MAJORCA may be losing its attraction to British holidaymakers, but it's proving a magnet for cash-rich Britons looking to either live or retire in the sun.
Despite Euro 2004 being over, package holiday sales to Spain are down 20 percent. Reports two weeks ago claimed that the decline was as sharp as 40 percent, but estate agents and removal companies are enjoying a boom year.
Last year, 45 percent of all homes in Spain sold to foreigners went to British buyers and this year, the percentage is going to be even higher.
Last year, a number of leading estate agents claimed that the Germans could not sell up and move out quick enough. Some estate agents even closed their books as they could not take any more properties.
But this year, Andratx and the port, extremely popular with the Germans in the 90*s, is proving one of the most popular destinations for British house hunters.
Pollensa, traditionally popular with the British, is also enjoying another revival.
Bill Webb, who owns and runs Webbs International Removals, said yesterday that, since he started the business ten years ago, he has never known out-going business (the UK to Majorca) to have been so busy. We've enjoyed steady growth ever since we started, but this year. we're booming. What is even more interesting is that, whereas last year, there was a steady flow of removals back to the UK, this year, the return trade is very low, we're just working round the clock, seven-days-a-week moving Britons out to Majorca, he said.
He also said that the majority of the people are aged in their fourties and early fifties. I guess, they've finished off paying the mortgage and have cashed in on the UK property. I get the impression that many of them can't get out of Britain quick enough. The lifestyle is too fast and furious nowadays, we're taxed to the hilt and people are looking for a quieter life and a higher standard of living. Of course, there are some who have taken semi-retirement and work from Majorca on the Internet, or nip back and forth on the low-cost airlines, he said.
But while Pollensa and Andratx are two of the top areas in Majorca, the overseas property boom in the UK is most noticeable in the northwest. Webb said that a flood of clients and money is coming out of the Cheshire and the Manchester area. I think what's hitting the holiday industry is the high prices. Majorca's trying to live off the reputation it had say 15 years ago, but it's not a cheap destination anymore. But for the cash-rich Britons moving out here, the high cost of living is not a problem. he said.