Liz Rowlinson

The Spanish islands worth investing in – from Mallorca to Ibiza

The Spanish islands worth investing in – from Mallorca to Ibiza
Image: Charles Marlow
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Another summer starts, and so another series of the irrepressible reality show, Love Island. Attention is focused on a rustic six-bedroom Mallorcan farmhouse being blinged up with ‘bright colours and neon signs’ for this year’s fame-hungry contestants. Its exact location is a closely guarded secret. An appetite for privacy and rural isolation on the Balearic Island has been strong trend since the pandemic started, with property hunters decamping from cities or the Spanish mainland.

Whilst Spanish home sales in the first quarter of 2022 were the highest since the boom year of 2007, according to the Spanish Association of Notaries, the property markets of the Spanish islands have been outperforming those of the Costas: the number of sales were up 45 per cent in the Canaries and 21 per cent in the Balearics, year on year. According to Rightmove Overseas, three of the top ten most searched-for overseas locations in March 2022 were Tenerife, Mallorca and Lanzarote.

But how do you choose an island? The largest, most well-established property market of all is Mallorca, where access, the modern infrastructure and international educational facilities have made the destination even more attractive to investors as well as lifestyle buyers. The estate agent, Engel & Volkers received 123 per cent increase in enquiries in 2021 compared to 2019 and across the whole ‘crisis-proof’ island, there were 13,667 properties sold last year, according to the Spanish Ministry figures.

Superb sports facilities, from Rafa Nadal’s tennis academy to 23 golf courses, 47 marinas and 2,000km of cycling trails (200,000 cyclists alone visited the island in 2019) helps it attract an especially active strand of buyers. Triathletes and professional cyclists are amongst those attracted to bolt holes in the villages in the Tramuntana mountains, such as Deia, Soller, Valldemossa and Fornalutx. You can pick up an apartment in the tiny, perched village of Deia for around €300,000 but this four-bedroom finca set in Valldemossa within beautiful grounds at €2,650,000 is much more than a crash pad.

A four-bedroom finca for sale in West Mallorca (Image: Engel & Voelkers)

If keen on hedonistic nights or the rural tourism and wellness scene that is the flipside to the island of Ibiza, demand for property has also been strong. In the centre of the island, Santa Gertrudis has become the hub of boho-chic full-time movers, and the Morna International School is home to more than 20 nationalities. You’ll struggle to find a villa for sale for less than over €1m in this area – this generous sized five-bedroom villa is designed by Blakstad, the company famed for its traditional yet contemporary style properties on the island, is somewhat more.

A five-bedroom villa on Ibiza (Charles Marlow)

For those seeking a very low-key holiday, and some superb, tranquil beaches too, Menorca is very much worth a look. Prices tend to be lower than in Mallorca and Ibiza yet have been closing the gap.

It’s possible to find an apartment in the Moorish coastal town of Cuitadella with change from €100,000; or a three-bedroom villa in the popular holiday resort village of Cala en Porter for €350,000. There are also plenty of luxury properties and country estates, with this 10-bedroom traditional example near the popular village of Es Castell.

If a good choice of year-round flights and affordable winter sun is your priority, you should head instead to the Canary Islands where prices tend to be lower than the Balearics; and the buying costs the lowest in Spain too: 6.5 per cent of the purchase price on resale homes, rather than the 8-11 per cent of the Balearics.

But again, a choice: opt for the big tourism engine of Tenerife, the more bohemian Lanzarote, LGBT friendly Gran Canaria, or the watersports magnet of Fuerteventura. That’s simplifying things for sure, but you’ll find plenty of choices of villa if you have a budget of €500,000 on all of these, and the temperature won’t dip much below 20 degrees in midwinter.

For striking architecture Lanzarote is hard to beat, with the white-washed villas of Cesar Manrique, the local architect who did much to protect the island from over-building in the 1970s and 1980s. Visit his famed cactus garden or one of his villas created around the lava formations of the island’s lunar landscape. This four-bedroom is more modern home, but a modest €449,000.

A modern four-bedroom house on Lanzarote for €449,000 (Lanzarote Investments)

There’s plenty of unspoilt landscape and 167km of sandy beaches in Fuerteventura, an underrated island becoming increasingly popular with British and German buyers. It’s possible to find an apartment from €120,000 at Caleta De Fuste, just 10 minutes by taxi from airport and handy for two golf courses, whilst Corralejo in the north is another buyer hotspot.

But El Cotillo on the northern tip is one to watch, suggests John Goldacre of agent Goldacre Estates. 'It offers some stunning opportunities to purchase frontline properties with outstanding sunsets and is close to popular Lajares [a laid-back surfing village]. Seafront two-bedroom apartments cost from €250,000.' Find yoga retreats and artisan markets but probably not TV reality show guests.