There are 2 good reasons why so many Brits feel at home along the Costa Blanca: They come to know the area on holiday, then find many other like-minded expats have, too! Between Valencia and Alicante, in Benidorm, Calpe, and rocking resort towns Brits on holiday fall in love with sandy beaches and sizzling sunshine. Valencia saw a record-breaking 7.1 million tourists in 2016, with 765,000 in October, alone. A third of these were Brits, enjoying autumn temperatures of over 40°C.
After years of popping over for holidays, it’s only natural you’d hope to buy your own place. It’s easy to join expat communities where you can socialize without learning a word of Spanish. For many single expats, living abroad without an established community would be far too isolating. With plenty of volunteer groups including the Lions and the Masons, expats enjoy a laid-back, sociable life. They dine together at local restaurants, gather for bowls and barbeques and support one another in countless crucial ways.
Costa Blanca: Immigration made easy
There’s safety in numbers when you can get firsthand information from experienced expats on the ground. Online forums connect people, offering advice to newbies. The region is featured in English online and printed papers including Costa News, The Olive Press, Spain Buddy, Spanish News Today and Valencia International. Before moving, expats easily gather insight about where to rent or buy and families find the inside scoop on local schools.
• Easy airport access, Valencia and Alicante airports are 2 hours apart by car, so you’re less than an hour from either.
• Transportation includes coastal trains, trams and buses, in built up areas.
• Plentiful golf courses and other outdoor activities year-round.
• Established expat communities offering English friendship and support.
• Good potential for buying a holiday let.
• Some towns are sheltered from cold winters and scalding summers by micro climates.
• Valencia has 12% purchase transaction costs, higher than the 10% elsewhere in Spain.
• Popular tourist areas are loud when lager louts descend in peak season.
• Benidorm and other budget holiday areas aren’t bargain buys.
• Very high humidity makes summer difficult in areas where winter is damp and windy.
• Many resort areas become ghost towns in winter with shuttered shops and restaurants.
Costa Blanca property insights
Costa Blanca north (north of Alicante airport) is more expensive and less touristy than the south. It’s slightly cooler, hillier and with more rain, it’s greener. Towns slightly inland, like Amoradi, Xativa and Pego are more affordable, and a short drive from beach. Orba is a rural village where bulls are run through streets in June and July, but in the outskirts, an affordable urbanization appeals to Brits who make up half of the population. Denia is an established town with all municipal services, plus ferries to Ibiza, Menorca and Majorca. Swanky Altea is white washed, picturesque and pricey. The north is a better investment, because it’s more well established and prices are stable, but the property cost could pinch your lifestyle.
South of Alicante Airport, Costa Blanca south has cheaper properties, although the coast is Spain’s 3rd most popular tourist destination, so it’s built up and crowded in summer. Torrevieja has lots of property and plenty of Brits and, like Santa Pola, stays lively year-round. El Campello and Peñiscola are places where prices are still low but rising.
If you’re hoping to retire to this popular area, the best advice is to rent long term, comparing Costa Blanca with Murcia and Almeria. Online resources allow you to ask expats for insight on estate agents, lawyers and find out more about the areas where they’ve found homes they’re happy with.
Better Bargain Hotspots: Almeria and Murcia
Further south, Murcia features the unspoilt 250km coastline of Costa Cálida. “The Garden of Spain” was poorly developed, so there are deserted areas to be avoided.
Murcia can be a brilliant bargain holiday or retirement destination for 3 reasons:
1. Property averages €130,000, way below Costa Blanca’s Alicante average of €210,000 and Málaga’s €295,000. An example is a detached 2 bed villa with a private swimming pool on Camposo, one of several golf developments, on the market for just under €100,000.
2. A third of buyers are foreigners looking for 2nd homes, but many are moving to Murcia with families. Ten years ago, the average age of buyers was 55 to 65, now it’s 45 to 60, which gives Murcia (and neighbouring Almeria) a more family-orientated, English expat community than Costa Blanca.
3. Murcia’s served by 2 airports: Alicante and Murcia-San Javier Airport which, from 2017, is adding budget airline flights from the UK.
South of Murcia, budget-conscious Brits are making Almeria the Costa del Sol’s latest property hotspot. 2016 sales rose by 93% over 2015, while sales fell in Costa Blanca. Albox, Mojacar and Carboneras are popular for all year living.
The region recently assimilated 30,000 homes previously classified as “illegal” because the proper permits weren’t issued. Now buyers can legally register them, making Almeria a safer investment with these bargains suddenly appearing on the market. Like Murcia, Almeria’s airport is increasing budget flights from the UK in 2017.
If you’re looking for lower priced property, try a holiday south of Costa Blanca to get to know these 2 bargain priced destinations.