House Hunting in … Gibraltar

The property sits among five other villas and nine townhouses, and is part of the first phase of Buena Vista Park Villas, a gated community still under development in the South District neighborhood. The area, which is almost completely residential, is the only one in Gibraltar with large villas, Ms. Armstrong said.

Markets, shops and restaurants are a 10- to 15-minute drive away. Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport, in Spain, is about an hour and 15 minutes away; it has many more international flights than Gibraltar International Airport, which mainly accommodates travelers to and from Britain and Morocco, Ms. Armstrong said.


Gibraltar’s housing market is “robust,” thanks to a growing economy and very low unemployment, said Mike Nicholls, managing director at the real estate agency Chestertons Gibraltar. In recent years, the territory has become a hub for the online gambling industry and for financial technology services companies, which together account for nearly a quarter of the area’s jobs, according to a 2017 House of Commons briefing paper.

“Despite Brexit, our employment levels are going up every year,” Mr. Nicholls said, referring to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

And Gibraltar, which is just 2.6 square miles, is currently undergoing a building boom, he said, as developers seek to meet pent-up housing demand created by the influx of foreign workers, many of whom favor the modern developments around the marinas of Ocean Village and Queensway Quay.

Recently, Mr. Nicholls said, his sales team sold 105 apartments in just three weeks in a planned high-rise yet to be publicly marketed. Part of a complex called EuroCity, the building will start construction this summer, with prices ranging from around 167,000 pounds, or just under $240,000, for a studio to more than 1 million pounds, or about $1.4 million, for a penthouse.

The government is also encouraging the redevelopment of the Upper Town neighborhood, a historic and very walkable area that has been neglected, said Jean-Paul Lugaro, owner of Mulberry Real Estate in Gibraltar. A former police barracks there was recently converted into apartments.

In the last five years, home prices have been steadily increasing, Ms. Armstrong said, after remaining flat during the global financial crisis of 2008. A new high-quality apartment sells for an average of about 5,500 to 6,000 pounds (or between $7,860 and $8,600) a square meter, compared to around 4,500 to 5,000 pounds (or about $6,400 to $7,100) five years ago, she said.

The market for rentals is also very strong, Mr. Lugaro said: “We have a huge portfolio of people looking to rent, and there are no properties for them.”

But Louis Montegriffo, managing director of BMI Group Estate Agents, said he is a little concerned that too many studio and one-bedroom apartments are coming to market. Over the next year or so, he said, around 400 new one- to four-bedroom units will become available, and another 500 to 600 studios and one-bedrooms are in the planning stages, which could overheat the lower end of the market, as speculators and buy-to-rent investors swoop in. Most of the people who are coming to live and work in Gibraltar, Mr. Montegriffo said, are interested in larger units.


About three-quarters of foreign buyers are British, Ms. Armstrong said. The rest are primarily European, although she said she has also worked with Israelis and Australians.

While demand is driven in large part by imported labor, the strong rental market is also attracting foreign investors, “who come along and buy 20 apartments,” she said.

The government’s tax structure tends to attract wealthy individuals, as there is no capital gains or inheritance tax. In addition, individuals with net assets in excess of 2 million pounds, or about $2.9 million, can qualify for a cap on their income tax if they buy a luxury property and meet other conditions, Mr. Lugaro said.


There are no restrictions on foreign buyers, said Christina Wright, a lawyer in Gibraltar.

The typical deposit is 2 percent of the purchase price. Buyers hire a lawyer to handle the transaction, at a fee of roughly 0.5 percent of the price.

Stamp duty is charged on properties that sell for more than 200,000 pounds, or about $285,000, at a rate that ranges from 2 percent to 3.5 percent. But for first- and second-time buyers, Ms. Wright said, there is a waiver on the first 260,000 pounds, or about $370,000, of the sale price.

Gibraltar has a leasehold structure on most of its properties. While some old buildings are freely owned, the government owns at least 90 percent of the land, Ms. Armstrong said, and leases to developers run for 149 years.


Gibraltar government:

Gibraltar tourism:


English; British pound (1 pound = $1.43)


Property taxes on this home are about 2,500 pounds, or $3,574, annually, Ms. Armstrong said, and the ground-lease rent is an additional 290 pounds, or $415, a year. Annual homeowners’ fees are 3,300 pounds, or $4,718.


Sammy Armstrong, Savills Gibraltar, 011-350-200-666-33;

Continue reading the main story