The Swedish love affair with Marbella continues.
Sweden overtook the UK as the nation with the most searches for Marbella property in Q2 according to new figures from Spain’s largest portal Idealista in a report published yesterday.
The Idealista data also shows that Swedish buyers topped the ranking for searches in Mijas, Fuengirola, Nerja & Almuñecar.
This was echoed by leading luxury real estate agency Diana Morales Properties, – Knight Frank that recently revealed in a blog post that they had seen the number of people in Sweden looking for luxury homes in the Marbella area has doubled so far this year, analysing traffic to their website over the first four months of 2021 vs 2020.
Turns out the super rich are getting super richer, especially in #Sweden. After China, Sweden saw the second-biggest rise in the global UHNW ($30m+ in wealth) population in 2020, with a +11%.
UHNWI numbers globally grew by 2.4% in 2020, according to the Knight Frank “Wealth Sizing Model”.
Knight Frank’s Wealth Report 2021 has tipped Sweden for growth – the number of UHNWIs is forecast to rise 59% between 2020 and 20025
So why do they love Marbella so much & why the rising interest in properties this year?
Let’s ask the Swedish agents…
? Jerry Kyrk has been the franchisee in Marbella for Swedish brokerage Bjurfors since 2017 and spent the previous 3 years selling property in the area for another Swedish powerhouse, Fastighetsbyrån.
He says that the Swedish love affair with Marbella started a long time ago, in the 1950s, with the advent of charter tourism. “Due to the unpredictable weather, Swedes are among the top 3 nationalities in the world when it comes to travelling with an average of six trips per person per year.”
The Swedes have been second only to the Brits in Marbella for a long time, he says, but this year there has been a significant increase in interest in properties in the Marbella area from Swedish buyers.
Jerry believes there are several reasons for this increase:
- End of the “Corona tunnel”, people have not travelled for 1 ½ years and have isolated themselves for a long period. Now they see the light at the end of the tunnel after these difficult times
- People have prioritized investing in properties, it could be primary, second or third residences. They want to create their “private zone” or “bubble” to shield themselves from the problems in the world
- People realize that it is time to start living today, and not postpone the decisions
- Working from home: both employees and employers have realized that it works really well for most cases, and ‘home’ could be in Marbella instead of Northern Europe during winter This creates a new type of buyers, many of the younger “teleworkers” [remote workers], that will use their properties during winter and then spend summers in Sweden and renting their properties in Spain during that time to create a good ROI.
- The snowball effect, the more Swedes that are buying, the more will follow. Now more and more influencers are going to Marbella, so the trend is strong.
- Property prices in Sweden are record high and have increased massively during the last year. This gives many people the possibility to get a second mortgage on their property in Sweden and use that money for a property in Spain.
- Due to the (high) property prices in Sweden, buying a summer house or a 2nd residence in Sweden has become very expensive, so buyers are looking to Spain instead and many see the possibility to get a return on their investment here by renting the property while they are not using it
- There have been some political problems in Sweden, something which also contributes to people leaving the country permanently or at least for longer periods.
? Fredrik Serneholt the CEO of Serneholt Estate with headquarters in Nueva Andalucia points out that “Sweden has worked a bit differently through this pandemic.”
“It has been possible to travel to Spain during all this time without any restrictions with quarantine.”
“This has been helpful for Swedes to get to Spain and to take part of the market,” he says, even when other countries have been more restrictive with travel to Spain.
“Swedish real estate companies in Spain have also been very proactive during the last year, working with videos, floor plans and virtual viewings to get deals done,” he adds.
? Roger Widén is a Swedish broker at the highly successful property developers and commercializing agents Solvilla where, according to him Swedish buyers account for approximately 25-30% of their turnover.
For the benefit of anyone in Marbella real estate who’s been hiding under a rock recently and hasn’t heard of Solvilla, the Norwegian-owned company specialises in newly built or renovated villas priced €2-15m in the Marbella hotspots of Nueva Andalucia, Marbella’s Golden Mile as well as La Quinta, among others.
Roger reiterates Jerry’s point that Marbella has been popular with Swedish buyers for many years “my father-in-law, moved here from Sweden in the ’50s.”
Before the 2008 crash, he says, Swedish buyers here were typically older, often retired golf enthusiasts looking for a holiday home in the sun.
“Today, our typical Swedish buyer is aged between 30 and 50 years old. They have two kids and are in the middle of their working life.”
He says that Sweden is a country with a lot of companies where one is “sat behind a computer”, and where the possibility of working from home has been available for people for some time.
“We have had the early adopters that are in IT. That’s been moving in here for the last five years. Now, as an effect of COVID, people have been working from home.”
“ I believe, as a Swede, Spain offers the infrastructure, the security, the healthcare, the school system, all of those fundamental things that are important for you to move your family and your kids and feel safe and secure.
“Spain ticks all of those boxes. And on top of that, you have a healthy lifestyle and the outdoors. It’s still daylight at six o’clock in the evening, and when you get home from work you can take your kids down to the beach, and bicycle in January.
“So it’s the quality of life I think people are choosing,” he says
So what’s changed? Roger believes more than a holiday home they are looking to relocate permanently, in many cases gradually.
Many of the Swedish buyers that he’s had lately, “are not buying a holiday home. They are buying a home to move to.
“I have clients with different timeframes. They’re buying now, but their plan is to move here either now, in a year, three years, five years, but there’s a plan to actually relocate to Spain.
This is a good thing, he says. Because “a market of primary residences is not as sensitive as a market of secondary residences.
“If there’s a crisis of some sort, you tend to sell your boat, and then maybe the car, and then there’s your secondary home, but your primary home, you stay put.
There is a fringe benefit to those Swedish entrepreneurs who buy a villa in Marbella and move here. “A lot of them are setting up offices here and then bringing employees.”
Roger predicts that we will probably see a benefit from the knock-on effect of these employees becoming clients looking to “buy a townhouse or an apartment and set up their life here as well.”
But Roger is not surprised the Swedes have overtaken the Brits as potential buyers in Marbella.
He says British buyers have been lacking over this past year.
“I think that has to do not only with Corona, and the heavy lockdowns they’ve had, but also the Brexit situation has confused people.”
He says Solvilla and their collaborating agencies are constantly in contact with British buyers, and “these buyers will come.”
? Marbella-based Swede, Marcus Surtén happens to be the CEO of MiMove, a popular property portal for Swedish buyers in Spain. Below, Marcus offers us his view:
“If we reflect upon the interest from the Swedish buyers, it´s pretty logical when you weigh in on the different factors to mention a few:
- The domestic property markets have had a solid development
- A lot of untapped demand
- New opportunities for working remotely
- The financial landscape (interest rates, stock exchange, stimulus packages from the government, etc.)
“We have also noticed that the average budget from our Swedish buyers has grown compared to what we had pre pandemic.
“Due to the strong market conditions and to better cater to the increasing demand from Swedish and all nationalities of buyers, we decided to invest in our product, and we have recently launched a new version of our platform. It´s still a very early version, but its ambition is to facilitate significant growth and ride upon the rising wave of Swedish buyers.”
That last bit ? was a bit of shameless self-promotion, but why not, quid pro quo!
? Swedish-born Spanish real estate investment expert Viktor Ruben Wandemar of Bosque & Colina pulls no punches when identifying some of the contributing factors… here are his ‘5 Reasons Why…’
Reason #1: Although the Swedish love affair with Marbella is nothing, we are now in the influencer era, he says. “So there are many celebrities and influencers moving down, and they’re definitely helping to spread the word about Marbella.
He says that Marbella’s public profile has been featured regularly by the Swedish media more.
Reason #2: “Then you have the pandemic, and some countries were hit very bad economically. Sweden wasn’t one of those, because we never shut down the economy completely, and the economy was in good shape before.
“So at this point, there are many people with a lot of cash. We had a lot of rich people before, but they’re obviously getting richer, and a lot of new people are gaining wealth as well, or at least money, which isn’t necessarily the same thing these days.,” he says.
“And you know that we’ve been talking about before the creation of money, which is at a record pace these days. So there’s a lot of money out there and these Swedes have it a lot.”
Reason #3: He also agrees with the point made by Roger Widén and Jerry Kyrk, ” the pandemic made people realize life is short.” People thought “I want to live. Let’s realize that dream of buying our dream home in Marbella that we’ve been dreaming about for so many years. Let’s get it done.”
Reason #4: And then there are the interest rates. “They are very low. It’s very, very cheap to borrow money, which is good for someone with a good occupation and a good salary. They can easily borrow, and,” says their properties in Sweden has been appreciating in value, “so they can easily mortgage them and use the money to buy in Spain. ”
Reason #5: Viktor warns there is a more sombre reason for the exodus of Swedes to Spain, and that is a growing sense of insecurity in the Scandinavian nation.
“The political landscape in Sweden is rapidly turning into some kind of chaos,” he says.
“The immigration situation has been a black sheep for many years, but it’s now starting to materialize in ways that actually make people want to run away. There are murders on a daily basis, and the rate of gun violence [in Sweden] is the highest in Europe.
“He says that many Swedish cities are experiencing enormous problems with criminal organizations, gangs, and people feel unsafe.
“Wealthy people in the city of Stockholm – the typical buyer of a villa in Andalusia – are getting robbed, a lot of them. ”