News

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Malaga real estate market has a bright future, and this woman knows all about it

We are happy to bring you this interview with Mrs Maria José Garcia de la Serna of Salvago Advisors, a passionate expert in the Malaga real estate market.

Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. Many of our readers surely have a lot to learn from you and your team about the real estate market in Malaga. Let´s start by you telling us a bit about your background in real estate in Malaga and on the Costa del Sol.

Thank you for inviting me to this interview. I started working in the real estate sector 20 years ago at the firm I´m still working for today, it was then called Salvago Tres, today the same firm is called Salvago Advisors. At the time, the company focused on the promotion and commercialization of new projects, acting as intermediaries between the promotors and the final buyers. Giving comprehensive advice from the purchase of the land, project design, sales, and after-sales. I started working with one of our main clients at the time, Iberdrola Inmobiliaria, at that time named APEX 2000, and marketed and sold about 700 homes in the Fuengirola and Cala Mijas area. For about 12 years my work activity focused on La Cala de Mijas, Calahonda and Marbella. Subsequently, in the last 8 years, I have focused my performance on Malaga Capital and the historic center and in addition to new constructions, I have also been working on second-hand properties, always trying to offer a quality product of a medium to high level.

Areas on the Costa del Sol such as Torremolinos, Benalmádena, Fuengirola and Marbella have a long history of attracting foreign property buyers. However, the Malaga market is much younger in those terms. Can you describe the evolution of Malaga over the last 15 years?

As you point out, the real estate sector in the Historic Center of Malaga is incredibly young, we are talking about 7 or 8 years of rapid development, before that, there were hardly any significant sales witnessed in this part of the city at all. Supported by the city government, a few years ago, several key factors began to unite: the pedestrianization of the Center, the opening of Pier One (Muelle uno), the opening of Museums, and a wide range of culture hot spots, all of this leading to the common and the hospitality industry beginning to bet on Malaga as a market. Therefore, a demand for properties were generated, both to enjoy the city as a first or second residence, and to invest in vacation homes / hotels etc. Over the last 5 years, demand has become more and more accentuated, with a target of clients who seek quality of life, and exclusivity above all.

You are working with clients from all over the world such as Israel, New York, Singapore, Sweden, France etc. What is is that makes them choose you as their advisor in Malaga? 

Unlike many other firms, we survived the 08/09 financial crisis as well as the following years that led to the bottom of the market in 2012-13. We did so by quickly adapting to the new circumstances. Although the 2008 crisis was the hardest crisis the company had seen, with more than 30 years of experience, it was not the first one we had to go through. Today we are working with investors from around the world, as well as with domestic investors from other regions of Spain such as Madrid and Catalonia. Our extensive background means we have plenty of clients and investors who have historically trusted us to make their investments and helped them in their decisions. We also work with new clients who, when they land in the city, trust a local Consultant with solidity and a good name, and who knows the local market and its characteristics very well. So there for, many medium and large sized international and domestic investors get in contact with us when they want to make investments in the city.

In this current situation with the COVID-19 hitting the markets, how do you see this effecting prices in Malaga in the short term and what do you think will be the effect in the medium to long term?

I don't want to ignore the seriousness of the situation, but the signals we see are sending a positive message, since even in the state of alarm, important real estate transactions have been closed, both in the city of Malaga and along the coast. We must consider that we are now at the beginning of the "de-escalation" of the state of alarm, so it is early to make hasty judgments and the real consequences will probably be seen in a few months. Our estimation in the short term is that we will see a decrease in prices between 10-15% in prime areas. But the post-COVID situation will likely generate new demand in the medium term as multinationals with the new possibility to work from home keep choosing Malaga as their home due to the high quality of life and warm year-round climate.

Some people call Malaga the new Barcelona as more and more domestic and international companies establish themselves here, do you think this is a fair comparison and where do you see Malaga in five years?

Malaga today is positioned as the third city in Spain in terms of projection, demands, and growth. The political situation in Catalonia has to some extent contributed to this. The main attraction of the city is undoubtedly the strategic geographical situation in Spain and in Europe, in addition to a spectacular climate, with more than 300 sunny days a year. Malaga also offers excellent connections with direct flights to many cities in Europe, Asia and America and the speed train connected to Madrid gets you there in 2.5 hours. Regarding the projection of Malaga. If we consider the large projects and pending developments in the city, we see that there will be a new qualitative leap in the next 5-7 years, that will keep adding to the position of the city as a more than attractive destination for most Europeans, individuals and companies alike.

For new investors in Malaga that want to take advantage of the current situation, what advice would you give and what are the services you can offer?

I would first have to understand if we are talking about a “passive investment”, in which the investor perhaps would look to buy an existing already cash-flow generating property. Or if we are talking about a more active investor who is looking to develop land or rehabilitate old buildings for an example. In both cases, I would say Malaga is the location to put money at work today.

The general main advice that I always give to my clients is that they must analyze their investment possibilities very well in terms of budget, volume and overall resources as that will determine their level of success.

Another basic advice is to take advice from serious and solvent local companies and professionals, to provide peace of mind to each movement they make. as the local market can be tricky and the administrative processes are quite different from what you might be used to in, for an example, northern European countries.

In this sense, our company offers all the services including putting clients in contact with law firms, construction companies, architects etc ... We know our way around Malaga and know what companies and partners to choose for any kind of operation. In addition to this, we have a broad portfolio of assets to offer with demonstrable high returns, and with projections for great improvements in the coming years.

The international interest for Malaga as a tourist destination brings lots of first-time visitors to the city yearly. Name three of your favourite things you think they must experience in Malaga.

It is very difficult to highlight only three places since the offer is very wide. So instead I will catalogue them in 3 groups;

• Cultural-religious offer; highlighting the Malaga Cathedral and the Picasso museum as must-sees, as well as the Alcazaba fortress as a historical monument.

• Commercial offer; in general, all the streets in the historic centre offer a wide range of different shops, highlighting Calle Larios as the main one and being the commercial heart of the city.

• Leisure offer; bars, restaurants, terraces, the "nightlife" in general are an excellent attraction for tourists. I would invite them to take a tour taking "tapas" through various establishments in the old town, that’s a must- experience.



Some people call Malaga the new Barcelona as more and more domestic and international companies establish themselves here, do you think this is a fair comparison and where do you see Malaga in five years?


Malaga today is positioned as the third city in Spain in terms of projection, demands, and growth. The political situation in Catalonia has to some extent contributed to this. The main attraction of the city is undoubtedly the strategic geographical situation in Spain and in Europe, in addition to a spectacular climate, with more than 300 sunny days a year. Malaga also offers excellent connections with direct flights to many cities in Europe, Asia and America and the speed train connected to Madrid gets you there in 2.5 hours. Regarding the projection of Malaga. If we consider the large projects and pending developments in the city, we see that there will be a new qualitative leap in the next 5-7 years, that will keep adding to the position of the city as a more than attractive destination for most Europeans, individuals and companies alike.


For new investors in Malaga that want to take advantage of the current situation, what advice would you give and what are the services you can offer?

 

I would first have to understand if we are talking about a “passive investment”, in which the investor perhaps would look to buy an existing already cash-flow generating property. Or if we are talking about a more active investor who is looking to develop land or rehabilitate old buildings for an example. In both cases, I would say Malaga is the location to put money at work today.


The general main advice that I always give to my clients is that they must analyze their investment possibilities very well in terms of budget, volume and overall resources as that will determine their level of success.

Another basic advice is to take advice from serious and solvent local companies and professionals, to provide peace of mind to each movement they make. as the local market can be tricky and the administrative processes are quite different from what you might be used to in, for an example, northern European countries.


In this sense, our company offers all the services including putting clients in contact with law firms, construction companies, architects etc ... We know our way around Malaga and know what companies and partners to choose for any kind of operation.


In addition to this, we have a broad portfolio of assets to offer with demonstrable high returns, and with projections for great improvements in the coming years.


The international interest for Malaga as a tourist destination brings lots of first-time visitors to the city yearly. Name three of your favourite things you think they must experience in Malaga.


It is very difficult to highlight only three places since the offer is very wide. So instead I will catalogue them in 3 groups;


• Cultural-religious offer; highlighting the Malaga Cathedral and the Picasso museum as must-sees, as well as the Alcazaba fortress as a historical monument.


• Commercial offer; in general, all the streets in the historic centre offer a wide range of different shops, highlighting Calle Larios as the main one and being the commercial heart of the city.


• Leisure offer; bars, restaurants, terraces, the "nightlife" in general are an excellent attraction for tourists. I would invite them to take a tour taking "tapas" through various establishments in the old town, that’s a must- experience.

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