Please tell us a bit about yourself and your company
My name is Sharon MacNicol and I am the Sales Manager for La Agencia Real Estate agent situated in Costa Teguise, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain.
La Agencia is a small company which not only provides a comprehensive real estate service but is also a construction firm which has been in situ on Lanzarote for over 25 years. My boss is happy to still be reselling some of the properties which he built on the island over 20 years ago!What has the property market been like this year?
I have only been the Sales Manager of the real estate side of the business since January 2013, however during this time I have really noticed an increase in clients, both from “walk ins” and email enquirers, which is a great indication of the growing economy and the return to faith in the property market. This is assisted of course by the exchange rate and the political mood of the UK and world markets, but we are quietly confident that the slow climb back to healthy property sales is on the cards over the coming months and years.
From our small office in Playa Bastian I cover property sales and marketing for Lanzarote. On a personal level however I also partner with other agents on Lanzarote and also on the other Canary Islands of Fuerteventura, Tenerife and Gran Canaria. This partnering works on a shared commission basis which is a practice that grew out of the necessity to pool resources during the world crisis and one I hope will continue as it enables us to offer our clients a larger database and keeps us in touch with our real estate colleagues. Partnering like this is accomplished by creating a website which showcases properties from across the islands and marketing them on international websites both in Spain and the UK. Our website Lanzarote Properties offers these choices to our clients.
I have also found it expedient to offer properties for long term rent as this is an area much in demand. I would strongly recommend any clients contemplating relocating to first take a six month rental if they are at all unsure of where they wish to reside long term. This will avoid costly mistakes and provide a great base from which to explore the area and make informed choices on the type of property they will eventually purchase and the way of life which that will offer them.
What do you expect to happen to the market in 2014? Are there any "hotspots" to look out for?
At La Agencia we are happily experiencing a month on month growth in our sales and rentals and we expect to see that steadily continue throughout the coming year. Prices have not fallen quite so far on the Canary Islands and on Lanzarote in particular as they have on the mainland and we did not experience the dramatic stockpiling of repossessed properties other areas have had to contend with.
We have been a little cushioned by the popularity of the island due to its year round temperate climate and our proximity to the UK and Germany, those being only four hours’ flight away. Our view is further enforced by the actions of some of the major airlines starting to provide more flights every week and adding new destinations such as Paris and Italy.
Where our office is located in Costa Teguise we are also enjoying renewed refurbishing of the town and surrounding island areas –always a good sign! A new marina is due to open just outside the capital Arrecife with an accompanying Commercial Centre, bars and restaurants. This marina will give us a total of three on Lanzarote making it a serious sailing destination. There are also plans for a large decathlon store and a department store just outside the town all of which will enhance the exit values of any properties bought now especially when purchased at their current offer prices!
What advice would you give to expats going through the buying process?
At La Agencia I try to provide a service which my UK clients will feel happy and confident with inasmuch as I use and recommend English speaking lawyers who are exceptionally experienced in easing through property sales with a minimum of fuss. I also personally recommend and organize local banks that specialize in putting foreign clients at ease with all literature in English and premium accounts for overseas homeowners. When all this is coupled with a great foreign currency company it makes the whole buying process simple and safe which is what we strive to provide!
Can you be contacted for further information?
I can be contacted on 0034 928 590 928 or via email: info at lanzarote-properties dot com