Property in Andalucia
There are two sides to Spain. There’s the cool, trendy and urbane, typical of Barcelona and the Balearics, and there’s the wild, fiery side of flamenco dancing and fighting bulls, where the people are fun and noisy and demonstrative. That’s Andalucía.
Many British house hunters in Andalucia look for country properties. The region is known for its vineyards, olive and almond trees, sheep, cattle and the famous Andalusian horses. Its distinct areas include the Alpujarras, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, or rocky Antequera. All are just a little inland from the tourist delights and golf courses of the Costa del Sol. Costa de la Luz, Costa Cálida and Costa Tropical, but the property here can be found at a fraction of the cost.
Farmhouses go for little over €100,000; renovation projects even less. Cave homes are another budget option, and very popular with international buyers.
Its famous hot passions have been dramatized in operas such as Carmen, but Andalusians are as pleasant and friendly as anywhere else in Spain. What Spain, but Andalucía in particular has offered many British buyers, is an escape. In his bestseller Driving Over Lemons, Chris Stewart inspired many of us to consider swapping a cold English cottage for a farm in Andalucía with space, heat, a sense of freedom, and citrus fruit.
Andalucía covers most of southern Spain, from the border with Portugal all the way along the southern coast. It includes the cities of Málaga, Granada, Seville, Córdoba, Ronda and Cádiz. Consider too, the lesser-known delights of Jaén.
Andalucía is famous for its 'white villages' too. Emptied out over the 1960s and 70s as people left for work in the tourist hotspots and cities, from the 1980s a trickle of mainly northern European newcomers turned into a flood and by 2005 there wasn’t a single village without new foreign residents helping to reopen bars, restaurants and schools and restart village traditions. Beware planning rules though – Andalusians have a reputation for trying to bend the rules but the authorities have clamped down on illegal property.
One thing you can guarantee in inland Andalusia is hot weather. While the coast is cooled by sea breezes, inland swelters with average daily highs of 36ºC in summer – you can see why the Alhambra Palace in Granada was filled with water features. Even in summer, however, you can cool down with a trip up to the Sierra Nevada, a ski resort in winter.
Where to Buy Property in Andalucia
Andalusia is divided into eight provinces: Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga and Sevilla (the province and not the city of Sevilla which is, perhaps confusingly, Andalucía’s capital).
These provinces then split into regions - each with their own specific landscapes and microclimates relating to their geographical locations. For example, the city of Marbella sits in the province of Málaga, which lies in the region of Andalusia. Provinces rather handily share the same names as their capital cities.
Almería province descends from the Sierra de Gádor Mountains joining 200km of exceptional coastline that borders the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Nature Reserve and boasts long sandy beaches lying on the shores of the Mediterranean. The diversity of the region’s landscape makes it an attractive destination for property buyers, especially along the Costa de Almería. Big draw towns include its capital city Almería – famous for its well-preserved Moorish heritage, Mojácar and Vera.
Andalucía’s southernmost province, Cádiz has a diverse topography that includes countryside around Jerez de la Frontera, picturesque pueblos blancos (white villages) typical of the territory, and stunning coastline between Tarifa and Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
It’s got a cultural heritage that includes amongst other things a type of flamenco dance originated there – it has a lot to tempt overseas house buyers. Popular places include the city of Cádiz and Chiclana de la Frontera.
The coasts of Cádiz and neighbouring province Huelva are often lumped together and referred to as the Costa de la Luz - “coast of light”. Facing the Atlantic Ocean, this region is known for its fine sand beaches and traditional way of life.
Located in the west of Andalucía and bordering Portugal, Huelva province offers a variety of beautiful and delicate natural landscapes including those of the Sierra Morena mountain range and its Costa de la Luz encompassing shoreline. Popular destinations include the city of Huelva, the sleepy town of Palos de la Frontera - renowned for being the site where Christopher Columbus set off for America - and Aracena.
Situated in the central north of Andalucía, Córdoba is the capital of Muslim Spain and the province still bears traces of its Iberian, Roman and Muslim past. The land in Córdoba spreads between olive groves and grapevines bathed by the Guadalquivir River. Scattered with signature Andalucían white villages and distinguished towns with well-conserved Baroque architecture, Córdoba also incorporates the mountainous area of the Sierra Morena with its nature trails and varied wildlife.
The province’s outstanding beauty, architectural heritage and renowned cuisine (a by-product of its rich agriculture) make it a strong choice for house hunters. Popular places include the city of Córdoba, the town of Priego de Córdoba and Almedinilla.
The province of Granada is one of the biggest tourist destinations in Andalucía. Located on the banks of the Mediterranean Sea in the heart of the Penibética mountain range, the province offers its visitors so much variety of experience across its coastal, river plain and mountain zones.
Mild and warm summers make it a great destination for beach holidays or for heading out to discover hidden villages in its Alpujarra region. And extremely cold winters make it an ideal place to ski in the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains. Popular places to search for property here include the city of Granada - famous for its Arabian palace the Alhambra, and the municipality of Montefrío.
Located inland in the northeast of Andalucía, Jaén’s large expanses of diverse countryside are dominated by the Moorish and Renaissance architecture and monuments of its cities and villages.
The province offers a landscape of imposing natural beauty, in which two thirds of the cultivable land is taken up by olive groves - Jaén is well renowned for its olive oil. Popular places to focus your overseas house searches include the city of Jaén – with its imposing Castillo de Santa Catalina, Martos and the village of Castillo de Locubín.
Situated between the provinces of Granada and Cádiz in the south of the Mediterranean coast, Malaga province is the primary force in the Andalucían tourist industry. Ancient and cosmopolitan, coastal and forested, this beautifully varied province offers so many options for overseas property buyers.
Those favouring historical culture, nature reserves and impressive mountain vistas tend to opt for the beautiful town of Ronda, 100km west of the city of Malaga. Whilst those in search of places along Málaga’s 160km of wonderful sun-soaked coastline, usually head to the province’s Costa del Sol – choosing any one of its famously desirable centres like: Marbella, Puerto Banús, Mijas, Nerja, Estepona and Benalmádena.
The largest and most densely populated province in the autonomous community of Andalucía, Sevilla (Seville in English) boasts a diverse natural landscape with river banked and mountainous areas. Situated on the plain of the Guadalquivir River, its capital city Sevilla has a long history of being the commercial and cultural centre of southwestern Spain.
The city’s mosaic of different historical influences (it has been under Arab, Jewish and Roman rule) has made it one of the most colourful and popular cities to visit in Spain. Popular search destinations include the capital city of Sevilla, Estepa and Aguadulce.
Buyers Need to Know
Buying costs: resales are subject to property transfer tax:
- On the first €400,000 – 8 per cent
- On €400,001 to €700,000 – 9 per cent
- On €700,001 and above – 10 per cent