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Marbella: how things shifted in 2023

Sean Woolley is the founder and director of real estate agency Cloud Nine Spain

Last year we were predicting that the market would cool, but not crash, and that while some overpriced properties would see a price correction, prices wouldn’t fall considerably. Looking at the statistics on a national level and our experience on the ground over the last year, that has shown that to be true.

I would rank the market in Marbella as a steady 7.5 right now, with a good flow of clients and a higher value average buyer than pre COVID. Marbella and the Costa del Sol as a destination, long term is staying strong. It’s fantastic for primary home buyers, for secondary home buyers, for investors and I don’t see that changing.

We’ve had a couple of years of genuine growth in terms of price. I think now we’re seeing a little calmness coming back to the market, with just gradual price rises in the more popular locations. This is good news for anyone concerned about a property bubble. I think the market is in good health and there’s definitely no sign of a crash. In fact, there is still a lack of supply of good resale stock in good areas. While there’s a lot of building taking place, demand is high for new build developments and these are regularly selling out.

Marbella’s global brand and reinvention as a real 5* destination has pushed prices up and created a new super-prime price range, with properties from six to seven million Euros becoming commonplace. The arrival of branded residences and shortages of prime stock in the best areas has pushed the prices up and will continue to. However, there’s a lot of breadth and depth in the market too, with plenty of buyers at a lower price point too. They are attracted by the lifestyle, weather and opportunities for remote working and with the brand of Marbella riding high, they will continue to come.

We’ve had a really good year in 2023, building on two very strong years before. However, things have been changing. During 2021 and part of 2022, we were still satisfying that pent up post Covid demand. There was a glut of people who wanted to change their lives after Covid. Suddenly they could work from home and wanted a bigger place in the sun. So, while there is still demand along those lines, I think that the Covid generated demand has now been satisfied.

This year we’ve been returning to a more normalised market, with a good flow of clients, but more agents competing in the market. Our lead flow is down a little, but the quality of our clients is up and our conversion rate has significantly increased. This will be the first year where we have lead flow with an average budget of over a million euros.

Our buyers are from all around the world once again. We’ve had British people, we’ve had North Europeans, we’ve had people from the Middle East, and once again buyers from North America have come over during the summer months. One difference, is an increase in buyers from Eastern European countries, due to their proximity to the Ukrainian conflict and a nervousness about what the future holds, encouraging them to get their money out and purchase a safe bolt hole.

I’m pleased to say that this will be our most successful year ever, even compared to the last two years. I am very positive about 2024, and predict continued interest in the area and stability in the market.