Director of Lucas Fox Madrid, Rod Jamieson, shares with us his extensive knowledge of the property market in the Spanish capital
TS: What brought you to Madrid in the first place?
RJ: I moved to Madrid at the end of 2013 for professional reasons, because it was becoming clear there were excellent opportunities in the real estate market. Following five years of crisis when everything ground to a halt and during which time property prices plunged as much as 40%, I believed this was about to end and would soon start recovering. As the capital city of Spain I wanted to understand what Madrid was all about and get in at the right time before it took off again. Although I moved here for work, I unexpectedly fell in love with the city and its incredible quality of life.
TS: What does Madrid have that other Spanish cities don’t?
RJ: Madrid is a fantastic city on so many levels. Rich in culture with many world-class museums and more than 70 different theatres, streets lined by majestic buildings with stunning architecture as well as beautiful squares and lush, green parks filled with bars and terraces. Its climate is dry and offers blue skies all year round. But what makes it particularly special is that its population is made up of people from all different regions of Spain giving it an exceptionally friendly and open atmosphere. On the international side, there are many expats living in the capital working for multinational companies or for one of the many embassies. And people are constantly out and about, meeting in restaurants and bars, going to concerts and events 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
TS: We hear the city is booming on various levels – economy on the up, property starting to move, social scene getting re-invigorated, football teams doing well. What’s your take on Madrid in 2015?
RJ: Madrid is definitely back. 2014 was the year of stabilisation in the economy and toward the end of the year we saw the first signs of growth. You can see the signs just by walking around the centre where there are new shops and trendy restaurants and bars opening every week. People are starting to find work again and international people are visiting more and more to look for opportunities. This year we will also start to see a number of new build projects come out of the ground, which are much needed to handle this sharp increase in demand.
TS: So now would be a good time to look at investing in the Spanish capital?
RJ: Yes, it is definitely the time to invest in Madrid. The important price correction over recent years has left a massive window of opportunity to acquire property in Europe’s third largest capital at exceptionally low prices, but it won’t last forever. The last quarter saw the first recorded property price increases since 2007. Regardless, Madrid remains one of the most reasonably priced capitals in Europe with excellent growth potential.
TS: How is the city changing?
RJ: You can feel the progress in Madrid, it is definitely buzzing again. New businesses are opening up on a daily basis and this is visible just walking around the streets of areas like Salamanca, Justicia and Chamberí. Bars and restaurants are full every night of the week and most of those places you need to reserve well in advance if you want a table. It is also very active culturally, with many new events showing in the local theatres. The shopping districts such a Preciados, Gran Vía and Serrano seem to be bustling every day of the week.
TS: Finally then, can you give us a sense of where the city is headed – what should we be getting excited about?
RJ: Madrid is definitely back on the map internationally. The local government is making headway in promoting the Madrid brand all over the world and tourism has now become a high priority for them. There will be an important overhaul of the Plaza España in the next year or two, and plans to regenerate the main central tourist area of the city are in process. We will also see a number of luxury residential properties develop alongside several new 5 star hotels. Moreover, if you’re investing Madrid offers a quality of life second to none, with its wide cultural and gastronomic choices, massive selection of luxury brand shopping and superb climate. Being located in the centre of Spain, it is an excellent base that gives access to the Mediterranean by fast train in under 90 minutes (Valencia), and is just over 2 hours from Alicante, Sevilla and Málaga and only 2.5 hours from Barcelona.