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By Richard Black

Journalist, Solicitor and Property Developer, Home:Work


Could now be the time for your Place in the Sun?

It’s my first column for Property Investor Today and I’m grateful to the team for allowing me to share my knowledge and opinions built up over 30 years of investing and developing property of all kinds.

In this first column I’m casting my net as far as I can away from the UK property market which, let’s face it, is never short of news and views whatever the weather.

Loosening lending standards, low interest rates and post-pandemic escapism haven’t just given the UK’s property market its biggest bounce in years, markets overseas are also seeing huge gains, with Spain seeing a year-on-year increase of over 9% in residential property values.


I’ve just returned from southern Spain having recorded a couple of editions of the Home:Work property development podcast, which I produce and present, with a friend and colleague who’s been an estate agent for over twenty years.

In 2008, the tower cranes stopped turning and the illegality of a number of the complexes, apartment blocks, gated estates and country homes was exposed, with devastating effect.

Spain was described as ‘Paradise Lost’.

I interviewed Jasmine Harman from Channel 4’s ‘A Place in the Sun’ for the podcast, she was clear that the international market is now buoyant, which exposed a challenge to their filming schedule for the top-rating daytime show,

“Everywhere we went, houses were being sold before we could get there to film them….people weren’t going to let little things like Brexit or Covid take their dreams away any longer…”

In Spain, the markets are seeing escapism of a different kind. Golf has become a major attraction to many buyers when considering property to purchase.

The market is back, you could say, well and truly ‘open’, and the Spanish seem to be ‘masters’ at creating the courses that will bring them the euros…the Andalucia region boasts 140 golf courses – many of them world-class.

Some 1.2 million golfers head to Spain annually. Figures quoted in the Sur newspaper (an English newspaper for southern Spain) detail over 8,500 homes in Spain are purchased every year by people wanting to play golf nearby. The demand for the sport, playing it in a location which can also bring sunshine, swimming pools and seaside living, has brought an extraordinary scale of investment: 43 billion euros and 283,000 properties.

A golfer likes to holiday a little longer, too, staying, on average, 11.9 nights compared with 7.4 nights for a standard holidaymaker and the figures suggest they spend more per day.

While coastal locations have always been the distant dream for many of us, whether as a getaway to rent to others or a hideaway for ourselves, research detailed in Country Life magazine showed that only a handful of the top 10 sought-after destinations for international property purchases are by the sea; Berlin, Seoul, Milan, Los Angeles, Dubai and Sydney all made the top flight.

Even more intriguing, of the 4,500 property investors and purchasers questioned, the simple and basic demands of location, quality, well run and family-friendly all remained pivotal in deciding where and what to buy abroad. Very few mentioned the desire to work from home in the new location.

So, is now the right time?

Amid warnings from European financial regulators that many parts of the Eurozone are seeing a “decoupling” of property prices, completely disconnecting from wage growth and GDP, there are still bargains to be found in many upward markets.

Entire country estates with mountain views can be purchased for around £200,000 in the hills behind Malaga. Some, of course, may need work but, as we know, a good investor will put in if they want to get a profit out.

And with the best climate in Europe, a UNESCO recognised Mediterranean diet, 320 rain-free days a year and, don’t forget, the golf courses, maybe investing in property overseas could offer everything under the sun?    

*Richard Black is a journalist, solicitor and property developer. He produces Home:Work, the UK’s brightest property podcast available from your download platform of choice, or at www.thehomework.co.uk

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    Fantastic article. Thank you Richard! I hadn't realised that there was a decoupling of property prices in parts of the Eurozone, maybe I should be having more serious conversations with my wife about moving to Germany before it's too late!


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