Arsenal play away with football village in Spain
Richard Warren in London
The English football club is backing a holiday homes development on the Costa del Sol and Gunners fans are snapping up the apartments
No sooner do Arsenal announce that their London football ground will be turned into flats at the end of this season, they record another first. The English football club is backing development of the world's first football community, in Spain.
The 96 furnished, two-bedroom holiday apartments in the 'four-star environment' of Pueblo Real Golf were offered to Arsenal fans ahead of anyone else in pre-launch sales, and they responded by snapping up 20 per cent of them.
The football village has four swimming pools, a spa, tennis courts, gym, shops and a restaurant, but sadly, despite its name and the Arsenal connection, no golf course or football pitch. There are golf courses in the vicinity.
The estate lies 1km inland between Valderrama Golf Club and the bright lights of Marbella and Puerta Banus on the Costa del Sol.
Prices start from Euro299,885 ($2.81 million) for the 996 sqft apartments which have 334 sqft terraces. Developer Interlaken is scheduled to complete the project in June 2007.
This is the first time a football club has backed a holiday homes development.
'We are always looking for ways to offer our fan base new and innovative products and services. We estimate that about 4 per cent of our supporters are considering buying a property abroad and believe that many of these fans will be interested in this development,' an Arsenal spokesman said.
Owners can let out their flats through an on site lettings service. The developer says gross rental returns of up to 9.98 per cent can be achieved.
The developer has partnered with Halifax Mortgages and a firm of lawyers to provide buyers with legal and financial support. Purchasers also receive Arsenal season tickets. A property search company specialising in Spain advised potential buyers to be cautious.
Barbara Wood, director of thepropertyfinders.com, said the Costa del Sol was heavily oversupplied with two-bedroom flats in the sales and rental markets.
'The market is so saturated that you should only buy if you are going to hold the property with no obvious desire to sell within the next five to seven years, because my feeling is that the two-bedroom market is so oversupplied that it will take that long for it to be absorbed,' she said.
She forecast prices for two-bedroom flats in that part of the Costa del Sol would fall 30 per cent.
She also said properties similarly priced to those at Pueblo Real Golf were available closer to Marbella and Puerta Banus.
She advised buyers to get assurances from independent lawyers that the project had a building licence before signing a contract.