LIKE one big seaside country club with its golf courses, tennis, polo, sailing and riding, and restaurants and beach clubs, Sotogrande has been a desirable place to live since it was founded in the 1960s.
Demand for fairway or sea view villas and for apartments overlooking yachts in the canals has always been high, but this year, says Kaye Falconer of BM Sotogrande, “the demand is phenomenal and there’s a shortage of quality built product ready to go. Limited stock and high demand is pushing the market price.”
It’s partly the Pandemic Effect: “People who wanted to change their lives, did it – said let’s go live our dream, and Soto, with its super-family-orientated, loving community is somewhere they can do that.”
And partly the result of a big investment by Sotogrande’s owner, European investment fund Orion Capital Managers. As well as upgrading La Reserva Club and creating The Beach, says James Stewart of James Stewart in association with Savills, “they built four big houses on spec in a private gated area called The Mirador. All sold between €8m and €14m and that sent the top end of the market going. Since then other developers have started building houses in that price bracket, and two have gone a step further and got their houses on the market at €20m and €21m.
Soto took a leap forward: “Prices here were very competitive compared to Marbella and Quinta do Lago. A record sale in 2008 of €7.25m remained the highest property price for 10 years,” says James. “These new prices going up to €14.5m have all been reached in the last three years. It’s right across the board from big houses to apartments. Villas which maybe could have gone for €600,000, now go for a million or more – and we’re running short of them.”
“It’s crazy times,” agrees Kaye. “I had a client with a €3m budget looking for a New build property in Kings and Queens Soto Costa,” – the prime real estate around the Real Club de Golf, the first developed in the 60s. “I had to say there was just nothing. The properties we have now in that area are €8m, €10m, €20m.
“Land value in Costa is €600/m2,” (and can exceed €1000/m2 for frontline golf properties) “but outside it drops to €350 /m2 or thereabouts.” For people willing to explore the new prime areas of real estate, she recommends considering Zone G in Sotogrande Alto where “the views are spectacular”.
The current taste for modern designer houses is driving a new demand for plots. “Because of Covid, nothing’s been happening, so there’s not a massive supply of newly built villas. A lot of people have bought old houses and made them superduper modern while keeping the old charm. Others, when they’re looking for something specific and can’t find it, decide the best course of action is to build exactly what they want.”
Now available plots are running out. “Up in La Reserva there were a lot, because people had bought plots on spec,” says Kaye. “I prepared a list for a client, and when I used it for another client a month later, 50% of the plots were sold.”
Many are in the hands of developers. At first glance, property listings seem to be full of villas, brand new or under construction, a closer inspection reveals they’re only concepts: plots plus building projects. Apparently, there are only about ten villas being built for sale in Sotogrande.
The widely publicised project The Seven – seven plots, each with a concept and top architect attached – has been slow off the blocks. “It was going to cost €5m to buy a piece of land basically,” says James. “I think the market was a bit ahead of its time but now the first one’s been sold and, once it’s built, which we expect to happen in the next year, others will follow. It’s always hard to be first.”
Four plots in a second development, The 15, have sold at record prices for La Reserva, so there’s clearly an appetite for buying a concept.
That’s just as well, because not available yet but eagerly anticipated, there is Lagoon Villas, a gated community of 41 plots for contemporary villas around a lake in a natural landscape designed by landscape architect, Jean Mus (again, in La Reserva). Plots will be starting at €750,000, and plot and villa concept at around €2.5m.
New developments include apartments, though, interested buyers should move fast. The first phase of Village Verde, stylish and modern in a community beside La Reserva Club, is already 90% sold – and it’s not due to be completed for at least six months. Open Frontiers is listing a 3-bedroom apartment for €860,000.
Elsewhere, Holmes Sotogrande is listing a stunning penthouse apartment in the prestigious development of Ribera del Rio. The accommodation comprises an entrance hall, a big living/dining room with fireplace that leads directly to the terrace, yours for €895,000.
“Sotogrande is, for probably a limited time only, significantly undervalued, especially when compared to Marbella. We are biased, but it genuinely offers so much more,” explains Ben Bateman, of Holmes Sotogrande.
If you miss out and can’t wait for Village Verde’s second and third phases, Senda Chica, a development of 102 airy apartments, distributed between 15 contemporary buildings, is an option that’s virtually affordable with penthouses at €550,000, and 4-bedroom apartments at €471,000, also available on the Open Frontiers website.
Older canal-view apartments on the Marina have lost none of their charm and occasionally come onto the market at surprisingly reasonable prices. Sotogrande Online by Consuelo Silva is currently listing a cosy penthouse at €320,000, though you’ll find it hard not to linger on her selection of vast architect-designed villas and farms for just a few million more.
So is there anything in Sotogrande for €250,000? “Maybe if you are super lucky, a 1 or 2-bedroomed apartment, but I think the range is realistically €300,000, and above depending on the block and location,” says Kaye.
Richardson’s is another big hitter round these parts, currently showcasing an off plan modern and contemporary styled 3 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment with a large private terrace available for sale at a new development – The PIER 1 in the Sotogrande Marina. The building has a modern, nautical style and provides a large sunny terrace overlooking the marina.
Alcaidesa Direct’s listings prove that you can still get a dream home here without breaking the bank, with a beautiful apartment located on front line golf with panoramic views of the African coast and Atlas mountains setting you back a very reasonable €235,000.