Higher quality new-build apartments and villas are luring Brits to the Costa Blanca where prices are lowest
The Costa Blanca is now the favourite destination for Brits seeking a home in Spain, accounting for 27 per cent of Spanish mortgage enquiries received at overseas mortgage specialists Conti.
The Costa Blanca is one of Europe’s most heavily visited areas, extending 200 kilometres along the Mediterranean coast. And it’s Alicante which is attracting the most attention from clients financing their purchases through Conti.
Even though Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) indicate prices are creeping up they are still some 30 per cent lower than before the property crash in 2008, which makes the region an excellent choice for retirees seeking a bargain re-sale or a brand new build.
Buyers can also expect higher quality new villas and apartments from house builders like Taylor Wimpey Spain which is rolling out developments in prime locations using quality materials, offering lots more space and choosing designs that won’t date.
Today’s buyers in Spain can expect greater transparency too, unlike previous owners, some of whom were stung by corrupt mayors, unscrupulous lawyers and illegal builds on agricultural land. Even so that does not mean you can avoid doing your due diligence. [pullquote1 quotes=”true” align=”right” variation=”purple”]The sizes of apartments and also the internal fixtures and fittings are of a much higher standard than before the recession on new-build properties so are much better value.[/pullquote1]
Having said that Taylor Wimpey is a UK company which has been building homes in Spain for over 50 years, which should give British buyers some confidence.
Taylor Wimpey has several developments along the Costa Blanca including La Recoleta III, (pictured below) a scheme of two and three bedroom apartments in Punta Prima, five km from the bustling resort of Torrevieja.
Punta Prima is a prime spot just two minutes from the beach and 45 minutes from Alicante Airport. It is being developed into an enclave of apartments, townhouses and villas from a variety of developers.
Some of the properties, it has to be said, are prettier than others, but La Recoleta is among the more stylish using local stone and offering buyers a large communal pool, garden areas and walkways to the beach.
Two-bedroom apartments cost from €175,000 and include designer appliances, air conditioning as well as an underground parking space and storeroom.
Geoff Evans 63 and Trish Lowe 69 (pictured below) have been together 30 years and bought a two-bed apartment in Torrevieja 10 years ago.
They had no intention of moving permanently but when Geoff retired and Trish was made redundant they sold their a semi-detached home in Torbay and moved to Spain.
“We released equity from our house,” Trish explains, which enabled them to pay €125,000 for their two-bedroom apartment. Property prices have fallen considerably since their move and their apartment is now worth just €100,000 but they have no desire to return to the UK.
Trish goes back to UK twice a year to visit her daughter but Geoff says: “I’ve no desire to go back. All our friends come to visit us here.
“Why would I want to go back? We get 320 days of sunshine here a year, have a much better quality of life; we use just one calor gas bottle to heat our small apartment a year which costs just €13.50, and we can watch all the British TV programmes we want by satellite.”
Their ground-floor apartment is part of a resort complex which has a communal pool but they also have their own private front terrace and back yard.
They are just seven minutes from a sandy beach and a five-minute walk into town. Such is their passion for swimming they even have his-and-hers wet suits so they can swim year round.
“We have got rid of all our clutter but we don’t need much,” says Trish. “We live efficiently and cheaply; we couldn’t afford to retire in the UK and have the same standard of living as we do here. We pay €320 maintenance charges a year and just €160 community charge. There are 42 apartments in our complex. Rubbish is emptied every day, outside areas cleaned, lights fixed.”
“The area has changed dramatically since when we first came in 1995,” adds Trish. “Then it was a bit seedy and unloved but there’s been lots of investment since and the seafront’s been spruced up.”
Torrevieja also has an excellent hospital which is good news for retirees and European citizens resident in Spain can apply for a Tarjeta Sip which entitles them to use the healthcare system for free. The Sip replaces the Ehic card which is for tourists.
The cost of living on the Costa Blanca South region is cheaper than the Costa Del Sol says British-born Teresa O’Rourke who has been selling homes on the Costa Blanca for the past 12 years through her company Spanish Homes Link. “And you also get more value for money,” she adds. “The Costa Blanca North is much cooler in the summer months too so better suited to retirees but property prices are slightly higher.”
“The sizes of apartments and also the internal fixtures and fittings are of a much higher standard than before the recession so are much better value,” she adds.
“Statistics have shown that the resale market was buoyant in previous years, 2009 -2014, but we have seen this slow down and now the higher quality new builds are depressing the resale market further,” she says.
The Orihuela region from Guadamar to Mil Palmeras has a mix of detached villas and apartments but the highest demand is for beachfront properties.
“The price of a new-build, beach-front, two-bedroom apartment with sea views measuring 100 sq m starts from €230,000; in 2003 it would have cost €300,000,” adds Teresa.
Taylor Wimpey has just launched phase three of La Vila Paradis (pictured top), a high-end beachfront scheme 26 miles from Alicante airport, of two-and-three-bedroom apartments in the pretty resort of Villajoysa which has a wide sandy beach and a small harbour.
Prices start from €248,000 for a two-bedroom apartment and €18,000 for an underground car parking space. There are also some stunning three-bedroom beachfront town houses, like the one below, with terraces and private garden priced from €460,000.
Those on a tighter budget should head further inland to the golf resort of Las Brisas de Alenda where Taylor Wimpey is selling three-bedroom townhouses with private gardens and a shared communal pool for just €155,000. These are ideal for a weekend visits and short breaks since the resort is within half an hour from the airport. But a car is essential as there are few local amenities.
As always, please do your due diligence before you buy. Bitter experience has taught many that scrimping on independent legal advice can cost you your home in the sun.
Buyers should follow the same process as if they were buying a property in the UK. There’s nothing to be gained, and everything to be lost by cutting corners.
For more information on Taylor Wimpey developments on the Costa Blanca visit taylorwimpeyspain
For overseas mortgages visit Conti
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