A Town Called Bitter: Scouting in Southern Spain

It’s not often you’re in a town whose founders actively disliked the place they founded.

And it’s especially surprising when you see the beauty of Ojén, this Spanish hill town picked out in dazzling white stone clinging to the steep forested slopes of the mountains overlooking Marbella.

On the winding streets, each turn reveals a new splash of color in flowering window boxes against whitewashed walls or a view down the forested mountain towards the glitzy beach town of Marbella. Locals sit out on terraces in lively plazas, nibbling on tapas while sipping wine or cerveza. The feel is traditional Spanish, with the upmarket luxury of Marbella only a 12 minute drive away.

So it’s anybody’s guess why the original Moorish founders chose a name (hoxán) that means “bitter” in Arabic.

Ojén is far from bitter in my opinion. Check out my quick video tour below where I explain why.

Click to Play. My whistle stop tour of the charming, traditional Andalusian hilltown of Ojén overlooking the Mediterranean.

Click to Play. My whistle stop tour of the charming, traditional Andalusian hilltown of Ojén overlooking the Mediterranean.

And there are deals to be had here, like 3-bed, 2-bath house in the center of town, complete with roof terrace for €168,000 ($186,081). It’s got a large living room with wooden beams, fireplace, and views not just of the town but down the mountain towards the waters of the Med.

Plus, the market here in Ojén seems pretty illiquid, without a lot of sales going on, so there would probably be some wiggle room on the price. Note: I haven’t seen it in person myself or done any due diligence. Always be sure to do your own due diligence before considering any real estate purchase.

But I’m doing more than touring charming whitewashed towns and enjoying lunch in the sun. While I have boots on the ground in the Costa del Sol, I’m meeting with movers and shakers in the local real estate scene. I’m plugging in to see what’s coming down the line, and digging deep with my team on what it means for us and members of my Real Estate Trend Alert group (learn more about what the group is all about here).
A few notes on the developments I’m seeing in the market here:

● As predicted, the Zoom Boom is making itself known and new communities are being developed with home offices, coworking spaces, and everything the work-from-anywhere crowd needs.

● New nationalities are showing up as buyers to supplement the usual mix of British, Dutch and Germans. I’ve heard tell of Polish buyers becoming more prevalent as the growing number of affluent Poles look for second homes in the sun and seek places less under threat from the troubles their Ukrainian neighbors to the east are experiencing right now. Which just goes to show that the Costa del Sol is indeed the kind of internationalized place that will always be popular as various buyers come and go.

● More and more I see that the Costa del Sol is becoming less a series of separate towns and more like one city with varied neighborhoods. From the affluence of Marbella and the uber affluence of Puerto Banús, with its designer stores by the waterfront and lines of superyachts, to more accessible (and noticeably more Spanish) places like nearby Estepona or indeed charming hilltowns like Ojén.

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