Life after Brexit for Marbella  

Costa del sol Map To the surprise of many, a small majority of the British public voted to leave the European Union at the end of June. The nation itself was as shocked as others around the world, but while Gibraltar, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are urgently looking at ways of retaining as much of an economic relationship with the single market as possible – along with the accompanying access to markets and flow of people, goods and information that entails – many in areas such as the Costa del Sol have been taking stock of how Brexit will affect them.   British residents The many British nationals who own properties here and live in Spain fulltime will certainly not be affected in any way in the short term, as both British and EU officials have been quick to emphasise, and even after Britain has formally left the European Union their status is unlikely to change significantly. There may have been a pike in Google searches on ‘how to acquire Irish’ or indeed Spanish nationality, but the reality is that few people are likely to need this, as bilateral agreements will be made between the various parties to ensure that both the more than two million EU citizens in the UK and the almost equal numbers of Brits in Europe can continue to live, work and invest as before. Girl with Spanish flagFor those who do want the extra security of Spanish nationality it is good to know that Spain does allow for double citizenship, though you will have to pass a test examining your knowledge of the country’s history and culture – in Spanish.   British homebuyers Those who buy properties in Marbella, both for personal and investment purposes, make up a significant part of the market for the region’s real estate, though it is no longer as dominant a share as it once was. Today’s buyers come from across Europe, including key markets such as Norway, Sweden, Holland, Belgium and France, as well as from the Middle East. The Chinese, Latin American and Eastern European markets, moreover, are still in their infancy, and the domestic market is slowly gathering pace too, ensuring that the decline of any one market – as we have already seen with Russia – does not alter the dynamics of the Marbella real estate sector too much. MIMOSA-4 ATARDECER Having said that, it is unlikely that the British market will show a significant decline as demand for Marbella’s homes is strong in the UK in a buying and investment tradition that goes back over 40 years. Buyers in the high end of the market tend to be highly international, with many accustomed to purchasing assets both within the EU and outside it, and after an initial shock the lower segment of the market is also expected to rebound. “In or out of the EU the British will not lose their taste for Marbella, either as a luxury tourist destination or as a place to buy property and settle,” says Michael Liggan, CEO of Altavista. “The UK will reposition its economic role in the world but those people who want the Marbella lifestyle will always find a way, as is the case with the growing dollar-based market of buyers from the Middle East and Asia.”