2021 is a much different year than anyone might have ever predicted: the coronavirus pandemic has changed everything, including the property market. This is particularly true in Spain, where what people are looking for in the properties they purchase has undergone a hugely significant cultural shift that would have been difficult to forecast. Historically, Spain has been a nation of flat owners: house holders here care less about what their properties look like because they prefer to spend their time outside in the beautiful Spanish sunshine, meeting their friends and family in squares and cafes, rather than in their own four walls. But 2020 was a year we all spent a lot of time inside our own four walls.
As a result, smaller city flats are quickly losing their appeal, with Spaniards instead thinking about homes with outdoor space. Properties in the countryside, or close to the beach, where lockdown would have been a much more pleasant experience. In effect, many Spaniards are longing for a suburban life, and this is very much being reflected in the property market, and the houses that are both selling and attracting significant interest right now.
Of course, city living is always going to be popular, particularly with young urbanites, and those that rely on city locations for their work. And therefore, it would be impossible to generalise entirely. But there are some trends that we are seeing emerge, with many things Spaniards would have formerly glossed over now being seen as incredibly unpopular. Here are just some of the property trends that would be seeing a stampede in 2021:
Properties that are Too Small
If lockdown taught up anything, it’s how much we value our own space, and this was the thing that Spaniards most yearned for during that difficult period. As a result, there has been an exodus out of Spain’s two biggest cities as a result of that lasting feeling of being caged in which home dwellers now want to avoid, and this is the biggest change in the property market this year.
Forty-eight percent of properties in Spain are 60 to 90 sqm in size, in Barcelona and Madrid they’re even smaller on average – 60 to 75 sqm. Properties of this size are no longer considered to be desirable, with homeowners seeking more space, no doubt worried that were another lockdown to strike, they don’t want to be doing so in such a small property.
Properties that are Too Old
Traditional Spanish houses and flats can be pretty dark. There are many reasons that contribute to this: a lack of windows, an abundance of corridors, or even too many light blocking walls. Whatever the reason, it’s not uncommon to have to have the lights on at home during the day in Spain, even whilst the sun is shining down outside. Nowadays though, this is seen as a big no-no in the country: a lack of light can be a huge deterrent in purchasing a home. This may well have also been sparked by the pandemic, where being able to get outside was difficult, so at least being able to see outside or bring the outside into your home would have been hugely attractive.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see why brighter and airier new builds are considered to be much more attractive in the current market.
Properties that Don’t Have Outdoor Space
We’re not suggesting that when the pandemic is over, Spaniards will leave the many high rise tower blocks that dominate the skyline of the country empty. But we do know that the pandemic has really driven home the importance of having some outdoor space of your own, even if it is just a small terrace or balcony.
According to Ferran Font, the Head of Spanish property search engine Pisos.com, the filter for balcony or terrace is being used by its users now more than ever. We are also seeing the impact of this in the cost of properties, with those homes with outdoor space being considerably more expensive than those without: a study carried out by Idealista found that having a terrace can drive up the price of a property in Spain by up to 36 percent compared to a similar property without a terrace.
Location, Location, Location!
As we mentioned above, there will always be a high demand for properties in sought-after city locations. But the price of villas on the outskirts of cities has increased more than that for flats since the pandemic began, particularly if those outskirt locations have good transport links to the city. Many Spanish people are choosing to move to the provincial outskirts of the big urban areas in search of space, greenery and more freedom, whilst still having all of the benefits of a city location right on their doorstep. This is a seismic shift for a country that once valued city living so highly.
Are you thinking of moving to Spain after the coronavirus pandemic is over? Whether you’re looking for bargain apartments in Mijas Costa or beachfront properties in Calahonda, our team of local property experts can help. We have a team of estate agents in the Costa del Sol who are perfectly placed to help you find the home of your dreams, so why not get in touch today.