Costa Blanca and Murcia. In 4 of these regions the average price per square metre foreigners paid was well above the national average of €1,791, the most expensive being the Balearics at €3,248. In contrast, 2 regions are below this figure. Murcia was the least expensive at €988 per m2, while on the Costa Blanca it was €1,343.
However, in such a big region and three distinct provinces there are inevitably price differences. While in Castellón province the average price per square metre currently is approximately €1,300 it is about double that in the prime locations of Javea, Denia and Moraira in Alicante province.
Where The Action Was
As already mentioned, Q1 of 2020 was the only period during the whole year when the market was operating normally, at least for the first 10 weeks. So it makes sense to separate out those figures and the only way to do that is to look at the statistics from the Ministry of Development (Mo de fomento). The Notaries figures are half-yearly and I estimate approximately 60% of all transactions in that period actually occurred in Q1. For example, taken across all three provinces 6,025 overseas buyers purchased in Q1 while only 2,416 did in Q2. Of course, travel for foreigners was severely restricted, if not impossible, for the whole of Q2. In reality, I suspect that many purchase showing up as completing in Q2 had actually been agreed in Q1. However, as notaries were closed for property completions for many weeks after lockdown started, lots of deals stalled.
The Q1 statistics demonstrate very clearly how dominant Alicante province is in the Costa Blanca property market. Looking at all three provinces, the total market share in Alicante was 49.5%. In contrast, Valencia took 39.5% and Castellón 11%. I’ve already noted that in the Costa Blanca as a whole, foreign buyers have a 34.4% market share, much higher than the national average. However, in Alicante province, the split is even more marked. In Q1 2020, the Alicante property market was shared roughly 50/50 between domestic buyers and foreigners. Of the 8,652 transactions counted in Q1, 4,283 were overseas buyers.
Then the virus took hold and Q2 statistics show a very different picture. While the domestic market declined by 45% it was much worse in the foreign sector. With travel restrictions in place, the overseas sector shrank by 60.5%
With overseas buyers being such an important part of the Costa Blanca property market any bounce back is surely dependent on how quickly international travel recovers. And nowhere will be more important than between Spain and the UK as the British make up more than 50% of the foreign market in the region. Indeed, in the first part of 2020, they accounted for 54% of all foreign buyers.T
For sure, the Costa Blanca will remain one of the most affordable regions of Mediterranean Spain in the yers ahead. And in addition, Alicante province will continue to be the most active province in the context of overseas buyers.
This report will be updated throughout 2021 as new data becomes available so do check back for the lastest information. And you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook by clicking the buttons at the bottom of the page. For our report about the Spanish Property Market in general click here. And read our blog which focuses on 10 of the best Costa Blanca Beaches.
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