Gibraltar – Costa del Sol’s rock solid property investment

The property market in Spain may be slowing down but in neighbouring Gibraltar it is positively glowing.

A tiny place, less than 7km² in area with a population of just 29,000, Gibraltar is one of the most affluent communities on the planet.

Although EU law dictates that the 'tax exempt company' must be phased out by the end of 2010, the British overseas territory remains heavily committed to the principle of 'low tax' and in some cases 'no tax' with zero capital gains tax, sales tax or VAT.

This has helped to attract a flow of business and investment to Gibraltar particularly in the banking, gaming, insurance and shipping industries. This has a good effect on property prices too.

To cope with the influx of workers and steady stream of tourists, both overland and by sea, Gibraltar received 240,000 cruise ship passengers in 2007, the Rock's construction industry is in full swing.

A new two-storey airport terminal is taking shape, much needed now that Monarch, EasyJet and British Airways all have regular routes in from the UK, plus Iberia from within Spain. By 2014 Gibraltar will have a £1.8bn Sir Norman Foster-designed mixed-use 500-berth marina and residential development called Sovereign Bay on the east side. The west-side is seeing luxury development in the shape of Queensway Quay, King's Wharf and Marina Bay's TradeWinds and Ocean Village resorts.

Ocean Village with its swanky marina and waterfront al-fresco eateries goes down in history as having Gibraltar's fastest selling residential units. Phase one, Royal Ocean Plaza, sold out within 48 hours of being released for sale and phase two, Grand Ocean and Majestic Ocean Plazas, within 12 hours. The latest addition scheduled for completion in summer 2008 is 'Heart Island' otherwise known as 'Leisure Island', 4,600m² of reclaimed land which will house bars, nightclubs, restaurants and a super-sized £5.5mn Gala Casino on the ground and first floors.

As one of the most prestigious developments in Southern Europe, Ocean Village has views in all directions – the Bay and Straits of Gibraltar, the Atlas mountains and Africa, the marina, the Mediterranean and the Rock itself.