Published 26/02/2011 by Carrie Frais

An eye on Costa del Maresme

Tourism figures continue to be the year’s best news story for Spain, with significant flow-on effects for property in city areas like Barcelona and beach areas like the Costa del Maresme.

The area is famous for its wine and gastronomy and is an excellent place to practice all types of outdoor sports.

The recent MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities highlights Barcelona as having the greatest level of growth in tourist arrivals amongst all cities measured, positioning the city in 16th place internationally for visitor numbers so far in 2011. Madrid maintains a strong 6th place on the ladder of destinations.

Holiday areas around Barcelona and across Cataluña, such as Costa del Maresme, are seeing similar interest. Cataluña is expected to see 4 – 5% more tourist arrivals this summer than the previous year. In May, the area hosted 1.3 million visitors, a 6.8% increase on last year’s figures. The majority of tourists are coming from UK, Germany and France: three of the top countries for foreign real estate investment in Spain.

Tourism levels have a number of effects on the local property scene. For the Costa Maresme area, these benefits include:

  • Greater demand for properties to lease out as holiday rentals
  • Increased interest amongst visitors in viewing Maresme real estate while holidaying in the area
  • Increased tourist spend on local businesses, building a stronger local economy able to invest in the property market
  • Increased demand for Maresme real estate properties, causing an increase in the value of property in the area.

“The top 3 things that buyers like about Maresme are the beautiful countryside, wide sandy beaches and ease of access to Barcelona city by road and train,” explains Maxim Rettich, who looks after Costa del Maresme properties for Lucas Fox. “The area is famous for its wine and gastronomy and is an excellent place to practice all types of outdoor sports. The fact that there are increasingly successful international schools in the area – the new British School of Cataluñya will open in Argentona in 2012 – means that it is becoming a more and more popular destination for international clients relocating to the Barcelona area.”

These factors are also influencing the level of interest in Maresme real estate for purchase as a second home. Tourists seeking to make Costa del Maresme their regular holiday destination combine their vacation time with some investigation of the local property market. Lucas Fox has seen a 180% increase in interest in Costa del Maresme properties between the first and second quarters of 2011. While it is usual to see a growth in coastal enquiries as summer approaches, this jump in interest is more pronounced than just being a reflection of the annual summer trends.

Meanwhile, the impacts from high levels of tourism on local property values are clear in some other areas, such as Ibiza. Local property experts are calculating the financial impact that increased tourism levels is having on the Ibiza property market.

If the tourist behavior seen in Ibiza is repeated here, then for the next two months, Costa del Maresme will be hosting holidaymakers who have one eye on their rest, and the other on the Maresme real estate market.

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