It will surprise many that in the last quarter of 2017 there should be more buildings going up, sold off-plan, in the planning process or at feasibility study stage than ever before in Gibraltar’s history. That is saying something because, with a few pauses for rest, building development has been firing on all cylinders for a generation now.

Normally in an article such as this a list is given but space is limited, and readers are invited to consult the website of the government’s Development & Planning Commission for a list of approved and pending applications. Suffice to mention a very few of the possibly more imaginative residential projects: Arengo’s, the Marina Club, the Reserve, and the third stage of Buena Vista Park Villas.

In defiance of expectations among more conservative thinkers, prices continue to hold, and speculative buyers are still making tidy profits from investing in the Gibraltarian property sector; but again, for glowing sales pitches you will need to visit the web sites of Gibraltar’s estate agencies. Gibraltar Property Insider aims to give an edge to those interested in the subject.

Advertising hype is inevitable, if sometimes annoying, in a competitive market. Fortunately, several of the developers currently building have proven track records as to delivery times, construction qualities and management schemes. Take time to carry out background checks; ask around but remember the old adage that past performance is no guarantee of future results. So, read all contracts carefully and get experienced and independent legal advice before signing.

Years of “seller’s market” conditions means that even today some contracts will be very one sided. Happily, most developers are now providing some guarantees for upfront payments in off-plan sales and it has to be said that to-date (touch wood) there have been no cases of buyers losing their prepayments.  There used to be a time not long ago when the answer to certain reasonable requests was “take it or leave it” – that irritating approach is now limited and often a warning sign rather than an expression of confidence so let the buyer beware.

Again, the truth be told, construction quality standards have improved as a result of a combination not just of experience among developers and their technical teams and more established construction companies but also the efforts of the Building Control Department of the government. Still there are occasional issues. 

Recently we have come across one small development where the sizes of certain rooms had to be substantially reduced and a faulty brackish water pumping system in a high-rise building. Hugely disappointing if you are the person affected and unfortunately a blot on an industry that strives for excellence. Not every contingency can be provided for or predicted but experienced property lawyers ought to be able to protect your position.

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