A few years ago, the high-end villa sector made up a small segment of the sizeable holiday home construction industry, spanning the entire Mediterranean coastline. Just a few years later, it is the only segment to have survived, generating wealth and employment in the small coastal area comprising Marbella, Benahavis and Estepona.
The construction of each of these houses moves over 30 different companies and professionals from various sectors: real estate agencies, banks, lawyers, notaries and registrars, architects, engineers, draughtsmen and draughtswomen, topographers, decorators, structural engineers, earth-moving companies, plumbers, electricians, stone masons specialising in marble, painters, gardeners, domotics experts, to name just a few. Once their houses are built, homeowners hire maintenance personnel, house helpers and security companies, and they pay rubbish collection and home ownership taxes.
In terms of the creation of employment, the construction of just one luxury villa (that is, a villa worth no less than €1 million) can create over 50 direct Jobs and 150 indirect ones, generating investment volumes of around €4 million.
In the year 2011, some 60 luxury villas were built in the municipalities of Marbella, Benahavis and Estepona, generating a business volume of some €250 million, in addition to 1,000 direct jobs and around 3,000 indirect jobs in these municipalities alone.
It is important to note that according to the Survey of Touristic Expenditure in Spain (Egatur), the client profile of those who invest in this type of home coincides with the profile of those who spend the most when they visit the Coast. In other words, in addition to investing more than anyone else, they also spend more than any other tourist per person, per day.
Finally, our is a high-added-value sector. It is intensive in terms of design, technology and specialised skilled work, highly sustainable and environmentally friendly, and extremely in line with the traditional image of quality and exclusivity portrayed by Marbella to the rest of the world.
We have something that few other areas in Spain can claim: a sector that continues to thrive, based on ideas deemed ‘desirable’ throughout the European Union: design, technology and sustainability.
Marbella, Estepona and Benahavis should consider high-end residential tourism as one of the pillars of positioning the touristic brand that is Marbella. They should favour (rather than impede) the natural growth of luxury villa construction, and adopt measures, which will facilitate investment, the concession of licences, and the generation of employment.
Javier Herrero Jiménez