Palma is a stylish, intimate city with interesting architecture and a medieval quarter. It’s only 10 minutes from Palma airport, the 3rd busiest airport in Spain which took 22.7 million passengers in 2014.
Mallorca is the main superyacht hub of the western Mediterranean & Palma provides yacht servicing companies and a skilled workforce in the shipyards to repair and refit throughout the year. Countless luxury yachts cruise Mallorca’s waters, from the 92 metre “Tatoosh” owned by Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, to the 119 metre “A” owned by Andrei Melnichenko and reminiscent of a luxury submarine. Following its debut in 2013, the Palma Superyacht Show is now a firm fixture on the yachting calendar in early May. The Superyacht Cup Palma is the longest running super yacht sailing regatta in Europe & consistently attracts the most prestigious sailing yachts from all over the world in June.
Why buy property in Palma?
- Palma is a supremely liveable, safe city with lots of character. There are buzzing shopping streets, markets and designer emporiums. It encompasses every type of dining experience, from lively pavement bistros to sophisticated restaurants with international & oriental cuisine
- You’ll never be bored. There are fiestas year round, sporting events, art exhibitions, cinemas & clubs
- 20.2% of Palma’s 425,726 official residents are foreigners, of which 9.66% are from the EU
- Finding your way around is easy and there are ample underground car parks
- Public transport is cheap and reliable. A bicycle lending scheme for residents is in operation with hire points across the city
What you should know about property in Palma
- Property in the city consists largely of apartments. The higher you go, the lighter & more expensive they become, with a premium for outside space
- Traditional features (terracotta tiling/wooden beams/Santanyi stone window surrounds) and good views can bump up the price whilst apartments in palacios with Mallorquin courtyards or seaviews will be considerably more
- Only 5% of residents have parking space in the old city, using swipe cards for access controlled by automatic bollards. Elsewhere, parking concessions are available in many of the underground car parks. Each has a designated catchment area which is worth checking
- Palma Council enlisted the support of six professional guilds to help the city’s buildings pass the mandatory Technical Building Inspection (ITE), introduced in 2009. All buildings over 25 years old are affected, requiring inspection of the walls, roof & structure every 10 years.
- In the Casco Antiguo (old city), renovation programmes are still in evidence, with facadism often favoured (a compromise between demolishing and rebuilding, retaining the front elevation) sometimes incorporating the typical Mallorquin, glazed “winter balcony”
- Sea views can be found on the roof terraces of penthouse apartments & lofts in the old city & on the Paseo Maritimo, the waterfront road passing south of the city. To the west, El Terreno offers interesting sea views to the port of Palma & cruise ship docks whilst in the hills above it, Bonanova offers panoramic views.
- Make careful legal checks with the coastal authorities on any frontline property
Properties in Palma
Calatrava The cathedral of La Seu, whose construction began in 1230, dominates this historical area of labyrinthine streets. Palaces from the 17th century are interspersed with townhouses & apartments within gothic buildings. To the south, the cathedral park lies on land reclaimed from the sea in the 1950s.
La Lonja Formerly part of the harbourside scene, this area lies just west of the cathedral. The famous Abaco bar can be found here off the square.
Santa Catalina A lively area with a covered market, café culture, bistros & boutiques.
Portixol An old fishing quarter, with a scallop shaped beach, Portixol lies 15 minutes’ walk east of Palma cathedral. A very picturesque scene, with low rise houses interspersed with little tapas bars & excellent seafood restaurants. The quirky Hotel Portixol overlooks the harbour & the Club Nautico. You can walk or cycle along the sea front further east, towards Molinar & Ciudad Jardin, or west alongside the Paseo Maritimo to the old docks.
Properties on the outskirts of Palma
Son Vida This 5 square kilometre residential estate in the hills north west of Palma was originally owned by Mateu Vida in the 16th century. Purchased by an American, Steve Kusak, with three of his colleagues from the Flying Tigers in 1959, it subsequently became home to the Castillo Son Vida luxury hotel in 1961. The adjacent golf course opened in 1964. Classic, luxury villas with views to the golf course start at €3.5m.
Plots are generally large & many of the prestigious, luxury villas have panoramic views over the city and the bay of Palma. There are a small number of contemporary properties for sale and several plots available with contemporary projects, some with licences. An approach road is partly constructed, planned to by pass Son Rapinya.
Genova Overshadowed by the 14th century, circular Bellver castle, Genova is a village west of Palma city renowned for several restaurants serving traditional Mallorquin fare. A number of contemporary builds have sprung up on the pine covered hill above the village. Privacy may be an issue.
SE of Palma Beyond the airport lie several residential urbanisations off the coast road to Cap de Regana – Son Veri Nou, Cala Blava, Bellavista, Maioris, Bahia Azul, Bahia Grande & Tolleric. Popular with spanish city commuters, the furthest is just 15 minutes from Palma. Flat topped cliffs rise higher & higher the further you drive around Palma bay so water access is restricted. There is no tourist infrastructure. Local facilities are limited to one shopping precinct at Maioris for the whole stretch. Prices are very favourable. Detached villas start at €600,000.
Palma in 2015
Commercial property values increased by 8.4% in the Balearic Islands in 2014, whilst they dropped by 2.5% on average in Spain. In 2014, several acquisitions of buildings were made by groups of private investors. These included the fifteenth century building “Can Puig” on the prestigious Borne, bought by a British group. The Indetex group bought the Cine building, also on the Borne, for 35 million Euros. A group of German investors bought a former bank in Plaza Espana to convert to a Muller superstore.
Commercial rentals attract as much as 175 Euros per square metre per month in the Borne, which is considered the best area in Palma. Jaime III will fetch 150 Euros, Jaime II 115 Euros & Calle Sindicato 75 Euros. Outlying areas such as Calle Aragon will fetch around 20 Euros per square metre per month. Investment in hotels has also continued unabated. The Posada Terra Santa & Can Alomar opened in 2014, together with the newly renovated Hostal Cuba. There are plans for two more luxury hotels in Calatrava, together with a five star hotel in Plaza San Francesc due to open in March 2015.
Palma’s old quayside (Muelle Viejo) beyond the cathedral has finally been converted to a pedestrian zone with a new complex offering rental space for shops, office, restaurants & bars with terrace space overlooking the water. There are plans to create 26 berths, including 2 for yachts up to 40 metres. In previous years The Balearic Island Ports Authority (APB) has cleared the area for up to 20 large sailing yachts taking part in the annual Superyacht Cup.
Across from Portixol harbour, work on Palma’s congress centre finally restarted after grinding to a halt two years ago due to lack of funds. The Balearic government will now cover the 356 million Euros needed to finish the job. The prestigious building will provide a central auditorium, several conference halls with a capacity of 2,400 delegates, a café and hanging gardens overlooking the bay of Palma. Alongside this is the shell of a 9 storey, five star hotel. The winning design, awarded to Spanish architect, Francisco Mangado, will resemble a gigantic fish on the shore, with laminated glass panels like shimmering scales. Close to the congress centre, the old GESA (electricity board) building, a landmark structure of bronze glass, is now protected.
The project to enlarge the harbour of Molinar has been redrawn after public protests. The plan sees the harbour area enlarged to 40,000 square metres instead of the original 70,000 square metres, with 100 extra berths.
Thanks to an agreement between the Balearic Port Authorities & Palma’s Tourism Foundation 365, free wifi is to be extended. The free internet connection will cover the stretch of coast between the Can Pere Antoni beach & Dique del Oeste, including the docks at Pelaires, the Paseo Maritimo area & the Moll Vell area.
Property prices in Palma
- Prices in Palma are dictated by a very large number of factors – exact location, size, type of outside space, type of view, orientation, whether there are traditional features & whether the property needs renovation. A lift & parking space add to the price.
- The “Casco Antiguo” or old part of the city is in great demand, with areas such as Santa Catalina also very popular. Prices start around 150,000 Euros for a one bedroom studio. The number of character apartments with private outside space in these areas is limited & often they change hands without hitting the open market. There is more choice if you are prepared to compromise with a roof terrace which is for communal use. A two bedroom apartment with access to a community roof terrace may cost upwards of 250,000 Euros whilst a one bedroom apartment with access to a private terrace upwards of 350,000 Euros. A two bedroom apartment with private terrace off the living level can easily cost more than 500,000 Euros.