Tide Turns for Valencia
July 24th, 2007
Prices have soared in Spain’s third city as it prepares to host the world’s most prestigious yacht race.
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.
“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.
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