Moving to Málaga
One of the oldest cities in the world, prized by the Phoenician, Roman, Moorish and Christian civilizations, Malaga has a rich and multifaceted history. The large number of remains and monuments scattered around the city make it a site of significant historical interest and, along with the warm mediterranean climate and sandy beaches, attract over a million visitors every year.
Relocating to Malaga though is the path less trodden among expats. Most opt for smaller towns in the vicinity rather than heading for the sixth largest city in Spain. But if you’re looking for the culture, variety and opportunity that only a city can offer then Malaga, the economic centre of the Costa del Sol, is an obvious choice.
Malaga has made a big push in recent years to attract investment and has managed to significantly increase the size of its technology, transport and logistics sectors. This diversification has arrived at a good time to offset the shrinking construction industry - a phenomena seen across Spain since the onset of the recent financial crisis.
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Malaga is well served by an international airport, a high speed rail system and a road network that makes it an ideal base for exploring the region.
Moving to Málaga from the UK
Spain’s economic woes of late can be looked at in two ways: for those of working age it dramatically reduces the chances of finding employment in Spain if you move there without a job; for retirees it has created an opportunity to pick up property relatively cheaply in a warm, affordable region only a short flight from the UK.
While property prices in Malaga have remained relatively stable since the global financial crisis, avoiding the large drops seen elsewhere in the country, property is still much more affordable than in the UK.
Large numbers of expats can be found in the satellite towns of Churriana and Alhaurín de la Torre to the west and Rincón de la Victoria to the east.
You can currently pick up a three bedroom villa with a swimming pool in Alhaurín de la Torre for about €170,000 (£146,000) or in Rincón de la Victoria for about €210,000 (£181,000).
In the City of Malaga itself a three bedroom property will cost closer to €330,000 (£284,000). Churriana is the most exclusive of the named areas - a three bedroom villa with a pool here goes for close to €900,000 (£774,000).
Property transfer tax in Andalucia is charged at 8% for properties up to €400K in price, rising to a maximum of 10% for properties over €700K.
Comparing Málaga vs London
Malaga has a subtropical-mediterranean climate which provides warmer summers (average highs of around 30 °C) and milder winters (average lows of around 7 °C) than London. Malaga sees comparable rainfall but it almost all falls between October and April, leaving the summer months free of London style drizzle. Malaga’s average 2,815 annual hours of sunshine is almost twice as much as is seen in the UK capital.
As well as property prices and rents being lower in Malaga the overall cost of living is also much reduced. You’ll pay less at the till for groceries, utility bills will leave your bank balance in better shape, getting around will leave more change in your pocket and eating out doesn’t need to be rationed like it does in London.
While Malagans experience less pollution than Londoners and spend less time commuting they also report themselves as feeling less safe and experiencing lower standards of health care, on average.
In addition to its many historical sites, Malaga is also home to the Pablo Picasso Museum, having been the birthplace of the famous Cubist and plays host to many festivals and fiestas throughout the year. The most famous of these is the Feria de Agosto (August Fair), a ten night celebration with music, dancing and bullfighting.