Costa Brava: something for everyone?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Costa Brava: something for everyone?

The Costa Brava is the coast situated in the north of Catalonia, about 60km up from Barcelona.

It is a beautifully unspoilt stretch of coast with resorts such as Palamos, Tamariu, Llafranc, Tossa de Mar and Lloret de Mar.

Although it has been a tourist destination for many Europeans for decades, Costa Brava has preserved its environment and has grown in an organised manner.

"The landscape is clearly the first difference between the Costa Brava and the rest of Spanish coasts, like the highly populated Costa del Sol (Marbella) or Costa Blanca," says Roger Fernandez, co-founder of Söder Barcelona, the first real estate buying agent in Barcelona created to target foreign property-hunters in Catalonia.

He says the Costa Brava is an attractive destination for all tastes, but for those searching for sea and sun, the costa is known for its inlets, coves and small beaches.

The ones in the north are usually smaller than in the south. Whether in southern Costa Brava, in villages such as Tossa de Mar or Calella de Palafrugell, or Cadaqués in the north part of the coast with its varied landscape, it is quite difficult to come across a skyscraper breaking the harmony of the landscape which occurs in many other tourist areas.

But the attraction goes beyond the sun and sea, and here is where Costa Brava's inland, called l'Empordà, becomes prominent, adds Roger.


"Only 10 minutes from the coast, this flat, green countryside has an international airport, high speed train (Barcelona in 35 minutes and Paris in less than 6 hours).


"There is also a wondrous cultural mix on offer the main name being Salvador Dalí. The surrealistic painter has a museum devoted to his work, Figueres Theatre-Museum, plus his old residence is open to visitors, in Púbol.


Indeed, during the last few summers, many villages have promoted their own international arts and music festivals, most of them very popular.


Historic heritage is also present in the county. Besides the renovation of the Jewish medieval quarter of Girona, the main city of the Costa Brava, many towns and villages have restored their historical patrimony, sometimes having more than 1,000 years.


But what of the property market there?


"Those thinking about buying a property as an investment will find a mature, stable and consolidated market without many ups and downs," says Roger.


"The medium and long term profit looks positive, while the Costa Brava remains one of the surest property investment locations in southern Europe."


The unusual conditions of Costa Brava and its surroundings have enabled the devaluation of property prices to be less extreme than elsewhere in Spain, he says.


"The property market has maintained reasonable values as no gigantic residential complex has been built, as has happened in several Spanish locations, inundating the market with low-quality properties, or in such quantities that saturate the market."


He reports that during the first quarter of 2013, Costa Brava's most expensive locations have started to experience a moderated price growth between 1% and 2%.


This has occurred in towns such as Tossa, Sant Feliu de Guíxols and Platja d'Aro, with prices for a two-bed apartment averaging £135,000 plus, and some reaching £170,000, while a 3-bed apartment is priced £165,000 to £200,000.


On the other hand, cheaper locations, such as Roses or l'Estartit, are still experiencing a light price fall, but indicators are showing signs of stabilisation.


"Prices descend and move between -2% and -4% - a resale three-bed villa with 500m2 garden can average £190,000 pounds, while it's easy to find beautiful two-bed apartments for £120,000."


The area is popular with foreigners: mainly British, French and Americans, but Russians and Scandinavians are increasing their presence in the market.


Söder Barcelona (www.soderbarcelona.com) help non-residents in Spain to buy property, then can look the management and maintenance and of their properties, offering advice on how owners can save money and time in unnecessary journeys when going through property acquisition, controlling building works, or maintenance of their home.


Alternatively, you are looking to browse property listings for Spanish properties here.


Author

A Place In The Sun