Spain fights back to boost property investment

The battered Spanish property market is fighting back as real estate agents and the government search for new ways of attracting investors and visitors who fuel the holiday let industry.

The Spanish government's plans to increase tourist numbers and extend the season beyond the traditional summer months has been welcomed by estate agents who can then use this to persuade more investors that rental yields will be good.

'We need to make tourism less seasonal,' said Spanish industry minister Miguel Sebastian. 'Tourism is a vital sector.'

Government plans include running campaigns to persuade more retired people to holiday in Spain in the winter.

But this alone is not enough to re-generate the market and smart agents are looking for new ways to attract investment. Spanish based Carrington Estates said plots of land for self builds are cost effective.

'Buying a plot for self-build within low-density gated golfing communities such as La Zagaleta and Monte Mayor Golf & Country Club is an excellent way of taking advantage of relatively low land prices and also keeping those Spanish construction workers off the streets,' said a spokesman.

He said the advantages include choosing views, layout, design, and finish. 'A resale or turnkey villa can cost up to 50% more than the self-build equivalent. Plus you have the luxury of 24-hour security and added value in the shape of golf courses,' he added.

Agents are also encouraging investors to look inland for bargains. 'More and more Brits are venturing further inland to Granada Province, La Mancha, Extremadura, and the Costa del Luz in the west where values are even lower,' said Paul Bradley from the Spanish Property Owners Guild.

This has, however, led to a downturn in the luxury coastal developments. At the Polaris World golf development in Murcia, where the course was designed by Jack Nicklaus, sales have fallen.

The Spanish government is also looking at making the law more straightforward for buyers.