Cloudnine Spain Blog

Another Day, Another Dollar - Marbella Real Estate Market Update with Sean Woolley (September 2022)

Another Day, Another Dollar - Marbella Real Estate Market Update with Sean Woolley

Real Estate Marketing Consultant Alfredo Bloy Dawson asks Cloud Nine Spain Managing Director Sean Woolley about the real estate market in the Marbella & the Costa del Sol area. Sean offers his outlook on the year ahead.

Listen to the podcast version here

Link to the youtube video here

I’m with Sean Woolley managing director of Cloud Nine Spain. This is the market update for September 2022. So Sean, how’s the market?  

How’s the market? The market is bearing up really well. I just did the figures comparing to last year which was our busiest year ever in terms of number of transactions and in terms of transaction values. And we’re pretty much on a par, which is great. Obviously, it becomes a bit of a rollercoaster. Some months are busy some months aren’t, but so far this year been busy right across the board. August, July and August is always a little bit strange, August particularly, because you get a lot of people a lot of inquiries, because a lot of people are here seeing what could be theirs. And of course, they make inquiries. So we’re always very busy. We always have a lot of clients, a lot of tours, doesn’t always translate into the best quality in terms of the people who’ve made that specifically made time to come here to look at property. But we had our fair share. After Ramadan, we had a lot of people from the Arab countries, the Middle East coming over to view and more recently because of the dollar-Euro exchange rate, we’ve had a lot of Americans, but yeah, August has been very good and September has started extremely well. So no complaints.


Now is this interest from the U.S. simply interest, or is it translating to sales?

It’s definitely translating to sales. The last four deals we’ve done have all been to, well, three Americans, one Canadian.


So all of them North Americans.

Yeah, North Americans. And they’ve made specific trips to come here to look at properties and to decide. And because they’re travelling so far, it’s not like coming from the UK where you can just hop on a plane 2 or 3 times over the course of your buying journey. If you are coming all the way from the States and Canada, if you are coming over to look at property, you’re looking at property and you’re probably going to buy one, because you’re here on a mission and you don’t want to have to come back next month. And so, yeah, it’s been good times. And those clients tend to buy at a decent level, particularly if they’re looking to acquire the golden visa it means they have to invest more than half a million Euros. So I think our average transaction with our North American friends has been over a million Euros.


How does this compare to previous years? I mean, you’ve been here in business for close to 20 years.

We’ve always had American buyers and Canadian buyers, but if they always made about a sort of small minority of our buyers. If I look at the figures are our last, I think it’s our last 24 sales, the Americans are out in front with six, which is the first time I’ve ever seen that balance shifting so markedly like that. The next dominant nationality is Kuwait with three and the Netherlands with three.


Where’s the UK in all of this?

The UK, we had two. So there’s a lot of countries with one. So out of those 24, I think we’ve had 14 different nationalities which is astonishing and still backs up the fact that it’s a multinational destination.


So the traditional approach of just targeting the UK, Benelux and Scandinavia, that’s not where all the buyers are coming from is it? Because maybe five years ago that’s where maybe 80, 90% of all the buyers were.

Absolutely. And even when we look back to the kind of just before the pandemic and the first year of the pandemic, our dominant buyers were from the UK, Sweden and Belgium, and it was always the UK number one and then Belgium and Sweden would kind of swap depending on the quarter or the year. And now there’s lots of different people looking to get a piece of the action. And as I say, because of the American currency market a lot of people are realising that a European asset is a decently priced investment.


With the North American buyers, given the time difference, how much harder is it to actually contact them?

Yeah, we normally have to work late into the evenings, which is, this is fine. I mean, if that’s where our buyers are, then we have to adjust our business accordingly. And you know what it’s like in this business. It’s not a nine to five job, it’s not a five day a week job. We do a lot of work at weekends, because that’s when clients can get here. And in the evenings, it’s when most of our clients are busy, high-earning clients. That’s when they have a bit of free time and they can talk. So we’re used to dealing with people at all hours of the day and night.


And is it because of the distance that you mentioned? I would imagine even though this was a general trend that you identified post-COVID particularly to do with people doing more research, so fewer viewings, but higher viewing-to-sale conversions, I would imagine that’s even more enhanced with the North Americans. The amount of research that you’re probably doing for them in advance is even greater, I guess, than other nationalities, I would imagine, right?

Yeah, very much so. I mean, the recent client we had from the states. My colleague who dealt with them did a lot of video work with them 2 or 3 weeks ago. And they actually almost reserved over the phone or over video, but they obviously wanted to get down here and touch it, feel it, and they actually bought in the same development that they fancied from the video. So that was good. They felt very comfortable, because they’d already felt that they got to know the place. So it was work and time well-spent I think. I’m always amazed that with the Americans and Canadians, they think that the Costa del Sol, they’re such a tiny little place. So they always say, “We’re going to come, we’re going to fly into Madrid, spend a couple of days there, then we’re going to sort of scoot on down to the Costa del Sol.” And whereas for me a 20-minute drive down the coast is a long time, for them It’s, oh my God, it’s nothing. So we’ve had clients who bought in Sotogrande. We’ve had clients, Mijas Costa, Marbella, some of the clients, they actually, they like to be near the ocean, they like to have that Mediterranean kind of vibe. A lot of them like to be near the more cultural things. So maybe at the old town of Marbella, but it really does vary. 


Would they consider somewhere like Monte Mayor where you are right now, beach side?

No I would not. 


Everything looking good for the rest of the the quarter?

Yeah, absolutely. It’s looking very promising. We’ve got some very good clients booked in who didn’t want to be part of the August madness. ‘Cause of course the problem in August is that a lot of people are here, they want to combine their little holiday with the family, with some looking at properties. The problem is that probably 50 or 60% of the resale market is out of bounds, it’s rented out. So it’s a nightmare for us. So anyone who is looking specifically to buy a resale property, i.e not a new development, please don’t come in August, because it’s just the nightmare and you are not actually helping yourselves, because you’re not seeing all of the stock that would normally be available. Now we’re into September, that problem has eased up. But yeah, bear mind next to year.

Get in touch with Cloud Nine Spain

Telephone: +34 951 203 808


Get in touch with Alfredo Bloy-Dawson