Years ago, we rented a villa in Javea and wanted to buy it or something similar. We still haven't!
It was September 1997 and some friends had recently bought a holiday home on a resort in Javea; we met up a couple of times and enjoyed al fresco dining on balmy evenings. Those same friends have upgraded to a villa now and have retired there. We are still living and working in the UK. Opportunity missed?
We are planning a lifestyle change in 2017, when our son completes his degree, and we are still looking at properties around the Mediterranean. Prices fall into two camps: those we can afford as a holiday home and those we can afford if we sell our house in the UK. This presents us with a dilemma as we obviously prefer the nicer properties but we are not ready to move lock, stock and barrel.
We have some other friends who have made the decision to move to Denia next year and have contracted to buy a brand new 'designer villa' from a local (Denia) building company. The villas are minimalist and look fantastic! They seem spacious and well-planned with almost as many bathrooms as bedrooms and loads of glass for plenty of winter sunshine. Prices start from around £200k including pool, which is amazing value but considerably more than we can spare for a holiday home. (I wonder if there's a discount if you don't have a pool? Although I guess you'll need one if you want rental income.)
Spain offers the best weather and is probably the cheapest of the European Mediterranean locations. An agency in Puerto Banus claimed that the winter climate in that area is the mildest and therefore best of all, especially compared with their near neighbour, Portugal (not strictly Med but Atlantic) which is slightly more expensive but offers incentives for retirees. Italy can be expensive but much of its coastline is rocky. The South of France is very expensive near the coast, especially the Côte d'Azur / Provence, and the winters are colder and can last longer than in the Costa Blanca / Costa del Sol. The Canaries offer the warmest winter climate and my aunt, who lives near Malaga, often visits Tenerife for winter sunshine!
In general, all Mediterranean shores are warmer than Britain but it isn't just the weather that is attractive. The lifestyle seems less busy and the Mediterranean diet is hailed as very healthy, despite the abundance of cheaply produced local wines.