Balearic Islands Property Overview

09 December 2010

Both from our own experiences at Balearic Estates and from other Balearic property experts the overall feeling towards the property market from an investors point of view, is a positive one! With particular reference to the largest island of Mallorca, the market is picking up particularly from the German and Scandinavian buyers.

Due to the exchange rate of the pound versus the Euro in the later half of this year the British buyers have been a little weary in their buying patterns and definitive commitment to purchasing. This said, many commentators have speculated that the Pound will strengthen in the near future. From the point of view of British investors, due to the reductions in property values that have already taken place it is still a good time to buy and with other European countries creating demand, prices in certain areas are even starting to see increases so there is a risk in taking too long to decide!

With so many positive factors including strict planning regulations for further development and the obvious glorious weather conditions, the Balearics is still an ideal destination in which to buy a property whether it being for a holiday home, permanent home or for investment purposes. Balearic Estates would strongly recommend to take the plunge with our help sooner rather than later.


Over the past 15 years Mallorca has successfully transformed the island from a sun and sea holiday destination to a year round location with one of the most sophisticated infrastructures in the Mediterranean.

International, national and local investment continues on the island with Palma’s new hospital near completion; the Palma Congress & Exhibition Centre is scheduled for completion in 2011; the super yacht designer marina at Puerto Adriano will open in Spring of 2011 and the new Jumeriah Puerto Soller luxury seven star hotel will open in Summer 2011.

The residential market in Mallorca is stable and the property market is is expecting serious buyers who want to invest in Mallorca over the coming months. So the prospects look good property agents are cautiously optimistic for the rest of the year.

The island is easily accessible from all over Europe and beyond with a modern international airport and features a diverse range of landscapes including the breathtaking Sierra de Tramuntana mountain range, beautiful coastal areas, stunning beaches, traditional Mallorcan villages and the elegant capital of Palma. Mallorca offers an excellent range of hotels, restaurants, shopping, a year round cultural and activity programme and an ideal place to practice sports with 23 golf courses and 44 marinas.

Property for Sale in Mallorca

Palma City / Old Town & Portixol:
In these areas the market boomed until 2006/2007 and since that time prices have decreased by approximately 25%.

There is always demand for really unique, special properties with either views towards the sea or over the old town – particularly those properties with outdoor space. These types of properties are not so susceptible to market changes and generally hold their value. Main buyers at present are: Scandinavian, German, Swiss and Austrian – some of them focusing on prime property of around the 1 – 3€ million price level. They are attracted to Palma because of it rich cultural background and year round activity.

Palma City/ Paseo Maritimo, outskirts:
In Palma’s Paseo Maritimo area with its spectacular views over Palma Bay and luxury marinas, apartments have reduced by around 25-30%. However, villas with views in the immediate outlaying areas of the city such as Bonanova and Genova are holding their value and owners will only consider slight reductions to close a sale.

Son Vida, Puigpunyent, Esporlas, Establiments:
The exclusive area of Son Vida remains interesting for buyers who are looking for a secure, long term investment. Main attractions are its proximity to the historic centre of Palma and the international airport.

Son Vida provides a peaceful environment for the most discerning tastes and features three golf courses and two luxury hotels.

Son Vida has largely been unaffected by the crisis and prices have softened slightly by 10-15%. Although the margin for negotiation has, in some exceptional cases, closed at 35% below the original asking price. Currently, the most sold properties are villas of approximately 400m2 ranging from 1.250,000€ to 2€ million. Villas with sea views always fetch a premium price of around 3-5€ million.

Prices in the surrounding villages closest to Palma have dropped up to 25%. Now, there are some excellent buys for investors who want to enjoy the charm of a traditional village surrounded by beautiful scenery. The most sold properties tend to be family houses of around 900,000€.

Palma Surroundings/ Llucmajor:
This is an exciting area south east of Palma, which is ripe for further investment with improved infrastructure and new highways. It is close to Palma and the International Airport and over the past 10 years the area has attracted investment by luxury hotel groups including Marriot and Hilton. Recently, the new luxury boutique hotel, Cap Rocat, opened at Cala Blava.

South West Mallorca property for sale

More sales were made in the first quarter of this year than in the previous three years with good future prospects for the peak buying period.

There are fewer British buyers than in previous years but those that are here are spending more. The market is currently dominated by German speaking clients. Property prices can’t be taken literally as valuations fluctuate depending on location, views, construction, quality, sun orientation, property features and land so it’s always best to do a little background research

South West/ Portals
There has been little change in the market since last year, prices remain stable and because of the density of wealthy clients in this area who can afford to wait for a market upturn, properties have either been taken off the market or gone onto the rental market. Here, villas with sea views expect top prices of approximately 2€ million plus. Apartments with sea views will start at 500,000€ upwards and penthouses command premium prices of approximately 1.5€ million upwards.

South West/ Santa Ponsa:
This area has been traditionally very popular with the international community and has a good supply of second home properties. People are attracted to Santa Ponsa because of its excellent facilities with four golf courses, good beaches and a fast road into Palma. Prices have come down by an average of 15% since 2008 and now a well located villa with views can average 1.5€ million and apartments with sea views will fetch around 400,000€.

The area around Puerto Adriano is attracting a great deal of attention in anticipation of the new super yacht marina which will open next year. In contrast, up in the hills of Calvia with views across the Bay of Palma, a new exclusive development of quality country style villas has been launched this year with prices averaging 2€ million.

South West/Andratx, Puerto de Andratx:
Sales have been steady since the start of the year with demand for front line villas and penthouses. Prices boomed in this area possibly more than anywhere else on the island and therefore price reductions over the past couple of years have been higher as a result of up to 20% in some exceptional cases. Currently, a well located four bed villa will average 2€ million and a two bedroom apartment with views will cost over 400,000€. Good plots do not stay on the market for long because of the limited supply. Prices range from 300€/m2 to 4,500€/m2.

West Coast/ Deià, Valldemossa, Sóller & Puerto de Sóller:
Sales have been generally slower here than in the rest of the island even though there is a great deal of interest from potential buyers. One of the main reasons is that vendors are less likely to negotiate.

For example, in the picturesque village of Deia owners are reluctant to reduce prices because of the cachet associated with owning a home in one of the most desirable villages in the Mediterranean. Here a four bedroom villa with views will command an average of 2.750€ million.

However, in Valldemossa pricing is a little more realistic which provides more scope. Prices range from around 300,000€ for a well presented townhouse to 4-6€ million for a finca estate with land. Main buyers are Germans, British and Scandinavians.

Along the coast to Puerto de Sóller and Sóller there is a similar picture of potential clients making offers way below the asking price. The average price of a villa with views is around 2€ million and these prices have not shifted much in the past two years unless there has been a “distressed” sale. A well located two bedroom apartment with views can still command around 430,000€. Puerto de Sóller will come under the spotlight next year when the seven star luxury Jumeirah Hotel opens.

North Mallorca property for sale

Villa for sale in North Mallorca - asking price €50 million

Pollensa, Puerto Pollensa:
The best feature of this area is the amazing contrast between the spectacular mountainous interior and the coastline with its great family beaches. The north offers a year round lifestyle with good infrastructure and excellent sports facilities. A major attraction is the fact that it is not overbuilt and has many protected areas which provide good prospects for the potential investor because of the low level of new construction and strict planning permissions ensuring a good balance of supply and demand.

Prices in the north have fallen in the past two years by approximately 15-30% and are currently at their lowest level in five years. Demand is focused on prime properties such as villas and fincas in good locations. The market for smaller properties, and particularly apartments, practically disappeared at the end of 2008 but now this market sector is starting to move again. This year, sales of apartments have been made across the range from 150,000€ to 600,000€, which is a good general indicator as buyers realise that now is the right time to buy before prices start increasing.

The beautiful Formentor Bay, located at the most northern tip of the island, has long been regarded as a retreat for the rich and famous. The area provides complete privacy and tranquillity and because new development is almost completely forbidden, prices of frontline properties here still retain a premium.

Alcudia & Puerto de Alcudia:
This area is ideal for holiday home investment with excellent beaches, good infrastructure, a range of sports facilities including the 18 hole Alcanada Golf Course and the Puerto de Alcudia and Bonaire marinas. Well located, front line property has retained its value in this area although prices, particularly for smaller properties, have decreased by up to 25% (depending on location) offering price levels of six/seven years ago. Prices range from 300,000€ for a two bedroom apartment with sea views to over 1€ million for a luxury seafront penthouse.

Although new developments have almost completely stopped there is one front line development which is about to be launched on Alcudia Beach of 15 quality, contemporary style apartments, which will be completed by 2012. Lead in price for a 3 bedroom apartment starts at 1.175€ million to 1,6€ million for the penthouse with private swimming pool.

North East Mallorca property for sale

This is certainly one area of Mallorca where your money can go further. The approximate square metre price for fincas in and around Arta is roughly 30 € per m2 and for frontline seaside properties prices range from 500€ – 1000€ per m2. For example; a two bedroom front line apartment in the fishing port of Colonia St. Pere is on the market for 350,000€.

Property requests and general activity have increased over this time last year and there is more confidence in the market. Prices have not really reduced a great deal in this area because they never reached the highs of areas such as the south west. The market here is therefore more stable and owners are less willing to negotiate.

The average price for a four bedroom villa with views is around 1.7€ million which represents a price decrease of around 10% from 2008. Well located country fincas are holding their prices with minimal price reductions to close a deal. Up and coming areas include Costa de los Piños, which has always been very popular with the Spanish “jet set”. Now large, Spanish owned, family holiday homes are coming onto the market in this area.

South East Mallorca property for sale

The general picture here is similar to the north east where prices have remained relatively stable throughout the last two years. The year started well with sales of a wide range of property from 250,000€ to over 2€ million.

Currently, there is demand for countryside fincas and first line property with most sales around the 400,000-600,000€ range and a few between 1€ and 2€ million. The lower end of the market for townhouses and apartments (which are not front sea line) is still very slow.

Clients are mainly German speaking or Scandinavian. The British are still staying away. Areas with potential include Colonia San Jordi, particularly for frontline seaside property; Porreres – especially hill top locations and Cas Concos.

Mallorca Central & Inland property for sale

A large variety of property and locations are available here and each case tends to be different. Since 2008 there has been a general softening of prices of around -10 to -15%.

This year there has been increased sales activity in anticipation of future price increases. Inland Mallorca is a large and varied area. However, as a rough guide a well appointed, traditional finca with mountain views will average around 3€ million and a three bedroom townhouse will average 450,000€. Typical Mallorcan villages are increasingly popular offering a traditional rural Mediterranean lifestyle. Villages to focus on include: Bunyola, Alaró, Montuiri, Selva and Llubi.

Property for Sale in Menorca

Menorca, the second largest of the Balearic Islands, has long enjoyed a reputation of providing a tranquil and exclusive holiday residence location. It represents an exclusive “bolthole” in the Mediterranean’s second home residential market and is widely regarded as a secure and safe, long term investment for potential clients.

The market boomed in the past five years, particularly in 2006/7. Since 2008 the global crisis started to affect property prices which have come down by around 15-25% or more in some cases. New development is strictly regulated by local government to maintain the island’s natural beauty and sustain its’ long term growth. The island is easily accessible via air and ferry from the Spanish Mainland.

Currently, demand is focused on well located villas with an average cost of a villa with views of around 3,000 – 4,000€ per m2. The apartment market is still very slow and values are around 2,500-3,000€ per m2.

Coastal areas are the most requested, especially in the south east with easy access to the island’s capital of Mahón together with the residential areas around the other major port of Ciutadella. Frontline property at Mahón and Cuitadella represent good value and the Sant Lluis area is ideal for those seeking the quiet life.

Inland prices are generally lower and because you are never far from the coast on the island, inland areas are attractive for prospective buyers. In addition, the north of Menorca is still less developed than the south and is an interesting area for secluded country fincas and there are still plenty of renovation projects available.

Over the past year there has been increased demand for rental property and this can provide buyers with an excellent way of earning a steady return of between 3% – 5% (depending on facilities and location) on their investment.

Recently, the international market has started to open up again and there has been more interest from German speaking and Italian buyers. The British still account for approximately 20% of the market with interest from Irish buyers.

The island is always looking to open up new markets and next year plans are progressing to bring two direct flights a week from Moscow so Russian buyers could also enter the market.

Ibiza & Formetera

To the southwest, Ibiza and Formentera have become increasingly desirable over the last few years and continue to offer opportunities for investment.  This is due, in part, to the Ibiza tourism board continuing to re-establish the island as a quieter and more cultured destination in comparison to the ‘clubland’ reputation it earned during the 90s – while Formentera has remained only accessible from the former and has become known as ‘the last Mediterranean paradise.’

The market on Ibiza has become quite active in 2010 in comparison to ’08 and ’09.  But as might be expected prices are quite high due to the small amount of development space compared to that found in Mallorca and Menorca.

Subsequently, across the island there is a healthy range of smallish family properties which might need updating or restoration and are on the market for around 700,000€, while larger four bedroom houses tend to sell for around 850,000€ – particularly in less rural areas.

At the more expensive end of the market there is even more movement currently – with a high demand for cash-buy opportunities.  For those willing to spend in excess of 3,000,000€, a sought-after property in the island’s capital – including sea views, a pool and around six bedrooms – could be purchased.

Away from the cities, of course, prices do get cheaper – and if you are eager to invest in a property on the quieter parts of the island bargains can certainly be found.  Original ‘fincas’ (usually meaning a Spanish farmhouse) in need of can be bought for around 1,000,000€ while those which have been updated can sell for two or even three times as much.

With just 5000 residents for most of the year, Formentera is even quieter, more unspoiled and traditional than Ibiza.  Subsequently, property on the island is very sought-after with a high percentage of rural buildings and almost all having views of the sea.

Prices remain predictably high, with four-bedroom houses selling for over 1,500,000€.  However, with the island’s continuing focus on tourism alongside nature and tradition – as exemplified by the crystal clear waters and impressive flora and fauna – more substantial returns on Formentera investments are perhaps more likely than the rest of the Balearics.


Bargain Hunters Beware!
Among the international community, German speaking and Scandinavian buyers dominate the market at this time with less British clients than in previous years. Clients should be aware that more price reductions are unlikely to materialise at this stage as owners have, in most cases, already reduced prices and would rather sit and wait, or rent, than succumb to further discounts.

Mortgages Now Available:
Spanish banks have started to lend again to non-residents for up to 70% of the property value and approximately half of the buyers will use the mortgage option for tax relief purposes. Demand is focused on prime property, mainly villas, well located fincas and penthouses, particularly on the seafront or with good views.

New Tax Rates:
As of July 1st, the standard rate of Spanish Government Tax (IVA) will rise to 18% from 16% and the reduced rate will rise from 7% to 8%. Property buyers will pay 1% stamp duty plus 18% IVA on purchases of building plots. Buyers of new developments or property, which are being sold for the first time, will pay 1% stamp duty plus 8% IVA. For re-sales, the property transfer tax remains at 7%.

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