Here are a number of articles from 2007/2009 that may be useful as background information:
Lanzarote is the most easterly of the Canary Islands and lies just 70 miles off the coast of Saharan Africa. Creating an enviable year round climate that is characterised by extremely low rainfall (on average of just six days per year) and temperatures that rarely fall below 20c – even in the winter months.
As a result, the island is a popular holiday destination all year round, attracting over one million visitors from the UK and Ireland annually. Drawn to Lanzarote’s ninety plus beaches – the vast majority of which boast fine golden sand.
Where tourism leads, property investment tends to follow. And the strength of the islands tourist industry has created a buoyant market for property for sale in Lanzarote . With many overseas investors enjoying year round rental returns from holiday villa and apartment rentals. Whilst over 5,000 British expats now reside on the island full time – accounting for around 6% of Lanzarote’s total population.
In terms of relocation this is as far south as you can go and still, technically and administratively speaking, find yourself within Europe. So relocating to Lanzarote is a straightforward business for any EU citizen – as there are no visa requirements or restrictions.
Islanders and indeed the broader Spanish population are somewhat mystified by Lanzarote’s cheap and cheerful reputation in the UK. As the island enjoys an upmarket image domestically and is the favourite holiday destination of worthies such as the Prime Minister. Whilst the King maintains an official holiday residence on the island.
Lanzarote is also relatively unspoilt in relation to other Spanish sunspots. And boasts an enormous amount of natural beauty – from the eerie volcanic landscapes of the Timanfaya National Park in the south through to the verdant palm packed valleys in the North of the island.
The development of tourism on Lanzarote has in fact been carefully controlled – thanks largely to the efforts of the island born artist and architect César Manrique whose influence ensures that there are no advertising hoardings or high rise buildings scarring the landscape.
Indeed Manrique illuminated an alternative path for the evolution of the island back in the 1970s – by creating a unique range of tourist attractions that fuse art with nature. Such as the incredible underground grotto at the Jameos del Agua and his own breathtaking house and studio built into five volcanic bubbles in Tahiche.
As a result, Lanzarote remains an attractive destination for both property investment and relocation. Providing a year round outdoor lifestyle – but just four hours flying time from the UK. With a warm and welcoming local population, low crime rates and a much lower cost of living than in Britain.
Demand For Lanzarote Rental Property Takes Off
Lanzarote’s 6,000 strong expatriate community looks set to welcome an influx of new arrivals. As the number of disaffected British and Irish residents planning to relocate to the island has soared by 35% in the second quarter of 2008.
The Canary Islands have long been a hot favourite with those seeking to relocate abroad or invest in holiday property. As these seven specks of Spain located just off the coast of Saharan Africa enjoy a year round clement climate. With temperatures that rarely fall below 20C and minimal annual rainfall. Yet still just four hours flying time from the UK.
Now that the domestic economic situation is starting to darken the number of people seeking a brighter future abroad looks set to soar. With Lanzarote Guidebook’s second quarter analysis of the island’s property market revealing a dramatic surge in the quantity of enquiries for long term rental property. Up 35% versus the first quarter of 2008.
The vast majority of these would be expats are focusing their search on the islands oldest and most popular resort, Puerto del Carmen. Which is the main hub of the British and Irish expat communities on the island, as well as the central source of most job opportunities for new arrivals and non-Spanish speakers.
The cost of living on the island certainly compares favourably with the UK. Food costs are lower. And utility costs are way below the soar away figures now being imposed in the UK. With heating costs virtually non-existent.
Property prices on the island – as elsewhere – have also started to soften. Thanks to a sharp fall in mortgage approvals in the region during the first quarter of 2008. As local banks tighten their lending criteria and seek to impose more realistic valuations on vendors. Making it easier – and cheaper – to get a foot on the property ladder. One bedroom apartments currently sell from 80,000 euros with villas with private pools priced from 270,000 plus.
Despite the credit crunch the islands number one industry – tourism – remains buoyant. With overall foreign visitor numbers up by 5.5% during the first half of 2008. Creating income and job opportunities for those seeking to start a new life here.
Lanzarote Defies Credit Crunch
The British are refusing to give up their overseas holidays. According to figures just released by Spanish airport authority AENA, which reveal that visitor numbers from the UK to Lanzarote have risen by 10.6%.
Despite fears that the credit crunch, weakening pound and falling disposable incomes could spell the end for foreign travel the small Canary Island of Lanzarote is defying the doom sayers. As the number of British tourists visiting the island during the first seven months of the year has now topped the half a million mark with a total of 504,561 visitors from the UK touching down at Arrecife airport. An increase of 10.6% on the same period during 2007.
And it’s not just the British who are reluctant to relinquish their place in the sun. As tourist numbers from Eire have also increased with 127,454 visitors from the Republic enjoying a holiday on the island during the first seven months of 2008 – an increase of 5% on 2007 and further proof of Lanzarote’s incredible popularity in the Irish market who now visit the island in greater numbers than any other destination in Spain. Dutch, Scandinavian and Austrian tourists have also helped to contribute to an overall increase in foreign tourist numbers of 4.5% for the year to date. And Spanish visits to Lanzarote are also on the rise as the Canary Island Tourist Board have reported an increase in tourism from the mainland of 3.7% during the first half of 2008. All of this makes happy reading for owners of property in Lanzarote. As many villa and apartment owners have reaped the benefit of this upsurge reporting increased bookings versus 2007.
In part this is attributable to the fact that the cost of a weeks stay in a villa or holiday apartment in Lanzarote remains highly affordable versus other destinations. With prices starting from as little as 220 per week. Whilst flights to the island remain competitively priced thanks to the wide choice of carriers operating regular services to Lanzarote. As a result the island’s property market remains relatively resilient recording none of the dramatic price falls witnessed in other parts of Spain and interest from overseas investors remains buoyant as Lanzarote, along with the other Canary Islands, remain the only genuine winter sun destination in Europe. So delivering year round rental returns for the owners of holiday properties.
Lanzarote is a perennially popular destination for British tourists – attracting around 850,000 visitors in 2007 and an expected 1 million plus visitors over the course of this year. Thanks to the fact that the island is only four hours flying time from the UK and enjoys a year round clement climate that guarantees minimum temperatures of 20c plus even in the depths of winter.
The Island of Fire has also established itself over the last couple of years as the most popular destination in all of Spain with Irish tourists. Who now comprise the third largest market for tourism to the island. Accounting for around 250,000 tourist visits annually.
NEW LOOK FOR LANZAROTE’S MAIN RESORT
Puerto del Carmen has long been the Grand Old Dame of tourism on Lanzarote As this is the spot where package holidays first took off on the island – transforming a small fishing village called La Tiñosa into a popular and bustling resort.
And now Puerto del Carmen is about to undergo another major transformation. As island authorities press ahead with plans to ‘reinvent’ tourism in the resort in order to maintain its competitiveness versus other, newer destinations around the world.
Puerto del Carmen has been the epicentre of theLanzarote property and tourist markets since the 1970s. As interest in this small speck of Spain just 70 miles off the coast of Africa took hold amongst British and German holidaymakers in a big way. Fanned by the islands year round clement climate, great beaches and diverse range of tourist attractions. As well as relatively cheap flight and holiday packages.
However Puerto del Carmen today looks like a victim of its own success. As thirty plus years of tourism have taken their toll. Leaving the resorts infrastructure looking decidedly tired around the edges – and raising fears that holiday makers may defect to other, newer destinations around the globe, such as Dubai.
In order to avert this scenario the island authorities have given the go ahead to an ambitious project that is set to transform the resort once again. The centre piece of which is the creation of a new luxury marina in what is currently the Old Town harbour area. Fittingly the first birthplace of tourism in the resort and currently home to just a few old fishing boats and excursion vessels.
The new marina project encompasses the enlargement of the existing harbour walls and the addition of jetties to create mooring spaces for luxury yachts and cruisers – a move that is designed to emulate the success of the marina at nearby Puerto Calero, just a few miles south along the coastline. Which has proved enormously popular and succeeded in attracting a more affluent type of tourist to the island.
Other project initiatives include the much needed part pedestrianisation of the main beachfront strip – the Avenida de las Playas – which runs for 6km from one end of the resort to the other. And where tourists currently come a poor second to two lanes of traffic. Along with the harmonisation of the shop fronts here that currently are announced by a garish kaleidoscope of neon signage, so creating a very dated and downmarket image.
Work on the new marina is expected to be completed by May 2009 – and is sure to have a profound impact upon both visitor numbers and property prices in and around Puerto del Carmen over the years to come.