What is the world’s real estate worth?

According to Savills World Research, since 2016 global real estate values have risen by 5% to an enormous US$228 trillion. This makes gobal real estate far more valuable than all stocks, shares and securitised debt put together, which currently stands at US$170 trillion. Even the value of all the gold in the world ever mined throughout the ages amounts to a paltry US$6.5 trillion in comparison.

Not only have world real estate values grown, they have grown real fast! GDP only grew by 2.3% last year, so the world’s real estate has grown faster than the world’s income! This all equates to the world owning real estate that is worth 2.8 times its GDP.  Commercial real estate grew the fastest, by a whopping 7%, only surpassed by gloabl equities which grew by 9%.

Residential real estate monopolises

The majority of the world’s real estate value – three quarters of it to be precise –is in residential property – US$168.5 trillion. Not surprising when you consider that there are 2.05 billion houses in the world. This makes the average home, in developed countries, worth approximately US$82,000.

Take North America and Europe for example – North America has 7% of the world’s population but 22% of it’s real estate, and Europe 23% of the real estate and 11% of the population. Growth potential is naturally the highest in less developed countries – with Africa having the greatest potential for growth.

Savills World Research estimate that only 34% of all this property can actually be invested in -  ie. rented or traded. Commercial property is much more ‘investable’ with 67% of it – US$21.8 trillion – available for investment.

‘Green’ property, such as farms, estates and agricultural land increased its value by 7% on last year – worth US$27.2 trillion. This section will grow as there is still scope for more land to be purchased and used for agriculture in the future. Much of this though will be in developing countries, with Africa again showing the greatest potential for growth.

Top 10 countries

10 countries have 70% of all the world’s real estate value, with China and the US making up almost half of it (42%).

China might have the biggest real estate value but real estate isn’t traded much there. It’s the mature markets like the US and the UK that see the highest volumes of trade. Investors look for  transparency and market strength, as can be seen from the graph below.

The hunt for long-term income

As an asset class there is no doubt that real estate is the world’s most important. Since the dreadful crisis of 2008 it has increased its value and and has become an attractive investment in many markets – certainly compared to local interest rates!

Real estate has always been a ‘bit special’ as far as investment categories go, you can develop it, manage it, and it changes. Years ago many investors thought that its ‘illiquidity’ made it a bit risky, but these days that’s not the case, if anything it’s the least risky of the investment options. Savills World Research came to this conclusion “We think the nature of real estate risk has changed in the new investing environment. The characteristics of real estate have a new value in the global hunt for long-term income.”

Beachfront Marbella: What does 15 million euros buy?

This is a great time to be shopping for real estate in Spain. The market is on the up and up and Marbella, especially, has begun a new era of property growth.

So you have 15 million euros to spend – perhaps you want to make an investment or move your business or quite simply live the high life (and why not?) – a large, luxury property offers many benefits. Some of these properties will sell for less than 15 million, others you will need a tad more – but they are all within this price range.

Some of these villas have interiors that are straight out of the 80s and could certainly use a make-over, others are brand-new or have just been refurbished. We haven’t taken décor into account though – the only criteria for getting on this list has been price – around 15 million euros – and location – Marbella beachfront. Some owners prefer not to publish their exact asking price, but all the villas listed here, fall roughly within this 15 million mark.

To save repetition in our descriptions, all of these villas have stunning views over the Mediterranean, exquisite in and out-door dining areas, indoor and outdoor pools, gymnasiums, spas, cinema rooms, games rooms, terraces that are bigger than the average house, multi-car garages, staff quarters and most have ‘his and hers’ dressing rooms and bathrooms.

The source of all this information has been Marbella’s longest established real estate agency, Panorama, who have two offices in the centre of the Golden Mile. Their knowledge on the Marbella market and their extensive property listings made them an obvious choice as a source of information. Under each property description you can find a link to the property on their website.


The Beach House, Puerto Banús, Marbella

This one-of-a-kind brand-new villa has direct access to the beach from its splendid 1,860 m2 landscaped gardens and is only a few minutes’ stroll along the seafront promenade to Puerto Banús.

Price: On application   Plot: 1,860 m²   Built: 835 m²   Terraces: 405 m²   Bedrooms: 5

La Perla Blanca, El Paraíso, Estepona

A beachfront villa on the New Golden Mile, located between San Pedro de Alcántara and Estepona. This villa sets the new benchmark for luxury villas in Marbella.

Price: 14,200,000 euros   Plot: 4,125 m²   Built: 1,622 m²   Terraces: 899 m²   Bedrooms: 12

View ths property on Panorama’s website

El Oasis Club, Marbella Golden Mile

This property was originally built in the early 80s for the Saudi Arabian royal family. It has been partially refurbished by the current owner. In addition to the main house there are 2 guest bungalows plus a staff bungalow. Beautiful mature garden and split-level swimming pool with superb views.

Price: On application   Plot: 4,406 m²   Built: 1,850 m²   Bedrooms: 14

View ths property on Panorama’s website

Casasola, Estepona

Luxurious beachfront residence set on extensive private grounds in the peaceful area of Guadalmina. Elegant architecture and environmentally conscious state-of-the-art design. There is also a 2-bedroom caretakers house, a 240 m pool and 2 gazebos in the tropical gardens. It features Louis XIV marble fireplaces, solar heating, solar-heated and auto-regulated pools.

Price: on application   Plot: 5,175 m²   Built: 2,043 m²   Terrace: 453 m²   Bathrooms: 6

View ths property on Panorama’s website

Los Monteros, Marbella East

This spectacular home is mostly on one level around an interior Arabesque-style courtyard with fountain, palm trees and a covered gallery. The property is divided into 2 areas: the main living space in the southern part and the guest quarters in the northern part. Next to the La Cabane beach restaurant – handy for popping out to lunch!

Price: Price on application   Plot: 3,559 m²   Built: 1,129 m²   Terrace: 494 m²   Bedrooms: 7

View this property on Panorama’s website

Puerto Banus, Marbella

This mansion is on 4 floors - all serviced by a lift - with spectacular views from the roof terrace. It’s the perfect venue for entertaining guests with a dining area seating 20 people. The lower floor not only has a huge indoor pool and bar area but a discotheque as well. Completely self contained guest house.

Price: 15,000,000 euros (reduced from 18,000,000 €)   Plot: 4000 m²   Built: 1755 m²   Bedrooms: 8

View this property on Panorama’s website

Los Monteros, Marbella East

Contemporary-style beachfront villa that was finished in 2011. The infinity pool with cascade and chill out area is really stunning and the Bermuda grass in the garden is pretty luxurious as well! We also loved the Zen-style patio with ponds and fountains that leads to the entrance of the property. Lovely interior patios and al fresco dining areas.

Price: 11.000.000 €   Plot: 1,579 m²   Built: 428 m²   Terrace: 190 m²   Bedrooms: 5

View this property on Panorama’s website

Los Verdiales, Marbella Golden Mile

Beachside villa just steps away from the Puente Romano Hotel. The mature tropical gardens of this property are just stunning, completed with a heated salt water pool. It’s the kind of property you would expect to be in the middle of nowhere, yet its centre stage on the Golden Mile. Our favourite on the list!

Price: 11.000.000 €   Plot: 1722 m²   Built: 892 m²   Terrace: 315 m²   Bedrooms: 5

View this property on Panorama’s website

Los Monteros, Marbella East

Located on one of Marbella’s best beaches this property  has a the best Master suite we’ve seen. The Spa area is aso very comprehensive with gym and adjoining massage room, Turkish bath, sauna, pressure shower and heated pool with jet stream. It’s other stand-out features are the entertaining areas especially the chill-out zone by the pool and the BBQ and gazebo. Very peaceful and zen.

Price: on application   Plot: 2700 m²   Built: 1548 m²   Terrace: 300 m²   Bedrooms: 7

View this property on Panorama’s website

Buying a second home in Spain? Follow our guide

Even though purchasing a property in Spain is relatively straightforward, there’s still an awful lot more to buying a second home than viewing a few properties. Ensure your purchase is successful by following our guide.

1) Get professional help

This is the most important point in our guide and therefore comes first – get yourself a good lawyer to represent your interests and a qualified financial advisor to deal with any tax issues. Choose these professionals before you even start looking for property. It’s very difficult to choose a lawyer long distance, so get organised and set up your professionals before you do anything else.

2) Look after the basics

In Spain, all foreigners that intend to purchase a property, work or live in the country for any length of time need an NIE number. The NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) is the identification number in Spain for everyone who is not a Spanish citizen, and both EU citizens and non-EU citizens need one. It’s your all-purpose identification and tax number in Spain. Each NIE number is dedicated to one person, it doesn’t expire and it’s non transferable. There are three ways to apply for your number:

  • in person, in Spain, at the local police station
  • in person via a Spanish Consulate abroad
  • through a representative in Spain.

Searching for “Spanish NIE numbers” on Google will show you many ‘how to’ articles detailing the whole process and the paperwork you need.

You should also open a bank account – this will put you in a strong position when negotiating as you can put down an immediate deposit if you like a property and your offer is accepted.

3) Choose a good real estate agent

This sounds obvious but it’s a crucial part of a successful purchase that is often overlooked. A lawyer doesn’t have the same expertise that an agent has. Choose an agent that has lots of experience, top notch credentials and excellent knowledge of the area. A good agent will share their market knowledge with you and after getting to know your requirements will find you the perfect property. If they don’t have this property on their books they will use their network of contacts to find it for you.

Make sure you have your team of professionals in place before you start the process of buying your second home

4) Start your property search early in the year

Start searching early in the year and make your first viewing visit during winter. If you like the property during winter you’ll love it in the spring and summer. If you’re not buying a brand-new property, seeing it during winter will highlight any problem with damp.

5) Do your research 

After you register your details with an agent they will be able to give you the coordinates for a satellite view of any property you like. Study the immediate and surrounding area closely. Go to local shops and cafes, try to really experience the place, even if only for a day or so.

6) Rental potential

Even if you are sure that you will only ever use the home for your personal use, life changes rapidly and you never know what’s around the corner. Your work could take you far away, leaving the property empty for too long, you might face financial insecurity, children might leave the nest making the house too big for your needs, or any other unforseen circumstance. Make sure the property you choose is rentable – it should be in a desirable location, access should be good and it needs be close to amenities. If you’re after a large country estate that’s not close to anything – could you section off parts of it to rent, or are there outbuildings that could be used as holiday cottages?

The purchasing process

If you are buying a property that is unfinished it’s unlikely that there will be any negotiating over the price, you will simply be expected to pay various amounts during the construction period. Your lawyer will ensure that all the necessary insurances and clauses are in the contract.

If you are buying a resale property your agent will help you negotiate the purchase price. We spoke to Christopher Clover, the CEO of Panorama – Marbella’s longest established real estate agency – for his advice on making an offer. “It’s important to remember that if your offer is too low it will not engage the interest of the seller, and might actually prove counter-productive, “ Chris advised. “An articulate offer will generally capture the attention of the vendor. We recommend getting all your points together, rather than negotiating “piecemeal”. Make your offer in writing if possible (of course, subject to contract). Points to include are not only the price, but also the deposit amount and when you are prepared to pay it, when you are prepared to complete the transaction, what you understand to be included in the price (for example furniture and fittings if applicable), and an often neglected point – that all technical equipment and installations should be in good working order. Also, if you have a second choice property you should certainly advise the seller of this fact.”

Christopher has written a highly informative article about “Finding and Buying a property” which will be extremely useful to anyone considering buying a second home in Spain. The article also contains a table of the costs involved in purchasing a property. You can read it on Panorama’s website: The Marbella Property Buyer’s Guide