Costa del Sol property market needs new licencing system

Spanish landscape, Nerja, Costa del Sol, Spain

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    With around 1,000 new residents every month, Malaga province has one of the fastest-growing populations in Spain. And as a result, supply levels on the Costa del Sol property market are dropping fast. A new report proposes a fast-track licencing system to speed up permissions for new builds and alleviate the shortage of inventory.

    Fastest growing province in Spain and southern Europe

    The report by the think tank Foro Regulación Inteligente, published earlier this month, examines the Costa del Sol property market in terms of its population. The results reveal that new residents have gone up by over 56,000 in the last five years.

    This figure translates to a population growth of around 1,000 a month. It’s far ahead of all other provinces in Andalusia and one of the fastest expanding in Spain. Between 2010 and 2020, Malaga province added almost 93,000 new residents behind just Madrid and Barcelona.

    Hold up in new-build licences

    The constant arrival of new residents and strong demand for second homes is piling pressure on the new-build market on the Costa del Sol. However, licences and permissions suffer from bureaucratic delays.

    Foro Regulación Inteligente reports that licences have gone down by up to 91% in the last year. Furthermore, new approvals are taking over a year and as a result, have affected 15% of new developments. A new planning model is therefore vital if the Costa del Sol property market is to keep up with demand.

    New supply needed

    According to the report, the Costa del Sol has a property shortage of over 60,000 units and a minimum of 10,000 new homes are needed every year. However, licences for just 3,000 were approved before the pandemic. Even fewer have been issued in 2020 and 2021.

    If the shortage continues, prices will continue to rise on the Costa del Sol. The latest figures (Q2 this year) from the Registrars Association point to an uptick of 3% in the year. The increase was considerably higher for new-build property prices that went up by 9.8%.

    A possible solution

    According to the report, bureaucratic hold-ups at municipal and regional levels could lead to the loss of €13.6 billion in investment. A solution is therefore urgent.

    The report suggests introducing a specific “Marbella licence”. It would work under a public-private umbrella and be part of the Marbella council’s planning department. Developers and architects would provide the council with independent experts to carry out an assessment of projects awaiting licence approval.

    This system would mean that the process would be more structured and the planning department would have assistance in correcting or alleviating possible problematic areas. In addition, this type of procedure could reduce licence applications to just four months.

    Currently on the market

    If you’re looking for a new-build property on the Costa del Sol, take a look at what’s on the market right now. We have a prime selection of homes in many resorts including Marbella and Estepona.

    Can’t find what you’re looking for? Get in touch with our expert team who will be more than happy to source the perfect home for you.