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Location Feature - Alhaurin el Grande, Malaga, Spain

During Roman times, the settlement was thought to have been blessed by the gods due to its fertility, favourable climate and proximity to precious mineral deposits. This led the Moors to later name the town Alhaurin, literally meaning the Garden of Allah. The town has undergone many tribulations, including an earthquake in 1680, various plagues, and numerous invasions and occupations by the French, Romans, Moors and others. Today, it's a prosperous town with a population of 27,000, of which roughly 2,000 are foreigners. Why buy there? Only a short drive from Malaga's famous beaches, and close to the Sierra Nevada ski resorts, Alhaurin el Grande is perfectly situated for those seeking a traditional area untouched by tourism, yet close to all the attractions and amenities of the Costa del Sol. It's close to Malaga's major cities, being just south of Coin and north of Mijas, and it's only 15 kilometres from Malaga airport.

It lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty, with a number of lakes and waterfalls in Barranco Blanco, while to the southeast are extensive forests, pock marked with Neolithic remains. Alhaurin el Grande enjoys an average annual temperature of 17 degrees Celsius, and is a pretty town with whitewashed houses and colourful shutters. There are a number of attractions, including the 12th century Moorish Archway, the old Arabic fort and the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, with its Roman columns and town church. The Churches of La Ermita de San Sebastian and El Convento y las Agonias are also well worth visiting. The town is famed for its many traditional celebrations, including the Feria de Mayo and El Dia de la Cruz in May, Dia de Jesus in June, and the Dia de la Virgin in August.

In addition, the Easter week celebrations attract tourists from across Europe. Improvements are currently being made to the areas infrastructure. However, there are already two golf courses nearby, while the surrounding countryside offers plenty of hiking, cycling and climbing opportunities. Where to buy Within Alhaurin el Grande, there are a number of properties to choose from, in fact, one estate agent alone has over 400 properties on his books. For 165,000 Euros, you can find a four bedroom townhouse, while out of town, a semi detached finca can be yours for as little as 184,000 Euros. At the other end of the scale, if your budget allows, you can choose to purchase an exclusive villa, with a swimming pool and 25,000 square metres of land, for 435,000 Euros. Alternatively, 250,000 Euros will get you a two bedroom villa located in one of the town's urbanisations. There are also a number of bargains to be had in the surrounding areas. Northwest of Alhaurin is Coin, which has a foreign population of over 1,700. This is a busy commercial town with a number of attractions, including the famous shrine of Nuestra Senora de Fuensanta.

Popular with English buyers, there are many traditional properties for sale, with more modern developments also springing up around the town. Prices start at 58,000 Euros for a plot of land, while a three bedroom apartment can be found for 89,000 Euros. A renovated townhouse costs around 230,000 Euros. Recently, there has been a boom in developments in Alhaurin de la Torre, which is situated to the east of its namesake, Alhaurin el Grande. With citrus groves and avocado orchards providing a stunning backdrop to the residential areas, around 1,700 foreigners live here, and you can buy a townhouse requiring renovation for around 148,000 Euros. The small town of Alora, 40 kilometres north of Malaga, is a typical pueblo blanco (whitewashed village). With 1500 foreign residents, this tiny village is set on a hilltop, boasting spectacular views and traditional values. There are a number of plots of land for sale, all with stunning valley views, and a plot of 3,000 square metres costs as little as 50,000 Euros. A country house can be yours for a mere 70,000 Euros, while a three bedroom village house sells for an average of 300,000 Euros. The property market Over the last few years, inland Spain has seen demand for property rise steeply, fuelled by foreign buyers.

Some areas have seen appreciation reaching 35 per cent per annum as investors attempt to find a more authentic, rural lifestyle. These high rates of appreciation, coupled with affordable property, make the area an excellent investment. The increased number of budget flights to the area has also helped to fuel this demand, as has recent investment in infrastructure. Improvements include the arrival of the bullet train, which now travels from Madrid to the city of Bobadilla, and the opening of an international airport in Antequera. Consequently, areas within commuting distance from Malaga, such as Alhaurin and the Guadalhorce Lakes, have seen a huge rise in popularity. Of course, with over 2.6 million foreign residents in Andalucia, it's also not surprising that many buyers have been forced inland. There are many nationalities purchasing property in Alhaurin, and demand from foreign buyers is high, especially within urbanisations such as the Alhaurin Golf and Country Club development. With strict building regulations in place, fincas to renovate and traditional whitewashed townhouses and extremely popular, and this has caused prices to increase significantly in recent years. Nevertheless, property in this area remains significantly cheaper than on the coast.

Prices have been going up by between 17 and 20 per cent annually, yet compared with the coastal resorts, the cost of a property is a staggering 30 per cent lower inland. For example, a two bedroom apartment in Marbella will set you back by an average of 378,936 Euros, while in Alhaurin, you can buy a similar property for 153,000 Euros. Typical properties There's a healthy mix of the old and new in Alhaurin. Property in the area includes newly built apartments in the centre of town, while there are a number of villas available in the urbanisations on Alhaurin's outskirts. Look outside of Alhaurin's boundaries and there's a plethora of cortijos and fincas to be found in the surrounding countryside. Most buyers are looking to purchase a traditional country home, complete with two acres of land and some fruit trees. Wherever you buy, given the geographical situation of Alhaurin, property is virtually guaranteed stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valley. Lettings Inland Spain is a popular holiday destination, especially inland Malaga. It's important to recognise that the lettings market inland is different to the coast, though.


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