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The Jumeirah Effect

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June 1, 2012


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When Dubai-based Jumeirah group announced Port Sóller as the location for their first hotel in Spain, media speculation was rife that it would be a 7-star hotel. Of course, there’s no such category, but Jumeirah is a brand associated with a high degree of luxury that couldn’t fail to impact on its location, or excite its soon-to-be business neighbours. Port Sóller proudly spruced itself up, to await the arrival of the discerning clientele lured by the brand’s global marketing muscle.

It’s not the only part of Mallorca basking in the reflected glory of a new luxury development. A friend recently told me she’d moved to Port Adriano . . . then added: “El Toro, actually, but Port Adriano sounds better!” Anyone seeing the new-look Philippe Starck-designed Port Adriano would agree. Now a serious player in marina-land, it has 82 new superyacht berths, excellent and spacious technical facilities, and a large sophisticated retail/leisure area.

Having either of these prestigious new developments in your neighbourhood is likely to raise the street cred of your address – but what about impact on property values and saleability?

In the case of the Port Sóller catchment area, Stephen Dight – managing director of Mallorca Sotheby’s International Realty & Ibiza Sotheby’s International Realty – believes that the Jumeirah development is extremely significant: “The presence of a hotel of this global renown and calibre will undoubtedly change the dynamic of the area and, in time, attract a very different kind of customer here. With the Jumeirah opening, we have a very contemporary architectural structure, which has come at a massive financial investment and will gradually help to place Port Sóller on the map

“ . . . a modern, smart destination for the discerning global traveller.”

Gerhard and Regina Maurer of Sóller-based Casas Mallorca, have 16 years’ experience in the area’s real estate and report a notable increase in demand for property – though they see no direct indication that it’s related to the Jumeirah: “There is no doubt for us, however, that the new hotel will add to the attraction of the area, not just the port, and definitely bring new people who may acquire property.” Whilst they find it difficult to quantify the new development’s impact on the market, they believe “it will definitely be positive.”

Michael Cunnington of MJC Associates in Palma de Mallorca believes the area is more desirable as a result of the new hotel and improved port, but notes “demand is still slow, as in all areas. The key to all areas is price, price, price.”

In his view, property prices in the Port Adriano/Nova Santa Ponsa area have not actually increased but have probably held up better than in most. “With the marina development, the whole area has continued to be in demand. Nevertheless, there are numerous villas still for sale – many overpriced, but more negotiable. The problem, as in other areas, is finding good quality apartments, as there is now a shortage of new product in the €500K+ price range.”

Stephen Dight reports that Mallorca Sotheby’s International Realty has noticed an upswing in property purchase in and around the Santa Ponsa area, and believes that the transformation of Port Adriano has been an influence: “The vibe and quality of the entire area has been enhanced as a result of the makeover. It has now become an interesting place to visit, dine and admire the yachts at anchor.” He sounds a note of caution though: “The inevitable positive knock-on effect for the area and its property market could be held back to some extent due to Port Adriano’s decision to lock-out all but one estate agent from the port itself. Buyers could be put off by a perceived lack of choice.”

Of course, the overall state of Mallorca’s real estate market has a bearing: “We have noticed an increase in enquiries for ‘top end’ properties,” says MJC Associates’ Michael Cunnington. “But buyers have the upper hand and few owners are prepared to drop their asking prices. In most cases, we are seeing sales made at 15%-20% off asking prices, sometimes more!”

Lucie Hauri of Lucie Hauri Real Estate handles property in the southeast, unaffected directly by the much-hyped new developments, but reports growing interest from Swiss, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish property-seekers, particularly in “beautiful Porto Colom”. Increased Scandinavian interest, particularly Swedish, is similarly reported by Stephen Dight who, in recent months, has also seen more Dutch, Belgians, Russians and, interestingly, Americans. “It would seem that the Americans are looking outside the United States for property investment, and finding Mallorca appealing for its market stability and beauty as a holiday destination.” Mallorca’s new superyacht marina and five-star global brand hotel will surely only increase that appeal . . .

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Jan Edwards

Jan Edwards

An ex-BBC radio presenter/journalist living on the cosmopolitan island of Mallorca, who is assistant editor for the luxury lifestyle publication abcMallorca. Her main writing interests are in travel, food and interviewing interesting people and well-known celebrities. Jan blogs about her finca lifestyle and contributes articles to some well-known publications in the UK.