House Hunting in … Spain

This seven-bedroom house is built into an oceanside cliff outside the village of Zahara de los Atunes, in the province of Cadiz, on the southwestern coast of Spain. The house is about 50 miles south of the popular port city Cadiz and 50 miles west of the Rock of Gibraltar.

Built in 2014, the 0.40-acre property is part of Atlanterra, a housing development surrounded by protected parkland, said Alba Fernandez, an agent with Atlanterra Inmobiliaria, which has the listing. The development will eventually have 300 homes, with plots starting at about a third of an acre, Ms. Fernandez said, and 225 have been built so far.

This one is 3,864 square feet, with a pool, expansive Atlantic Ocean views and an open floor plan. The living room is to the right of the front entrance, with a fireplace, built-in shelves and sliding-glass doors leading to the terrace and pool. The floors are polished concrete, with porcelain tile on the terraces.

The kitchen is at the rear of the ground floor, with white laminate counters, an island with a range and Bosch appliances. A dining area with a wood table that seats 12 is nearby. The kitchen overlooks an outdoor barbecue area that backs up against the cliff. The furniture is included in the asking price, Ms. Fernandez said.

There are four bedrooms on the ground floor with en suite bathrooms, arranged in separate, two-bedroom apartments, each with its own entrance.

An open wood staircase leads to the second floor, where there are three more bedrooms. The master suite has a walk-in closet and opens to a large terrace with an outdoor shower. All the bedrooms have air-conditioning and windows with ocean views.

The pool deck is enclosed by a security fence on the ocean side, with the rock wall providing the boundary for the back of the property. A cave in the rock wall is accessible from the property. There is no garage, but the driveway has enough room to park three cars, Ms. Fernandez said.

This area of Spain, called the Costa de la Luz, is home to sandy beaches and several picturesque fishing villages. The Atlanterra development is accessible from the only road leading south from the fishing village of Zahara de los Atunes, about two miles from the house. The village is known for its tuna fishing techniques, which date to Phoenician times, and for its chiringuitos, or beach bars, with live music.

Cadiz, which has a population of about 115,000, is one of the oldest cities in Western Europe, with archaeological sites dating back more than 3,000 years. The city, on a small island off the western coast of Spain, attracts tourists with its old town, historic sites and golden beaches. There are three airports in the area served by Europe’s budget airlines; the closest is in Jerez, about an hour’s drive from the house.

Spain’s housing market is still recovering from the global economic crisis of 2008, when prices fell more than 40 percent in some areas. In the first quarter of 2019, prices were up 6.8 percent compared to a year earlier, according to figures from the National Institute of Statistics. But sales volume and pricing trends vary by region, with homes in large cities like Madrid and Barcelona commanding higher prices than those in other areas.

“Spain is very much a two-tier market, with demand in cities and on the coast on the one hand, and areas with little or no demand on the other,” said Mark Stucklin, the owner of Spanish Property Insight, a website that tracks the market. “Sales are still growing after five years of recovery, but there are signs that demand is cooling down a bit.”

Many popular tourist destinations still have a large supply of homes built during the surge in construction from 2005 to 2007. In 2009, at the peak of the housing glut, there were about 650,000 new homes on the market, according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

The Costa de la Luz — which stretches from the southernmost tip of Spain up to the eastern border of Portugal and includes Cadiz province — has rebounded faster than other regions, agents said. In the past year, it has been one of the hottest areas in the country, with sales volume up 13 percent from a year earlier, according to Institute of Statistics data.

“Our market is quite active at the moment,” said Lydia Ruiz, the head of the Sotogrande office of Kristina Szekely Sotheby’s International Realty. Many of the buyers are “second- and third-home buyers and investors,” she said, with beach and golf-course properties attracting the most interest.

While most sales in the region are of homes priced below 300,000 euros ($338,000), the high end of the market is “in one of its best moments compared to recent years,” now that banks are more open to lending, said Constanza Maya, the head of operations in Spain for Engel & Völkers.

Sales in the Atlanterra development have maintained “a level of gradual and moderate growth,” Ms. Fernandez said. “Our clientele does not depend to a large extent on the economic fluctuations of the market.”

The city of Cadiz tends to appeal to buyers looking for a quieter lifestyle than they could find in places to the east on the Costa del Sol, agents said. It also attracts more Spanish buyers than other coastal areas, which are often dominated by foreign buyers, Ms. Maya said.

Cadiz is known as the “beach of Seville and Madrid,” thanks to easy access by train and plane, she said.

Ms. Fernandez said that about 30 percent of her clients are from outside Spain, primarily from Belgium, Switzerland and Germany, although she has some American, British and Austrian buyers as well.

Ms. Ruiz said that about 20 percent of her clients are Spanish, while half are from elsewhere in Europe, and the rest are “from anyplace in the world.”

There are no restrictions on foreigners buying property in Spain. But buyers should be aware that the lack of transparency, a bureaucratic planning process and high transaction costs can make it “riskier than you think,” Mr. Stucklin said.

“Do your research to find out all the common pitfalls of buying property in Spain before you even start looking at property,” he said, because “once you start, it’s easy to get carried away.”

Buyers typically hire a lawyer to monitor the transaction and research the title, making sure there are no liens on the property. Mortgages are available to foreign buyers, but expensive, agents said.

Spanish; euro (1 euro = $1.13)

Buyers can expect to pay a transfer tax of 8 to 10 percent of the sale price. Notary, property registration and lawyers’ fees typically add another 2,700 to 4,500 euros ($3,000 to $5,000) to the cost.

The seller is responsible for paying the agent’s commission, which is 3 to 6 percent of the sale price.

The annual property tax on this home is about 2,500 euros ($2,800), Ms. Fernandez said.

Agustin Viqueira, Atlanterra Inmobiliaria, 011-34-956-43-91-51; atlanterra.com

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