The land in Cantabria where a Mallorcan company will develop 24 houses. | AB Capital


Time was when Mallorca's residents could afford to have a second home on the island. Coastal areas such as those of Alcudia and Muro offered the possibility of a retreat from the interior; Inca and Sineu, for example.

Prices in decades past were comparatively low. This isn't the case now, and the CEO of a Mallorcan company, Ignacio Fiol of AB Capital, recognises the fact. There are Mallorcans who aspire to have a second home elsewhere - "what they could have had here (in Mallorca) thirty years ago". They have given up on having a second residence in Mallorca because of the prices and displacement by "foreign capital". He notes: "In Colonia Sant Jordi they are asking 300,000 euros for a 50-square metre apartment. I don't understand it; it can't be worth that."

And the elsewhere he has in mind is Cantabria in the north of Spain. "In Cantabria we are going to develop a project between Langre and Loredo in the municipality of Ribamontán al Mar. There we will build 24 houses that will preserve the character of the environment."

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His company recently acquired 600,000 square metres of developable land. The houses are being designed by another Mallorcan firm, CMV Architects. The plots are five minutes from the beach, five minutes from Santander with its port and fifteen minutes from the airport. It is the first of several projects in Cantabria, where there is most land to develop, as well as in Galicia.

While there may be an emphasis on second homes, the developments don't of course preclude the properties becoming main residences, Fiol adding: "What is quality of life in the north of Spain is considered a luxury in Mallorca, only accessible to those who have inherited it or who can afford it. There is no overcrowding on the beaches and you don't have to reserve a table in a restaurant a week in advance."

Fiol insists that there won't be overcrowding. "We don't want to repeat the model of Ibiza and Mallorca." He feels that Mallorca has reached its ceiling, given the sheer number of tourists and foreign buyers. "There's an appreciation of having a house with a meadow and sea views and not having to fight with investors from northern Europe." He says that foreigners don't know about the north coast of Spain - not yet, anyway.