‘Forget Marbella – the best quality of life (and value) is in Sotogrande!’

IT’S a common mistake – and totally incorrect – to assume that nowhere is comparable to Marbella in Andalucia for the super-rich buyers.

Sotogrande has proven to be a massive draw for the global elite, with increasing numbers of wealthy professionals settling there.

As Ben Bateman, 44, the boss of one of the coast’s longest-established agencies, Holmes, explains: “Sotogrande is in no way inferior to Marbella’s Sierra Bermeja or nearby Zagaleta.

Ben Bateman Holmes Sotogrande
Ben Bateman

“Sure the prices are lower, but today we have plenty of homes for sale between the €10 million and €15 million mark. And our quality of life here is far superior.”

Aside from the well-known advantages in the Cadiz resort, such as its leading international school, its famous golf courses, such as Valderrama, its polo, dressage and sailing, it now has a much stronger all-year round community.

Sotogrande Aerial View Wiki
Sotogrande Aerial View. Photo: Wikipedia

“It’s incredibly popular to live here now and out of 6000 homes only around 400 are for sale,” continues the father-of-five, who grew up in the enclave playing polo and golf.

“So many more people are living here all-year round and the facts are people who would previously have only looked in Marbella are now coming to take a look around Sotogrande too.

“The overall quality of life, the great climate, the great schools, the fabulous connections, the demand here now is very solid.”

Much of this is due to the fame of Sotogrande that has ‘grown massively’ in recent years, as well as the necessity to crush a few unfounded claims.

Sotogrande Port Boats Lined Up Unsplash Johanna Montoya
Sotogrande Harbour. Photo: Unsplash Johanna Montoya

For decades, Bateman insists, agents up the coast in Marbella have been claiming Sotogrande is too windy and the pollution from the nearby Campo de Gibraltar would ‘lead to cancer’.

“Agents in Marbella have been killing Sotogrande for 40 years claiming this and that, but it’s not windy and the pollution is actually to the south and the wind mostly blows from the west towards Marbella in fact.”

The best thing about the market today, he explains, is that all of the 325 homes currently for sale through Holmes, all of them are ‘priced and ready to sell’.

This is an historically low number for the agency that was set up by Ben’s father Ian in the 1970s.

“We had 675 listings in March 2020, but cleared house and made sure we had under half that by January 2021.

“The good news is vendors here today are realistic and they have taken the decision to sell for good reasons.

“While it means I can only show potential buyers five houses, they will all be in their criteria and are in the perfect position to buy.”

On top of that as the vast majority of owners are not mortgaged up to the hilt, the sellers are not selling out of a worry at rising interest rates.

Sotogrande Beach With Gibraltar In Background Flickr Gailhampshire
Sotogrande beach With Gibraltar In background. Photo: Flickr Gail Hampshire

In 2021 only around 15% of the homes for sale was borrowed, with 85% private equity.

This had dropped to a split of 25/75% by last year, a level which Bateman expects it to stay.

“Most buyers coming here now are coming with a five to 10 year plan, they are coming to live here for long periods, past their kids going to school and university.”


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