By Humphrey Carter CASH rich, time poor Britons are queuing up to buy properties in Palma. The British property boom, which has been steadily gaining momentum over the past few years, has taken a quantum leap over the past six months. Palma is now the “in” place with property prices in the capital already being bumped up by the British boom.

Tonight and tomorrow, ITV Yorkshire's “Calendar” news and current affairs programme (7pm local time) will feature a major piece on the British property boom in the capital as proof of the growing interest in the city.

With the property market in Britain starting to flatten out and interest rates so low in Spain, especially on Euro mortgages, many people are looking to release their equity and invest elsewhere.

While property prices and living costs in Majorca make the island a very expensive destination for the average retirement market, Palma has caught the attention of the middle-aged professional sector.

Andy and Jan Pratts, directors of the Palma-based home finders agency Shortcuts, which the ITV programme features, said yesterday that, while their clients are aged between 30 and 60, for the most part, they are “cash rich and time poor,” hence they appreciate the services of a home finding agency to carry out all the leg work for them. They are either flexible professionals in the media, internet or consultancy sectors who can be based anywhere and commute to the UK if needs be or professionals who are looking to down size their properties as their children start to move away from home and invest for the future.

The low-cost airline revolution has become the back bone of the British property boom with more and more regional airports linked to Palma by daily flights. Doncaster, for example, is going to be the next. Shortcuts works in co-operation with all of the island's leading estate agents and is currently experiencing a huge surge, from Britons in the UK and overseas, in interest for Palma properties.

While there is a valid argument that some Britons are “fed up” with the UK and want to “get out,” on the whole those looking to relocate to Majorca see it as a sound investment move.

As investment opportunities diminish in Britain, a quality property in Majorca is proving increasingly attractive “it's an investment people can use and enjoy,” says Jan Pratt.

What is more, living abroad, especially in a city like Palma which is just two hours flight from most UK airports, no longer intimidates people.
Palma is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of Europe's new, modernistic, cosmopolitan cities with its new high-class boutique hotels and many varied and trendy restaurants.

The Es Baluard Museum of Contemporary and Modern Art, is considered by the Sunday Times to be the symbol of changing Palma.
For the most part, Britons wanting to relocate to Palma are looking in the £250'000-upwards bracket. Shortcuts' average clients are looking to spend £500'000, with the old part of the city around the cathedral, La Lonja, which is enjoying a revival with the opening of the boutique hotels Puro and Tres, and Santa Catalina proving popular.

Obviously, British demand for coastal properties all over Majorca is continuing to rise - Deya and the Port of Andratx are attracting a lot of interest at the moment, the latter because of the German exodus.

But the new growth market is Palma where young professionals like the idea of being able to pop back and forth to the UK and having easy walking access to all the amenities and shops in the city centre.

What is more, unlike other parts of the island, Palma is open for business all year round, just like any other European city “which is what young people and families want.”