Home Looking in Spain: Mediterranean Views on the Costa Del Sol for $1.5 Million

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House Hunting in Spain: Mediterranean Views on the Costa Del Sol for $1.5 Million

This five bedroom house known as Villa Dos Palmeras is located in the comfortable Pinares de San Anton neighborhood, east of the historic city center of Malaga, on the south coast of Spain.

The 4,090-square-foot villa, built in 2003, sits in the upper right corner of a 0.34-acre walled lot in the mountains of Malaga. In the old fishing village of El Palo you will find numerous shops, markets, tapas bars and fish restaurants along a number of sandy beaches. The two-story house faces south and overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and, on a clear day, the Rif Mountains of Africa.

"My goal was to build a house that had all the modern conveniences but in the style of the old, classic palaces that can be found all over Andalusia," said Stephen K. Gomez, the owner, writer and real estate agent from San Francisco. With his wife Marisa Moret, a lawyer, Mr. Gomez wanted to "build something that would be a family home in Spain" because his paternal grandfather was born in Malaga.

A wooden door in a perimeter wall opens to the villa gardens and a stone staircase that leads to a veranda under a pergola covered with flowering grapevines. A double front door in an antique stone portal leads to a wide entrance hall with an 11-foot oak ceiling. There are thick, glazed “Barro” clay tiles everywhere.

Interior designer Ronald Crosetti designed the house around the adjacent closed two-story courtyard. In the center of the 33-foot wooden ceiling, a skylight opens electronically to dissipate heat.

A chandelier under the skylight was made from the metal cover of a church pulpit, said Carolina Herrera, an agent at Engel & Volkers Malaga East who has the listing. On one side of the central terrace, an antique Moroccan wrought iron and glass door overlooks a small interior terrace with tiles copied from a Syrian mosque.

Two steps from the veranda, the massive living room has a coffered ceiling made of wooden beams and a fireplace with a hacienda-style sandstone cladding. Two sets of double doors open to a walkway between the house and a 40 foot lap pool, the overflow of which cascades into a small pond in the garden below.

Double doors from the TV room, also from the middle terrace, lead to the pool via an outside terrace. The TV room and the adjoining bedroom on the first floor have their own bathroom.

The kitchen has a U-shaped work area, wooden cabinets, terracotta marble countertops, a fireplace, breakfast nook, bar and elevator stop (the elevator goes from the lower four car garage to the upstairs bedrooms).

The landing on the second floor offers a view of the Mediterranean through three arched windows. All three bedrooms have their own bathroom and a walk-in closet. French doors in the master bedroom open to a private terrace with ocean views. The larger guest room has a corner balcony with sea views.

In addition to the garage, you can access a one-bedroom apartment via an outside door or via the garage. Access to a wine cellar, gym, storage room, music studio and laundry room is in the garage. An antique stone pergola is in the garden. The house with five heating and air conditioning systems is being sold furnished.

The property is located in a private development two blocks from the entrance to a nature reserve and hiking area on Mount San Anton and a few blocks from the 130 year old Malaga Tennis Club. The 37 museums in Malaga include the Picasso Museum Malaga and the Birthplace Museum of the influential Spanish artist. Marbella, popular with jet-setters, is 45 minutes away. Malaga Airport is a 20-minute drive away.

The southern coast of Spain has long been a popular destination for tourists and overseas buyers, and after years of falling prices as a result of the global recession, has driven much of the recovery in the country's property market.

Before the coronavirus forced Spain to close in March, the market on the Costa Del Sol south of Malaga was "very stable and demand has been consistently high since 2012," said Smadar Kahana, Managing Director of Engel & Volkers Marbella. In terms of sales, 2019 was "one of the best".

"Many important sales were made prior to the lockdown," said Pam Arrieta Morales, partner at Diana Morales Properties. "Prices didn't seem to be affected by fears from some experts."

As of August 18, Spain had reported 359,082 cases of Covid-19 (most of European nations) and 28,646 deaths (fewer than Italy, France and the UK), according to the New York Times coronavirus map.

Today the market is almost back to pre-pandemic levels. "Although some deals were canceled immediately at the start of the lockdown, most agencies saw a lot of interest and had more inquiries than usual from local, national and international buyers," said Ms. Kahana. "We were able to do business even during the lockdown and some deals were generated through virtual tours."

Still, total real estate transactions fell by around 20 percent from 2019, said Mario Garnica, director of Engel & Volkers Malaga, due to the "historic decline in air traffic and the quarantine imposed to prevent the virus from spreading".

When home stay policies were relaxed in Spain and other countries, the “pent-up demand” for real estate on the Costa del Sol skyrocketed, according to Ms. Morales. Property searches on their company's website increased 34 percent over the same period last year.

"As soon as flights were allowed to land in Spain, sales began," she said, "with many of the pre-Covid-19 deals" that were closed in May and June. "Prices and sales remain at 2019 levels, with no significant discounts on deals or big hits on asking prices," she said. With so much demand, some asking prices have risen.

Offers close quickly too. "We have a lot of European customers who seem to be in a hurry to buy houses here," said Ms. Kahana. "People recognize the convenience and efficiency of remote work."

The Costal del Sol has 17 parishes and more than 150 km of coastline. Marbella has long been "the jewel of the crown," including neighboring cities of Estepona and Benahavis in the "Golden Triangle," said Ms. Morales.

The "Golden Mile" between Marbella and Puerto Banus is also sought after by foreign buyers with deep pockets. Luxury prices range from $ 3.5 million to over $ 70 million.

60 percent of buyers buy vacation properties, said Ms. Kahana, often looking for modern new homes with a traditional Andalusian flair. The prices for two bedrooms near the beach are between 700,000 and 2.5 million euros (828,000 to 2.95 million US dollars). Further inland, buyers can find property for as little as 350,000 euros, Ms. Kahana said.

In the port city of Malaga, which is home to around 570,000 people, most buyers are full-time residents, Garnica said. The resale of older homes is dominant and the Mediterranean style is most sought after. New condominiums are being developed in the city and along the coast. In Malaga East, the prices for mansions are 4 million euros (4.7 million US dollars) well below those in Marbella, said Ms. Herrera.

In the province of Malaga in 2019, 28 percent of real estate transactions were completed by foreign buyers, said Maria del Mar Poza, Marketing Director at Diana Morales Properties. In the first quarter of 2020 it was around 33 percent.

According to Hans Veenhuijsen, managing director of Christie & # 39; s International Real Estate, buyers typically come from the UK, Germany, Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Buyers also come from France and Finland, said Ms. Herrera.

Lisa Sadleir, a relocation consultant and property searcher who runs the MoveToMalaga.com website, said it has clients all over the world including the United States, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.

There are no restrictions for foreign buyers in Spain.

A foreign identity number obtained by the police is required to open a bank account or buy real estate, Ms. del Mar Poza said.

A notary public must oversee the process of signing contracts, transferring deeds, and paying taxes and fees. An independent attorney specializing in Spanish carriage laws is highly recommended to do the due diligence and review the title.

Banks are offering mortgages to foreign buyers for up to 50 percent of the purchase price, Veenhuijsen said.

Spanish; Euro (1 Euro = 1.18 USD)

Annual property taxes on this home are $ 2,320 ($ 2,668), with monthly homeowners' association membership dues being approximately $ 100 ($ 118).

The transfer taxes are around 10 percent. The notary fees are around 1 percent. Lawyers also charge about 1 percent. The seller pays the 5 percent real estate commission.

Carolina Herrera, Engel & Volkers Malaga East, 011-34-689-434-343, engelvoelkers.com

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