Cloudnine Spain Blog

Estepona: Better than Marbella? - Roundtable Discussion

Estepona: Better than Marbella? - Roundtable Discussion

Managing Director Sean Woolley, chats with fellow Cloud Nine Spain directors Jackie Waters and Justin Mowle, comparing the prod and cons of Estepona vs Marbella.

Listen to the podcast version here

Link to the youtube video here

Sean: Hello everybody. I’m Sean Woolley, Managing Director of Cloud Nine Spain. With me today, I have two of our esteemed directors, Jackie Waters, Justin Mowle. Thank you for being here with me.

Jackie: Pleasure.

Sean: Today, we are gonna be talking about the virtues on the pros and cons of Marbella versus Estepona. And we’ve not done this one before. We’ve done our little area guide about Estepona. Everybody, most people know Marbella anyway, but Estepona has kind of been rising up the charts, and I think it is now a direct competitor to Marbella’s position as the leading light of the Costa del Sol. Jackie, I’m gonna start with you, because you know Estepona I’m guessing probably better than any of us. I know that you pop there quite a bit. Tell us about Estepona.

Jackie: I live in Estepona, first of all.

Sean: Ooh. There you go.

Jackie: There you go. Estepona, in my opinion, is one of the nicest areas out here. I’ve lived here for 15 years, we’ve had the house, and to be honest, it’s got everything. You know, you have the old town where you can go into the old restaurants, the tapas bars, grab a cheeky meal and glass of wine for about 10 euros. And you’ve got the fantastic Paseo walks where you can walk along the side of the beach all the way from say, Costalita, which is basically where the start of Estepona is really. All the way through up to the old town, taking in the spectacular views. It’s just a great way of life. You’ve got the markets on a Sunday. You can be as Spanish as you want to, but at the same time, you can check out the local supermarkets, restaurants, and it’s friendly. It’s basically, in my opinion, a beautiful, beautiful area. And it’s been up and coming over, I’d say over the last eight to 10 years. And when I take clients there, they literally comment on the flowers, because wherever you go there’s flowers, there’s fountains. They’ve invested a lot of money in Estepona over the years. The Mayor is very, very good, and he does look after the place. And now they’re pedestrianising a couple of the roads, which is giving families access to the whole length of the main part of the town without worrying about traffic, et cetera. It’s pretty. It’s Spanish, it’s cheap for restaurants. It can be expensive for restaurants. Beautiful chiringuitos all the way along. Some of them open all year round, which you very rarely find in Marbella. And it’s not expensive. I love Marbella. I love the Ponte Romano, I love the nights out there, but for good value for money, both property wise, although that is creeping up there, and for having a holiday or living here, Estepona in my opinion is the perfect place to be.

Justin: Ditto.

Sean: Yeah?

Justin: Yeah, I love it.

Sean: Are you a fan?

Justin: I love Estepona. It’s half the size of my Marbella.

Jackie: Absolutely.

Justin: And it’s kind of half the price. Pretty simple. 

Jackie: And more space

Justin: You know, less traffic, beautiful old town, lovely marina. And you’ve got some great beachfront properties, hillside stuff. So for me, massive tick in the box.

Jackie: And as we know, those beachside properties, you just can’t get ahold of.

Justin: No.

Jackie: It’s just everybody’s… ‘Cause the prices are slowly creeping up. ‘Cause it seems to me a lot of people wanna be that area now.

Justin: Yeah.

Sean: Just to put things in slight perspective geographically, so you are a resident geographical expert.

Justin: Okay.

Sean: So in terms of distance from Marbella, ’cause most people know where Marbella is. So from Marbella to say the town of Estepona.

Justin: 20 – 30 miutes

Sean: 20. Mm…

Justin: It’s 30K. 30 kilometres.

Sean: The misconception here is that people classify, it depends what, how you classify Estepona. Is it the town itself, or is it the area? Because Estepona, as Jackie said, starts from-

Jackie: Well, where I live, El Paraiso really.

Sean: Yeah. It’s just after Guadalmina, isn’t it?

Jackie: Yeah. Absolutely.

Sean: And then it goes all the way down to-

Justin: To-

Sean: And so it’s, it’s quite a, quite a big stretch of coastline, but the town itself… I’m gonna let you into a little secret. No, not maybe not a well kept secret, but I’m actually looking to buy in Estepona. And I, isn’t it amazing when you’ve been here for so many years, and you kind of live in a place, you don’t really go to another place. You get a bit lazy and you have your-

Jackie: You just look up our pictures.

Sean: Yeah. I do, with jealousy. I look at, I go for lunch in the same place, and dinner in the same place. I actually started to go to Estepona a little bit more, mainly because of your pictures on Facebook. And it always looks like so amazing. I went there with my partner last Sunday. I couldn’t believe what I saw.

Jackie: Busy.

Sean: I’ve gotta be honest with you. ‘Cause I’ve been told different things about the promenade being pedestrianised.

Jackie: Yeah.

Sean: Not the promenade, the road next to the promenade.

Jackie: The road, the main road. Yeah.

Sean: And I know there’s been hell up about it with the local residents because it means they have to now go round the town to get access and stuff like that. But actually, it looks incredible.

Jackie: It’s unbelievable.

Sean: It is absolutely unbelievable. And that is just done. You think how that’s gonna look in five, 10 years time when the flowers have all matured properly.

Jackie: Absolutely.

Sean: It’s gonna be quite sensational.

Jackie: And the cultural centre at the end.

Sean: The cultural centre with the Dani Garcia restaurant on the top.

Jackie: Exactly.

Sean: I mean that is incredible. And how, I mean how long does it take to build that? Seems that it just popped up.

Sean: Like within a year I think that’s gone up, to be honest.

Jackie: Yeah.

Sean: Incredible. So, but Estepona, what took my breath away was walking along the promenade in 30 degree heat. And the beach is so good. And the difference between the beach in Estepona and the beach in Marbella, the beach in Marbella has been knackered by a lot of the storms.

Jackie: Yeah.

Sean: So you get a, you know, quite a shelf of sand, and they’re quite narrow. This beach in Estepona, the La Rada Beach, the main one in the town, so wide.

Jackie: Absolutely. Look at Cristo Beach.

Sean: Yeah, Cristo Beach

Jackie: For families. Cristo Beach is just literally, if you’ve got children, it’s so, so good for you.

Sean: Shallow. Yeah.

Jackie: It’s so shallow, and it’s got like a little, it’s perfect.

Justin: Well you’ve got that-

Jackie: It’s a wind kite.

Justin: You’ve got that kind of wall that comes out, so even if there’s a few waves out at sea, Cristo is perfect.

Jackie: Yeah, perfect.

Justin: Absolutely perfect for the children.

Sean: So that beach super impressed me. I mean it was a glorious, don’t get me wrong, it was a glorious day. So probably not the fairest day to judge somewhere actually ’cause it was just so nice. Everywhere probably would’ve looked amazing. But the sea was calm, the beaches were white and sandy. The promenade was immaculate. Loads of restaurants, loads of bars, lots of things going on. And do you know the way I judge a place, and maybe this is the wrong thing to do, but I look at the people.

Sean: And there were no ruffians. I mean there aren’t anyway here.

Jackie: It’s not that kind of stag Hindu place to go, you know? That’s quite a bonus isn’t it?

Sean: But it, what it had, it was a little less blingy than Marbella.

Jackie: Yeah.

Justin: Yeah.

Sean: It was a little bit more authentic, but it was, it was very cosmopolitan. A lot of Spanish.

Jackie: Well Laguna Village is coming up. They’re rebuilding that.

Sean: Yep.

Jackie: So that’ll be on the horizon, September.

Sean: So that was, that was the, the little area of shops, bars and restaurants with El Puro Beach, wasn’t it?

Jackie: Yeah.

Sean: That burned down two years ago?

Jackie: Three years ago.

Sean: Three years ago. A strong wind one day, and then a spark just flew across, and it had a thatched roof, and it just went up in minutes, didn’t it?

Jackie: It’s in every developments’ brochure. That’s the thing. “Oh, let’s go there.” Well, that’s not there now, but…

Sean: I used to go there all the time with clients,

Jackie: Me too.

Sean: With my partner. We just, it was a real stop off point for us. That’s coming back. That’s now owned by the Pachar Group from the Bali Araks. And that’s gonna be amazing when that comes up. In fact, when we did our, our overview of Estepona, we sat there at the end to do some filming, and it’s, that’s still on YouTube by the way if you wanna watch that. But Estepona has, you’re right, a huge amount of money has gone into it. I don’t know where they get all the money from. Does it come from central government or local government?

Jackie: Central government I think. And local government.

Sean: So they’re really, they’re really powering in.

Jackie: Yeah.

Justin: Yeah.

Sean: But you’re right. In terms of similarities to Marbella, you’ve got a beautiful old town, but Estepona feels more, more manageable?

Jackie: More manageable, more space. I think more space. No big main road. Whereas the golden mile, when you go along the gold, don’t get me wrong, I love Orange Square. But you’re still on that main road aren’t you?

Justin: Yeah. Yeah.

Jackie: Whereas Estepona, you’re in a little town setback pedestrianised roads with children. It’s just perfect.

Sean: So in terms of the town, you’ve got the, the old town, you’ve got the marina, which is pretty good. You’ve got a couple of great beaches. You’ve got like Playa Cristo, which is great for the kids ’cause it’s shallow and it’s like a cove isn’t it? And then you’ve got Playa de la Rada, which is the main beach in the town. So you’ve got a lot going for it. And I’ve noticed, you know we’ve been selling a lot more properties in Estepona in the last five or six years than we, we ever did previously. I think partly because Marbella’s had issues with licencing. So there hasn’t been a huge amount of new stock coming up. But Estepona, it’s an easy sell isn’t it?

Jackie: It’s an easy sell. And also if, you know, some of the new developments that are there, it’s so easy for them to get the building licences. In Estepona it could take three to four months, six months. Marbella, we could be waiting a year, 18 months, 10 years whatever. But at the end of the day, you know that the Estepona council, they’re looking to promote the area, they’re looking to do everything possible to lift it. And they’ve done a great job so far.

Justin: They’ve done a superb job.

Jackie: I mean look at Sierra La Mechi. You’ve got the walk-in behind you, the hills. There’s so much to offer. You know, it’s a real, in my opinion, a great family place.

Justin: I like the attitude as well. Because the Mayor doesn’t take a salary does he?

Jackie: No, he doesn’t. His wife-

Justin: He owns the Garden Centre.

Jackie: His wife owns the Garden Centre.

Justin: So he said, “If you vote me in, I don’t want any salary-

Jackie: That’s correct.

Justin: But you buy all the plants from my garden.”

Jackie: And that’s what they’ve done.

Sean: Oh wow. So is that the reason it looks so pretty and so-

Jackie: Always. All year round.

Justin: Yep.

Sean: Because we’ve got the mayor’s plants at discount.

Jackie: Yeah. His wife. Yeah.

Sean: Ah, that’s the way to go isn’t it? Hey, that’s the way to go. One thing I would say, I’m looking at the moment for an investment property. I’m looking for, I don’t know, a little one bed, two bed in the town, but I want it new build, and they’re selling like hot cakes. Whew. But you can still get value. I mean I was looking, there’s a one bed that I’m quite interested in buying for like 190,000, two bed for early twos, mid twos, 250,000. That’s still not a bad value. If you wanna be part of the action-

Jackie: Absolutely.

Sean: In town, walk to absolutely everything, yeah, some of them, you know, you’re in town, not the most attractive, beautiful places and they’ve got rooftop pools rather than gardens. But that means your community fees are low, ’cause you’ve already got a rooftop pool to maintain and some elevators. So investment-wise, I think they’re very interesting.

Jackie: Me too.

Sean: I think we’ve talked about the rental potential. I think if you can walk everywhere and tickle those boxes on the, the and Airbnb, then it gives you potential for greater occupancy. And I was just blown, as I say, I was just blown away. And I went there yesterday as well. I was blown away again by just how beautiful it is. And like when you go to Marbella, it’s Hustle and Bustle. There’s a lot going on, which is great. I mean I spent a lot of my time there at notaries, at lawyers. But Estepona still has that town aspect, but it’s not as manic.

Jackie: I agree.

Justin: Yeah. It’s not as manic.

Sean: So, you know where I’m gonna, what I’m gonna ask you. Two questions; where’s the market heading in Estepona?

Jackie: Higher.

Sean: Higher?

Justin: Higher.

Jackie: Higher. I think so, because as you quite you mentioned earlier about the new developments. I mean for example, Residential Infinity was one that we sold so many of. It’s just in the middle of town.

Sean: We should’ve all brought that.

Jackie: 100% because the return, I mean even if you’re just doing a long-term rental, you’re gonna get a great income from that area. So, and the couple that we have got within the town they’re all selling so quickly, purely for investment.

Sean: And we’ve got the ones at the back haven’t we?

Jackie The ones, we got an gala.

Sean: Yeah.

Jackie: Which is literally a 10 minute walk down into the town, which is, is pulling in, I mean every week the prices are rising. We’ve sold there.

Sean: And then we got Las Mesas.

Jackie: Las Mesas, that’s the different area. That’s obviously. But, even now there are clients still looking at Las Mesas, and then there’s just nothing.

Sean: There’s nothing there.

Jackie: Alexia Life, all those. They’ve all gone. So at the end of the day, there is a little bit more land. So no doubt, ’cause you’ve got the athletic stadium, and everything else is close by. So I think in time, it’s demand and supply, and as the demand is at the moment, I think the price is gonna go a little, quite a bit higher.

Justin: It’s got a lot of legs to move, because the other area outside of the centre would be near the guest bar.

Jackie: Yes.

Justin: Which is just three kilometres. And to buy an apartment where you’re 500 metres walk to the supermarket, it’s a few restaurants. There’s not a huge, albeit-

Sean: Well you’re next to the nudist beach.

Justin: I didn’t, I didn’t know.

 Jackie: Yeah. You are.

Justin: Is it? I am? Really?

Jackie: Nature Beach. Sean spends most of his weekends there.

Justin: Costa natura membership.

Jackie: How do you know the name and you just said you don’t know it?

Sean: Yeah.

Jackie: I digress.

Justin: I know the area quite well, but to be able to still buy something there, as I say, five, 600 metres the the beach, restaurant, supermarkets, da da da. For under 300,000.

Sean: And what I also like is just touring around Estepona, seeing the new sports centre, which looks like something from the Olympics.

Jackie: Yeah.

Sean: Seeing the new auditorium, seeing that new tower with the Dani Garcia restaurant on top, as you said, huge amount of money going in.

Justin: Yep.

Sean: So is the, is the message, if you want Estepona, get in there?

Jackie: 100%

Justin: I think so.

Jackie: You’ve gotta get in ’cause the boat’s already sailed, and you can get a little step onto it if you’re quick.

Sean: Yep. So, question for you. This is how we always end these discussions where we’re looking at different areas. You, maybe it’s a bit unfair to ask you ’cause you live in Estepona anyway. Estepona or Marbella?

Justin: I’d probably go Estepona.

Sean: Ooh.

Justin: In all honesty. Again, for me it’s a little bit larger, it’s grander, it’s a bit quieter.

Jackie: Oh, I love Marbella.

Justin: I love Marbella.

Jackie: I love coming into Marbella. It’s a 10, 15 minute drive from my house in Estepona.

Justin: Yeah.

Jackie: Why would I not come to Marbella? I love coming shopping, go to the nice restaurants, but I’ve got the beauty of it all. I couldn’t get-

Sean: Aren’t we lucky that we can just point, point the car right. Do we go that way for Marbella five minutes, 10 minutes, that way to Estepona five, 10 minutes. Hmm.

Justin: Yeah.

Jackie: And also 10 minutes, 15 up to Buena Vis.

Justin: Yeah. Great central point.

Sean: Okay. I’m Estepona as well.

Jackie: Are you?

Sean: Yeah, I am.

Jackie: That’s a shock.

Sean: I am. I love Marbella, and I spend a lot of time in Marbella, but I think Estepona’s just got a huge amount going for it. I can see the potential in Estepona as well as what they’re doing there. So, hey, that’s a…

Jackie: Do you know what else drives a lot of people more towards Estepona? The prices.

Sean: Yeah.

Jackie: Cost of living, going to the restaurants, going to the… I couldn’t go on a Sunday, to a beach chiringuito, have a sun lounge. It cost me three euros, or six euros in the height of the season. So I pull in. I can go there on a Sunday, spend the day there. Sit in sun lounges, lunch, bottle of wine, 65, 70 euros. In Marbella, that’s the cost of a sunbed alone. Yeah. Yeah.

Sean: Do you know as well, you know the develop, ’cause I’m looking at the moment in the, in the town town of properties, and I’m talking about 200 to 300,000 euros for a two bed. And I compared it to the one in Marbella. Pretty much the only new build in Marbella, Abbot.

Jackie: Abbot Garden

Sean: It sold out. But what were the prices, six, 700,000?

Jackie: 771. I had a client who was gonna buy the last one tomorrow.

Sean: Yeah. .

Jackie: And it got sold yesterday

Sean: And their rooftop pool. So you’re paying 700,000 euros.

Jackie: Location. Look at the location.

Sean: But what I’m saying is, if you can get a, you know, if Marbella is charging 700,000 for a two-bed apartment, albeit very nice apartment, in the centre of Marbella town, then you can get a similar sized apartment in Estepona for 250, 300,000, where’s the value?

Jackie: Exactly.

Sean: Anyway, that’s for another, another story. But if you do want to come and explore both areas with us, we would love to help you and show you some of the sites. Thank you guys for joining us today.

Justin: Pleasure.

Jackie: You’re welcome.

Sean: That’s really good. And we will reconvene again soon.

Jackie: Great. Thank you.

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