The Costa life
Penny Jackson on the appeal of homeowning in Spain
Saturday 08 February 1997
After three years of holiday visits, the Hirons (Alan is The Independent's bridge correspondent) found themselves spending more and more time in Spain. "We decided we could do everything by fax and post, in a climate that is 10 degrees warmer," says Alan.
A one-bedroom flat for a working couple was soon outgrown, and the Hirons needed more space to accommodate their books and Maureen's work as a games inventor. "We now have a three-bedroom, two-office apartment. After a quiet word in the right ear we were able to knock down an internal wall," says Alan.
"You have to get to know the Spanish red tape. For anyone setting up a business here, the appropriate licences are baffling. One man, desperate for the final authorisation, was told by the police to open anyway: 'We will close you down and the judge will tell you what to do.' He did just that and was open within the week. But the Spanish are getting the infrastructure right now," Alan adds. "When we first arrived it took six months to get a telephone, now it takes 48 hours. The bus service is good; the roads have improved."
Even Marbella, whose image was in decline 10 years ago, has been revamped. Alan is impressed with the changes. "The mayor is a forceful personality and has left his mark. The gardens are beautiful. Street crime has been drastically reduced - at ratepayers' expense. But you can't have everything."
As a man who admits to being so absorbed in a bridge hand while in Rome that he failed to notice the Colosseum, Alan is a reluctant tourist. "We have seen very little of Spain and we tend to leave during peak holiday months. I can't say we lead a Spanish life, although we have many Spanish friends."
As for expatriates, there seem to be fewer of the early retired drinking themselves into oblivion, Alan finds. "They spend most of their time playing golf." He suggests that before buying, people should get to know the area. "We know one lady who never even unpacked. She bought before she arrived and hated it on sight."
The Hirons have not seen much of a change in prices since they bought. A three-bedroom flat in their development, with a 25-metre pool in landscaped gardens, would cost about pounds 30,000; a two-bedroom flat pounds 25,000. Russians with suitcases of cash may be pushing up prices of villas, but elsewhere they are stable. "Make sure you get a lawyer who is familiar with Spanish and English law, and that you are handed the title deeds," Alan warns. "Property is chargeable for certain things, not the individual. You don't want end up acquiring debts. In Spanish law a vendor and purchaser can use the same solicitor, which speeds things up. We bought within a week."
Three of the best in Spain
This traditionally designed, seven-year-old, single-storey house sits in 1.6 acres of its own terraces and garden in Alpujarras in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, 16 miles from the coast and 38 miles from the ancient Moorish capital, Granada. The house has two double bedrooms and one single, all en suite, is being sold part-furnished, and comes with its own reservoir and spring. Outside are a bougainvillaea-fringed pool and a workshop. pounds 136,000, through Prestige Properties International (01935 825772)
A three-bedroom villa at Altea on the Costa Blanca, traditionally built, has a 180-degree view of the Mediterranean and the Luis Campomanes Marina. Built on a hillside in Moorish style, with the Sierra de Bernia as a backdrop, it comes with pool and private gardens. Depending on customised extras - such as marble floors - it costs from pounds 175,000, through Ultra Villas (01242 221500). The same company also has detached villas just 100 yards from the golf club house near Alicante, at pounds 133,000, and three-bedroom semis finished in rustic, Moorish style with hand-made tiles and beams, from pounds 79,000.
This detached, three-bedroom, two-bathroom, single-storey villa is one of seven being built on the Costa del Sol. The house has views to a golf course, and a secluded, planted garden, private pool, solarium and covered dining terrace. There is off-road parking in the drive. Prices start at pounds 110,000 through the Fielding Partnership (0181-332 9939).
From the Costa Blanca to the Canaries, Spain is well represented at the International Property Show, taking place at the Cumberland Hotel, Marble Arch, London W1. You may, however, prefer to flirt with the idea of buying next door in Gibraltar - or even find a home as far afield as Florida or the Caribbean. The strength of sterling - which is worth on average one-fifth more now than a year ago - means that prospective buyers can look with confidence at overseas properties. The show takes place from 10.30am to 5pm today and tomorrow. Entrance is free.
30 August 2014 12:00 AM
The UK has slipped to 11th in the latest European league table of savers. Rob Griffin checks out the best options
22 August 2014 10:30 PM
Caroline Flint, the shadow energy secretary, says a Labour government would create a new energy regulator
22 August 2014 10:30 PM
16 August 2014 12:00 AM
16 August 2014 12:00 AM
08 August 2014 11:30 PM
08 August 2014 11:30 PM
01 August 2014 07:30 PM
The new product marks a shift towards 'clear, straightforward and standardised' banking products, says Simon Read
01 August 2014 07:30 PM
Buyers beware of new-build home headaches
Five Questions: Changes to car tax discs
Bargain Hunter: There's one day left to book a bargain flight with Air Asia
A student's guide to financial survival: You don't have to drown in debt at university
How to save money: UK is crashing down the European league table for putting money away
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 It's not just the savagery of Isis that is shocking – its weaponry is too
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...
£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...
£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...
Day In a Page
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony