January 22, 2014 in Europe, Featured News, Government and regulatory, Lifestyle & Leisure Properties, Market Trends, New Developments, News, News By Region, News By Topic, Politics, World News Leave a comment
Experienced agent in Murcia says sales rose 60% in 2013, and construction of a long-promised theme park brings big hopes for future
Sometimes the picture on the ground is very different to the media image. While general opinion appears undecided on whether the market has returned to Spain, Mercers, one of the longest serving estate agents in Murcia, has been quietly making serious increases in sales volumes and employing more staff.
“This time last year I was feeling very bullish about Murcia’s property market,” says Chris Mercer, Director of Mercers. “We’d closed 2012 having done around a dozen more sales than 2011 and I was quoted as saying “I boldly expect our sales to increase by 25% in 2013 over 2012”. I am delighted to say my prediction was wrong, miles out. Instead we have completed 40 more sales than 2012 – an increase of 60%.”
While some analysts have looked for rescue by Chinese and Russian buyers, golden visas and the likes of Bill Gates buying into Spanish construction, Chris Mercer says the British are back: “In 2012 it was the Belgians, French, Norwegians and Swedes dominating the market… For 2013 a vast 64% of sales were attributed to Brits, with others mainly claimed by Belgians, French, Dutch and native Spanish.”
Okay, but these are empty properties being flogged off cheap aren’t they? “In 2012 our average sale price was €84,884, for 2013 this figure increased to €94,000,” Chris told OPP.
Chris’s numbers are backed up in a new report from JP Morgan, Spain is Back. Another bright spot in the region is the long awaited ParamountTheme Park to be built between Cartagena (main picture) and Alhama in Murcia. There are many sceptics, not least in Murcia itself, but the local government has been confident enough to make the theme park centrepiece of its stand at Spain’s largest tourism show this week in Madrid.
“The Paramount presentation, which was created in Los Angeles, consists of a 3D virtual tour of the park, including all attractions and the five different areas of the complex”, said a report from Murcia Today. Land clearance has already begun and the finished project costing €390 million will be open by late 2015, according to the organisers Proyectos Emblemáticos Murcianos (Premursa), with features based on movies including as Sleepy Hollow and, perhaps appropriately given the scale of the fund-raising required, Mission Impossible.
Chris Mercer has himself been sceptical in the past but says: “I am 80% convinced it will happen, especially now that real life multinationals such as Ferrovial are involved. Once the infrastructure starts to go in, we will most definitely see a stir.”
However, even without a theme park, Chris Mercer puts his success last year down to: “A combination of many things but primarily SEO spend, IT spend (overseas property portals), a good website (which is about to get better), larger and better positioned offices on Camposol Golf, a prime frontline corner position (that ironically used to belong to a Spanish bank) and excellent PR via Purple Cake Factory.”
Any predictions for 2014? “This time I will stick my neck out and predict at least a 30% rise in sales for 2014 over 2013.”