Rais Rafikov | · 51 min. read


Leif & Benjamin, The Agency Marbella

Welcome to the first edition of The Agency’s Annual Real Estate Market Report on Marbella and the Costa del Sol. It is with great pride that we present this detailed exploration of Marbella – a leading European destination celebrated for its luxury and stability.

In an era marked by geopolitical tensions, Spain’s robust democratic governance and economic resilience have positioned Marbella as both a serene retreat and a secure investment haven. 

The area remains a favored destination for those seeking to protect and grow their investments in a volatile global landscape.


Marbella  has been recognized as this year’s Best European Destination by europeanbestdestinations.com – a testament to its appeal that transcends traditional sun and beach tourism. This award reflects the city’s comprehensive offerings from luxury living to high-end amenities, encompassing culture, gastronomy, and recreation. Coupled with this prestigious title is a surge in interest from major hotel chains looking to invest in the region, signaling a robust future for Marbella’s hospitality and real estate sectors.


In addition to the proposed Golden Visa program for real estate investments, Spain provides residency through significant financial investments, attracting affluent investors from around the globe. This route remains a compelling option for individuals from the United States, Canada, and China, who value both the lifestyle and investment security Marbella has to offer.

We are currently navigating through a period of significant policy divergence by global central banks, with the European Central Bank (ECB) gearing up to lower interest rates while the Federal Reserve holds steady, as both regions attempt to manage their unique inflationary pressures. The implications of this divergence for real estate investment are profound. 

The U.S. has maintained a cautious monetary stance to temper inflation, while the Eurozone addresses similar inflationary trends with different economic stimuli. And the widening of this gap could affect economic decisions on a transatlantic scale, affecting Marbella’s attractiveness as a secure investment locale. 


In Marbella, the growing interest from American buyers and international hotel brands underscores the city’s global appeal and its reputation as a secure, luxurious destination. These developments are crucial for investors considering Marbella, as they highlight both the region’s immediate appeal and long-term investment potential.


The decision to establish a branch of The Agency in Marbella was driven by the alignment of the buyer profile and lifestyle in this vibrant city with The Agency’s core philosophy. 

Marbella’s unique blend of luxury, culture, and stability provides an ideal backdrop for our clients seeking an exceptional living experience and a sound investment.

At The Agency Marbella, we bring together a team of professionals dedicated to offering personalized and expert service to each client. 

Our agents are not just real estate professionals; they are lifestyle curators who understand the nuances of Marbella’s high-end market. 

Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge needed to make informed investment decisions in a market characterized by luxury, cultural richness, and economic stability.

This report provides comprehensive insights into how global economic trends, inflation, and diverging monetary policies impact Marbella’s real estate market.

Leif Orthmann & Benjamin Beza Signatures

Thank you for your trust in The Agency Marbella. We are excited to guide you through the exceptional opportunities this European Best Destination offers, where luxury meets Spanish culture in the heart of the Costa del Sol.

Warmest regards,

01. Tourism Index: Spain, Marbella & Costa del Sol

Global tourism index: Spain & U.S. in the top position

Spain has surged ahead of Japan to challenge the United States for the top spot in the Travel and Tourism Development Index (TTDI), which ranks the world’s leading tourism powers across 119 countries. For the first time, Spain stands shoulder to shoulder with the US at the top of the TTDI, compiled biennially by the World Economic Forum.


Developed in collaboration with the University of Surrey alongside contributions from leading stakeholders in travel and tourism, the TTDI evaluates an array of factors and policies that foster sustainable and resilient tourism development.

According to the TTDI 2024, Spain has emerged as the world’s second most powerful tourism nation with a score of 5.18, trailing closely behind the United States, which leads with 5.24 points. These are followed by Japan (5.09 points), France (5.07), Australia (5), Germany (5), the United Kingdom (4.96), China (4.94), Italy (4.90), and Switzerland (4.81).

High-income economies and regions in Europe and Asia-Pacific continue to provide the most favorable conditions for tourism development. Of the top 30 ranked countries this year, 26 are high-income, with 19 based in Europe, seven in Asia-Pacific, three in the Americas, and one in the Middle East and North Africa region.

The TTDI 2024 is the second edition of the report, evolving from the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), a flagship classification by the World Economic Forum which has been published since 2007.

Marbella: Europe top destination


Marbella, the jewel of the Costa del Sol, has ascended to the top of the podium as the European Best Destination of 2024, garnering the highest number of votes in the 15-year history of the award. With more than a million participants from 172 countries, Marbella not only claimed the top spot but did so alongside other prestigious locations such as Monaco, which took second place, and Malta in third, and a selection of 20 other European hotspots, including Geneva, Batumi, Madeira, Florence, and London.

Marbella received a record-breaking 149,192 votes, making it the first Spanish city to earn this award after coming in second two years ago. Notably, 84% of the voters who chose the city as their top European destination were outside Spain.

Maximilien Lejeune, CEO of European Best Destinations, praised Marbella as a leader in excellence in European tourism. “This title rewards Marbella as a destination with a unique cultural, event-driven, sensory, and gastronomic offering; a place where you can enjoy experiences like nowhere else,” he said.


This recognition is testament to Marbella’s allure as a premier European destination, underlining its global appeal and the vibrant, diverse experiences it offers international visitors.

The 2024 edition of European Best Destinations recorded 1,096,938 votes, with 59% coming from outside the continent – a new record since the ranking’s inception – reflecting unprecedented interest from international travelers visiting Europe this year.

The awarded destinations are promoted on the organization’s travel website and through associated media outlets like Forbes USA, Condé Nast, Corriere Viaggi, and Yahoo, reaching an estimated audience of approximately 420 million travelers.

Context and values of Marbella and The Costa del Sol

Marbella has grown from a small town of 10,000 residents in the 1950s to 165,000 in 2024. Its 153 nationalities highlight its dynamic, cosmopolitan, and global character. The municipality spans about 45 square miles and features approximately 17 miles of Mediterranean coastline.


  • COMMUNICATIONS: The Costa del Sol is accessible through Málaga, Sevilla, and Gibraltar airports. Starting in May 2024, United Airlines expanded its transatlantic flight network, offering daily non-stop flights from New York to Málaga. The region also benefits from a high-speed rail network, AVE, with a terminal in Málaga, while the AP-7 motorway facilitates car travel across the Costa del Sol municipalities.
  • NATURE: Marbella’s 17 miles of coastlines are perfect for water sports like surfing, sailing, and diving. The northern mountainous area of Sierra Blanca is ideal for nature tourism, featuring the first network of trails spanning about 31 miles, awarded for its quality.
  • CLIMATE: The coastal location and northern mountains ensure a unique climate with mild winters and summers cooler than nearby cities like Málaga or Estepona. Marbella and the Costa del Sol enjoy an average of 320 sunny days a year, extending the summer season from May to October.
  • GASTRONOMY: Marbella is home to four Michelin-starred restaurants: Back, Skina, Messina, and Nintai. Reflecting its cosmopolitan feel and appeal to tourists, Marbella offers a wide variety of global cuisines, including kosher, Iranian, Arab, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Peruvian, American, and Mediterranean, catering to all tastes and budgets.
  • HEALTH: Marbella and the Costa del Sol feature a comprehensive network of private clinics and hospitals specializing in dental health, aesthetic medicine, age management, fertility, and general health, with notable facilities like Quirón, HC, Xanit, Hospiten, and Premium Clinic.
  • EDUCATION: The Costa del Sol boasts extensive, top-level educational infrastructure, and Marbella is becoming famous for families seeking excellent education for their children. The private schools here are among Spain’s finest, offering various programs for international students, including Aloha College, San José de Guadalmina, Swans International School, The American School in Spain, English International College, Colegio Alemán de Málaga, British International School of Marbella, Marbella International University Centre, Colegio Internacional Atalaya, Laude San Pedro International School, French International School of Marbella, ATLAS American School, and others.
  • LUXURY: Marbella has earned its reputation as one of Spain’s premier tourist destinations, thanks to the well-preserved beauty of its ancient Old Town and the luxury of Puerto Banús. This marina, located about three miles from downtown Marbella, is a European luxury benchmark featuring high-end brands such as Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Loro Piana, Louis Vuitton, Bvlgari, Rolex, Dior, Hermès, Loewe, Saint Laurent, Carolina Herrera, and Valentino. In 2023, Puerto Banús attracted five million tourists and contributed approximately $1 billion to the Costa del Sol’s GDP.

American Tourism in Spain Soars

American tourism in Spain is on the verge of a historic record. According to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE), Spain welcomed 337,062 American tourists in the first two months of 2024, a 23.7% increase on last year and 19% higher than the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

This year’s increase is not an isolated phenomenon. Spain was visited by a record 3.8 million American tourists in 2023, a 38.7% increase from 2022 and a 16.8% rise from 2019. This growth also translated into higher spending, which rose 50% from 2022 to $8.58 billion. Meanwhile, the average spent by tourists per trip was $2,220, equal to $307 a day at an average stay of 7.2 nights


Air connections and optimism in International travel

One critical factor for this growth is the recovery of direct air routes between Spain and the United States. In 2024 there will be 24 direct routes, the same number as in 2019, connecting 11 American cities with five Spanish cities, including the route between Málaga and New York.

Optimism among American travelers also plays a crucial role. According to surveys from The State of the American Traveler, there’s a high level of optimism for travel, scoring 7.9 out of 10 in January 2024. Additional data from Europa Press shows that 33% of respondents plan to travel internationally this year.

Profile of the American tourist

According to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE), American tourists in Spain are characterized by their interest in city visits (68%) and cultural activities (62%). Most stay in hotels (77%) or rental accommodations (11%) and travel without a tour package (81%).

Regarding the demographic profile, middle-class tourists (52%) and those with higher education (93%) are predominate. Most are between 25 and 44 years old (54.5%), with an average age of 42.5 years, slightly below the average age of all tourists in Spain (44.1 years). Couples trips are the most common (27%), followed by solo trips (22%) and family trips (18%).

Málaga: a rising destination for American tourist

The Costa del Sol, mainly the province of Málaga, is experiencing a notable increase in American tourists. Málaga itself saw 174,951 American visitors in 2023, up 26.6% on the year before.

According to tourism and hospitality report from the Provincial Council of Málaga, there were a total of 1.38 million overnight stays in January 2024 alone, a 13.7% increase on the same month the year before. Meanwhile, the total number of travelers increased by 12% to 380,056, ranking Málaga the fourth most popular province in Spain in terms of visitor arrivals.

The province attracts more than a quarter of American travelers visiting Andalusia and accounts for one third of overnight stays. Statistics from Málaga Airport show that there was a 50.9%  a year-on-year increase in passenger growth from the United States in January 2024, surpassed only by Poland (98%).

American tourism in Spain is booming, with figures pointing to another record year. Improved air connections, traveler optimism, and the appeal of destinations like Málaga are consolidating Spain as a preferred destination for Americans, benefiting the tourism sector and significantly contributing to the national economy.


U.S. Ambassador to Spain highlights Málaga as a favorite destination and business hub for Americans

Julissa Reynoso, U.S. Ambassador to Spain, shed light on the growing importance of Málaga, not only as a tourist hotspot but also as a significant business destination for American interests. According to the Ambassador, Málaga has become “a very special place” that attracts more American visitors than many other Spanish cities.


Málaga: a magnet for American Tourist and business

Americans repeatedly consider Málaga their favorite destination in Spain. This preference is buoyed by direct flights from the United States to Málaga, which have increased traveler numbers and introduced many to the charms of this part of Spain for the first time.

The appeal of Málaga

According to the Ambassador, the region’s allure is manifold. The Andalusian culture is notably open and friendly, making it particularly inviting for American visitors. “There is also a lot of history here; culture, from the theatre to all the museums in the city; the culinary options are very diverse; the weather is good; and it is also a safe place where you can walk through the streets and feel comfortable,” the Ambassador said.

TOP 3 COUNTRIES expanding business in Malaga

Rising business and tech hub

The economic landscape of Málaga is also evolving, with major global companies like Google and Caterpillar making significant investments in the province. Google, in particular, opened a cybersecurity center in Málaga in 2023, reflecting the city’s growing prominence as a tech hub. “We continually see American companies coming through the embassy with great interest in setting up in Málaga or that already have a presence here and want to expand their investment,” the Ambassador said, highlighting interest particularly in the tech and financial services sectors.

02. Urban Situation in Marbella

A look towards the future of sustainable development 

Marbella is gearing up for a significant upgrade to its urban planning, which is set to be approved by the Andalusian Regional Government before 2027. This fundamental change comes after years of operating under the norms of the 1986 General Urban Planning Plan, which was annulled by the Supreme Court in 2015. The new plan, deemed more suitable for the current landscape, will be transformational for Andalusia, being processed under the Law for the Promotion of the Sustainability of the Territory of Andalusia (LISTA).


Key processes and documentation 

The city is set to become a model for other municipalities by addressing urban planning with two essential documents as per the LISTA: the Urban Planning Plan (POU) for urban areas and the General Municipal Planning Plan (PGOM) for non-urban areas. The initial approval of the POU is expected this summer, with final approval next year, while the PGOM should be approved before 2027.

Once approved, urban planning changes will result in more than 538 million square feet of urban land available in Marbella, significantly expanding the space and potential for future developments.

Transformation of the urban fabric 

This new PGOM envisions a significant reconfiguration of Marbella’s urban fabric, introducing clear demarcation of protected areas and special environmental value zones, from highly protected to common rustic preservation areas.

Development and urban regeneration opportunities

The plan proposes transforming urban areas to allow the development of exceptional projects, such as rural hotels, taking advantage of new flexibility in land use. 

Additionally, Marbella seeks to regenerate its urban core by improving mobility and connectivity, including projects like the semi-pedestrianization of Ricardo Soriano Avenue and the creation of a boulevard on the Ronda Road, expanded to more than 52 feet wide.

Impact on heritage and housing


The PGOM also addresses the need for regeneration in areas like San Pedro Alcántara, integrating rural and urban zones and enhancing the landscape of the downtown area. 

The strategy includes the preservation of heritage areas in the southern zone and the improvement of connectivity throughout the city, facilitating access to public housing and enhancing the use of green spaces and river parks that connect the mountains to the sea.

Upgrading Marbella’s urban planning promises not only to adapt the city to modern needs but also position it as a leader in sustainable development and strategic planning in Spain and Europe as a whole. 

With these changes, Marbella will be more suitable to its changing demographics and offer a better quality of life for both its residents and visitors, maintaining its appeal as one of Europe’s most coveted destinations.

A new city model set for 2027


Marbella is poised for a significant transformation in its urban planning, with new regulations set to be approved by the Andalusia Regional Government before 2027.

Here, we detail specific transformations by area and the objectives of the new city model.

  • GOLDEN MILE: The Golden Mile, renowned for its exclusivity and high real estate value, will see an intensification of its luxurious character with a focus on developments that blend innovation with residential luxury. The plan aims to attract digital nomads and international professionals through the creation of an ecosystem that integrates advanced technology and coworking spaces within a high-quality residential environment. This includes the development of green infrastructure and improved connectivity with new road additions in Nagüeles.
  • SAN PEDRO ALCÁNTARA: San Pedro Alcántara will undergo significant urban regeneration, materializing the Green Ring and protecting key landscape areas such as Las Medranas reservoir. This development will include urban integration of rural areas like Valle del Sol and improvements to local infrastructure to foster a more cohesive and sustainable community.
  • NUEVA ANDALUCÍA: In Nueva Andalucía, the focus will be on strengthening the centrality of areas such as Puerto Banús and La Campana. This district will benefit from environmental requalification projects that will enhance sports and golf areas, transforming places like Turtle Lake into hubs of community activity and leisure.
  • MARBELLA EAST: Marbella East and Las Chapas will see a revitalization of its tourist areas, with hotel projects planned to transform the local offering and improve tourist infrastructure. This area will also see the development of new homes and services, including public housing to foster a more inclusive community.

Strategic objectives of the new city model


The new PGOM emphasizes creating a ‘Green Marbella’, promoting the expansion of river corridors and networks of green spaces that connect the mountains to the sea. This initiative aims to enhance the network of pedestrian paths and strengthen the connection between the city and its natural spaces.


The plan will promote a compact city model, recovering unused urban spaces to create multifunctional areas that include housing, facilities, and green zones. This approach aims to optimize urban land use and enhance residents’ quality of life.


Changes will foster greater diversity in housing typologies and employment zones, allowing innovation and other types of facilities to coexist harmoniously. This diversification will help Marbella attract and retain a more varied and dynamic population.


The plan looks to improve efficiency in managing resources such as water and energy while enhancing urban mobility and connectivity. This includes expanding pedestrian zones, developing new parking areas, and improving accessibility and public transport.

With the implementation of the new PGOM, Marbella not only aims to adapt to growth and modern demands but also to be a leader in sustainable development and innovative urban planning in Andalusia, Spain and beyond.

03. Spanish real estate market analysis &  foreign property investment

The Spanish real estate market continues to attract foreign investors, albeit with notable fluctuations among different nationalities. 

General Market Trends

10% decline in property purchases by international investors in the second half of 2023

The Spanish real estate market has experienced significant fluctuations in foreign investment over the past few years. According to the latest report from the Centro de Información Estadística del Notariado (CIEN), the second half of 2023 saw a notable decrease in property purchases by international investors. 

This economic report analyzes the factors driving these changes and highlights key trends among different nationalities, with a specific focus on American buyers.

Market Trends

The number of freehold Spanish properties sold to international investors totaled 63,183 in the second half of 2023, down 10% on the year before and more pronounced than the 7.2% decline seen in the first half. 

The CIEN report showed a larger decrease in transactions by non-resident foreigners (13.6%) compared to residents (7.0%). Nevertheless, foreign purchases still accounted for 20.9% of all real estate transactions in Spain, slightly higher than the 20.6% average recorded in 2022. And despite the lower number of transactions, property prices have generally held up.

American Buyers in Spain

American buyers have shown sustained interest in Spanish real estate, driven by favorable exchange rates and the country’s cultural and climatic allure. In the second half of 2023, Americans were among the top spenders, with an average price of €3,006 per square meter (or $279 per square foot), second only to Swedish investors. 

While the overall number of foreign transactions has fallen, American buyers continue to invest in high-value properties, showing solid confidence in the Spanish real estate market. Strategic locations such as Madrid and coastal areas have been particularly attractive to investors seeking both vacation homes and long-term investments.

Meanwhile, Spanish real estate continues to attract foreign investors from across the world, albeit with notable fluctuations among different nationalities. The overall decline in property purchases likely reflects global macroeconomic conditions, with sustained interest from high-value buyers still indicating a resilient market segment. 

Understanding these trends is crucial for stakeholders looking to navigate the evolving landscape of foreign investment.

Evolution of prices

According to the CIEN report, the average property price paid by international investors in the second half of 2023 increased in 13 of the 17 autonomous communities of Spain – 11 of which achieved growth above the Spanish average of 4.1%.

Navarra recorded the most significant jump in prices across the country (24.9%), with double-digit growth also seen in Galicia (12.7%). Above-average increases were also registered in Catalonia (9.1%), Asturias (9.0%), Valencia (8.1%), Andalusia (7.4%), La Rioja (5.9%), Madrid (5.5%), Extremadura (5.5%), the Balearic Islands (5.1%), and Murcia (4.2%). 

Positive price movements were also seen in the Canary Islands (2.8%) and Castilla y León (1.5%), albeit below the national average.

The only regions to see prices fall were the Basque Country (-10.8%), Castilla-La Mancha (-6.2%), Aragón (-4.0%), and Cantabria (-1.6%). 


The average prices paid by foreigners for properties increased in 13 autonomous communities, with notable rises in Navarra (24.9%) and Galicia (12.7%).

  • 9.7% BRITISH: The British remain the largest group of international investors, accounting for 9.7% of all foreign transactions in the second half of 2023. Despite challenges like Brexit, British demand remains strong, particularly in popular regions like Costa del Sol.
  • 7.14% MOROCCAN: Moroccans accounted for 7.14% of foreign property purchases, showing a strong presence in southern Spain.
  • 7.11% GERMAN: Germans represented 7.11% of transactions. However, there has been a significant decrease in German purchases compared to previous years.
  • 5.07% FRENCH: French investors have show consistent demand in the Spanish real estate market, with a preference for regions such as Catalonia and the Basque Country.
  • 3.65% CHINESE: The Golden Visa program, offering residency in exchange for property investment, has been a significant driver of Chinese investment.

Outlook for Spain’s real estate market in 2024 and 2025

Anticipated interest rate cuts, continued economic expansion, and favorable household finances support a positive outlook for Spanish real estate.

Prevailing market conditions and current property data suggest that Spain’s real estate sector will prosper in 2024 and 2025. The outlook for the industry is promising, driven by a resilient market in 2023, an improved economic outlook for 2024, and the prospect of the ECB lowering interest rates before the summer.

Anticipated reductions in interest rates

The expectation of lower official interest rates in the euro area for 2024 is already influencing market interest rates. The 12-month Euribor dropped to 3.6% in January 2024, down from its peak of 4.16% in October 2023.

Economic factors supporting the market

In addition to the likely fall in interest rates, the economic factors that supported the real estate sector in 2023 will continue to play a role in 2024, albeit with less intensity. The Spanish economy is expected to continue growing, although at a slower pace than the 2.5% expansion registered in 2023. 

This economic growth will lead to job creation, but at a more moderate pace than last year. Wage increases are expected to remain strong, at slightly above inflation, allowing households to regain purchasing power which has been lost in recent years. Additionally, household finances are expected to remain favorable, with the reduction in interest rates easing the interest burden on families.

Real Estate transactions and prices

Considering these factors, CaixaBank Research now predicts that the number of sale transactions will fall to 550,000 in 2024 – below the estimated 590,000 sold in 2023 but significantly higher than its previous forecast (510,000). Meanwhile, home price growth is expected to slow more moderately, from 3.9% in 2023 to 2.7% in 2024, compared with its previous estimate of 1.1%.

Housing supply and future projections

The housing supply is expected to grow somewhat, from an estimated 110,000 construction permits in 2023 to 115,000 in 2024. Current factors preventing a more robust revival of supply, such as high construction and financing costs, will likely persist – though they are expected to decline going forward. 

Looking ahead to 2025, CaixaBank Research believes housing production could increase more steadily if the right conditions are met, which is vital for responding to growing demand.

While Spain’s real estate market is expected to experience a decline in sales from the 2022 peak, it remains robust with sales projected to stay above pre-pandemic levels.
DATA SOURCE: Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE) – March 2024

Prices are forecasted to increase, though at a slower rate, and construction permits are anticipated to rise, reflecting ongoing confidence and activity in the market.

Real Estate market in Andalucia

The Andalusian real estate market has seen notable increases in both rental and sale prices of properties. Despite a marked decline in mortgage volumes in January, a resurgence in activity is anticipated in the second quarter of 2024. 

Property prices in Andalusia

Andalusian real estate is showing solid growth, particularly in property price increases. High demand and activity levels have led to a 12.3% rise in price per square meter (approximately $12.30 per square foot), significantly surpassing the national average of 3.5%.

This increase reflects both the market’s recovery and Andalusia’s growing appeal as a residential and investment destination. This growth rate, nearly four times higher than the national average, underscores the strength and dynamism of the the region’s real estate.

In terms of home sales, Andalusia has also exceeded expectations, with transactions surging 13.4%. This rise was supported by both national and foreign buyers, cementing Andalusia’s position as one of the most attractive destinations for real estate investment.


Price data for April 2024

In April 2024, residential properties for sale in Andalusia had an average price of $2,370 per square meter ($220 per square foot), representing a 19.3% increase compared to April 2023. 

In April 2024, residential rental properties had an average price of $12.30 per month per square meter ($1.14 per square foot), reflecting a 21.05% increase compared to April 2023. 

Price per square foot by province

Selling prices in Andalusia were the highest in the province of Málaga in April 2024, at $3,620 per square meter ($336 per square foot), while the lowest average price was seen in Jaén at $945 per square meter ($88 per square foot).

In the same month, rental property prices in Andalusia were also the highest in Málaga at $15.62 per month per square meter ($1.45 per square foot), and the lowest in Jaén, averaging $6.34 per month per square meter ($0.59 per square foot).

Sale prices in Andalusia are the highest in Málaga at $336 per square foot. www.indomio.es/mercado-inmobiliario/andalucia/

Rental prices in Andalusia

Rental market in Andalusia showed significant resilience with rental prices increasing by 3.8% quarterly

The rental market in Andalusia showed significant resilience in early 2024, with rental prices increasing by 3.8% quarterly and 10.2% annually, reaching an average of $12.30 per square meter per month ($1.14 per square foot). Nationally, rental prices have also hit historic highs, affecting over half of the autonomous communities and 14 of the 50 provincial capitals.

The primary driver of rental market volatility is the imbalance between supply and demand. The availability of homes is critically low due to many residential units shifting to tourist or shared rentals, while demand remains strong in major urban centers. This disparity is causing upward pressure on prices.

This trend has sparked a debate about the long-term sustainability of the rental market and the need for measures to balance supply and demand, and protect tenants from disproportionate rent increases.

British and Russian citizens lead the acquisitions, followed by Germans and French.

Foreign investment in Andalusia’s real estate market

Housing price stability is closely linked to the active participation of foreign investors, who continue to show strong interest in the Andalusian coast as an investment destination. According to Property Registrars, international investors conducted a total of 23,300 operations in the first quarter of the year, accounting for 14.5% of all purchases in the region.

British and Russian citizens lead the acquisitions, followed by investors from Germany and France. These investments are primarily directed towards tourist areas on the Andalusian coast, with properties intended for vacation rentals. The constant growth of tourism and employment opportunities continues to drive demand and prices in these areas, supporting activity and stability in Andalusia’s real estate market.

However, it is important to closely monitor this trend to ensure it does not create significant distortions in the local market, and to take appropriate measures to preserve housing accessibility for all citizens.

04. 2024 Real Estate Market Overview in Marbella

2024 Market market report

Home prices in Marbella have risen by 10% over the past year, with the average price per square foot at $459 in February 2024, up from $420 in February 2023. 

While Spain’s national real estate market shows signs of a slowdown, the Costa del Sol presents a contrasting, more positive outlook. Objective data, such as rising home prices and expert projections, point to a promising future for regional investment.


Home prices in Marbella

Home prices in Marbella have risen by 10% over the past year, reflecting a stable and robust investment landscape. The average price per square foot rose to $459 by February 2024, up from $420 in February 2023 and compared with just $284 in April 2019. 

In terms of areas, the most expensive is Nagüeles-Golden Mile, which commands a price of $611 per square foot, followed by Nueva Andalucía at $510, Marbella East with Las Chapas-El Rosario at $456, and Río Real-Los Monteros at $449.

In urban Marbella, the price per square foot is $394, while in San Pedro de Alcantara it’s $390. The area offering the lowest cost per square foot is Elviria-Cabopino at $344.

The average price of a home in Marbella is approximately $747,527. Homes under 1,076 square feet average $379,042, while those over 1,076 square feet command about $821,408.

Typically, homes sold in Marbella are 1,292-square-foot apartments featuring three bedrooms, situated in three-story buildings. In the broader province of Málaga, new constructions saw a price increase of 3.4%, while resale properties rose by 11.2%.

Breakdown of prices in different marbella area homes.

Quarterly & Annual Growth

According to the Property Registry Statistics, developed by the College of Property, Movable Property, and Mercantile Registrars of Spain, housing prices rose by 1.52% over the last three months of 2023. 

While this was a moderation compared to previous quarters, prices were still 5.9% higher than the year before and reached a new historical high, some 3.2% above the previous peak of 2007. Since the lows of 2014, there has been a cumulative growth of 65.6%.

Global and national market position

Marbella is ranked as the 16th most expensive city in the world for prime residences, ahead of cities like Madrid and Dubai, while Monaco took the top spot. It is the ninth most expensive municipality in Spain, maintaining competitive and attractive pricing. 

Prices for luxury new-builds or renovated apartments in Marbella range from $644 to $2,683 per square foot in premier locations like the Golden Mile – sometimes even higher for exclusive properties. Prices for newly built or renovated villas in this area vary from $859 to $1,503 per square foot.

Rental market in Marbella

The average rent per square foot in Marbella is $1.71 per month, with an average monthly rental value of $2,505 per property. Depending on the size, a studio or one-bedroom apartment rents for approximately $1,819, a two-bedroom home rents for about $2,171, while a three-bedroom fetches around $3,002.

Property valie in the 10 most expensive cities in the US vs Marbella

Marbella’s median home price of $783,631, higher than 5 of the 10 most expensive U.S. cities.
Marbella has the highest median monthly rent ($2,570), surpassing all the most expensive cities in the U.S.

How much does $1 Million of prime property buy you around the world?

In the competitive realm of global real estate, $1 million can buy you anything from a modest space in Monaco to a sprawling estate in Marbella. 

Let’s explore how $1 million translates into square footage of luxury property in various prime markets across the world, and compare these figures with what you can secure in the renowned Golden Triangle of Marbella, Estepona, and Benahavis.

  • MONACO: In the lavish microstate of Monaco, $1 million buys merely 172 square feet, epitomizing its status as the pinnacle of luxury and exclusivity.
  • HONG KONG: In this bustling Asian financial hub, you gain slightly more room at 237 square feet, though space remains at a premium due to the city’s dense population.
  • SINGAPORE: Renowned for its rigorous urban planning, $1 million in Singapore secures about 344 square feet.
  • LONDON AND NEW YORK: In these vibrant financial capitals, the same investment fetches roughly 366 square feet, reflecting their continuous appeal to global investors.
  • GENEVA: Here, $1 million will buy you 366 square feet, offering a blend of international prestige and high living standards.
  • LOS ANGELES: In the City of Angels, $1 million covers 409 square feet.
  • MIAMI: Providing the best value among the U.S. cities discussed, $1 million in Miami translates to about 646 square feet.

Luxury residential property value: Marbella’s unique position

Investors in Marbella are often surprised by the significant variation in luxury property prices across residential markets.


Below is a comparative analysis of property values in the most expensive urban locations and the most sought-after second-home destinations worldwide. These illustrate the disparity in property prices and demonstrate how the value of luxury real estate can vary significantly by location.

Looking at second-home locations, the variation becomes even more pronounced. For example, in Barbados, $1 million secures 1,539 square feet, compared with just 344 square feet in St. Tropez.

Meanwhile, Marbella – a premier destination – offers a notable 1,087 square feet for $1 million, providing a substantial amount of luxury space for the investment. 

Knight Frank Wealth Report 2024

Positioned between Lake Como (980 square feet) and Barcelona (1,184 square feet), Marbella exemplifies a balanced blend of exclusivity and value in the luxury real estate market.

These comparisons underscore the diverse landscape of global luxury real estate, highlighting both urban and second-home markets. Marbella’s competitive positioning within this spectrum, especially when compared with the most expensive U.S. cities and other international destinations, makes it an attractive option for buyers seeking substantial value in prime residential property.

Luxury living Marbella vs. U.S. cities

When considering the purchase of prime real estate with a budget of $1 million, it’s crucial to understand what this amount can secure across various glamorous locales worldwide. This exploration delves into the lifestyle and property value offered in Marbella versus iconic American cities like Miami, New York, and Los Angeles.


New York: Urban luxury

In New York, $1 million buys you just 366 square feet of living space, considerably smaller than what is offered in less dense markets. For example, an 872-square-foot apartment in the upscale Upper East Side costs approximately $1.5 million, while a 1,152-square-foot place in trendy Tribeca goes for nearly $2 million. 

For those desiring more space, such as a 3,100-square-foot apartment in Hudson Square, the price escalates to $4.4 million. The premium here pays for the city’s rich cultural scene, financial opportunities, and iconic skyline.

Miami: Sun, sea, and space 

Miami offers more bang for your buck, with $1 million securing 646 square feet of prime property. Miami’s appeal lies in its tropical climate, vibrant nightlife, and luxurious waterfront living.

A 1,313-square-foot riverside apartment in Brickell Avenue might cost around $1.4 million, while a 3,401-square-foot villa in North Miami Beach demands about $4.3 million. 

Los Angeles: Dreamy expanses

Moving west to Los Angeles, $1 million affords 409 square feet.  The city embodies the American Dream with its diverse lifestyle options, from Hollywood’s glitz to Venice Beach’s laid-back charm. L.A.’s real estate offers a mix of urban living and expansive, more private residences, reflecting its vast geographical spread and lifestyle diversity.

Marbella: Mediterranean magnificence 

Marbella provides a stark contrast if we compare it to the US real estate market.  Here, $1 million can buy you substantially more space, with prime properties ranging from 700 square feet on the prestigious Golden Mile to more expansive homes further from the beach. 

For instance, one 4,456-square-foot villa on the Golden Mile is listed at about $3.8 million, offering luxurious amenities like sea views, private pools, and tennis courts on large plots. 

One $3.2 million villa in Marbella provides 7,450 square feet of living space, including seven bedrooms and six bathrooms, set on a sprawling 47,361-square-foot plot with mountain and sea views – an unmatched offering in any of the aforementioned U.S. cities.

Lifestyle comparison

The lifestyle in Marbella is characterized by its relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere, distinguished by leisurely days spent on sun-drenched beaches or golf courses, in stark contrast to the fast-paced, vibrant scenes of NYC, Miami, and LA. 

While these American cities offer cultural depth and extensive entertainment, Marbella provides a serene escape with equally deluxe amenities but in a more laid-back setting. 

In terms of sheer space and lifestyle potential, Marbella holds a distinct advantage over its American counterparts. Property buyers with $1 million to spend will find that their money stretches further in Marbella, making it an attractive option for those seeking a mix of luxury, culture, and relaxation on Europe’s sunniest shores.

Marbella’s Golden Triangle

Transitioning to Marbella and the surrounding area, the value of your dollar is considerably more expansive, which may surprise those used to the cramped spaces of major global cities. Marbella promises a desirable lifestyle famed for its beautiful beaches, vibrant social scene, and high quality of life. For investors and homebuyers, Marbella’s Golden Triangle stands as an attractive financial investment and a gateway to a luxurious Mediterranean lifestyle that is difficult to match elsewhere.

Here’s a comparative table that organizes the square footage you can buy with $1 million from least to most across Marbella prime real estate areas, including Marbella’s Golden Triangle:

Tourist apartments: Growth & investment opportunity

Tourist apartments are experiencing significant growth across Marbella and the Costa del Sol. 

According to data published by INE in August 2023, Marbella has the fourth highest number of tourist accommodations among Spanish municipalities at 6,540, accounting for 6.5% of the total of the region. The city ranks ahead of Valencia (5,892) and Seville (5,432), and just behind Málaga (6,550).

Meanwhile, the two Spanish cities with the most tourist apartments, significantly ahead of others, are Madrid (14,133) and Barcelona (7,531) – though Barcelona has seen a substantial decline from the 17,000-plus apartments counted in the summer of 2020. 

With nearby Mijas ranking eighth in the national rankings, the Costa del Sol and Málaga have the highest concentration of tourist apartments across the whole of Spain, with 39,041 accommodations. 

Among autonomous communities, Andalusia ranks first with 79,065, followed by the Valencian Community (58,337) and Catalonia (52,026).

Spain has 340,424 tourist apartments overall, up 35,288 compared to February 2023, with Marbella accounting for 1.9% of the national total, Málaga holding 11.5% and Andalusia 23.2%. 

05. Paradigm shift in the buyer’s profile

The new profile of luxury home buyers: A generational and environmental revolution

The next decade will see a significant transformation in the profile of luxury home buyers.

The luxury housing market is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by generational changes and a growing environmental awareness. Two recent reports, The Wealth Report 2024 by Knight Frank and the Luxury Housing Market Report in Spain by Hiscox, provide a detailed view of this evolution and offer a comprehensive profile of the new luxury home buyer.


The Wealth Report highlights that over the next 20 years, a massive wealth transfer will occur from the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers to Millennials and Gen Z. This generational shift is accompanied by significant changes in how wealth is used and perceived. According to Hiscox, Millennials (born between 1981 and 1995) already represent 25% of luxury home transactions exceeding €3 million ($3.24 million) in Spain. This figure is expected to increase, with Millennials and Gen Z (born between 1996 and 2010) representing over 60% of luxury market buyers by 2025.


Both reports found that diversity and new priorities are redefining the market. The Wealth Report note an increase in women’s participation among ultra-high-net-worth individuals (or UHNWIs), rising from 8% to 11% in the last decade. Meanwhile, Hiscox highlights that newer generations, who are digital and hyperconnected, prioritize quality of life and hold high social and ethical values. Professions related to health, science, and technology are common among these individuals.


Young buyers prefer newly built or recently renovated, high-quality homes with flexible designs. The Wealth Report emphasizes the importance of sustainability, with a large percentage of Millennials committed to reducing their carbon footprint. Hiscox finds that these buyers seek green spaces, energy certifications, and common areas that promote well-being.


Most luxury home buyers in Spain are international. Hiscox notes that buyers mainly come from the Europe (specifically Germany, the United Kingdom, and France), and in recent years from the United States and the Middle East. The Wealth Report confirms that Spain had become the fourth most popular destination in the world for UHNWIs, with foreign residential investment accounting for 13.8% of the total in 2022.


Millennials and Gen Z are leading the transformation of the luxury housing market. Both reports highlight the importance of sustainability and technology in purchasing decisions. 

The Wealth Report notes that 75% of Millennials are trying to reduce their carbon footprint, and Hiscox highlights the demand for properties with energy certifications and green spaces.

The luxury housing market is being redefined by a new generation of buyers who value quality of life, sustainability, and technology. With Millennials and Gen Z leading the way, the future of luxury housing will focus on offering innovative and environmentally responsible living experiences. For developers and wealth managers, adapting to these trends will be crucial to remain competitive in this dynamic market.

06. Visa programs & Tax benefits

Requirements and benefits of the Golden Visa, Digital Nomad and Beckham Law in Spain

As the world becomes more globalized, opportunities to live and work in different countries have become increasingly appealing to many people. And Spain has become an increasingly attractive destination for investors, digital nomad professionals, and elite athletes thanks to its special visa programs and tax benefits. 

In the real estate sector, three types of visas have gained popularity in Spain among those interested in international mobility: the Golden Visa, the Digital Nomad Visa, and the Beckham Law. Below, we will examine the key differences between these visas, their requirements and tax benefits, as well as their impact on the real estate market.

Golden Visa

The Golden Visa is a program that offers residency to foreigners in exchange for investing a certain amount of money in the destination country. The requirements and minimum investment amounts vary by country, but generally apply to the purchase of real estate, business investments, or government bonds. This type of visa is usually attractive to those seeking investment opportunities and stable residency in a European Union country.

In Spain, it is known as the special residence permit for investors or residency by investment visa. First introduced in 2013, it has become a common resource for international investors.

However, the Spanish government has now announced plans to eliminate these golden visas, but has not yet specified a timeline. Its goal is to counteract real estate speculation in the high-demand areas of Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Alicante, the Balearic Islands, and Valencia, where 90% of national authorizations are concentrated.

According to José Antonio Sarria Rodríguez of Aloha Gardens Law Firm, an expert in foreign investments on the Costa del Sol, there are several points to consider regarding Spain’s Golden Visa:

  • No minimum stay is required in Spain, so the investor and their family will not be obliged to acquire tax residency and pay taxes in Spain.
  • It allows entry and exit from Spain without any limitations.
  • Investors and their families can travel freely within the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days every six months from the date of first entry. The Schengen Area is a group of 26 European countries that have eliminated passports and immigration controls at their common borders. The countries in the Schengen Area are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The Golden Visa is the only type of residency that can be applied for from Spain as a tourist, although it can also be applied for from the investor’s home country through the Spanish consulate. 

“It is very practical that, if the investor is already in Spain, their tourist visa can be transformed into legal residency with all the privileges for the next three years,” Sarria Rodríguez explains.

The benefits extend to the investor’s spouse (or registered domestic partner), minor children (or older children who are economically dependent on the holder), and dependent ascendants. 

The investment can be made through a legal entity, provided it is domiciled in a country not considered a tax haven, and the investor holds a majority stake in it.

It allows access to Spanish nationality, although continuous residence in Spain for 10 years is required in this case.

In addition to the usual requirements for any type of residency (being of legal age, having no criminal record in their country of origin and in Spain), the applicant must make a significant capital investment in financial assets, with an initial investment of any of the following:

  • €2 million ($2.2 million) in Spanish government debt securities;
  • €1 million ($1.1 million) in shares or social participations of Spanish companies with real business activity;
  • €1 million ($1.1 million) in investment funds, closed-end investment funds, or venture capital funds constituted in Spain (included within the scope of Law 35/2003, of November 4, on Collective Investment Institutions, or Law 22/2014, of November 12, which regulates venture capital entities, other closed-end collective investment entities, and amends Law 35/2003, of November 4);
  • €1 million ($1.1 million) in bank deposits in Spanish financial institutions;
  • Acquisition of one or more properties in Spain with a total investment equal to or greater than €500,000 ($540,000). For higher amounts, financing can be obtained, as long as the net investment free of financing exceeds €500,000 ($540,000).
Renewals Golden Visa

Once the investment is made, the application is submitted, and Spanish authorities evaluate the compliance with requirements. If approved, temporary residency is granted initially for three years. 

After this period, it can be renewed for five-year periods, as long as the same investment or an equivalent investment (subject to the same requirements as the initial investment) is maintained.

Digital Nomad Visa

The Digital Nomad Visa is a recently created visa designed for remote workers or digital nomads who wish to reside temporarily in a foreign country while working remotely for their employer or conducting online activities. This visa allows workers to enjoy a nomadic lifestyle while experiencing the beauty and culture of a new place. Often, countries offering this type of visa aim to attract highly qualified professionals who can contribute to the local economy.

Requirements for applying for the Digital Nomad Visa
  • Must prove employment with a foreign company or self-employment (with a foreign company). This is the main requirement.
  • Must work remotely from Spain (not an office job).
  • Must prove having an official academic qualification (e.g., university degree, business school degree, or professional qualification), or prove having three years of work experience qualifying for the position.
  • Must have at least three years of work experience.
  • Must not have resided in Spain during the previous five years.
  • Must not receive income from a permanent establishment in Spain.
Tax benefits for the Digital Nomads
  • All income and assets maintained abroad are not taxed. In other words, any worldwide source of income is exempt from taxes (similar to the popular non-resident tax regime in the United Kingdom). For example, if you earnown €8 million ($8.6 million) in the U.S., this will not be taxed in Spain as you are considered a non-resident for tax purposes (legal fiction). However, administratively, you are considered a resident in Spain for all purposes.
  • Digital Nomad Visa holders only pay taxes on income earned from remote work in Spain for a foreign employer. They will pay a flat tax rate of 24% on the first €600,000 ($648,000) of annual gross income for a period of five years.
  • Not required to file a 720 income tax return (unlike Spanish tax residents).
  • Not required to file the Wealth Tax return (unlike Spanish tax residents).
  • Can request a tax payment deferral for the first and second year without penalties or interest (as is customary). For other tax agencies, they are formally considered tax residents in Spain.
  • The Digital Nomad Visa aims to attract high-level professionals who want to move to Spain, alone or with their families, and enjoy better living conditions. With a Digital Nomad Visa, you get the best of both worlds: enjoying all the benefits of being a legal resident in Spain, while being treated as a non-resident for tax purposes, paying few or no taxes.

Beckham Law

The Beckham Law, known as the ‘Impatriate Law’ in Spain (promoted in 2003 coinciding with the football player’s signing by Real Madrid), is a special tax regime designed to attract highly qualified foreign professionals and elite athletes. 

This legislation allows beneficiaries to be taxed more favorably than Spanish citizens during their first six years of residence in Spain. Although this law is not directly linked to the purchase of properties, it can have an indirect impact on the real estate market, as some beneficiaries may choose to invest in real estate during their stay in the country.

In summary, each of these visas offers different benefits and opportunities for those seeking to reside in a foreign country. The Golden Visa is ideal for investors looking for stability and business opportunities in the European Union. The Digital Nomad Visa attracts remote workers and digital nomads who want to experience new places while maintaining their work style. Lastly, the Beckham Law is attractive to highly qualified professionals and elite athletes seeking tax benefits in Spain.

In the real estate market, these visas can influence the demand and preferences of international buyers, and it is essential to be informed about the regulations and opportunities they offer to make well-informed decisions when investing in properties.

Tax benefits for Beckham Law
  • Income tax in Spain. The first €600,000 ($648,000) obtained from a source in Spanish territory will be taxed at a fixed rate of 24% (instead of the standard top marginal rate of 47%). This results in significant tax savings, even for incomes sourced exclusively within Spanish territory.
  • International income. It is in this area where the Beckham Law’s tax regime truly stands out. The Spanish tax authorities only impose taxes on income generated within Spanish territory. Therefore, any other worldwide income source is exempt from taxation (similar to the popular non-resident tax regime in the United Kingdom). It is important to note that this unique tax advantage is highly attractive for taxpayers with significant income, assets, and interests abroad.
  • Exemption from filing the 720 income tax return.
  • Exemption from filing the Wealth Tax return.
  • Five-year period plus one. Due to its exceptional tax benefits, the government has set a time limit for enjoying these incentives. These apply during the fiscal year of relocation and extend for the subsequent five years (a total of up to six years).

07. Final Insights

Marbella: a prime destination

In recent years, Marbella has emerged as a prime destination for American buyers and investors. Located in the heart of Spain’s Costa del Sol, Marbella is celebrated for its luxurious lifestyle, cultural richness, and economic stability. As geopolitical tensions persist globally, Marbella offers a serene retreat and a secure investment haven, attracting affluent individuals from the United States and beyond.

Key highlights and market trends


In Marbella, home prices have increased by 10% over the past year, with the average price per square foot reaching $459 in February 2024, up from $420 in February 2023. The Golden Mile remains the most expensive area at $611 per square foot.


Marbella was named the Best European Destination by europeanbestdestinations.com in 2024. The city has seen a significant rise in American tourists, contributing to its global appeal.


Marbella is undergoing significant urban planning changes with new regulations set for approval by 2027. This includes the development of sustainable infrastructure, enhancing connectivity, and creating green spaces.


Despite a 10% decline in foreign property purchases in Spain during the second half of 2023, American buyers remain highly active, investing in high-value properties. The average price paid by Americans was €3,006 per square meter.


Spain offers attractive visa programs such as the Golden Visa, Digital Nomad Visa, and Beckham Law, which provide residency and tax benefits to foreign investors. These programs are particularly appealing to American buyers looking for stability and investment opportunities.


The luxury housing market in Marbella is evolving with a shift towards sustainability and technology. Millennials and Gen Z, who prioritize quality of life and eco-friendly properties, are leading this change.


Globally, Marbella ranks 16th in luxury property value, offering substantial space compared to other prime markets. For instance, $1 million buys 1,087 square feet in Marbella, compared to 646 square feet in Miami and 366 square feet in New York.


Rental prices in Marbella have also surged, with the average rent per square foot reaching $1.71. The demand for tourist apartments is growing, contributing to the city’s robust rental market.


The economic outlook for Spain’s real estate market in 2024 and 2025 is positive, driven by anticipated interest rate cuts, continued economic growth, and favorable household finances. This will likely sustain the growth in Marbella’s real estate sector.


Marbella benefits from excellent connectivity, with direct flights from major American cities to Málaga and a high-speed rail network. This accessibility enhances its appeal as a preferred destination for American investors

Marbella’s real estate market is experiencing a dynamic shift, driven by rising property values, urban development, and increased foreign investment. The city’s strategic initiatives, coupled with its luxury offerings and favorable economic conditions, make it an attractive destination for American buyers and investors. As Marbella continues to evolve, it stands poised to maintain its status as a premier European destination for luxury living and secure investments.