Looking back at 2020 and forward to 2021

Publication: 16 Dec. 2020
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It’s fair to say that most of us are indeed looking forward to 2021, and ready to look back at a year that will go down in history as one of the strangest ever. 2020 will not be remembered fondly by most people around the world, having brought us a virus and accompanying restrictions that have had a profound impact on the economy and society, in Marbella as elsewhere, but it was also a year that allowed us to slow down, take stock and perhaps appreciate the more important things in life.

This includes side-stepping our increasingly frenetic lifestyles, analysing what is really important to us and spending time with our families. While we missed our social lives, our freedom of movement and saw businesses and careers impacted, we also had a rare chance to reconnect with home and family, and this again led to a renewed appreciation for home comforts – with a surge in home improvements, redecoration and renovations as a result. Travel suffered in favour of staying put in your own backyard, much like a temporary return to the not so distant past.

This break from our constant rushing about, flying around and consuming at full speed had social and economic repercussions within the human realm, but nature also showed us just how much we impact upon the environment by staging a humbling comeback in record time, with weather patterns showing signs of restoration, and all manner of animals returning to places they had not been seen for long years. Most people have seen the fake images of dolphins in the Venice lagoon, but not many know that they actually visited the shoreline of the Costa del Sol in a marvellous display!

A resilient Spanish property market
While the Spanish economy, like most others, showed a sharp decline in H1 following the near-closing of all economic activity during the first and most intense lockdown of March-May, the third quarter registered a similarly significant rebound upon the relaxing of restrictions, and the final quarter of 2020 is expected to have produced a smaller return to contraction, resulting in overall negative growth of the Spanish economy for the whole year. No major improvement is expected for Q1 of 2021, but from then onwards rapid recovery growth should follow a gradual return to normality.

Within all of this, the Spanish property market proved remarkably resilient. This is especially true of ‘top areas’ such as the Balearic Islands and the Costa del Sol, where demand for Marbella properties for sale rebounded strongly in Q2 and then again levelled off to a lower yet sustained level for the remainder of the year. There was no major dramatic drop in transactions, and prices of new-build homes and the most attractive real estate remained solid, with only older and less appealing properties losing a little ground, though of course the travel restrictions imposed on most potential buyers have had a negative effect on the sector.

Prospects for 2021 in Marbella
Experts predict the present status quo to be maintained into the beginning of next year, when the ‘weaker’ properties, i.e. older homes or those in less sought-after areas of Marbella, are expected to drop in value by up to 10-20%, which of course creates fresh opportunities for investors and savvy buyers. In the most in-demand areas, however, such opportunities can also exist, but will be fewer and far between, so you have to work with your agent to find them.

The resurgence of the property market will broadly mirror that of the economy as a whole, and this is expected to begin by the end of Q1, as vaccines take effect and restrictions of movement are gradually lifted. If all goes to plan, we will be well on the road back to normality by the summer, and though 2021 will essentially become known as the year of recovery, the simple rebound should produce strong growth in most sectors, including real estate, with prices returning to upward motion by mid-year latest.

In all, 2021 looks to offer us more than 2020 did, though as we revel in our newfound freedom and business activity, we should look back at the lessons learnt this past year about evaluating what is important and finding a balance between work, consuming and the simpler pleasures in life – and your home is, of course, central in all of this!