Marbella's luxury real estate market has undergone a profound transformation, reaching the highest levels of sophistication and quality. While Marbella continues to attract people with traditional tastes from all over the world, new and refurbished homes embody the epitome of luxury and world-class design, quality and cutting-edge technology. In fact, the availability of first-class homes in the Marbella area is, in itself, one of the main factors attracting luxury buyers. This data has been compiled by the Marbella Real Estate Market Report 2023, compiled by Christopher Clover, managing director and owner of Panorama Properties, Marbella's oldest real estate agency with more than 50 years' experience in the city.
The residential real estate market in Marbella has experienced an extraordinary increase in activity over the past year, reaching unprecedented levels of sales across all property types. The same trend has been reflected in the rest of the country, with an overall increase in real estate investment of a third over the previous year, reaching more than 17,500 million euros, a record figure in Spain.
Last year, Marbella recorded the highest number of sales in the last 16 years with a 119% growth rate over the last decade and a total of 42,744 homes sold. Sales registered in the so-called Golden Triangle, formed by Marbella, Estepona and Benahavís, registered an increase of 123% in the last ten years.
Despite the notable rise in interest rates in Spain during the fourth quarter of 2022, which has made home buying more expensive in general, Clover points out a revealing fact, noting that in the luxury sector in Marbella less than 10% of sales are made with a mortgage.
"In fact, throughout 2023 we are seeing luxury property sales even stronger than the previous year, with an increase of up to 20% at the top end of the market," says the CEO of Panorama Properties.
Despite the worldwide increase in property prices, Marbella remains very competitively priced.
Starting prices in all price categories in Marbella have increased by an average of 15% between June 2022 and 2023, reaching a new all-time high of 4,233 euros/sqm - approximately double the average price per square metre of ten years ago, with prices across the province of Málaga up by 3.4% for new-build properties and 11.2% for resale properties.
On a global level, Marbella only ranks 16th, just ahead of Madrid and Dubai, with Monaco leading the way as the most expensive city in the world to buy prime properties, with an average selling price of more than 50,000 euros/sqm. On a national level, it ranks ninth in the top 50 most expensive municipalities in Spain, headed by Sant Josep de Sa Talaia, in Ibiza, with 6,295 euros/sqm, which means that Marbella continues to have attractive and competitive prices. According to the report, prices for newly built or refurbished luxury flats in the Marbella area range from 6,000 euros/sqm to 25,000 euros/sqm in the most sought-after beach areas of the Golden Mile, and sometimes even more in the case of very exclusive homes. Prices for newly built or refurbished villas in this area range from 8,000 euros/sqm to 14,000 euros/sqm,
"Marbella is attracting more and more buyers who are looking not only for holiday accommodation, but also for a second or third 'first home', where they can stay for several months of the year," Clover points out in the aforementioned report.
Nationality of buyers
In Andalusia, 15% of home sales and purchases were carried out by foreigners, while this figure more than doubles to 34% in the province of Malaga. By nationality, the British continue to be the main buyers in the province of Malaga, with 16% of the total number of transactions, followed by the Swedish and Dutch, with 12% and 8% respectively, and close on their heels are the Belgians, French and Germans. In the municipality of Marbella, 90% of properties over 2 million euros are sold to foreigners. "It is worth noting the rise of the Swedish and Norwegian markets, which have been gradually increasing their market share in recent years," says Clover in this year's report.
On the other hand, the last two years have seen a strong influx of the Polish market, as well as buyers from Eastern Europe, no doubt motivated by the war in Ukraine, but also for the same reasons as most other buyers: "the desire to change lifestyles to a warmer climate, in an area with a high quality of life in the far south of Europe, away from the potential problems and dangers of Central Europe".
Booming local economy and financial stability
The exceptional growth of the last few years has impacted all areas of Marbella's economy, with great repercussions in the service and hospitality sector, reflected in the complete renovation of the city's emblematic hotels, the commitment of international chains to the area, as well as the investment of the main national and international developers in new projects in the city.
With the increase in residential tourism, and the consequent creation of stable and permanent jobs, last June the municipality registered the lowest unemployment rate for 14 years and the highest municipal budget in the history of the municipality, with 333 million euros for 2023.
Therefore, says Clover, "despite the many adversities we are currently facing around the world, confidence in Marbella's future is at an all-time high. The city is in a much stronger position than ever before to cope with any future decline in financial confidence, thanks to the credibility and wealth generated by its thousands of residents, tourists and investors of all levels.