Monday, November 27, 2006

Carless in Valencia

I was carless today due to the service needed, oil change and that, so I spent the whole of the day walking round three areas of Valencia finding flats to offer.; Ruzafa, Cabañal and Benimaclet. Despite being far apart all are well served by public transport and so to get from one bit to the others is just a couple of metro rides or a bus journey away.

Ruzafa, recently described erroneously in the Sunday Times as the Notting Hill of Valencia, is a short walk from the centre of Valencia but with prices that are nowhere near places just a five minute stroll away. It is a melting pot of cultures, styles and architecture, moving from the totally decrepit to the modernist loft development. It is a great place to live and prices are in the 200 and something thousand euro range usually for your average flat.

Cabañal is a strange mixture of old town houses, ruins and redevelopments lying next to the America´s Cup Port. Some places are excellent value and certain areas are, shall we say, less inviting. Low rise mixes with medium rise and new lies next to old. Prices therefore are more eclectic and it is still possible to pickup redevelopment projects for just over 100000 Euros and new chic pads cost up to 600000 Euros depending on proximity to sea and port. Be careful in this area as there is a swathe which will be knocked down to make way for the extension of Blasco Ibañez street.

Benimaclet for me is the hidden jewel of Valencia. A young barrio as it was one of the few places that younger families could afford yet still retaining elements of the older generations that previously lived there, this is the real village within a village for which Valencia prides itself. Some streets are all still two floor houses with two flats, one above and one below. The streets are semi pedestrianised and around five in the evening the streets chime to the sounds of children laughing and running around as they are collected from the multitude of schools and nurseries in the area. A working class area of the city with a heart and soul.

The photos accompanying these words are of flats we have available in those areas just showing the facades.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Urbe Desarrollo 2

I again went to Urbe Desarrollo today to see a couple of things which I missed on Thursday. Much more of the same. To see the scope of some of the projects just look at the photos of the stands. These companies put a lot of money into promoting what they offer.

Today I picked up a luxury development in Siete Aguas with prices starting from 540000 Euros for delivery in three years time around a golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones. The houses are designed with energy efficiency, environmental quality and design as a premium. The top of the range houses will have five bedrooms, three suites, spa, sauna, infinity pools, geothermal heating systems, and even panic rooms for those with a tendency to jump at the sound of a sliced golf shot. The course will be watered by recycled water from all of the estates in the immediate vicinity so doesn't have the problems associated with many of these top end developments. A totally gated community just twenty five minutes from Valencia. The price of one of the top of the range places, a cool 1.2 million euros off plan. These are evidently aimed at the top end of the buying market and they are making a play for the disenchanted Marbella set

Friday, November 24, 2006

Our Favourite Estate Throws Up Another Gem

I have just photographed a place on Portacoeli, as many of you will know our favourite estate. Great price for a really nicely designed house overlooking a good sized pool in a quiet cul-de-sac. High quality throughout this house should be seen as the price has been lowered for quick sale by the developer who needs to reduce bank endebtedness in order to start his next development.

Look at the photos and think all of that for Euros is not bad. All it lacks are the semi-compulsory arches on the terraces.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Urbe Desarrollo

The biggest Real Estate Fair in the Mediterranean started today in Valencia. Urbe Desarrollo brings together all of the offers from the biggest promotors of properties on the coast from Malaga to Castellon and beyond borders to the Caribbean and South America this year.

Golf dominated. The number of artificial holes placed strategically nearby to pneumatic hostesses to get your interest in the product was amazing. I counted over 30 stands dedicated to golf developments most of them here in Valencia but also including Polaris World, a development in the Dominican Republic and too many others to count. There tends to be a sheeplike mentality amongst the promotors about what people want, (Last years event had a few golf developments but I do not remember anything close to this year, and not many will deny that a villa or good apartment overlooking rolling green fields dotted with the odd really badly dressed octogenarian pushing a trolley of hugely expensive pieces of metal designed to propel a small white object into a hole in the ground is easy on the eye). However the issue was how many of the projects had final approval, not many. The water question is now a very big deal.

Many promotors seem to be panicking because they are being forced to pay higher land prices and therefore cannot shift the product as fast as in the past. Therefore there were offers galore from 300 Euros down and 300 Euros pcm until completion, with that scheduled for 18 months down the line, to draws for cars, free furniture to put in the flats, High Definition TV´s, 3000 Euros discounts, 6000 to spend at the Corte Ingles etc... Really if they concentrated on quality build, favourable payment terms, location and value for money they would have much less of a problem moving their offers. Gimmicks are all well and good but in the end the development has to be worth the investment when you are buying off plan unless this is intended to be the final home as opposed to a temporary bolthole. At Valencia Property we listen to our clients and find them exactly what they want whether it be investment potential, buying into a lifestyle concept or developing a career. Try us out on that point.

We have picked up only the developments that offer something different to the norm and in this we have gone for Brazil, the Caribbean, (these both complement the ongoing projects we have in Argentina) , Loft developments and central Valencia flat developments along with one of the golf developments which although still pending final approval seems to be the most ecologically viable.

You will see some of these things appear on the site opver the next few weeks as we roll out the offers to complement our carefully chosen already exisiting property portfolio. The new sections on the website will make Valencia Property open up to new areas and grow organically whilst still maintaining tight quality control and a friendly local face.


Good link for general information

We believe that total honesty is the best policy at all times because we live amongst our clients and we want to be able to look them in the eye knowing that we have done the job of getting them their dream house in Spain to the best of our ability and that they have a great deal. Therefore we think it is important to point out sites that give good advice to buyers so that everyone is informed well before they purchase.

Spanish Property Insight

Everything you need to know about property in Spain

Spanish Property insight is written by the Sunday Times' Property expert Mark Stucklin. It is an excellent source of unbiased advice and reflects advice we have been giving for years to all of our clients; always use a lawyer, make sure the agent works for you exclusively to get you the best price and never take the word of the vendor or unscrupulous agents making false promises.

Also keep an eye on the Sunday Times Overseas Property pages at the following link

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Beatles in Burjassot!

The Prellies (Birmingham - England), Gary Quinn (London - England), The Goggles (Gijón - Spain ) Flaming Pie Band (Madrid - Spain), Escarabajos SL presentan "Homenaje a The Beatles" (Sevilla - Spain), The Bitters, Revival, Ya para Junio (Valencia - Spain), The Liverpool Band (Crevillente - Alicante -Spain).

This is the line up of groups playing at the Beatles festival in Burjassot from the 27th of November to the 3rd of December. There is an exhibition of famous guitars from Al's Music Factory in Gijón of all places. Apparently last year it attracted over 5000 people and this year they are looking to reach around 10000. Here is the link for the website.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Touched Up and Ready to Go

And I don't mean me. Here is a fantastic value house that could even be converted into two seperate houses both with four bedrooms. The whole house has eight bedrooms, three bathrooms, two kitchens, two huge living rooms and a pool with a self cleaning bottom (Wahey!) Set on an established urbanisation just five minutes drive from the metro into Valencia and 25 mins into both Valencia and the airport this is an imposing place with excellent views. Get it now.

Compare and contrast with the last photo which comes from a house in Montserrat on a huge plot with nine bedrooms and an enormous pool but everything needs doing to it. At 400000 Euros it doesn't compare favourably with the mansion but it has major possibilities for those amongst you wanting a major project.

Do you go for the project just a kilometre from three small towns or the mansion at the price of a two bedroom semi in Cricklewood?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Now That's What I Call Value

Here is a house that reeks of potential. A large living room, three bedrooms, one with ensuite and dressing room, another bathroom, large kitchen and outside a swimming pool with filter, unmade garden with great possibilities for anyone known to have green fingers with a lovely terrace overlooking some great views of the distant mountains.

There is however one drawback, no electric currently. The pole is just ten yards from the house but the bureaucracy in Spain...! It will come of course but it will take time. The house has the deeds and a solar panel system, subsidised by the Valencia regional government, would give you more than enough power.

For more information go to this link.

Valencia in November and Holidays in Spain

Valencia is now getting cooler at night so the central heating has now been put on standby. The days are sunny and warm with the temperature around 23 degrees during the day.

The run up to Christmas in Valencia more or less starts now, a bit earlier than last year and a bit later than next year. It used to be that Christmas preparations started after the Puente in December when the whole of Spain stops from the 6th to the 8th of December, along with its associated weekend, extra day to meet the weekend etc... In effect Valencia is one of the many places in Spain that stops virtually completely to all intents and purposes from the 6th of December to the 6th of January the following year, ie; Kings Day, otherwise known as epiphany. (Accompanying picture)

Holidays in Spain are one of the big boons of living here as they are still largely respected unlike Bank Holidays in the UK. Also there are lots of them with individual towns and regions having them and they are allied to their national holidays. When you bear in mind the bridge days to meet the weekend when the holiday falls on a Thursday or Tuesday, then you have a lot of free time in Spain and it is because of this that people work until 8pm every day (Although some do still have the long siesta break in the middle of the day even though the traditional siesta is largely ignored at least in the Valencia region. People use it to do the shopping and eat)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Valencia in the Sunday Times

This article appeared in the Sunday Times today and paints Valencia in a particularly favourable light, (Although they are right about the weather last week) There is also another article at the address at the bottom of the piece which has a bit more info and again is quite positive.

To accompany I have attached photos of a couple of flats similar to those mentioned in the article.

Tide turns for Valencia
Prices have soared in Spain’s third city as it prepares to host the world’s most prestigious yacht race, discovers Jane Padgham
Mention Spanish cities, and most people think Barcelona or Madrid. But Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city, is becoming increasingly popular with British visitors, who come to shop in its designer shops, stroll around the historic quarter and visit the architecturally stunning Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias complex (City of Arts and Sciences).

And with the old port and beach area being comprehensively spruced up ahead of next summer’s America’s Cup, the holiday-home market is booming.

Property prices were already on a roll before Valencia was selected in November 2003 as the host city for the extended regatta, ending the year 18% up on 2002. They leapt by 30% in 2004, and many flats near the location of the new marina doubled in price.

Prices are still rising, albeit at a slower rate; last year saw a 15% increase, with prices up about 10% in the first three- quarters of this year.

Yet the city still offers good value for money: you typically pay €1,900 (£1,275) per square metre, compared with £2,345 in Barcelona, £1,540 in Palma and £1,475 in Malaga.

“Property in Valencia is not overpriced compared to other Spanish cities,” says Mark Stucklin, the Sunday Times columnist who also runs the Spanish Property Insight consultancy. “Most of the America’s Cup premium was wrung out of the market in 2004, but it could still bring in a lot of wealth over coming years — property in Valencia city could be one of the best investments in Spain.”

Local and central government investment in the world’s most famous yachting event is estimated at £270m. But while the cup has been the catalyst, the cash injection will benefit the city long after the yachts have sailed away.

The impetus of the cup has hastened the expansion of the metro — which has four lines, serves the city centre well and is currently extending further out into the provinces — to the airport, which is getting a much-needed second runway. New hotels are springing up and a five-lane, one-way road system links the port to the city centre, replacing the previous traffic-clogged artery.

So what is Valencia like? It lacks the cosmopolitan, trendy feel of Barcelona, but is a charming city nonetheless. It is an appealing mix of old and new: baroque buildings juxtaposed with the futuristic work of Santiago Calatrava, the internationally acclaimed local architect who designed most of the Cuidad de las Artes y las Ciencias complex.

The historic heart of the city, El Carmen, is a compact nucleus with a maze of narrow streets and attractive plazas, easily explored on foot, while a 15-minute bus or tram journey will take you to the beach and restaurant areas of Las Arenas and La Malvarrosa, as well as the rejuvenated old port, heart of America’s Cup action.

And then there is the climate: local tourist authorities claim you can sprawl on the beach for nine months of the year. “We don’t do clouds” was a recent tourism slogan, promoting a city that has more than 300 cloudless days each year and more than 3km of broad sand.

Unfortunately, during a two-day visit last week, it did not stop raining, and the beach was deserted and the city’s plaza cafes empty. But it was easy to imagine the city buzzing in better weather. For foodies, it is the home of paella.

It is also cheap and easy to get to. There are eight low-cost flights every day to and from UK airports, in addition to national carriers British Airways and Iberia. It takes about two hours from Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted, but there are also flights from many regional airports, including Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. Valencia’s airport is a 20-minute taxi ride from the city centre.

Alex Crespo, who runs the Valencia Estates agency, says most British buyers are middle-class professionals in their thirties looking for a two-bedroom period apartment in El Carmen for between £130,000 and £170,000.

“When we started the agency five years ago, we thought we were going to get a lot of people who were coming here to retire, looking for old villas outside the city for not much money that they could refurbish. But we’re getting lots of young couples,” he says.

Maria Elena Laguna, who runs her own agency, Maria Elena, says there has also been a surge of interest from American and Japanese buyers. “Four or five years ago, people were buying mainly on the coast, but now a large percentage are buying in the city centre, perhaps with a view not to living in the property, but to renting it out or coming occasionally and having it as a nest egg.”

While El Carmen might be the Brits’ first choice, it is relatively expensive, and Crespo says neighbouring Russafa is a better bet, an area he describes as “the Notting Hill of Valencia”.

“Some years ago, it was very working-class, but now it’s very up-and-coming,” he says. “So you have all these wonderful period buildings in what has become a trendy, bohemian area with lots of bars, restaurants and interesting shops.”

Crespo recommends buying a fourth- or fifth-floor period flat in the area at a knock-down price — less than £135,000 — but in need of some tender love and care. “You can get some old flats that are really horrid; but then it’s not that expensive — about €30,000 £20,000 — to do a good-quality renovation.”

Joanne Clark, from Torquay in Devon, has just bought a 100sq m, fourth-floor period flat on Calle Quart, just north of El Carmen and next to the botanical gardens, for about £170,000. It is open-plan with two bedrooms and a huge dressing room, with enough space to create four bedrooms.

It also has a new kitchen, wood flooring and a brand-new gas central-heating system. As well as a terrace at the top of the building, the apartment has no fewer than six balconies, with fine views of the Jardines del Turia (the park on the former riverbed of the Rio Turia) and the Torres de Serranos (the towers of the old city wall).

“I initially wanted to buy in Barcelona but couldn’t afford to,” says Clark, 43. “Then I read about Valencia, went over for a weekend and really liked it.” Clark uses her flat for weekend breaks and holidays, but hopes to move there permanently soon.

Those wanting to buy nearer the beach and America’s Cup action will be disappointed: much of the area is ugly, run-down or resembles a building site.

“The port and beach area are not ‘wow’,” says Crespo. “It’s more expensive — €300,000-€400,000 £200,000- £270,000) — for anything decent, there are not many period buildings and it was bombed during the civil war, so in the 1950s and 1960s they built a lot that was not very nice. They are currently redoing the area, so buyers will have to wait a bit — but it’s going to be very expensive.”

Further afield, about an hour’s drive away through orange groves, are luxury villas in towns such as Santa Barbara, Rocafort, Campo, Olivar and Los Monasterios, which cost in excess of £650,000.

Out of town, buyers need to check whether Valencia’s notorious land-grab rules apply (the 1994 law allowing developers to compulsorily purchase homes and redesignate land for development). The law was watered down earlier this year, but it can still wreck holiday-home dreams. The European Commission has given Spain until mid-December to change the law further or be taken to the European Court of Justice. Those buying in areas that are already urbanised, including the city itself, are unaffected.

Marta Romero Sobrecueva, a local lawyer, advises would-be buyers to do their homework and use a reputable estate agent who has a good track record and comes highly recommended. “My number one piece of advice would be not to sign anything until you’ve consulted a lawyer who specialises in conveyancing.”,,27889-2319073.html

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Beautiful Short Term Rental and Next Week

I took photos today of a really nice place available in La Eliana for five months from the start of December. 1500 Euros pcm will get you this lovely place with a kitchen to die for and a great pool with decking. The living room is huge and there are three large bedrooms and three bedrooms. It is just a short walk from the Carrefour and 15 mins into Valencia.

Next week we will have six completions so it looks like a hectic week and Valencia continues to attract people in to buy their holiday hideaway or to start a new life. We have been looking at refinancing for some clients too who will be releasing equity from their properties which were bought a few years back without mortgages and now are worth a lot, lot more. Mortgage rates are still low compared with the UK and we now have offers of up to 10 years interest only on non resident mortgages which is quite useful when buying to let.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sometimes I am Lost for Words

I phoned an owner this morning as we had a request for more information about a flat in Valencia. So I was to confirm the address, availability and most importantly the price. 144000 Euros was the price I had. So the address correct, the availability, yes it was still available, but what? no that is not the price. How much I said expecting the worst from previous experience. 180000 Euros!! An increase of 25% over 6 months for a flat that could not be sold at its previous price. It is coming off the books.

However, this is not an isolated phenomenon. In the UK, in general, if you cannot sell a property then you lower the price, accept an offer, or take it off the market, get Justin and his friend in to do a makeover, and relaunch. In Valencia if you cannot sell you put the price up! The logic behind this is always explained as "Well prices have gone up x% this year and therefore it is worth more." The law of supply and demand does not seem to be well ingrained into the Spanish, or rather Valencian, mind. I know of houses that have been on sale for over four years always a step above the market valuation and this in a rising property market of over 20% per year. We never take them on because we only take on value properties but beware because some agents will take anything just to have product. I have wasted many a morning going to take photos, taking down the details and then having to tell the owner that they are living in cloud cuckoo land if they want that much for their property and so it would be better if they went with another agency rather than us. I also know of people who have been mercilessly ripped off by paying way over the odds for properties worth much less in my humble opinion. We could just sell and take the commission but it doesn't sit well...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

More Weather

The Autumn has finally arrived then. Rain for the last few days and today it's the proverbial cats and dogs. Hopefully this will top up the reservoirs a bit and we can start thinking that so many golf courses might not be such a bad idea.
Attached are a couple of photos,, our lemon tree with rain dripping from the lemons and a nice view of the Plaza de la Virgen in Valencia as dusk falls.

As for photographing houses until the weather gets a bit better we will not be posting too many more. However here is a cheap place up in Gatova that we have at 144000 Euros that may interest somebody who wants a place they can close up and come back to without having to do the garden. Shared pool and tennis court, in the mountains, three beds and two bathrooms with excellent little mountain village less than a kilometre walk away.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Weather and a Strange Agent

Last Sunday I was doing some furniture removal and it was 35 degrees C out there. Yesterday and today the temperature is just nudging 13 degrees and we have now had three days of much needed rain. The grey skies are not putting off potential purchasers in the region though and we had a strange case here this week.

Tim took a client out to see a duplex flat in Valencia yesterday. He had already been out with another unnamed agent the previous day who told him more or less that the only place to buy in the city is the Carmen as all other areas are dangerous or falling in price. Absolute rubbish of course. We think that the agent is one of those who only has properties in one Barrio of the city, in this case the Carmen of course, and so rubbishes all other parts. Anyway, what he had been shown was rubbish compared with what we managed to show him. Attached are a couple of pictures for you to enjoy of the duplex with two outside patios at 450000 Euros ONO.

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