“The luxury housing market in Mallorca is like never before. European millionaires who have lived in confinement are shopping like crazy because many have realized that thanks to teleworking they can run their companies from the island. I have just sold two large projects in Son Vida: one to a Czech and the other to an Austrian. And they have commissioned me five more villas. It’s crazy, ”says the Mallorcan real estate developer Carlos Seguí, Patricia Conde’s ex-husband, by phone. He’s not the only one puzzled (and delighted) by the pandemic’s sales figures. All the experts consulted for this report agree: the real estate market is absolutely revolutionized.
The agents consulted also agree on the other reasons that have driven this revolution in our country: good weather, security and gastronomy are very important; the low profitability that banks offer for savings accounts, too. “There is a lot of liquidity because the banks penalize you for having money saved,” says María Isabel Esquivel, who has been in the luxury housing market for 18 years and whose neighborhoods are Jerónimos, Almagro, Castellana, El Viso and of course, the Barrio de Salamanca.
“A few years ago, Ruiz Gallardón had the city built. You were going down Calle Serrano and walking among rubble. Then it was more difficult to sell flats ”, he recalls. “Although it also gave a great boost to car parks developments that were a great decision [construyó varios bajo la puerta de Alcalá]”. Today that construction fever of the former mayor has been forgotten and many foreigners are attracted to an open, safe and “very friendly” city, continues Esquivel. In fact, last April the most expensive penthouse in the capital was sold: 14.6 million euros for a 750-square-meter triplex on Montalbán street with a 200-square-meter terrace. The buyer: a Central European businessman.
The majority of clients of Luisa López Cabildo, manager of great wealth, are, however, “Venezuelans, Mexicans and Colombians who shop in the area of the door of Alcalá, because there are their friends.” López Cabildo knows the luxury housing market well, where he has been working for 20 years and in which he carries out his real estate sales through contacts, because his properties are not found in any real estate portal. “They are client properties that I offer to other clients. All very private ”, assures this manager who sells everything from palace houses to castles and horse farms on the outskirts of Madrid. To sell these possessions the home staging –That is, decorating the house for sale–: “Which implies that sometimes they buy the house from you with the furniture”, he concludes. To all the advantages already mentioned, López Cabildo adds one more: “If the investment is greater than 500,000 euros, the government offers a temporary residence visa, an attraction for many foreign investors.”
Jordana Paiva assures, however, that 70% of her clients are Spanish. “A Catalan who wants to have his second residence in Madrid or a newly married couple who buys their first home”, explains the sales director of Impar Grupo (formerly The Corner Group), a company that is dedicated to buying and refurbishing buildings in noble areas of the capital such as the popular house of Tócame Roque, which appears in several writings by Benito Pérez Galdós, or the new promotion that is being rehabilitated in Nuñez de Balboa, in the Salamanca district: “Everything is done inhouse: buy the building, the concept, the architecture, the works and the promotion ”. Prices range between 10,000 and 14,000 euros per square meter. Much? Absolutely. His products, he assures, are so good that they sell themselves: “We sell off plan, I don’t even have a showroom.” Despite the boom, not all the buyer’s wishes can be satisfied: “Since the coronavirus, everyone wants penthouses or apartments with a terrace and unfortunately there are not so many.” López Cabido agrees: “There are people who were comfortable at home but after the pandemic they have decided to move to a property with a garden. Although the price is expensive, the customer pays it ”.
Regarding the second-hand market, the main clients are still mostly Latin American and they tend to look for spacious homes, with high ceilings, with old moldings and doors: “European style”. Among so much opulence, a lack: “Many complain about the poor condition of the inner courtyards of the buildings. Sometimes you are going to show a floor and the clothes are hanging, the wall is chipped or the property has not passed the ITE [Inspección Técnica de Edificios]. The Americans are years ahead of us in that regard, “says Esquivel. In addition to security and good weather, another attraction that has added to the city is the Canalejas Center, the new Golden Mile that opened a year ago next to Puerta del Sol and includes a Four Seasons hotel. , the Dani Brasserie restaurant, as well as a gallery of luxury shops that aims to compete with the mythical Harrods in London or Lafayette in Paris.
But beyond the effervescent Madrid market, the most desirable places when the heat rages are near the sea. “The pandemic has changed the destinations where people want to live and has accelerated a trend of the last 60 years,” says Christopher Clover, owner of the historic Marbella agency Panorama. “Among the buyers there are many people from northern Europe who have realized that they can work from anywhere,” continues this expert who arrived in the coastal town in 1973 for a year and is still here. Living in Marbella’s golden age has provided him with all kinds of famous friends, as well as wealthy clients, including members of the royal house of Saudi Arabia – remember that King Fahd, now deceased, owned the Mar-Mar palace, an imposing building whose facade is a replica of the White House. “Now the rich are 45-year-old boys who have created an application and sold it for 100 or 200 million euros. They are anonymous but very interesting people: Dutch, French, Belgians … ”, continues this expert who every year prepares an exhaustive report on the evolution of the local market. “The number of sales in the first half of 2021 has increased by 70%, compared to last year; the price has more than doubled and inquiries from potential buyers 150% more ”.
The Balearic Islands are not lagging behind. From the independent marketer, to the behemoth Engel & Volkers, everyone has enjoyed their piece of the cake. This is the case of Marcel Remus, a 34-year-old German who came to the island at 19 and has his homonymous real estate agency. “I am selling houses in Son Vida, the Beverly Hills of Mallorca. From 1.5 million euros upwards ”, explains this well-connected young man, who every year organizes the Lifestyle Night party, with about 500 guests, in which one can meet stars such as Andie Macdowell, Eva Herzigova or Elle Macpherson. “My clients are mostly German, but also Swiss and Austrian,” he says. And he proudly adds: “This year is going to be very good. I estimate that I can reach a turnover of 100 million euros ”.
Although for heart attack figures those managed by Gabriela Muñoz, owner of the Engel & Völkers franchise for Son Vida. In this exclusive area of Mallorca, to the west of Palma, the businessman Antonio Catalán, Gabriel Escarrer, or the tennis player Carlos Moyà have properties. “Here, when we talk about luxury, we talk about a lot of luxury”, he assures, throwing figures: “The houses start at four million and go up to 30. The smallest has 450 square meters and the largest 2,500”. The profile of the buyer has changed: “Before I was elderly, retired. Now they are young people in their 40s or 45s who have made money in technology. They are ultra rich. In addition to housing, they buy cars, boats, they go to the best restaurants. 15,000 euros are spent on a dinner and Dom Perignon is never missing. Instead they opt for discretion and drive a BMW. When they arrive here they buy the yellow Ferrari they have always wanted ”. And he adds emphatically: “Those people come to spend.”
Most are businessmen from northern Europe seeking refuge: “They can no longer travel to Miami, Maldives or Thailand and find in Mallorca a place where they have good weather and very good facilities: international schools, direct flights to their countries of origin, good hospitals… ”. In the first six months of 2021, Muñoz has made the best figure in history: “This year three houses for 20 million euros have been sold in Son Vida. That had never happened ”. Some data corroborated by Mariana Muñoz, owner of the Terraza Balear mansion interior design studio and Gabriela’s sister: “My business figures have increased by 50% compared to the same date last year. The client is very demanding, yes. But if they like your proposal, they fully trust and give you the keys. We have renovated a house in Ibiza for an Englishman who has made a lot of money with technology, another in Verbier (Switzerland) and now he has commissioned us to build an attic in London ”. For these profiles there are no borders: neither physical nor banking.
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“European millionaires are buying like crazy in Mallorca”: this is the profile of those who buy luxury homes in Spain | Living | ICON Design