Madrid has ev­ery­thing

Lon­don­ers love the Span­ish cap­i­tal’s cul­ture, luxe shops and fab food, not to men­tion cheaper prop­erty and liv­ing costs. By Cathy Hawker

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - Homes Abroad -

HOME buy­ers and tourists have largely over­looked Madrid in their Gaud­i­fu­elled rush to Barcelona, but now the Span­ish cap­i­tal is fight­ing back. Prop­erty prices there have risen more than 12 per cent year on year ac­cord­ing to the Span­ish Sta­tis­ti­cal Of­fice, while ho­tel su­per­brands Man­darin Ori­en­tal and Four Sea­sons have sig­nif­i­cant projects in the pipe­line.

“There has never been a bet­ter time to in­vest in Madrid,” claims Rod Jamieson of prop­erty agents Lu­cas Fox. “It has al­ways been a sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial cen­tre and never aimed to at­tract tourists as Barcelona did. How­ever, since the 2007 re­ces­sion Madrid has trans­formed it­self with newly pedes­tri­anised ar­eas and a new busi­ness and res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hood at Chamartin, all fur­ther­ing Madrid’s aim to claim some of Lon­don’s fi­nan­cial power.”

Jamieson lives in Madrid and starts each day with a run in the mag­nif­i­cent Buen Re­tiro Park, of­ten fin­ish­ing the day with friends at a bar or restau­rant. This is one of Europe’s most so­cia­ble cities with a vi­brant nightlife — just an­other in­gre­di­ent of its su­perb life­style, says Jamieson.

SO MUCH TO OF­FER — AND SO AF­FORD­ABLE

“Madrid has ev­ery­thing — his­tory, cul­ture, lux­ury bou­tiques, 70 the­atres, ex­cel­lent global links through a great air­port and restau­rants span­ning Miche­lin stars to tiny tapas bars,” adds Jamieson. “It’s Europe’s third-largest city in terms of GDP and pop­u­la­tion but in terms of prop­erty prices and cost of liv­ing, it is sur­pris­ingly af­ford­able. Com­pared with Paris or Lon­don it is still cheap.”

Prime prop­erty dis­tricts in­clude Jerón­i­mos, where big clas­si­cal flats in quiet streets over­look Buen Re­tiro Park, and up­mar­ket Sala­manca where prices rose 19 per cent last year. Cortes and Jus­ti­cia, home to the trendy ar­eas of Las Sale­sas and Chueca, are around a third more af­ford­able. Buy­ers come from Europe, the US and through­out South Amer­ica.

In Sol, close to Gran Via, Knight Frank is sell­ing a fourth-floor, two-bed­room flat with two bal­conies over­look­ing Plaza del Car­men, for £610,000. Nearby, the same agent has a beau­ti­fully ren­o­vated, bright, three-bed­room flat in Santa Ana Plaza for £830,000.

NEW DE­VEL­OP­MENTS

Five miles from cen­tral Madrid, Jamieson tips un­pre­pos­sess­ing Te­tuán as a dis­trict to watch. He is sell­ing a new de­vel­op­ment of eight con­tem­po­rary and gen­er­ously sized du­plex one- to three- bed­room apart­ments priced from £393,000.

Gov­ern­ment fig­ures show that trans­ac­tions of new de­vel­op­ments in Madrid rose 53 per cent last year, al­most dou­ble what was achieved in Barcelona, a trend high­lighted in Knight Frank’s lat­est Madrid Mar­ket Re­port. Pres­ti­gious ar­chi­tects and good leisure and concierge fa­cil­i­ties have en­cour­aged so­phis­ti­cated in­ter­na­tional buy­ers to Madrid, says Car­los Zamora of Knight Frank Madrid.

“The price of res­i­den­tial homes in Madrid is less than half of com­pa­ra­ble cities such as Vi­enna, Paris and Zurich,” he says. “This price gap with other Euro­pean cities and the fore­cast up­lift po­ten­tial over com­ing years makes prop­erty in Madrid ex­tremely ap­peal­ing.”

In cen­tral Al­ma­gro a de­vel­op­ment of 27 apart­ments, all fully re­mod­elled be­hind an el­e­gant clas­si­cal façade, start from £1,373,000 for two- to four-bed­room homes from 2,120sq ft, also through Lu­cas Fox. These homes have un­der­ground park­ing and a com­mu­nal pool, gym and spa.

Lu­cas Fox: lu­cas­fox.com Knight Frank: knight­frank.com

£1,373,000: spec­tac­u­lar new flats with up to four be­d­rooms in the cen­tral Al­ma­gro dis­trict (Lu­cas Fox)

Hola happy: the his­toric cen­tre com­bines cul­ture with fun and smart shop­ping

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