The Canary Islands have always been a popular holiday destination amongst Europeans. The popularity is guaranteed and underpinned by the fantastic climate. The Canary Islands are as far south as you can get and still be under the protection of the EEC laws. The local Canary Island climate can quite happily out perform almost any other destination in the world. Where else would you find 95% of the houses without need for heating in winter, air conditioning in summer and mosquito nets all year round. Its a real phenomena and phenominally overlooked.
The climate is nicely regulated by the trade winds. Summer is trade wind time, so any excess heat is nicely cooled by a lovely trade wind breeze. Then in winter the trade winds stop and the temperature remains just perfect.
Recently some other investment hot spots have come up around Europe but where else can you realistically rent and enjoy your property all year round.
A volcanic chain of islands 1,500 kilometres south of the Spanish mainland, the Canaries are a thriving tourist hub, with an economy almost as strong as that of the mainland. Renowned for its stunning beaches, tropical climate and volcanic landscape, the islands have long been popular with expats seeking a balmy bolthole in the sun, making them one of the world's most popular tourist destinations. The largest and most popular of the seven islands is Tenerife, with a population of 680,000 and an area of 2,053 square kilometres. Famous for its black sand beaches, Tenerife has led the way in terms of property investment. However, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria are hot on its heels, and offer peaceful resorts and fabulous scenery.
Why the Canaries?
Regular year-round flights from the UK have helped make the Canaries a tourist hotspot. Combined with the warm weather temperatures never drop below 13 degrees Celsius and natural beauty, it's easy to see why so many people want to live here. The four main islands Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria offer 24-hour entertainment, and activities ranging from golf to watersports. There's an abundance of restaurants, bars and casinos to keep even the pickiest expat happy.
For a more cultured experience, Tenerife offers the lush Orotava valley, home to botanic gardens and banana plantations, and volcanic Mount Teide. Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and La Gomera boast contrasting landscapes that are perfect for hikers and cyclists, while there are a number of fiestas, the most notable being Tenerife's Santa Cruz carnival.
Finally, the Canaries experience a good appreciation rate and keep their value ď Tenerife is still appreciating at around 10 per cent each year. Similarly, the more up-and-coming islands offer cheap prices and promise favourable future appreciation. Coupled with the lowest VAT rate in Spain and its hard to fault the Canaries as an investment.
Where to buy
The Tenerife property market and the Gran Canaria property market have traditionally led the way, but Fuerteventura property is currently experiencing the most growth. Dozens of new developments are underway on the island, the fastest growing of which is the Caleta de Fuste 18-hole championship golfing development. Another expanding area is Corralejo in the north. Focused around a small fishing port, it's bordered by the sand dunes and beaches of the Las Dunas National Park. The area is protected from development, with buildings limited to a maximum of three storeys, plus there are a number of restaurants, along with the ferry port to Lanzarote.
Buying property in Tenerife is still the most popular destination in the islands with both holiday-makers and second-home buyers. The two main resorts are Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas for property, where a two-bedroom flat will cost an average of E250,000. If you look towards the outskirts of the main resort, you can pick up a two-bedroom house with a pool for E220,000.
Gran Canaria's biggest resorts are Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles. They offer luxury properties, although you can find some quieter residential areas away from the harbour. Prices here start at around E184,000 for a two-bedroom apartment, while a two-bedroom house with a pool averages E310,000.
Lanzarote property for sale offers a real selection, with one-bedroom apartments starting at E75,000, and exclusive villas at E590,000. The most popular and most popular areas for property investment are those of Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca and Costa Teguise. Less developed and more affordable than its neighbours, apartments here start at E124,000, while a three-bedroom villa averages E396,000.
La Gomera has become popular in recent years with the onset of ecotourism. New developments include the Valle Gran Rey, while other popular areas are San Sebastan de la Gomera, Vallehermoso and Agulo. Expect to pay E146,000 for a two-bedroom apartment, rising to E234,000 for a four-bedroom villa.
How to buy
The tried and test buying method is via estate agents. Each of the four main Canary Islands of Lanzarote, Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria are well served by very good and reliable estate agents. Most people start their research on the internet, then organise a viewing trip. Make an offer on. Take on a solicitor and complete at the notary. The system is different to the UK but certainly no less reliable. The main difference is the fact the a Notary is used. Notaries a publicly appointed officials employed to check and co-sign official docuements. They are on the side of fair play and lawful transactions.
The property market
Property appreciation in the Canaries has been around 8 and 10 per cent per year for the last few years. However, some experts predict that certain resorts may see rises of closer to 12 per cent this year. They also say that Fuerteventura is creating the most business for them. The windy island is experiencing a major upsurge in interest, although it's still possible to buy a townhouse for under E85,000. With recent years seeing price hikes of 12 per cent, Fuerteventura represents an excellent investment villas on a golfing development that cost E290,000 a year ago are now selling for E420,000. This ever-popular string of islands is showing no signs of a market slump, and huge rises are predicted for areas such as La Gomera and Fuerteventura.
Living in the Canaries
Tenerife has a large expat community in the south-west, and has traditionally attracted retirees looking for year-round sunshine, as well as those who spend the British winter in the tropics. Lanzarote is spectacular, with wonderful restaurants, nice beaches, friendly people and immaculate properties. It's clean and the locals are welcoming. However, it'a small island, and so it can be difficult to buy certain items.
Fuerteventura has a limited expat community, but the locals are friendly, helpful and great to do business with. Just be aware of the Manana effect, as they arevery slow at getting things done!
It's difficult to generalise, given the diverse nature of the islands and their population, but it's important to be aware that these are places driven by tourism, and during peak season, certain resorts can be overrun. You should be aware of timeshare companies and scammers too. Also, some people have commented that the society can seem restricting and parochial. However, if you are aware of these potential problems, then the advantages of life in the Canaries the climate, scenery, food and people will far outweigh the disadvantages.
The Canaries by numbers
-Total area: 7,447 sq km
-Total population: 1,844,000
-Population density: 247.58km2
-% of total Spanish population: 4.4%
-Foreign population: 130,000
-Economy: Tourism represents 32% of economic income
Gran Canaria: capital Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Tenerife: capital Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Lanzarote: capital Arrecife
La Palma: capital Santa Cruz de La Palma
La Gomera: capital San Sebasti√°n de La Gomera
El Hierro: capital Valverde
Fuerteventura: capital Puerto del Rosario
- The nearest island is 108 km from the northwest African coast.
Hospital las Americas, Urb. Playa de las Americas, Arona, 38040 Tenerife, Tel: +34 922 750 022
Hospital Bellevue, Alemania 4, Puerto de la Cruz, E-38400, Tel: +34 922 383 551
Hospital de San Roque Guia, Cuesta de Caraballo 11, 35300, Santa Brigida, Tel: +34 928 882 000
Hospital General de Fuerteventura, Centra Aeropuerto, KM 1, 356000, Puerto de Rosario, Tel: +34 928 537 199
Hospital General de Lanzarote, Centra Arrecife-Tinajo, KM 1 300, 35500, Tel: +34 928 801 636
Hospital Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, El Calvario 4, 38800, San Sebastian de la Gomera, Tel: +34 922 140 200
British Yeoward School, Parque Taoro, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife 38400, Tel: +34 922 384 685
British School of Gran Canaria, Centra Marzagan, 35017, las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Tel: +34 928 351 167
British School Lanzarote, Colegio Hispano Britanico, Apartado 228, Arrecide de Lanzarote, +34 928 173 066
The British School of Lanzarote, Juan Echevarria 10, 35509, Tahiche, Lanzarote, Tel: +34 928 810 085
Trasmediterranea (+34 922 796 178; www.trasmediterranea.es) provides ferry services from C√°diz to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, from Tenerife to Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and La Gomera, and from Gran Canaria to Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Fred Olsen (+34 922 628 252; www.fredolsen.es) operates from Tenerife to La Gomera and Gran Canaria, and between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.
Main roads in the Canary Islands are generally of a good standard, and mostly serve the coasts and the main tourist resorts. In Tenerife, the TF1 runs along the south coast, while the TF5 runs along the north coast. The TF24 and TF21 serve the centre of the island and the national park. Gran Canria has two main roads, GC1 serves the south coast of the island, while GC2 serves the north coast. In Lanzarote the LZ1 travels north, while the LZ2 travels south to the airport. Roads have also been completed which serve the tourist resorts of Costa Teguise and Puerto del Carmen. Fuerteventura's main roads also begin at the capital Puerto del Rosario, from which the FV1 leads north to Corralejo and the FV2 leads south to Morro Jable.
All the islands are served by cheap and reliable bus services, which have routes to the main towns and resorts. The principal company in Tenerife is TITSA (+34 922 531 300; www.titsa.com). Gran Canaria has two main bus lines, SALCAI (+34 928 939 407; www.globalsu.net) which serves the South and UTINSA (+34 928 939 407; www.globalsu.net) which serves the north and centre. In Fuerteventura and Lanzarote GUAGUAS bus service (+34 928 811 522) serves all major resorts and airports. La Gomera has its own bus service, with 4 lines including Alojera to Vallehermoso and San Sebasti√°n to Vallehermoso, Playa Santiago and Valle Gran Rey.
Property for sale in Lanzarote
Property for sale in Tenerife
Property for sale in Fuerteventura
Property for sale in Gran Canaria