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House Hunting on Majorca: A Stone Manor Mixing Spanish, French Styles


This eight-bedroom stone manor house is within the town of Sóller, near the northwest coast of Majorca, one among Spain’s Balearic Islands in the center of the Mediterranean Sea.

The house was renovated several years ago, however the owners maintained its original architectural features — a mix of Modernist, Majorcan and French styles, including high ceilings, arched doorways, elaborate molding and a elaborate staircase, said Eddy Barrera, the director of Engel & Völkers Mallorca West office.

“Sóller is a reasonably special village since it has influence from France,” Mr. Barrera said of the town, which sits in a valley within the Tramuntana mountain range, home to the island’s highest peaks. “French fruit dealers used to return to Sóller to get oranges and other citrus. And numerous Majorcans went to France at the top of the 1800s and early 1900s, when the island was fairly poor. They returned with money and French influence.”

This property was likely built toward the top of the nineteenth century, though the precise 12 months will not be known since the island didn’t start registering properties until 1900, he said.

The three-story house, with just below 7,000 square feet, has a 750-square-foot courtyard with a pool, and it fronts a residential street. The front door opens right into a foyer with the unique gray stone floor. At the other end is a second entrance from the courtyard and a striking curved stone staircase, also original to the house. The lounge has a fire and floor-to-ceiling windows; an office has traditional hydraulic mosaic floor tiles. An arched doorway within the office results in a room with a wet bar and beverage chiller.

A door next to the staircase results in the connected kitchen and dining room, each of which have decorative hydraulic floor tiles and glass doors to the courtyard.

One floor up is a second lounge, two bathrooms and three bedrooms, including the first suite, which has a Juliette balcony overlooking neighboring gardens. The owners repainted the doors and door frames a deep golden mustard that was original to the home, Mr. Barrera said.

Five more bedrooms and two bathrooms are on the third floor. The roof has a covered terrace, nevertheless it must be improved, he said.

The house is a brief walk from Sóller’s predominant square, Plaza de la Consitución, which is ringed with restaurants and cafes. Sant Bartomeu Church towers above the square, its Modernist facade a Twentieth-century renovation to the much older stone parish church.

A historic picket train runs from Sóller to the resort city of Palma, Majorca’s capital. Popular with tourists, the train dates to 1912 and was originally used to move citrus fruit, textiles and other goods. The harbor town of Port de Sóller is a few five-minute drive. Palma de Mallorca Airport is a few 40-minute drive.

The biggest of the islands that make up the Balearic archipelago (the predominant ones being Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera), Majorca has seen a surge in home sales lately, because the Covid-19 pandemic sent many Europeans packing searching for family retreats in secure locations.

“People know what they’re in search of they usually’re not wasting time,” said Jack Newberry, an associate property agent with Balearic Properties. “With none type of pushing, people will go for asking price or over.”

In response to a market report from Engel & Völkers, 2021 marked a record 12 months for sales within the Balearics, with a transaction volume of 6.6 billion euros ($6.89 billion) — 80 percent higher than in 2020. About 40 percent of transactions involved international buyers. The unrelenting demand has drained the provision of obtainable homes, further adding to cost pressure.

“That is the primary 12 months in a few decade where the variety of properties available on the market is happening,” said Florian Hofer, the managing director of Engel & Völkers Balearics. “Prior to now our offices at all times had about 2,500 properties on the market. It’s slightly below 2,000 in the intervening time.”

While there’s considerable recent construction, it normally requires tearing down older properties, as about 40 percent of Majorca is protected area, Mr. Hofer said. The island’s benefits over another popular Mediterranean destinations include its highly developed infrastructure, major international airport, many international schools, and the incontrovertible fact that it doesn’t have an off-season, he said.

In probably the most exclusive areas, like Port d’Andratx and Son Vida — often known as “the Beverly Hills of Palma” — homes start at around 3 million euros ($3.13 million), Mr. Hofer said. But smaller properties can be found in town of Palma for considerably less. “You’ll be able to get a improbable penthouse in Palma for 1 million euros ($1.043 million), or a one-bedroom apartment with a terrace for 400,000 ($417,000),” he said.

In search of to tamp down demand from outside investors, the Balearic government last 12 months announced a ban on recent holiday rental licenses, that are required for owners who want to rent out their properties. The ban is in effect through 2026. “Certain areas were getting saturated,” Mr. Newberry said. “There have been areas where the streets were absolutely packed because everyone was renting out their properties. However the ban hasn’t really cooled the market.”

The market is essentially driven by foreign investment, predominantly from Germany, Scandinavia and Britain, Mr. Newberry said. That demand is so intense straight away that almost all of the island’s international schools have waiting lists, he said.

The town of Sóller has a really diverse population made up of no less than a dozen different nationalities, including some Americans, Mr. Barrera said.

Mr. Hofer noted that the recent addition of direct flights between Latest York City and Palma is predicted to drive much more interest from American buyers.

Majorca doesn’t have a multiple listing service, so it may well be a difficult system for foreign buyers to work out.

“You would like a superb lawyer to navigate, and a superb consultant who understands who the persons are it’s essential to work with, and the various areas of the island,” Mr. Newberry said. “It’s an Old World culture with an Old World system.”

The agent’s commission is around 6 percent and is paid by the vendor.

Catalan and Spanish; euro (1 euro = $1.04)

Transaction fees, including transfer tax and notary fees, typically total 10 to 12 percent of the acquisition price, Mr. Hofer said. The taxes could also be higher on recent construction.

Annual property taxes on this home are around 1,200 euros ($1,252), Mr. Barrera said.

Eddy Barrera, Engel & Völkers Mallorca West, 011-34-607-597-011, www.engelvoelkers.com/en/

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