Marbella Info, News, Articles, Events, Luxury Homes – DM Properties Blog The real estate experts at DM Properties share their knowledge and experience of the real estate market in Marbella and the Costa del Sol. Fri, 24 Jun 2016 12:54:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Renting a quality Marbella Property Fri, 24 Jun 2016 12:54:12 +0000 Marbella is one of the most desirable towns on the Mediterranean coast and this is reflected both in its popularity as a place in which to buy property and in the strength of its rental market.

Renting a quality Marbella Property

In recent years the demand for both long-term rentals and short-term holiday rentals in Marbella has grown apace—so much so that in 2010 DM Properties set up its rentals division to cater for those looking to rent a luxury property either for a holiday or the longer term.

As specialists in the high-end real estate market in Marbella we felt it was a natural fit—having the contacts and local knowledge to source top-class properties for a discriminating client base who desire the very best when it comes to rental properties.

Right from the very start we recognised the best way to keep to an exacting level of standards was to offer a bespoke service tailored to the personal needs and requirements of both homeowners and rental clients. Although our portfolio of villas and apartments available for rent has grown since then we have never lost sight of our focus on quality—we apply stringent criteria to select properties—efficient service and offering informed advice to all our clients.

The villas, townhouses, penthouses and apartments we offer for rent are located in all the best areas of Marbella, including desirable addresses such as Guadalmina, Los Monteros, Elviria, Nagüeles, Sierra Blanca, Marbella Centre, Puerto Banús and Nueva Andalucía. We also have first-class homes slightly further afield in La Zagaleta, La Quinta, El Madroñal and other residential areas within Benahavis, as well as along the New Golden Mile in Estepona.

Each of these properties has been vetted to ensure it lives up to the high standards our clients expect, whether they want a holiday home or somewhere more permanent. The selection is also wide enough to encompass a variety of lifestyles—so whether you are seeking a frontline golf villa or a beachside penthouse, would prefer a country club ambiance or a town centre location, we have the property to suit.

If you are searching for a quality home to rent in Marbella and surrounding areas, please contact us for a consultation.

Marbella Real Estate Market Report 2016 Fri, 17 Jun 2016 13:39:15 +0000 When we first began publishing this series of market reports the Marbella property market was still in full bloom. Over time we have charted the crisis and subsequent recovery, arriving at a time when tourism and real estate are once again fuelling the local economy – yet is it all plain sailing ahead of us? In this edition we look at what is in stall for this all-important sector in the coming months and years.

Marbella Real Estates Market Report 2016

In the 2015 edition of our Marbella Market Report the evolution of the real estate market recovery into a state of bona fide growth was confirmed, a picture that continues unchanged today. Driven by buoyant tourist numbers and a resurgent property sector, Marbella is growing once more, with business start-ups in anything ranging from restaurants and bars to IT firms creating a renewed sense of vigour and enthusiasm.

That said, there are local, national and global factors that ensure this is not a simple economic upward cycle, so the picture is one of growth qualified by a series of footnotes. While we can expect continued expansion at a measured, sustainable rate for the foreseeable future, it is important to be aware of those forces that have the potential to either temper or further stimulate growth before long.

Sales and Price Trends

After reaching a low point in 2011, property sales in Marbella began to rise consistently, recording year-on-year gains that have long since surpassed double digits. The trend started in Marbella and has since spread to the entire Costa del Sol, rolling outwards from the most desirable beachside locations to include more outlying areas that were first developed during the previous boom.

Read-Marbella-Real Estate-Market-Report-2016In the beginning it was mostly driven by the very top end of the market (often in the form of luxury properties in the Golden Mile, La Zagaleta, Sierra Blanca and Camoján) on the one hand and heavily discounted ‘distressed’ properties located outside the Marbella area on the other. As the unsold housing stock produced by the financial crisis was gradually absorbed – and here we have to stress that Marbella was only moderately affected by so-called toxic assets – the focus shifted to new-build homes, with the first new projects launched in 2012 and growing in number ever since. Examples include Reserva de Sierra Blanca in Sierra Blanca, La Finca in Rio Real, Diamond Beach in Rio Verde Playa, Les Rivages just west of Estepona, Los Olivos in Nueva Andalucía, Icon Villas in Santa Clara and Jade Beach in Nueva Alcántara.

Though this has in many ways been a ‘top-down’ recovery, it gradually broadened its scope from a premium segment heavily dependent on Russian buyers to one dominated by mid to high level homes attracting cash buyers from countries such as Holland, Belgium, France, the UK, the Middle East and above all Scandinavia, where Norway led the way. Most were driven by the lifestyle and climate of Marbella, but for some, like the French, Belgian and Middle Eastern buyers, there were also ‘push factors’ in the form of high taxes or political instability.

Together they form a very broad buying public whose appetite for the areas, property types and price ranges of the Costa del Sol remains as strong as ever. Driven originally by discounted prices, they are now above all enticed by the lifestyle and prestige of this region, and while still keen on value for money are now willing to pay for quality and location. The result has been a gradual increase in property prices (Knight Frank’s PIRI report cites a 2% increase in property prices in Marbella during 2015) that is most pronounced for new-build homes, properties and plots in top seaside and country club areas such as Puente Romano, Los Granados, Sierra Blanca, Camojan and Nueva Andalucia – the most dynamic categories at this moment. Indeed, there is even a waiting list for some beachfront complexes along the Golden Mile.

Property sales from 2004-2015 in Marbella, Benahavis and Estepona

Year Benahavis Estepona Marbella Total
2004 353 882 4.779 6.014
2005 412 2.244 4.047 6.703
2006 650 1.788 4.432 6.870
2007 633 2.581 3.568 6.782
2008 438 1.721 2.116 4.275
2009 559 1.086 2.199 3.844
2010 422 1.154 2.389 3.965
2011 311 1.248 2.259 3.818
2012 593 1.490 2.519 4.602
2013 553 1.673 3.115 5.341
2014 708 2.109 3.982 6.799
2015 733 2.052 4.396 7.181

Source: Ministry of Public Works

What has changed?

The market conditions described so far are largely an evolution of a trend that first started with the initial recovery in 2012 and which has been gaining momentum ever since, but the latter part of 2015 did produce a development that has affected the landscape.

Indeed, the Supreme Court ruling that annulled the provisions of the 2010 PGOU (Plan General de Ordenación Urbanística) has put a spoke in the wheels of Marbella’s urban planning progress – effectively taking some of the momentum out of its recently mounting growth.

By rejecting for technical legal reasons the pragmatic solutions with which the previous Town Hall administration sought to resolve earlier planning infringements, the normalising effect of those moves was at least temporarily lost. The year, which had progressed so well, ran out of steam towards the end as uncertainty returned to the market. This uncertainty revolves primarily around the once again to-be-defined legal status of some 16,000 properties within Marbella’s municipal boundaries, as well as exactly which pieces of land are eligible for construction and which not.

Though there was an initial reaction and Marbella’s recurring planning issues cannot be said to do the town any favours economically, the demand from buyers and investors alike has been almost unchanged. While it may take an estimated four to five years for the process of the affected homes to be completed and a new master plan to be drafted and approved, they and the parcels of undeveloped land in question represent only 15% of Marbella’s real estate market. Such properties will suffer to some degree in terms of price and saleability in the meantime, but the opposite is true of those properties and tracts of land whose legal status is guaranteed under the 1986 PGOU now back in force.

In fact, the competition for such assets will only intensify in the face of reduced supply, so the expectation is that while it is undeniably a nuisance, the effect of the PGOU situation will gradually fade in importance. Such is the strength of the intrinsic demand for what Marbella has to offer.

The rise of surrounding areas

Even so, for the moment Marbella’s planning issues are providing a further growth stimulus for municipalities such as Benahavís, Estepona, Mijas and Ojén, which one by one have followed in the wake of the new recovery forged by their bigger, more internationally renowned neighbour. The lack of land in prime locations in Marbella and the city’s natural expansion outwards has also meant there has been an increase in demand for land in neighbouring areas in Benahavis and Estepona, where there is still room for future development.

But there is another factor contributing to this process. Much of the significant residential investment carried out by large US and international funds was already centred upon Estepona and Benahavís and Mijas before the PGOU bombshell hit Marbella in November last year, with projects such as Valley Heights (Benahavís) and Cosmo Beach (Estepona) by RCS and Sunset Bay Village by Siesta Homes. Other examples include Golf Hills Village in Estepona and Jardinana in Mijas Costa, both by London-based investment group CTH Capital with the participation of JAMSA.

Yes, the land is cheaper and generally more plentiful there, but generally speaking this is also reflected in the sales price the resulting properties can command, so the growing popularity, read acceptance, of these surrounding areas isn’t explained by price, planning and availability alone, but by growing demand in its own right.

Indeed, one could say that as it grows the Costa del Sol is becoming more cohesive. Leaving the coastal stretch between Torremolinos and Fuengirola aside for a moment, what were once disparate towns and resort areas are becoming increasingly homogenised – not just because of the geographical spread of development, but also because the glamour appeal of Marbella is rubbing off on its neighbours. The best addresses of Marbella, Puerto Banús and the country clubs of Benahavís will only gain further exclusivity in the process, but the lack of large tracts of undeveloped land within the more consolidated central parts of this region is turning the likes of Marbella East, Mijas Costa, Ojén’s La Mairena, Benahavís and Estepona into increasingly significant options for the effective extension of the Marbella way of life.

Stunning Modern Villas with Sea Views in Santa Clara

Stunning Modern Villas with Sea Views in Santa Clara – Ref: DMD1352-01

Areas such as Camoján and Sierra Blanca saw most of the remaining land bought up for the construction of independent villas by mid-2015, while frontline beach land at El Ancon was also recently purchased. (A luxury development of apartments and villas will arise here, about which DM Properties can provide information on availability and prices). In addition, Hong Kong based Platinum Estates acquired 178,000m2 of land just east of Marbella for the development of a luxury five-star hotel resort with branded villas, beach club and commercial area. It forms part of a planned investment of 200 million Euros, as reported by La Opinion de Malaga newspaper, while a further 17,000m2 of buildable land was bought by US fund Lone Star in Marbella East for future development.

The modernisation and gentrification of Marbella town as envisaged by some does not yet appear to be a major force, so much of the development – mid and high level – of the coming years will spread to the above-mentioned areas, and it is a process that has led Marbella, Benahavís and Estepona to jointly brand themselves as the ‘Golden Triangle’. Already we are seeing not just new developments, but mid and top end modern complexes commanding high prices selling well in hotspots such as Santa Clara, Nueva Alcántara, La Alquería, the New Golden Mile and the western shoreline of Estepona.

Sotogrande and Marbella

For many years Marbella and Sotogrande were complementary yet mutually exclusive, a state of affairs that allowed the one to more or less ignore the existence of the other. ‘Blighted’ as it were with a lower end residential belt between them, these two prime resort areas resisted the temptation to merge into one entity, be it in marketing terms or in the physical form. Again 2015 produced a telling moment, for the acquisition of Sotogrande S.A. by Cerberus Capital Management and Orion Capital for €225 million effectively produced the catalyst for the future development of the area.

The new Sotogrande has ambitious plans that involve enhancing the marina area and developing the La Reserva golf and country club into a leading luxury residential zone with a distinctive lifestyle philosophy, whilst also nurturing the qualities that make this an area distinct from, say, Puerto Banús. Multi-million investments in making the Santa María Polo Club even more impressive and the recent acquisition of the Valderrama estate by La Zagaleta, with a view to creating a similarly select private country club there, add further fuel to the upcoming transition of Sotogrande.
For developers and homebuyers alike this opens up a great deal of new investment and lifestyle options across a broad geographical area. For overall economic development within the region it can only be a positive factor.

Buyer profile

We have alluded to the broad range of nationalities buying into the lifestyle of the greater Marbella area, but look closer and you see that the top segment Russian buyers who dominated the market at the height of the recession have been greatly reduced in numbers. This is not essentially something to do with Marbella but largely the product of geopolitical factors of the kind that are also encouraging mostly middle class to affluent buyers from the Middle East to invest in a safe haven like the Costa del Sol.

The market is therefore now dominated by properties in the price range between €1 million and €5 million, with occasional sales in the region upwards of €5 million, while the rush of especially Norwegian high end buyers that led the years of recovery has now abated a little as the impact of low oil prices takes hold in petroleum producing countries. In their wake had come French and Belgian buyers driven as much by dissatisfaction with high taxes and domestic insecurity as with the charms of Southern Spain, and this remains a strong market, while for much of 2015 it was the British who led the way with rekindled gusto.

The latter was driven by strong economic growth and a favourable conversion rate of the pound to the euro, but even as both have faded somewhat in recent times the longstanding love affair between the UK and Southern Spain remains strong, though many British buyers have been waiting to see what the referendum on EU membership brings. Countering this, there has been a growth in Middle Eastern buyers looking for a safe haven, while traditional markets such as the Netherlands retain strong momentum and nascent ones like China and Latin America have been slower to take off than was at first anticipated. This said, together with a slowly resurgent domestic market the demand for Marbella real estate is both stronger and broadly diversified.

Ranking of Purchasing Nationalities in Andalucia

Ranking 2013 2014 2015
2 Sweden Sweden Sweden
3 Belgium Belgium Belgium
4 Norway Russia France
5 Russia Norway Germany
6 France France Norway
7 Germany Germany Morocco
8 Denmark Morocco Holland
Foreigners 12,35% 15,24% 15,40%
Nationals 87,65% 84,76% 84,60%

Source: College of Property Registrars

Percentage of Foreign Purchasers in the province of Málaga

Ranking 2013 2014 2015
Foreigners 31.77% 34.50% 34.14%
Nationals 68.23% 65.50% 65.86%

Source: College of Property Registrars

This is also increasingly true in socio-economic terms, with the return of financing coinciding with renewed interest from medium range buyers. What started as a top-down recovery has slowly reached mid level, accompanied by an age trend in which the market is still dominated by people over 50 but where the proportion of those buying not just holiday homes but permanently residing here has started rising rapidly again in recent times. It is a reflection both of improved job and entrepreneurial opportunities on the Costa del Sol, and the global phenomenon of working remotely, thanks to which more and more professionals are able to be part of vibrant economies in centres such as London whilst enjoying the quality of life that Southern Spain has to offer. A look at the waiting lists at international schools confirms this trend.

The housing market

In keeping with international trends the majority of homebuyers on the Costa del Sol right now are looking for modern/contemporary homes. In the main, these can be defined as apartments and villas that feature sleek white-washed architecture, floor-to-ceiling windows, open-plan living areas incorporating modern style kitchens and the latest styles in bathrooms and terrace areas. In villas there has been a move towards somewhat more compact and easily maintained properties, with wine cellars moving out of the basement to become backlit glass design features often situated between the kitchen and dining room.

Home cinemas and games rooms are being integrated into one interactive entertainment area typically complete with bar, with areas such as gyms and home spas increasingly sophisticated in their aesthetic presentation. Modern technology plays an important role in these homes, with home automation systems, modern lighting settings and online connectivity gradually becoming a must along with the security offered by gated villa communities. Given such a prevailing wish list, it is not surprising that newly built apartments and villas are leading the way in terms of desirability, prices commanded and speed of sale, with off-plan buying very much back in vogue – as is evidenced by the off-plan selling of projects such as Los Olivos, Les Rivages and La Finca de Marbella.

Though relatively weaker in this sense, the market for resale properties has now attained a positive momentum of its own, though here price growth has been slower and lead times tend to be longer, subject to the area. The most in-demand locations, as ever, continue to be in prime beachside addresses such as the Golden Mile, Los Monteros and Puerto Banús, but exclusive golf and country club areas like Sierra Blanca, Nueva Andalucía, La Zagaleta, La Quinta and are very desirable too.

La Zagaleta Golf & Country Club

La Zagaleta Golf & Country Club

Up and coming zones include the East of Marbella and Estepona, with demand strong for both luxury apartments with contemporary styling and amenities, and villas with modern architectural cachet, while private renovation projects retain a lively following too, especially among those with higher returns in mind and those wishing to combine the best locations with today’s comforts and style. A footnote here is the sale of so-called prestige properties in the price bracket of €10 million and over.

The bigger picture

In terms of investment and development, the move is towards bigger, with the bespoke smaller projects gradually overshadowed by larger-scale projects that can now count on participation from major banks. This is in itself a sign of growth, and it comes amid a climate of economic recovery on a national level too, with Spain posting 3% GDP growth in 2015 (the highest in Europe) and a steady drop in unemployment.

Public finances are looking a lot healthier than a few years ago, as are the nation’s banks, though it is in spite of the political impasse that marked the first half of 2016. Political uncertainty surrounding the elections of December 2015 slowed the flow of foreign investment into Spain towards the end of the year, yet the good news is that the Spanish property and construction sectors are once again contributing to economic growth as bank mortgages have returned and domestic sales are gradually rising.

On a more global level the current situation is marked by sluggish growth, low oil prices, deflationary worries and political instability in large parts of the world, notably the Middle East. While this dampens the overall outlook and reduces both consumption and investment, it also highlights the safe haven represented by places such as Marbella, placing it right up there with the likes of London, Switzerland and Monaco. Moreover, as real estate is back in vogue as an investment class among the world’s wealthy, regions such as our own stand to gain – not just because of the glamour and lifestyle it offers, but also because property here is still regarded as offering both value for money and the potential for capital growth.


Where to go from here

Just a few years ago we described Marbella as coming out of the downward slopes of recession, into the valley of stabilisation and eventually out on to the foothills of recovery. Today it is fair to say that we are well and truly in the hilly terrain of economic growth. It is not a seller’s market yet but certainly no buyer’s market either, as very good opportunities continue to exist for buyers and investors alike, and in terms of this we can expect the growth cycle to play itself out for some time to come.

In summary, therefore, we have seen a continued strengthening of demand from a very broadly diversified range of countries. This demand is especially focused on new properties, the development of which has not only spurred on new construction but also seen an improvement of the existing housing stock of Marbella through extensive renovation and modernisation. New projects, moreover, are subject to ever-improving standards and luxuries as today’s buyers demand more in terms of style, luxury and amenities.

The competition for scarce development land is leading to a steady increase in prices that is mirrored by gently rising property values in prime locations, but it hasn’t reduced the appetite of large foreign funds keen to create luxurious residential and hotel developments in prime locations. Together with the continued demand for the Marbella way of life, this interest from leading international investors is the sincerest reflection of this region’s continued appeal.

Download Marbella Real Estate Market Report 2016

Contributors: The DM Properties team
Written by Michel Cruz

The irish are falling back in love with Marbella property Mon, 13 Jun 2016 10:13:34 +0000 The Marbella and Puerto Banús property market has been put in the international spotlight by respected daily newspaper The Irish Times in a recent article. It is excellent publicity for the resort town, which has been traditionally popular with people from the Emerald Isle looking for a holiday home in a quality sunshine destination.

The irish are falling back in love with Marbella property

But as the report points out, the economic downturn hit Ireland hard, affecting sales to Irish buyers as they tightened their belts during what became known as the ‘credit crunch’, when the option of securing a mortgage for overseas property was severely curtailed.

In recent years, however, the country has emerged from recession and its domestic real estate market has started to boom again as stringent lending requirements have been relaxed—and this should have a knock on effect on the Spanish property sector too. Indeed, the report coincides with news that there has been a sharp rise in Irish visitors to Spain, with 20.2 % more visiting in January and February than in the same period last year. In total some 1.5 million Irish visitors are expected to come to Spain this year, confirming their long time love affair with the country.

In the article, headlined Puerto Banús: Spain’s moment in the sun continues, overseas property consultant Diarmaid Condon extolls Marbella as “the brand leader of the Costa del Sol.” He added that the prime attractions are the Golden Mile, the marina of Puerto Banús and Nueva Andalucía’s Golf Valley.

Talking of the attractiveness of the resort town to Irish buyers searching for second homes, he said: “Once large-scale Irish purchasing began in the mid-1990s it gained incredible momentum until the catastrophe of 2008.” At the time the “phones stopped ringing” and staff at estate agents specialising in sales to the Irish market had to be laid off. But now the market has been picking up and with it more staff are being employed again as the Irish return.

Mr Condon added that there are bargains still to be had with properties available at 50% of the pre-crash peak, although he acknowledged that high-end real estate was not as hard hit as lower value dwellings—exactly the trend seen by DM Properties, although there is no doubt that there is still good value to be had at the top end of the sector when compared to other luxury destinations.

Should you have any questions about the Marbella and Puerto Banús property markets please contact us, and watch out for our latest Marbella Market Report 2016, which will be posted on this website.

Marbella property investments a target for the super rich Mon, 30 May 2016 10:07:13 +0000 The world’s rich are increasingly putting their wealth in residential property as they move away from traditional stocks and shares, according to a detailed report that looks into their spending and investment strategies.

Marbella a target for the super rich

The latest Knight Frank Wealth Report explains that Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) have been casting about for ‘safe havens’ for their money in order to escape the volatility of the financial markets.

This has been particularly important for those from parts of the world experiencing domestic economic problems—particularly Russia, the Middle East and increasingly Africa too. Add in the importance of Chinese investors and it can be seen that high-end properties across the world are viewed as an excellent investment choice. This places Marbella’s real estate industry firmly within a global market when it comes to attracting UHNWIs—something the upmarket resort has not only been traditionally strong at, but in which it would appear to be increasing its market share.

According to the Knight Frank Wealth Report, the main reasons UHNWIs are looking to buy residential property are as an investment to sell in the future, to diversify their holdings and as a safe haven for funds.

Bright future for Marbella real estate

Knight Frank—which is in partnership with DM Properties—highlighted the fact that 24% of UHNWIs’ wealth is tied up in their primary residence and second homes, with another 11% in other real estate investments, compared to 28% in financial markets via equities and bonds. This is good news for high status destinations such as Monaco, the Costa Smeralda and Marbella, which find themselves well positioned to benefit from UHNWIs looking for luxury homes.

The future for such destinations looks even brighter when considered together with previous reports, which have shown that while major cities around the globe have been the main target for international purchasers looking for homes within the luxury property sector over the past few years, powerhouse markets such as London and Hong Kong look to have reached the top of their respective cycles, enticing the super-rich to now look elsewhere for value.

This is something that certainly Marbella offers, with exceptional and expansive properties available at competitive prices compared to luxury real estate in other global destinations. Moreover, investors view the Marbella real estate market as being on an upward trend, with strong prospects of making capital gains in the next few years.

Should you wish to investigate the possibility of investing in Marbella Property, please contact us. DM Properties has extensive experience in finding real estate with excellent investment potential.

International press focus on Spanish Real Estate Tue, 24 May 2016 07:36:34 +0000 The rebound in the Spanish property market that started in Marbella in 2013 is strengthening year by year and has now reached other parts of Spain, according to a slew of official figures released so far in 2016.

International press focus on Spanish Real Estate

This has not gone unnoticed by the world’s press and the country’s real estate sector has become the subject for an ever growing number of positive reports in international publications identifying Spain as being ‘on the up’ once again. The latest of these has appeared in respected British online news site The Telegraph* in an article headlined Sun shining on Spanish property market again, and quoting DM Properties’ partner Frank Knight.

In the report by Saundra Satterlee, it was pointed out that an organisation of the stature of the International Monetary Fund has congratulated Spain for a ‘remarkable rebound in economic activity’, adding that overseas property buyers were returning to the country in numbers. Of those, by far the most important in terms of volume remain the British, with significant numbers from Germany, France and Scandinavian countries as well, according to recent figures from the College of Property Registrars (Registradores). A total of 14.4% of all real estate sales in Spain during 2015 went to overseas buyers and of those 21% went to Britons, with sales to foreign residents growing 12% in the last quarter of the year.

Positive forecasts for Spain’s economy

Other sources also confirm the thrust of The Telegraph article, in which Kate Everett-Allen of Knight Frank International Residential Research said: “Spain’s economy is recovering well with GDP growth forecast to reach 2.5 per cent in 2016, outperforming the UK and Germany.”

She added that the UK’s upcoming ‘Brexit’ vote was just one factor influencing the market right now. “While the referendum will undoubtedly influence buyers’ decisions when looking to purchase in Europe’s key second home destinations, it will be one of several factors they will consider, including underlying market conditions.” With all major economic and property consultancies predicting a positive year, it would appear that whether or not the UK remains in the EU, the Spanish property market will continue to grow.

Pia Arrieta, of DM Properties, commented: “The Telegraph’s report highlights the fact that it is the luxury sector that has been driving this growth—something DM Properties has been all too aware of in Marbella, where high-end real estate has been in great demand. Indeed, in Marbella this section of the market was the least affected by the global financial downturn and the first to recover.”

Should you be seeking to join the increasing number of people looking for a home in Marbella, please contact DM Properties. We have many years of experience specialising in the sort of top-range villas and apartments that are proving so popular in today’s market.

Modern, comfortable and sustainable Tue, 17 May 2016 07:41:53 +0000 New concepts make it possible! A home that is comfortable, stylish and luxurious but also environmentally friendly seems too much to ask for, like having your cake and eating it. Too often in life we have to compromise and weigh one advantage off against another. The truth is, this is no longer the case. You don’t have to sacrifice exclusivity and refinement if you also want your property to be environmentally clean.

Modern, comfortable and sustainable property

Modern materials, technologies and construction techniques are creating a new concept in house design that can incorporate all the above, making it a win-win situation. The Passive House, as it is called because it hardly needs active heating or cooling, can be a little more expensive to build – about 0 to 10 per cent more than a conventional property – but in exchange you live in a high quality home that is not only more comfortable and healthier, but also kinder to the environment and far more energy-efficient – and therefore much cheaper to run.


Saving energy is at the heart of an environmentally friendly property, for the goal is to produce as much own energy as the house consumes. In such a case the property is said to be nearly energy-neutral, and the Passive House institute, the German-based organisation that has become the international reference in the promotion and development of energy-efficient construction concepts, can issue an official certification to all properties that come within an accepted range of being energy-neutral.

“This is done in two ways,” says Katrin Falck-Szenessy, a Passive House designer who recently constructed the first officially certified villa in Andalucía. “Firstly, by reducing energy loss, and secondly by producing renewable energy.” Heat loss in winter and the usage of unnecessary air-conditioning in summer are the greatest forms of waste in conventional properties, damaging nature and the pockets of homeowners alike. “A Passive House uses the latest technologies to ensure proper insulation, using not damaging chemicals to achieve this but modern construction materials, quality airtight sealing and fresh air ventilation systems.”

Passive house

The result is a home that is comfortable, well built and free of unpleasant draughts and mould. What’s more, by not just insulating walls and windows but also using automated systems such as curtains and blinds that close when a room is hit by the full force of the sun, you avoid both the loss of heat and overheating. “Using intelligent systems of this kind, combined with quality modern construction techniques, ensures a comfortable, constant temperature within the home throughout the day and the seasons. This takes away the need for intense heating and air conditioning, and results in huge energy savings.”

The second part of the process is reducing dependence on damaging and costly forms of energy by making the house capable of producing its own energy. “We have such an abundance of free solar energy here that investing in solar panels makes perfect sense,” says Katrin, whose villa close to Mijas can be near energy-neutral in terms of hot water, heating and electricity thanks to the efficient building envelope, the installation of thermal solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling systems. Everything is prepared to install photovoltaic panels as well. “We have a back-up grid supply, but are largely self-sufficient, which has brought the property in balance and saves us a lot of money on energy bills.”

AK Arquitectos

Katrin, a German architect who worked as a consultant for Shell Solar advising manufacturers, designers and construction companies on the best ways of integrating solar systems into their projects, has teamed up with Argentinean-born architect Alejandro Ramos-Alvelo to establish AK Arquitectos. The architectural duo is one of the exciting new ones in the region because it is leading the way in developing a new concept that will enable homeowners on the Costa del Sol to make of and benefit from its most famous resource: sun.

AK Arquitectos

“Solar energy is not new here, but underutilised, and combined with the construction technologies and philosophy provided by the Passive House concept it has the capacity to revolutionise the design and construction industry in this region,” says Alejandro, who emphasises that the more efficient way of doing things is not necessarily more expensive and certainly does not demand any compromise on style, design, size, amenities or luxury. “Quite frankly, saving money on running costs and keeping the environment clean as you build your dream home makes too much sense not to seriously consider it.”

For more information, contact Katrin or Alejandro at AK Arquitectos, and

New regulation for holiday rental properties in Andalucia Mon, 09 May 2016 10:10:21 +0000 A new law on holiday properties rented out for periods of up to two months comes into force on 11th May 2016.

New regulation for holiday rental properties in Andalucia

Property destined for short-term holiday rental purposes has been designated with a new legal status dubbed ‘holiday home accommodation’. It falls under the responsibility of Spain’s Autonomous Communities, which regulate the rental industries within their jurisdiction. Here, we analyse the legal status, established by Decree 28/2016, and tax liability in respect of value added tax (VAT). The new law sets out the requirements that homeowners should meet, the obligation to hold a license as well as any penalties and fines imposed for non-compliance.

Property rental not only has the purpose of offering a long term permanent home to tenants, but can also cover temporary needs, as in the use of properties for tourism purposes and short stay holiday rentals.

In Andalucía the 28/2016 Decree, dated 2nd February, was recently published in the Official Gazette. It comes into force on May 11th and regulates the renting out of property as tourist accommodation for a period of less than two consecutive months a year, which is a very common activity in Andalucía. The law defines tourist properties as those that provide private accommodation for holidaymakers, along with hotels, tourist apartments and rural properties. It is aimed at protecting the rights of both tenant and occupant, and at avoiding unfair competition and damage to other tourist operators.

One characteristic feature for a property to be considered as tourist accommodation in Andalucía is that it is offered on the market and promoted through tourist channels, such as travel agencies, companies that mediate or provide tourist services and web pages that include a booking option. In these cases whoever operates the property for tourism purposes (which may be the owner or any other person with whom a relationship has been established, e.g. the beneficial owner or someone enjoying the usufruct of the property), must file a sworn statement of responsibility to the relevant local office. This statement must include the identification of the property, the owner’s details and address for notification purposes, those of the person who services the property, and the title of his relationship with the owner in the case of an operator. Following this, the property will be registered in the Tourism Registry Office of Andalucía. The owner of the property assumes responsibility for its operation.

This tourist accommodation service may involve the rental of the whole property or extra rooms, depending on the capacity of the provisions of the licence of first occupation. The limit is set at fifteen people in the case of an entire property and six people in the use of spare rooms; in both cases a maximum of four people per room is fixed.

The tourist property offered must meet the following requirements:

a) Have a first occupancy licence.
b) Direct ventilation of the rooms and shading of the windows, unless the building is a listed or protected building and these works cannot be carried out.
c) Have sufficient furniture and basic household ware for its immediate use by all occupants.
d) Cooling system in the months of May to September and heating from October to April, supplied via fixed devices. Protected or listed buildings are also exempt from this.
e) First-aid kit.
f) Provide tourist information of the area, as well as a Complaints and Claims book that must be available in a visible place.
g) The property must be cleaned prior to the arrival and departure of new occupants.
h) The property should be equipped with kitchenware and two sets of bedding and linen, sufficient for the number of places that are offered.
i) To provide telephone numbers in case of emergency.
j) To provide manuals or instructions for the use of devices and electrical appliances.
k) Inform clients of the rules for the use of the facilities, pets and smoking restrictions.

The relationship between the operator and the occupant will be formalised in a duplicate document, which must contain the name of the person or service provider of the property, the registration code number entered in the Andalusian Tourism Registry, the number of people that are going to occupy the property, the dates of arrival and departure, the total cost of the stay, as well as a contact telephone number in case of emergency. The operator must keep the document for at least a year and it has probative value for administrative purposes.

The service should include water, electricity, cooling and heating, cleaning upon arrival of clients, and the use of kitchenware, bathroom and bed linen.

The duration (the start time and end of the occupation) will be determined in agreement by both parties. Alternatively, the day of arrival starts at 4.00pm and finishes at 12.00am on the day of departure. The person in charge should be present at the property or arrange in advance to hand over the keys. Rental rates are left to the discretion of both parties, as well as conditions relating to reservations, advance payments and cancellation fees. If not specifically set, however, the standard provisions of the new law will be applied.

The law establishes general provisions regarding the rights and obligations of both parties. Special emphasis is made regarding cohabitation rules. In the case of non-compliance of these rules, the service provider may request that the client vacates the property within 24-hours. In relation to the ‘right of admission’, it is forbidden to restrict access based on the individual’s age, race, gender, religion or any other personal/social circumstances.

Concerning infractions and penalties, the terms of Sector I are to be applied, although Decree 28/2016 makes special mention of illegal activity. Illegal activity is considered to be the advertising in any media form or the provision of tourist services without having made the required declaration of responsibility. This is considered a very serious offence and can be punished with a fine of between 2,001 and 18,000 euros, and additionally suspension of the business activity or closure of the establishment for up to six months.

A transitional period has been established, so that the owners of rental properties have one year from the enforcement of Decree 28/2016 to adapt themselves to the requirements as stated in the provisions of Article 6.

Finally, if the service is offered according to the requirements set out in Decree 28/2016, the activity of tourist accommodation is considered exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT/IVA). However, VAT tax will be applicable if the property offers additional hotel services such as reception or permanent and on-going customer care, periodic cleaning of the property and changing of the bed and bath linen, laundry services, luggage storage, press delivery, reservations service, etc.

Rafael J. Cantero Castillo (LL. M.).

Welcome to our best DM Properties website ever! Fri, 06 May 2016 11:23:02 +0000 As the internet has developed over the past few years, the way we interact with it has undergone a dramatic change as more and more of us have taken to using handheld devices to access online information and services.

Welcome to our best DM Properties website ever!

While desktop computers and laptops are still important, the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets, means that businesses such as DM Properties need to keep at the cutting edge of technology in order to help prospective buyers access our website in a fast, easy to manage manner, wherever they may happen to be.

While many older websites may play correctly on bigger screens and the greater processing power of desktop computers, these are now dated, with not enough thought put into the user experience when accessed on smaller devices.

Slow page loading—particularly of high resolution pictures—can be an annoying experience and it reflects badly on the professionalism of the business in question.

For this reason we have completely redesigned our site—not that there was too much wrong with it to start with! But we do recognise that a company of our standing needs to showcase the properties of our clients in the best way possible—and that means a fast, secure site that is a joy to use on every device.

Our web designers started from scratch to ensure the Diana Morales Properties site is fully functional whatever device you are using. By completely redesigning the website with all code re-written from first steps, we have made sure its mobile-first structure ensures all information is available all the time—not something some older websites permit on hand-held devices. Too often information is hidden to try to speed up loading times on websites that are actually only optimised for desktops.

By doing this, and incorporating the latest design trends and newest technology, we have ensured our site offers a user experience that is as fast and friendly as possible, without losing any features and still featuring high quality pictures—all vital for marketing property effectively. All images and videos are presented as large as possible for the screen, being automatically adapted in Full HD, but ready to go 4K when it becomes the de-facto standard.

Clients marketing their properties through us will recognise the importance of internet visibility, which is why we have worked so hard on the site. We have managed to achieve a 10% SEO performance increase by implementing a new internal site structure that maximises every single piece of content when it comes to Google visibility. Our team will constantly monitor the site to maintain and improve its already impressive search engine rankings.

The DM Properties site has been built with the aim of being the best performing property website on the coast, making it a must for anyone wishing to buy or sell a high quality villa, apartment, penthouse or townhouse in Marbella.

Simply put, the site is fast, easy to use—and it looks great too!

For those owners serious about selling their home, DM Properties is the proven option for results in Marbella’s luxury real estate segment. Contact us and put us to the test.

La Zagaleta: best of the best Wed, 04 May 2016 15:59:48 +0000 Of the luxurious country club estates to be found in and around Marbella the one that can be said without a doubt to match the standards of the most exclusive in the world is the Club de Campo La Zagaleta.

La Zagaleta Country Club

This hill club, nestling in the foothills of the Sierra Bermeja mountains that rise up from the coast before merging into the Sierra de Ronda in the spectacular interior of Andalucía, has become the location of choice for filmstars, international sportsmen, successful businesspeople, nobility—in fact what could be classed as the cream of society—when looking for a home near Marbella.

The other country club estates in the area, such as La Quinta and El Madroñal, offer their own cachét and many attractive features to draw your attention along with many highly desirable properties, but none are quite as exclusive as La Zagaleta.

Security within nature

With only two entrances, this former private hunting reserve that encompasses a series of natural valleys within its ten square kilometres, offers the sort of privacy that only a gated community with 24-hour security can guarantee. This is much prized by residents, who are also protected from prying eyes by the extensive green zones that surround each of the expansive plots. It is a truly special place for those seeking tranquillity away from the stresses of the modern world, with nature and wildlife nurtured within its environs. Indeed, deer can sometimes be seen on the hillsides and within the wooded groves that are dotted across the countryside, while eagles soar on the up draughts formed in the pure mountain air.

As is to be expected and in keeping with the country club concept of its founders, the range and quality of sporting facilities available to residents is of the very highest order. Two immaculately maintained championship golf courses, an equestrian centre offering tranquil cross-country riding trails and a racquets club provide the opportunity for healthy outdoor exercise, while an exclusive clubhouse with a quality restaurant, bar, meeting lounge, private function rooms and swimming pool, serves as a focus for the estate’s social life.

Villas for sale in La Zagaleta

The villas for sale here—there are no apartment complexes—are some of the finest to be found not just in the Marbella area, but anywhere in the world. Built to the most exacting standards, utilising the finest materials and designed by some of the best international architects, they not only have every imaginable amenity within expansive private grounds, but also benefit from stunning coastal vistas across the Mediterranean to Africa. La Zagaleta is truly a byword for a luxurious country club lifestyle.

Diana Morales Properties has a handpicked selection of some of the finest villas and plots for sale in La Zagaleta. Please contact us for more information, and we can discuss your requirements.

The best frontline golf areas in Marbella Tue, 26 Apr 2016 09:21:28 +0000 For many who come to enjoy the uniquely benevolent climate and sweet lifestyle of Marbella it is not in the first instance the beach but rather golf that draws the attention. Lovers of the game as well as those who simply love owning a home that looks out over the pristinely kept fairways – perhaps with a backdrop of mountain and/or sea views – keep this a highly popular property option in this sunny part of Europe.

Stylish frontline golf villa facing Los Naranjos Golf course

As specialists in luxury Marbella homes, DM Properties can offer the best selection of frontline golf villas and apartments in the most attractive areas. Here is a summary of the most popular luxury frontline golf locations.

Las Brisas

Situated at the heart of Nueva Andalucía’s Golf Valley, Las Brisas is one of the most exclusive golf courses in Spain. Popular with players from across Europe, its championship course skirts beautiful subtropical vegetation bordered by luxurious villas. If you love golf, style and elegant homes that offer the very best of Marbella’s outdoor lifestyle, this is the place to be.

La Quinta

Where Las Brisas is a peaceful residential area close to Puerto Banús, La Quinta is a hill club estate on the northwest edge of Nueva Andalucía. Here an attractive verdant golf course provides players and residents alike with a spectacular visual contrast to the foothills of the Serranía de Ronda, which rise all around. The area, which also features a luxury five-star spa hotel, combines architecturally styled villas with a small collection of spacious apartments and townhouses.


The hilly terrain of La Quinta stands in contrast to the level coastal terrain of Guadalmina Baja, one of Marbella’s classic upmarket addresses. In this well-established area large private villas stand on spacious plots, many with impressive views over the beautiful parkland golf course – the only one in Marbella that features a links section.

Río Real

For the ultimate combination of luxury and golf east of Marbella, Río Real offers upmarket villas and apartments overlooking one of the most attractive green fairways of all. This area is peaceful and select yet close to Marbella town, shopping, beaches and nature. The course forms the focal point for the luxury residential complexes that line it, including spacious attached homes that are closer to villas than townhouses.

La Zagaleta

If you want a truly exclusive – and private – golf property, then La Zagaleta is the logical choice. The lucky inhabitants of this select gated private country club not only enjoy some of the very finest golf views framed by gorgeous mountain and sea scenery, but they don’t even have to share it with the public in this members-only environment. The large villas and mansions here are set on expansive grounds that form part of a natural paradise at a few kilometres from Marbella and its shoreline.

Diana Morales Properties has a selection of the very finest villas and apartments in these exclusive areas—please contact us and we can help you find the perfect home for your requirements.