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Luxury Market in Canaries

Roman Ivakhnenko: “Christie’s arrives because the luxury market has a future here.” While the metropolitan area and north of the island are still going through a crisis without any signs of recovery, South Tenerife shows an economic boom of which many canarien people remain detached. A solid proof of this is the recent opening of the Canary headquarters of a firm that only works with luxury: Christie’s International Real Estate, the real estate division of the famous auction house. Protagonist in its own right is Román Ivakhnenko (Moscow, 1970), owner of Eten Canarias, the company that has attracted the English.

- Allow me to get personal. What makes a man from Moscow, like yourself, to live on an island like this for twenty years? “Because of tourism. When my family arrived in Spain, Catalonia, I started working in tourism and the company where I worked had a branch in Tenerife. First I started spending winters here and then I stayed all year through with the tour operator Natalie Tours, one of the most important in Russia then and now. Afterwards I set up the company, in 1999, that stands already for fifteen years. "

- Was Eten Canarias the first one? “Yes. It was the first Russian real estate agency in Tenerife, although we also focus on other markets and we brought out the first Russian magazine on the Canary Islands. When we introduced the magazine, in 2008, the Russian ambassador came to the event … We were also the first Canarian agency that participated in the Millionaire Fair in Moscow 2007 ".

Luxury Market in Canaries - Eten Canarias

- Do you work the luxury sector since then? “Well, I tried, because the truth is that, at that time, it was a failure. We didn’t yet have sufficient properties here to compete in the luxury world. Now things have changed: we have more golf courses, yachting harbors, houses … “

- The Statistics say that Russian tourism spends the most per day in Tenerife. Why do they spend more? Do only Russian millionaires come to the island or what? "Hahaha! Of course not! One part is true, because the Russians tend to spend money when they travel.  Although they do not do it just to spend it, but because there are many things that are cheaper, the food here is more affordable than the prices in Russia when you go to a restaurant. There are Russians of all kinds here, not just millionaires. It is true that there are people with a lot of money, but also ordinary people who come just to relax. "

- Has Tenerife changed that much that, in 2008 you could not compete in the luxury market, and now you can? “Well, the luxury market is still not as formed as areas like Marbella or Nice, but it is growing a lot …”

- Is the market growing or being born? “It is growing and it’s being born. Before, people got confused because they labeled properties as luxury when they actually were not.  Luxury is Versace furniture, Murano glass, Carrara marble or Portuguese … that’s luxury. "

- And does this kind of luxury already exist in Tenerife? “There are houses like this in Tenerife,  there are golf courses and those harbors with villas that are worth two million, three million, four million … And the parquet floors are handmade … Those kind of things are luxury and did not exist five or six years ago, and they do now. Then there were only a few villas whose only luxury was some extra land.”

- How did this luxury arrived here? “It came with the foreigners. Russians, Belgians, Germans, French …  They bring it from Europe and introduce it here .”

- Was there no crisis here? “There was no crisis, it was more like a “pause” for a while, five or six years ago. It lasted about nine months. It was a little bit of everything: distrust, fear of the future maybe … “

- Did the South not suffer the crisis? “You have to divide the south into two areas. The coast (Los Cristianos, Las Americas, Costa Adeje) sold before the crisis, during the crisis and after the crisis. What went bad were the areas such as: Guargacho, Cabo Blanco … There, the bubble bursted with high mortgages and others. The prices scarcely declined on the coast, and in that area Tenerife remained quite resilient. In my company I tell you, with exception of those months, we did not notice anything. On the contrary, one of our biggest sales was in crisis ".

- And what was it? “One worth more than two and a half million, sold in 2009. It was a house by the seafront in the area of Bahia del Duque. I remember well because they only  knocked the price down 10 euros ".

- Why is that, 10 euros? “The seller only wanted to lower the initial price with 10€, they were German”.

- Why is the tourism sector holding on so well in Tenerife? “Because we have good products, good weather, because it is one of the most ecological places with the best nature of the world … The Europeans, Russians … Many people come here for their kids, in Canary Islands they grow twice as fast as in Russia where there is no sun, where it is cold and there is a lack of oxygen, wearing so many clothes…”.

- As a successful touristic businessman, what do you think of oil exploration in the Canaries? “From my point of view it is a mistake for tourism because Canary Islands has to take care of their primary source of income.”

- Would it scare away the Russian tourism? “Well, not if they don’t see the platform straight in front of them. Another matter would be the Germans. The Russians are just beginning, they are not as demanding with ecology in this sense as the Germans. But the truth is that we wonder if there is no other place to get oil from instead of the Canary Islands. "

- You’ve convinced the real estate division of Christie’s to settle here. Is there many millionaires in southern Tenerife? “There are a few that live here, probably more than we can imagine. Of course, we have to see what is meant by millionaire, but there are some that come in their private jets … ".

- Will there be Christie’s auctions in Tenerife? “What opens doors is the state agency; there might be a benefit at the end of the year.”

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