2019 was a year of slowing growth mostly due to external factors such as the uncertainty emanating from the US-Chinese trade war, Brexit and thoughts of an impending recession. As the year wore on and the worst fears did not become reality, the initial inertia wore off and the market began to return to strength, with both British and other foreign buyers returning to southern Spain to buy and invest in real estate and other assets. Tourism was already on a high, experiencing another peak year largely thanks to a very strong year-round season, and the property recovery that set in in the second half of 2019 has continued into 2020.
There are several reasons for this, among them the fact that the expected economic downturn does not seem to be upon us just yet. In addition, the ‘trade war’ is showing signs of cooling off, and with the impasse over Brexit finally over, the market has reacted strongly. Economists and stock market traders will tell you that the worst thing is uncertainty, and with the stalemate over Brexit now behind us, not only will the UK and Europe get on with life, but buyers and investors who have been holding their breath for some time now, have already begun to respond. As a result, British buyers are returning to Marbella in numbers, while the positive effect is spreading to other European buyers too.
The result is that the rate of enquiries for Marbella property, has continued to rise into 2020, and the year has started on somewhat of a high reminiscent of 2017 and 2018. The demand for the properties and above all the lifestyle that the Costa del Sol has to offer is certainly there, among British, European and also other high net worth buyers, and now they seem to have found the confidence once more to act upon it. A somewhat reinforced pound adds further impetus to this, as does the fact that Britain realises that there will be a continued, long-lasting relationship with Europe well after Brexit comes into effect, come what may.
Spain and the UK are connected, geographically, culturally, economically and ultimately, politically as well, so the relationships that have been forged over decades will not disappear overnight. Instead, they will continue to flourish long after Brexit, when a new balance will be found and mutual investment will resume. This realisation also strengthens the convictions of the Scandinavian, Dutch, Belgian and French buyers that have driven the Costa del Sol property market in recent times, and in a market of solid, sustainable growth levels, stabilising prices and strong rental demand, the buyer is emerging as the ultimate winner.