Interview with Christopher Hara, Owner and Managing Director of Fine & Country Costa Blanca North

Fine & Country Costa Blanca North specialise exclusively in the marketing and sale of luxury residential properties in the beautiful and diverse region of the Northern Costa Blanca. 

Their dedicated multi-lingual staff offer comprehensive knowledge of the local property market and exceptional personal service for a hassle-free process for both buyers and sellers. 

Luxury Lifestyle Awards spoke to Christopher Hara, Owner and Managing Director of Fine & Country Costa Blanca North to find out about the state of the Spanish property market, the company’s philosophy and service ethos and plans for the future.  

LLA: What is the condition of the Spanish property market, particularly in the region of Costa Blanca North? 

Fine & Country: For buyers looking for investment properties to buy for a good rental yield the current ranking for the 2021 Rental Market lists 100 municipalities with higher incomes (average rent). Five in the top 25 listed in the whole of Spain are in the Costa Blanca North as the most expensive rental locations including Javea, Denia and Altea. This area which is considered one of the most expensive in Spain has seen property prices rise over a three month period. For example the average home price per m2 in July 2021 for Javea has risen  by 8.6% and Denia by 3.2% 

LLA: Are you seeing an increase or decrease in buyers at the moment? 

Fine & Country:  A steady increase as savvy property investors of all nationalities continue to buy in our region as they are looking to safeguard their wealth through European real estate purchases and don´t want to wait. 

LLA: Which parts of the region are currently proving the most popular? 

Fine & Country:  In a recent article naming the 100 municipalities with the most expensive total price (average price) in the whole of Spain 6 in the top 25 are in the Costa Blanca North Region including Denia, Javea, Altea and Calpe. 

LLA: What kind of properties are the most in demand across the area? 

Fine & Country:  Coastal properties still dominate with easy access to a wide range of yacht marinas for clients also looking to buy a boat to enjoy sailing around the coastline and to the nearby Islands of Ibiza and Formentera. Also properties with a south facing orientation so they can be enjoyed all year round not just for the summer months. There is also still a demand for inland properties as the inland areas of the Jalon & Orba valleys are more affordable yet only a 15-30 minute drive to the coast as here the “land is never far from the sea”. 

LLA: Where do most of your buyers come from? 

Fine & Country:  Germany, France and the UK dominate the search for property on the Spanish coast from abroad followed by interest in buying or renting property in Spain from buyers in the USA, Italy, and Switzerland. 

However now Sweden is looking to overtake the UK when it comes to buying property here. 

LLA: What proportion of sales go to foreign buyers?   

Fine & Country: In terms of property searches the Valencian Community where our Region is based over 40% of property searches come from foreign buyers. UK buyers amount to over 14% of property acquisition of homes by foreigners as they still continue to buy despite Brexit. We are also starting to receive more and more enquiries from clients in America and Canada looking to purchase a second home and also a permanent one to make a full transition as for most of them buying property abroad here is a lifestyle choice. Our region remains an excellent location for dream homes due to the warm weather and better quality of life.

If you are approaching retirement, it’s one of the few places in the world that will accommodate you with a high standard of living where your money will go further,  In addition to all these advantages depending on the value of the house you can also obtain the “Golden Visa”. 

LLA: How do you continue to build the excellent portfolio of properties that you offer to clients? 

Fine & Country:  We do not mass market properties we prefer quality over quantity offering a bespoke service to both the buyer and seller. 

LLA: What unique qualities does your company offer that make it the first choice for customers in the region? 

Fine & Country. We are part of the award winning Fine & Country global network of over 300 offices around the world. Clients can rest assured we are highly proficient and professional while operating to strict codes of conduct dedicated to providing clients with the highest quality of service. 

We are a legally registered SL company in Spain with over 17 years real estate agency experience here in our region. We have first-hand experience as ex-pats from the UK who moved here back in 2004 buying a property and raising a family. We understand the queries and concerns clients may have when deciding to buy property here. As such we can guide them through the process since we personally went through it ourselves and can therefore share our local knowledge and passion for this area we call home.

Our aim is to exceed the clients expectation and add value to their property needs with a personalised detailed search, negotiation, acquisition and management service ensuring they secure their dream property first time around.  

Offering a professional, personal, friendly no obligation service we have access to properties to suit all budgets and our service does not end after the sale process.  We offer a unique VIP after sales Concierge Service working with our personally selected preferred partners to assist should clients require additional services for interior design and decor, landscape gardening, private chefs, yacht/boat hire/purchase etc.  We also offer a Discreet Service for those clients wishing to remain private whether selling or buying property. 

LLA: How do you ensure you employ the highest calibre of staff? 

Fine & Country:  We employ an experienced multi-lingual team, personally selected, who are professional, approachable, skilful and extremely knowledgeable about the Region since they are either native Spanish living here or like ourselves ex pats who moved here from other European countries and above all are as passionate about the area as we are. 

LLA: What training schemes do you have in place to equip staff to provide the best possible service to buyers and sellers? 

Fine & Country. Through our Head Office in London we have regular on-line training courses to keep updated on the latest resources available to enable us to deliver a consistently high level of service which we ourselves monitor and reward our staff accordingly.   

LLA: How has your business been affected by the global pandemic? 

Fine & Country:  For us we had to quickly adapt as property viewings couldn’t  be done in person and new developments and constructions were paused.  Prospective clients were unable to travel so we focused on digital meetings to inform and prepare as much as possible offering real-time virtual viewings and online face-to-face appointments.  

LLA: What steps have you taken to ensure business has continued as smoothly as possible during this time of Covid-19? 

Fine & Country:  As mentioned above we opened our doors to a Virtual World to main the safety of our clients and our staff following strict government guidelines to reduce the risk of transmission.  Offering on-line real time virtual viewings, on-line face to face meetings and appointments.  For clients looking to sell or buy unable to travel to Spain they now can arrange a Power of Attorney that will give them the possibility to make decisions or carry out transactions that, due to movement restrictions, they would not be able to do and therefore can still proceed with buying and selling property here. 

LLA: How do you see the market developing in the future? 

Fine & Country:  I have already mentioned there is already an increase in property prices over a three month period in certain areas here due to demand especially on the coast. When it comes to new-build, Spanish construction companies in our region are very much in a healthy position and do not need to cut prices and in fact quite the opposite with recent hefty price increases.  The Spanish economy is certainly improving and the Spanish Government predicts a 7.2% rebound of GDP next year, in line with the Bank of Spain projected growth of 5% in 2021 and 4% in 2022. 

LLA: What are your plans for the company going forward? 

Fine & Country:  To continue to offer a unique bespoke service being the best Luxury Real Estate Agency in the Costa Blanca. After all here at Fine & Country Costa Blanca North we don’t just sell properties, we sell the amazing lifestyle you can enjoy here! 

About Luxury Lifestyle Awards 

Luxury Lifestyle Awards is a global award selecting, recognizing, celebrating, and promoting the best luxury goods and services all over the world. The goal of the company is to connect people with the best of luxury. LLA has evaluated more than 10 000 various goods and services in 400 categories from 60 countries and analyzed the results to give you a TOP list of the best of the best in the world. Such world-renowned brands as Chanel, Dom Perignon, and Ferrari were proudly named winners. The victory brings companies status and recognition, global promotion, and exposure to an entirely new market of customers. 

Rhapsody Magazine is media partner with Luxury Lifestyle Awards.