Britain’s Financial Times reports on Marbella’s recovery

Tourism in Spain

Bumper year for visitors to Spain 2012

When the Financial Times reports on an issue, people tend to sit up and take notice, so when FT journalist, Richard Warren, reported that Marbella’s property market was undergoing a period of regeneration it caused quite a stir. Warren’s article opens with a positive statement: “The noise of drills and hammers has returned to Marbella as homebuilding begins again after a five-year gap,” and continues to list the many improvements that have been instituted recently, including the determination of the Andalusian regional council to ensure that the problems surrounding illegal homes are resolved. Of the approximately 18,000 homes initially declared unlawful, only 500 remain illegal because they break a variety of planning laws; yet the authorities are unwilling to render homeless investors who bought these homes in good faith. Other improvements that feature prominently in the Financial Times article are the San Pedro bypass which, after a brief period of inactivity is again being worked on around the clock to ensure that it opens in the early part of 2012. Decades in the planning stage, this stretch of road will divert traffic away from San Pedro Alcántara and make it much easier for motorists to access Marbella when travelling from Estepona, Sotogrande and Gibraltar. Marbella’s Paseo Maritimo is also mentioned as a major local attraction that is currently undergoing a facelift, with 10 million euros being quoted as the total cost of the project when upgrades and extensions are included. Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport gained approval for its third terminal and second runway, also scheduled to open early in 2012. Warren quotes plans to improve access to and from the airport: “Also in the pipeline is a plan to extend Málaga’s commuter railway from Málaga Airport to Marbella, giving visitors and residents an alternative to travelling by road.” The much discussed redevelopment of Marbella’s La Bajadilla marina and fishing port features prominently in the Financial Times report. This enormous project, to be overseen by Qatari developer Nasir Bin Abdullah & Sons, will cost an estimated 400 million and offer 858 moorings, including six for super-yachts and a 200 metre pier for cruise liners. “It will build shops, bars, restaurants and a five-star hotel to line the quayside and at least four blocks of apartments, by 2015. The town hall is an enthusiastic supporter of this project because it believes it will help Marbella compete with rival tourist destinations such as the Côte d’Azur and Sardinia,” the FT report states. According to Richard Warren, the Partido Popular’s recent election victory will have been embraced by Marbella’s property professionals, since it is believed that a conservative vision will more enthusiastically support the city’s plans for the future and it is also hoped that they might consider extending the VAT cut on newly built homes introduced by the PSOE government. Michael Liggans of Altavista Property Spain agrees: “With positive coverage like this in such a prestigious publication, property developers and real estate agencies will be hoping that 2012 will be the year that Marbella’s property market enters a new era of growth.” To read Richard Warren’s full article in the Financial Times click here.

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