Investing in Property in the Marina Alta, Spain
There are so many appealing reasons for investing in property in the Marina Alta. This gorgeously quaint area of mountains and the Mediterranean Sea is located in Spain’s Valencia region. Our guest blogger, Paul Millward of Grupo Garcia, has the best insight since he not only lives in this area but also works in real estate here. His advice not only applies to property in the Marina Alta but also throughout Spain.
Ways to Invest in Property in The Marina Alta
There are various ways that people invest in property in Spain and property in the Marina Alta is no exception. Each system will work differently for people depending on their own situations, experience, and needs.
Vacation Rentals as Investment Property in the Marina Alta
Above Image – A beautiful sunset from the boardwalk along Denia’s Las Marinas beach of Les Albaranes.
A lot of people come to this part of the world with the dream of buying a property in the Marina Alta and having that property pay for itself when they are not there.
This is a reality for many property owners in the Marina Alta, and throughout Spain, that are happy to enjoy the mild winters and off-peak trips. They can take advantage of the usually long summer season, which can be ten weeks. The two weeks of Easter holiday are also a peak time for rental income.
Although there is rarely a guaranteed income from vacation rentals (also known by our British readers as holiday lets), the income is usually greater. There is also a lower risk than having a long term tenant that decides not to pay the rent and becomes problematic.
Vacation rentals have had a number of effects on this beautiful Mediterranean area of Spain known as the Marina Alta. Located in the region of Valencia, its most popular beach towns are Denia and Javea (spelled Xábia in the local Valencian language), with many other charming villages in the verdant mountains inland.
Firstly, the popularity of the Marina Alta and vacationing here has had a very positive effect on the local community, employment, and industry, making it a great place to live.
How Vacation Rentals Have Affected Property In the Marina Alta
Above Image – A summertime view of a beach bar on the Las Marina’s beach in Denia.
At the same time, long term rentals have become more expensive because of the popularity of vacation rentals along this coast that is known as the Costa Blanca. This means that it has become more difficult for local residents to find affordable, long term rentals which has led to the local government creating restrictions on vacation rentals.
Initially, when the requirement for a touristic permit for property in the Marina Alta became mandatory, there was confusion within local authorities about which types of properties could be granted a permit.
Now, with more time, I have a number of friends who run vacation rental companies and have clear definitions of which types of property can get touristic rental permits.
At the moment the main requirements is that the property should have a habitation license. To explain it in simple terms, a habitation license is a certificate granted by the local town hall that states your property complies with local town planning. The only type of property in the Marina Alta that can be difficult for obtaining the habitation license is the country fincas (country homes in Spain) on rustic land.
Managing A Vacation Property In the Marina Alta
Above Image – One of the many stunning homes along the Las Rotas beaches of Denia.
For many who don’t live here, the easiest form of managing a vacation rental is to allow a rental agent to manage the property. The cost for this service can be twenty-five to thirty percent of the rental income.
Taxes for European citizens are about twenty-five to twenty-eight percent. So if you have a rental company managing the vacation rentals, your net income is about half of the payable rate.
The average weekly rate over the year is normally a little over what one would expect to pay per month for a long term rental contract.
Within the vacation rentals, there are variations of the theme which have mixed reputations and results, such as the “timeshare” where you can buy a portion of a property and rent it if you choose not to use it yourself. There are also options to buy hotel rooms that can never be occupied as a home or sold as a home which offer a supposedly “guaranteed” income of between 7-10 percent depending on your own usage.
Investing in Long Term Rental Property in the Marina Alta
Above Image – A for rent sign hangs in an apartment with a great view of the annual Festa Major parade in Denia.
Some people wish to grow a property portfolio and own multiple properties that show long term capital growth and income. These types of properties are usually bought as cheaply as possible and there should be no emotional attachment to the property as it would never be occupied by the owner.
Usually, the better percentage return from long term rentals is with the cheapest property possible, a studio apartment or parking space for example since there is usually a floor to rental monthly fees. The cheaper properties also have more potential tenants and are much less likely to remain empty for long.
A long term rental investment can offer a regular income should you have a good tenant. But even when all the due diligence has been done, such as checking work payslips, bank accounts, and references, there is always a small possibility that a bad tenant moves in and can occupy the property without paying rent for up to six months. This can incur legal costs to evict the tenant and possible repair costs as well. This is the worst-case scenario of course and we have rarely seen this happen but it is worth mentioning the risk as well as the reward.
The best-case scenario is that you have many years of good tenants that pay on time and look after the property. Over recent years property in the Marina Alta has increased in value by at least three percent per year depending on the sector and area but we always should remember the initial purchase costs.
READ MORE: Living Costs in Spain on the Costa Blanca
Reselling Properties In the Marina Alta and Spain
Above Image – A view from an ático unit (penthouse) in Denia.
Due to the relatively high purchase costs involved, it is rare for the average property investor to see happy returns from simply flipping properties with a lick of paint and a bit of gardening.
Serious property investors with a good eye that are prepared to do significant renovations to a property can still do well, even with the high costs to consider. There is such a high demand for good quality properties that are modern, attractive, and ready to use.
The best type of properties to do this with are the properties that appeal to the most people. For example, everyone wants a penthouse, front line or sea view property in the Marina Alta.
Finding such properties is part of our job and is not always found with a bank repo. Quite often this could be an inheritance property or a distressed sale where the vendors have exceptional circumstances that force a very quick sale. It is key in this type of investment to find the right property at the right price.
I have seen many times properties that have been renovated to a good standard sell for significantly more than the purchase price. Investors in this type of project should always have deep pockets and a good market knowledge as we never know what is around the corner.
Property Sales in the Marina Alta, Spain Post-Coronavirus
Above Image – Apartments along the Las Marinas Beach of Denia.
During the Coronavirus lockdown, all sales were halted. We worked from home to ensure listings were up-to-date and to stay in touch with our buyers. Around the end of May, we were allowed to go back to work and show properties again, and already a few sales are happening.
We continue to adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines in Valencia Community that are in place and take precautions, such as wearing masks and more.
Bed And Breakfast Property in the Marina Alta
Above Image – The Grupo Garcia’s latest B&B listing in a mountain village of the Marina Alta.
Another common dream people have is to retire to Spain and run a small business offering bed and breakfast accommodations to vacationers.
It is important to have a little reality check before considering this type of investment. It is a lifestyle choice that can be surprisingly difficult if the people undertaking it have had no previous hospitality experience and all of a sudden find strangers in their pool.
On the other hand, this is a great idea and a superb solution for some since it offers plenty of free time when it’s not peak season and can be a viable business for many. It is important to select the right property for this type of business for legal reasons.
Usually, the easiest way to find the right bed and breakfast property in the Marina Alta, and Spain in general, is to purchase a property that has the required hotel license already. Trying to get this type of license is always possible for certain types of properties but the process is lengthy and it’s not always guaranteed that the license will actually be granted.
The types of properties that are most unlikely to be granted a hotel license are the rural, rustic fincas.
We have a number of properties available for sale that already have hotel licenses and are ready to be purchased and opened. Some in fact are running businesses already. Depending on the size of the hotel, prices at the moment start from 700,000 Euros for a small hotel.
Learn about one of our current B&B listings in the Marina Alta area of Spain.
Written by Paul Millward
Sales Director of Grupo Garcia
I’ve lived in Denia and Javea for the last seven years after moving from Catalunya. As the Sales Director of Grupo Garcia, I get to spend a lot of time helping people relocate from overseas to this area of Spain. I love sharing my love for living in the Marina Alta area of Spain and helping those who are looking to make a move for some Spanish sunshine.