When it comes to choosing where to buy a Spanish property there is a whole host of factors to consider because no single area will satisfy the needs of all foreign buyers. Many potential purchasers focus on a sea view and access to a swimming pool but if you're planning to make a permanent move to Spain there are many more important considerations to take into account. If you need to find work you'll obviously need to settle in an area where there are good job prospects. If you're moving with children, being close to a good Spanish or international school will probably be one of your top priorities. And if you have an ongoing medical condition you'll need to know your property is within easy reach of appropriate health care facilities.
Choosing the right location is easiest when you're buying solely for investment purposes. In this case there is a clear set of "must haves" if you want to be sure of letting the property and selling it for a decent profit in years to come. For letting purposes it's important that the property is near to the sea, has a private or communal pool, is within easy reach of local amenities (shops, restaurants, nightlife) and ideally is no further than one hour's drive from an international airport.
Prime investment areas include the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca which are two of the top holiday spots on the Spanish mainland. Property prices vary enormously from one coastal town or resort to another but if you're buying to let it's vital to check that the particular coastal stretch where you plan to buy is a favoured holiday haunt of foreign visitors. The popular Costa Blanca resort of Javea, for example, is an excellent place to invest as this is one of the most sought-after areas on the Spanish Costas, there's a huge demand for property here and property price increases show no signs of abating. But property prices are relatively high in Javea whereas if you head up the coast just 15 kilometres towards the more Spanish orientated resort area of Oliva you'll find you can buy an equivalent property at a price that is 25% or more lower than in the more popular ex-pat areas. It might be tempting to snap up a cheaper property in Oliva but you'll find you won't be able to let it nearly so easily to holidaymakers from northern Europe and you won't be able to charge the high rental fees commanded in areas such as Javea.
The same applies if you head down the coast towards Torrevieja on the southern Costa Blanca - properties prices are considerably cheaper than the northern Costa Blanca but the area is nowhere near as attractive and generally speaking rental tariffs are much lower. The advice from seasoned holiday property owners is to go as upmarket as you can possibly afford without breaking the bank.
If you're planning to live in the property permanently bear in mind that your determination to have a sea view could cost you dear - frontline properties are often double the price of those set just a few minutes drive back from the seafront.