The latest property trend to come out of Spain may seem more Bedrock than Benidorm. But if the advertising spiel is to be believed, caves could be the next big thing in property. "It is amazing what you can do with a cave these days," says Zoe Dare Hall in The Mail on Sunday. They can be two or three stories high, have swimming pools and with big extensions on the front, some rooms can even enjoy a little daylight. In the Andalucian town of Galera, 40% of the 2,000 locals live in caves, along with 150 Britons. But why?
Like so many things, it comes down to money. A two-bedroom cave costs from £75,000. Thanks to their unique design, running costs are low too. "Summers here are baking and winter temperatures can drop to minus eight, so the costs of keeping ordinary houses hot and cool enough are high. A cave retains a constant temperature of 18 degrees," says Les Edwards, who runs Spanish Inland Properties, in The Mail on Sunday. And "caves are one of the most ecofriendly types of housing, requiring minimal building or materials", says Hall.
Edwards is also quick to point out that all the caves Spanish Inland Properties is selling are registered with the land registry a big plus point for confidence, given Spain's recent land titles disputes. And as long as they have been registered for more than two years, you can even get a mortgage on a cave. But before you rush in, there are some drawbacks to becoming a troglodyte. First, there's the total lack of sunlight getting up to darkness is best saved for British winter mornings not summer holidays. Then there's the location. Galera is in the remote hills of Andalucia in the south of Spain. The nearest airport is around an hour and a half away, with the coast even further not exactly ideal for a quick holiday, nor good news for letting potential.
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Your scope for capital gains is also restricted as it's nigh on impossible to extend a cave once it's been developed, it can be hard to add value. This leaves you reliant on a booming housing market to make any money, just when Spain's property market is crashing. All in all, this investment is best left to would-be hobbits: you need to be in it for the love of caves, rather than money.
Spanish Inland Properties have caves for sale from £75,000. 0844 734 8888.
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