Property in Almeria
Property in Almería has traditionally been the cheapest on this stretch of Spanish coast, with homes costing a fraction of that a couple of hundred kilometres west or north. So what do you get for your not-many euros?
You get a desert brought to bloom in the most delightful way in resorts like Desert Springs. You get beaches where, unlike the Costa del Sol, no-one’s judging you on what you’re wearing, or even if you’re wearing anything at all at the many naturist beaches.
You get the bohemian temperament of Mojacar, and ready-made expat communities both inland and on the coast that are just a little bit more relaxed than in the Costa Blanca. You get adventurous and affordable options such as cave homes, or big country properties baking in the heat but just waiting to be converted into ranch-style houses that look like they could come straight out of California or New Mexico.
Almería is hot. The city of Almería is not only the driest city in continental Europe but also the only one never to have a recorded temperature below 0ºC. In summer the temperature hits 30ºC most days, but they know how to live in the heat here; in 2007 they made the world’s largest ever salad, weighing more than 95 average adult Spaniards. So they know how to have fun in Almería too!
The Province of Almería occupies exactly 10 per cent of the Region of Andalucía, the most easterly corner where the south coast turns south-east. The population is only 700,000, though many more foreigners, especially British, will be living there unregistered. Nearly a third of the population live in the city of Almería, but more popular for homeowners have been, from west to east, Adra, Roquetas de mar, Carnoneras, Mojacar, Garrucha, Vera Playa and San Juan de los Terreros. Mojacar is the most well-known; it had virtually been abandoned in the 1950s when a new mayor said that if people would do up the empty houses they could have them for nothing – attracting the poor but adventurous and energetic types, including quite a few British.
Inland are towns such as Albox and Velez-Rubio, which saw plenty of building in the mid-2000s, not all of it legal, and offer the paradox of a welcoming expat community with car boot sale and rotary clubs, living in Europe’s only desert. There are lusher corners too, especially in the eastern La Alpujarra.
Almería is easy to reach, with year-round flights into Almería Airport from most budget and UK airlines.
Where to Buy Property in Almeria
The area covers the coastline in two distinct parts really: from San Juan de Terreros near the Murcia border, down via the towns of Villaricos, Vera, Garrucha, Mojacar, Carboneras, San Jose to the huge Cabo de Gata national park on the tip of the coast. The other side of the rugged headland – where Spanish residents still exclude British buyers on some developments - is the Gulf of Almeria whose stand-out resort is Roquetas de Mar.
Mojacar (pronounced mow-hacker) is certainly one of the biggest hotspots for British buyers – and allegedly the birthplace of Walt Disney. It’s divided into Mojacar Pueblo, a quaint, picture-postcard whitewashed hilltop village in the olive and almond grove dotted foothills of the stunning Sierra Cabrera mountain range and overlooks the beach resort of Mojacar Playa: a 17km coastline of 11 mostly uncrowded sandy beaches.
Situated in the Levante area of the province, less than one hour’s drive from Almeria airport, Mojacar is a central location for getting around Almeria as well as a traditional holiday destination ideal for families and couples in its own right. The Playa part is a major resort where you’ll find English bars. But there aren’t high-rises, and studio apartments are €50,000, one-bedders from start from around €65,000; villas range from €200k-500k. The town’s dual identity: part quiet hillside village and part lively beach resort gives overseas property buyers the ‘best of both worlds’, as they needn’t chose one type of location over another. And it’s this diverse appeal that is making the town an increasingly popular choice for house hunters.
Choose between little whitewashed houses and Moorish-style “cortijo” farmhouses flanking narrow winding streets in the romantic old town steeped in a history that stretches over 4000 years or the modern properties of Mojácar Playa, where you can get a three-bed apartment two minutes from the beach for €120,000 – or a one-bedder for €60,000. A cortijo or finca property might start at a snip under €250,000 and a substantial four-bed villa with pool and privacy can be bought for €450,000.
Vera is another hotspot, a traditional Spanish town with a lively market, bull ring and pretty cobblestone streets. It is divided between Vera pueblo and Vera playa areas. Vera Playa is an eight kilometre stretch of unspoilt sandy beach flanked by palm trees, promenades, and numerous chiringuitos.
Here there is a larger number of new developments, and the amount of bank repossessions has devalued properties on the market and it’s cheaper than Mojacar: one-bed apartments cost from €45k, two-bed properties from €60k, a three-bedder might be around €140,000.
Other nearby towns are Garrucha – a working port with a new harbour that is not hugely popular with British buyers; and the scuba-diving centre of Villaricos where there are some good developments but low supply so prices are a little higher: €75k-80k for an apartment.
Golfers may head to the well-known resort of Desert Springs where Ian Botham and many other British people own quality properties (three-bed apartments from around €168k) but should also check out the Valle Del Este golf course 8km from Vera where resale two-bed, two-bath apartments costs around €55k. Inland of Mojacar, the village of Los Gallardos is also popular: you get more space and property for your money in from the coast: a three-bed property costs from €100k, or a brand new detached pool with a villa just over €200k.
A few years ago, Arboleas and Albox in the Almanzora valley were popular with British buyers but it would be misleading if we didn’t mention that there have been widespread issues of properties having been built illegally on agricultural land so be careful, and use a lawyer. Arboleas’ old town has several local bars and places to eat, as well as boasting all the typical Andalucían qualities that many British buyers like: cobbled streets and beautiful Moorish-inspired architecture, including an ancient church constructed in the late 1400s.
Palomares is a village in Almanzora worth a look: you can buy two-bed properties for only €50k because the Spanish are wary of the fact hydrogen bombs were once dropped there! Finally, if a big resort is your bag, in Roquetas de Mar you’ll find a big shopping mall with branches of British chain stores and McDonalds. A lot of high-rise building was completed about 15 years ago and two-bed apartments typically cost around €80k.
Active types and nature lovers might like to be near Cabo de Gata–Nijar Natural Park, a terrifically diverse region offering coral reefs, volcanic rock formations, saltpans and fossilised beaches. The result is all sorts of wonderful wildlife like pink flamingoes, and hosting all sorts of outdoor pursuits.