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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.
Where the numbers come from
As a result of lockdown, Notaries were operating emergency work only for many weeks. Unfortunately, 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. It’s the Notaries who produce the most reliable statistics on Span’s property market and give a breakdown by nationality, region and prices. However, the full-year figures aren’t published until May of the following year so we had to wait to get the complete picture of 2020.
In addition, I also work with statistics from the Ministry of Development who separate the domestic and overseas sectors by province and municipality. As usual, the stats from the Property Registries are best ignored as they count when a property is inscribed in the registry, not when it completed in front of the notary. Even in normal times inscriptions may be weeks or even months after completions. As a result, the Notaries and Property Registry statistics always differ and not by a little. They are usually out of sync by 20% – 25%. In contrast, the Notaries’ returns count when a transaction actually happens, the date on which a purchase completes.
The Importance of The Costa Blanca Overseas Market
With full-year figures now available we can see that at the end of 2020, the Costa Blanca accounted for 15% 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 29.6% market share of the overall regional market. That’s way above the national average of 16.5% and 2.6% up on the year. 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 71% of all foreign buyers in the region in 2020. In contrast, Castellón, the most northern province of the three, represented only 11% of the overall property market. When it comes to foreign buyers in the whole region, Castellón had only 7% 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
The national average across Spain in 2020, in terms of price per square metre, was €1,439. In contrast, the average spend by a foreign buyer was €1,777. 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 buy.
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 €3,353. Nevertheless, in two Mediterranean coastal regions it was lower than the domestic average; €1,360 pm2 in the Comunidad Valenciana and just €985 pm2 in Murcia.
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
Alicante accounted for 47% of the total Costa Blanca market in 2020, Valencia 41% and Castellón 12%. However, while the foreign market share was about the same as the national average of 16.5% in both Valencia and Castellón, in Alicante it was almost half the total market at 44%, nearly 3 times the national average. That’s the highest market share attributed to foreign buyers of any region in Spain.
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 half of 2020, they accounted for 54% of all foreign buyers.
For sure, the Costa Blanca will remain one of the most affordable regions of Mediterranean Spain in the years 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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