Russian buyers in the Costa del Sol are nothing new. For several years now, Russians have been scouring the area for upscale properties, so much so that the luxury market is flooded with them. In fact, recent data from the General Council of Notaries has shown that buyers from the former Soviet Union are now at the top of the ranking of investments in property costing €500,000 or more in three Spanish provinces.
But their appetite is far from sated. Figures from the Tourism Board Malaga-Costa del Sol have shown a 17 per cent year on year increase in Russian visitors arriving at the Malaga-Costa del Sol airport, with visitor numbers this year up to 42,861 from 36,610 the year before. Clearly the Costa del Sol continues to tempt Russian buyers, but the real story at present is the Costa Blanca.
At the same time as the Spanish Tourism Office in Moscow is reporting a sharp upturn in the number of people wishing to travel to Spain, based on visa application numbers, Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of leading Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España, is experiencing a boom in Russian buyers looking to be part of the Costa Blanca property scene. He explains:
“We’ve noticed a definite increase in demand from Russian buyers of late. While interest in the Costa del Sol still exists, it’s actually the Costa Blanca that is attracting the majority of our Russian purchasers. Front-line properties that are well located for international airports, such as Alicante, are top of the shopping list, so developments such as La Recoleta III, Montesol and La Vila Paradis are all extremely popular.”
According to Eye on Spain, the Costa Blanca is becoming so popular with Russian buyers that they have overtaken even the British when it comes to foreign investment in the Spanish property market. While Russian buyers represented less than 5% of the foreign purchasers in Alicante just four years ago, they now account for half of the 7,000 sales made to non-Spaniards last year.
Spain has experienced a country-wide improvement in air passenger numbers so far this year, with data from Spanish airports network AENA showing a 4.6% increase in air passenger traffic during the first nine months of 2014. The increase took the total to more than 153.2 million passengers, many of them travelling from Russia for inspection trips or to make cash purchases.
With Russian interest continuing to drive forward property sales in the Costa Blanca, developers such as Taylor Wimpey España are feeling positive about the signs of the property market’s reinvigoration within the area.
Pritchard concludes: “Russian buyers are not only providing a strong boost to the Costa Blanca’s property market, they are emphasising the desirability of high end developments across the Costas. The attractions of Spain’s golden visa programme mean that many of those purchasing property here have serious cash to invest, which is helping to ensure a healthy and stable property sector once more.”