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
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.
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