2007 was not the best year for overseas property - but there are reasons to be cheerful, believes Sue Williams, of John Shepherd Overseas.
Last year was not the best year for overseas property sales due to a number of factors.
The UK interest rate has obviously caused concern and the unsettled state of foreign property and economic markets, particularly Spain and the USA, have created a lack of confidence in investing abroad.
However, John Shepherd Overseas Homes has been keeping a careful watch on trends and all is not doom and gloom.
Spanish corruption scandals?
Our associate, Lilly Mahdavi, from Benahavis Hills Country Club, in the Costa del Sol, reports: "Due to numerous corruption scandals recently sweeping the coast of Spain, this left a bad taste in people's mouths, but has it really been that bad?
"Recent events have turned what was previously a troubled, insecure market place into a buyer's haven.
"Yes, parts of the market have suffered and yes, it will never be the same, but do we want it the same? Perhaps not. The change is good. This means that the Costa del Sol will become less saturated and more profitable for today's buyer."
Benahavis Hills Country Club is a perfect example of how the top end of the market has consolidated itself remaining unaffected by fluctuations in the overseas property game. This development is a luxury item and remains desirable.
They have had a spectacular year of sales, which proves the market hasn't crashed but has seen the disappearance of the speculator buyer who has moved elsewhere, changing the Costa del Sol into a stabilized end user market.
Buyers have become savvier; they expect more, better quality specifications, better locations, and better views.
Fewer attend exhibitions and instead turn up on their own to see homes for themselves. Some are even doing their own due diligence.
It's such a pleasure to see these buyers as they are indirectly forcing the overseas property market to become regulated.
In May 2008 Malaga will issue a set of guidelines to regulate the market on the coast Agents and developers who have provided clients with independent, unbiased information are the ones who are still going strong on the coast.
The media have given the impression that the Spanish market is in dire straits when exactly the opposite is true.
There are currently 400,000 UK residents who own an overseas property, and this number is expected to increase to three million over just a few years time.
Where do you think most of these buyers will head to? Spain. Still the most popular destination for second home owners and the Costa del Sol remains a favourite.
Andalusia will always lure buyers. When you visit, you leave wanting to keep a piece of its magic for yourself, so don't feel hesitant. Arm yourself with two words - due diligence - and go for it.