Saturday, April 30, 2005

The first ‘Property Gallery’ opens at Casemates

by Alice Mascarenhas

A Gallery with a difference has opened at Casemates.

The Property Gallery is the latest venture from Brian Francis & Associates.

The gallery features properties on sale in Gibraltar and in Spain, and is the first of its kind locally.

“We have an arts and crafts gallery, and we decided that BFA should open a property gallery as well,” explained director Brian Francis who was keen to point out this was not another office.

It is a visual display of all the properties for sale with online access to the website. Online the new gallery is able to market some 7,000 properties for sale in Spain, apart from the local properties.

“People can come in and have a look, browse through the website, and can look up any property in Gibraltar or in Spain. It is another marketing tool where all the properties are on view – all in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. In a small way it is also a way of globalising our market,” he added.

Mr Francis agrees there is confidence in the Gibraltar market, and BFA’s latest move is a reflection of this. With so many developments coming on the market, he explained, that what the company wanted to do was put on display everything that there is on offer. Spain is included, he said, because there is an interest locally for first and second time buyers. Mr Francis is of the opinion that there is a demand to buy in Spain because buyers are moving out not because they cannot afford to buy locally, but because they want to improve their lifestyle – a plot of land with a villa and swimming-pool.

Demand for homes in Gibraltar he says will continue locally.

“The homeownership market has grown over 15 years from 6% to over 40%, and we are still some 25% below the European norm, so it will carry on. Those who take that first step on the ladder will never regret that decision, the problem now is being able to take that first step. The option is not there unfortunately,” he emphasises.
“Essentially it comes down to supply and demand,” he adds suggesting, that perhaps the way out may be to offer young Gibraltarians the chance to buy a one bedroom flat at a reduced price allowing them to take that first step knowing their investment will grow.

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