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Buy Marbella property now, says Alan Wentworth-Harley of One Marbella

NOW is the time to buy a property in Marbella, says Alan Wentworth-Harley the CEO of leading luxury real estate company One Marbella.

Although it is impossible to know if property prices will fall further, recent figures suggest the decrease has slowed down nationwide.

Buyers have seen prices drop substantially – in some cases up to 30-40% - since the recession started to bite in 2008, bringing what many believe to be over-inflated prices closer to what the real value of the properties are, and in some cases being sold under their true value.

For decades Marbella had a reputation of being the playground for the rich and famous. Plush villas owned by Hollywood stars like Sean Connery or Arab royalty, and super-yachts moored in Puerto Banus raised the profile of the city and surrounding areas to the world’s favourite spot for summer sun.

This image kept property prices sky-high as demand outstripped supply.

In the mid-1990s however, a corrupt local authority opened the floodgates to developers keen to cash in on the property boom at any cost, with no questions asked.

The Coast and Marbella in particular was making headlines for all the wrong reasons: crime and corruption. And somehow it lost it’s much of its international appeal to the world’s elite.

“Since the new council took over, under the leadership of Angeles Muñoz, the efforts to remarket Marbella began in earnests to plant the seeds for a new era,” explains One Marbella’s Alan Wentworth –Harley.
Sporting events like the WTA Finals at the Puente Romano or the Davis Cup Quarter Finals were widely publicized. So where a string of high profile concerts which have brought the top names of entertainment to Marbella including living legends such as Tom Jones, Sting, Bryan Ferry, or renowned Spanish operatic soprano Dame Montserrat Caballe.

But Marbella’s turning point was perhaps in 2010 with the visit of US First Lady Michelle Obama, who stayed at the 5-star Hotel Villa Padierna in Benahavis (Marbella) and was snapped by the global media enjoying a stroll in the old town.

This served as a reminder to millions worldwide that Marbella was still a top high end destination. “It sent out the message that if Marbella is good enough for Obama it’s good enough for them,” says Wentworth-Harley.
Soon news that the town hall was actively promoting Marbella to the Arab and Russian markets started to bear fruit.

Qatari Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani – after buying Malaga FC in 2010– has spearheaded a consortium to build a massive port in Marbella which will count with an expected investment in excess of €400 million, creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs as well as raise the profile of Marbella.

The Marina-La Bajadilla port project, as it is known, will allow cruise ships of up to 175 metres to dock in Marbella, as well as a proposed luxury hotel  (although there are issues with the building license for this) and retail and leisure area covering 45,000 square metres.

“There are plans afoot for an International Business School to be created in Marbella in a campus covering 600,000 square metres in the Nueva Andalucia area, also funded by Arab money via an agreement with Nest Investment Holding Limited,” adds One Marbella’s Alan Wentworth-Harley.

Meanwhile, recent figures show growing interest in luxury properties in Marbella from Russian buyers and investors. These figures coincide with local and national roadshows to promote Spain and Marbella to Russian markets. Even reports of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin planning to purchase a villa in Marbella have done no harm to interest in the local property market.

“The fact the Kremlin’s spokesperson dismissed the Putin rumour makes no difference,” explains Alan Wentworth-Harley of One Marbella. Whether it is the US First Lady visit: Putin buying a home here; or Arab money flowing back into the city; this is increasing its appeal internationally, and although the Spanish economy is still bleak,” says Wentworth-Harley, “the lower prices and increased appeal is driving up interest in Marbella properties from countries where the economic situation is vastly improved.”

And love it or hate it,” he says, “even TV shows such as TOWIE focusing on Marbella and with taglines such as ‘no carbs before Marbs’ is raising the profile with the public at large. Although it is true Marbella has some amazing deals on luxury properties at the moment, there are many at the cheaper end of the market at the moment as banks try to offload overpriced properties sinking the balance sheets,” explains One Marbella’s Wentworth-Harley.

There are many other positive things happening in and around the Marbella area these days, each one contributing to its appeal to property buyers.

“The recent San Pedro bypass makes driving toward Gibraltar on the summer months much easier, and with additional flights from Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport as well as increasing number of cruise ships visiting the coast the appeal is growing,” says Wentworth-Harley.

In 2011 Marbella saw an increase of 5% in tourist numbers, according to figures from the National Statistics Institute (INE). The number of overnight stays in Marbella hotels also saw an increase last year (+8%), and the average stays rose from 3.4 days in 2010 to 4 days in 2011.

“We recently listed a stunning villa in La Quinta with all the amenities you’d expect from a property in this prestigious address which has seen the price reduced from by €300,000 to €1.2 million,” says Wentworth-Harley. “But if this is still outside someone’s budget there are deals like a large fully equipped studio we have on the market at €58,000.”
About One Marbella Luxury Real Estate
With thousands of properties to choose from and a range of dedicated property services including property finance, valuation, insurance and interior solutions, One Marbella can tailor their  services to meet your needs.
Contact One Marbella
One Marbella, Plaza de Marina Banus no.27, Puerto Banus, Marbella 29660 Spain

Tel: (+34) 952 905 100
Photo credits: Puerto Banus by Tomas Fano / Meeting  - Marbella Town Hall


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