Cartagena, located on the Mediterranean, is the second largest city in the Autonomous Region of Murcia, Spain. To say the city is historic is something of an understatement. The port city was founded during the Punic Wars, when Carthage, from which Cartagena gets its name, was in conflict with Rome. One of the most important places in the region – economically speaking – for two millennia, Cartagena is now at the centre of the much vaunted property recovery in Murcia. With the Spanish government proudly proclaiming modest economic growth in the country over the previous quarter and upwardly revised employment figures, you might be forgiven for thinking that Murcia’s property prices are in step with those of the rest of the country. However, Murcia appears to be well ahead of other regions in Spain and the coastal resorts of the province – and Cartagena in particular – are the real hot spots that are receiving the most interest from investors. But, why?
Unlike many of the larger Spanish coastal cities, Cartagena remains utterly distinctive. The city, for example, retains plenty of Roman architecture and buildings that date back to medieval times. You simply won’t find block upon block of high rise flats and overly sprawling hotels here – something that is undoubtedly a problem in other regions of the Iberian Peninsula, especially when they are largely empty. During the first half of the last century Cartagena really boomed, largely due to the local mining industry, and the town is jam-packed with buildings that evoke the Art Nouveau era. A typical example would be either the city’s casino or the City Hall which sport some wonderfully intense decorative motifs. Like Barcelona, further to the north, Cartagena’s architecture reveals its history in way that is simple to take in. All you have to do is walk down the street.
Without the encumbrance of large concrete monolithic blocks, which largely put off would-be investors, Cartagena’s luxury villas and top end apartments have attracted much interest in the recent past. This is perhaps because they tend to have been developed in modest groups. Despite (or perhaps because of) the distinctively Spanish feel to the city, the property market has recovered to an extent that neighbouring regions can only envy – something that many put down to overseas investment. Traditional foreign investors in the Spanish villa and holiday apartment market – people from the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, for example – have been augmented by Russians and Middle Eastern buyers. With interest in Cartagena’s available holiday properties coming from diverse areas of the world, it is hardly surprising that many locals now see the time as being right to get in on the act and invest as well. Property prices in Murcia remain relatively modest for now, but who can say for how long that will continue?
When it comes to Cartagena as a place to invest in property, many see its potential as a source of rental income. Buyers in the holiday rental market are often as attracted by the city’s beach as they are by the historic buildings. There are plenty of wonderful sandy stretches that can be reached conveniently from the centre of Cartagena and these include Mar de Cristal, Cavanna beach, Barco Perdido and Cala del Pino. The city itself boasts a charming municipal beach, named El Portus.
If you are looking for properties for sale in Spain, then you may well detect that something has changed in recent months. And, if you look at a centre of economic buzz, like Cartagena, then you can tell that there really is a discernable trend that many investors have already taken advantage of.