segunda-feira, 27 de outubro de 2008

Propety in Portugal: From Costa to Costa

Property in Portugal: From Costa to Costa

We love the whitewashed villages, beautiful beaches, even the coffee and cakes - and the property prices aren't bad either. Cheryl Markosky surveys the market

The British love all things Portuguese, from Jose Mourinho (the self-styled "Special One") to pasteis de nata (creamy custard tart) washed down with a cup of bica (espresso).

So popular with British holidaymakers and retirees: Albufeira on the Algrave

Our love affair stretches back to 1386 when the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of Windsor was signed, making Portugal Britain's oldest ally. But now, instead of maritime treaties, we are more interested in maritime resorts, where second-homers can enjoy faultless beaches and year-round sunshine.

The housing boom that swept through most of Europe from 1995 to 2006 missed Portugal - a blessing and a curse for the country. From 2001 to 2006, while average property prices soared by 100 per cent in Spain, Portuguese prices rose a paltry 17 per cent.

Last year, the average price per square metre dipped from £1,000 in June 2006 to £981 in January 2008, according to the Instituto Nacional de Estatistica.

Prices on the Algarve, the extreme southern coastal holiday strip with its sympathetic micro-climate that is so popular with British holidaymakers and retirees, have in recent years risen faster than the rest of Portugal. But in 2007 they increased by only 0.13 per cent, after a 6 per cent price increase in 2006.

There won't be the same level of business this year due to the credit crunch and the strength of the euro, says Mary Mangan, of Winkworth. But she believes the Portuguese market will hold: "With stringent planning in place for some time, we are not oversupplied like other markets and Portuguese banks do not have the same exposure to sub-prime markets."

Mangan tips Tavira, a gorgeous town on the eastern Algarve close to the Spainish border with views over the broad Gilao river as the next hotspot.

A two-bedroom apartment on a quality complex in Tavira starts at a reasonable £136,460. The new high-end scheme Monte Rei is lifting the area, attracting those keen to escape from the busier central Algarve.

The western Silver Coast (Costa de Prata), described as "the real Portugal", is still undervalued, too, Mangan suggests. "You can pick up a good three-bedroom villa for about £240,000."

Another place to watch is Troiaresort, a landmark new low-density, environment-friendly 21st-century resort less than an hour from Lisbon on the Blue Coast (Costa Azul), the latest colour-coded costa on the block.

The Blue Coast is opening up thanks to Troiaresort's new marina and the £1million overhaul of the existing Robert Trent golf course, along with improved roads and Lisbon's new airport, ready to begin construction in 2010.

Even time-honoured vacation settings like Carvoeiro and Albufeira, on the Algarve, are going "retro" and becoming fashionable again.

"Carvoeiro is an established central location with good beaches and good value from £201,000 for an apartment," points out Mangan. And parts of brash Albufeira, like Sao Raphael, are turning into high-quality areas. Here, a four-bedroom villa with a pool costs £963,000.

Central Algarve

Banker Adrian Arnold, from Leeds, has followed many of his compatriots to the conveniently placed, Florida-esque central Algarve, with the purchase of a quarter-share of a three-bedroom villa at Irish developer Oceânico's Amendoeira Golf Resort, just outside the hillside Moorish town of Silves.

"I was looking for a holiday home, but found it hard to justify the cost versus use," says Arnold, 34, explaining why he has chosen a £221,224 quarter-share of a home he can use three months of the year with his wife Helen, also 34, and their children Max, five, and Holly, three.

The Arnolds will own a "part-time" larger three-bedroom villa for the same money as a two-bedroom apartment. The location, only 20 minutes from Faro airport and two-and-a-half hours from Leeds, was another factor, along with Oceânico's facilities, which offer access to seven golf courses, including the latest Nick Faldo design at Amendoeira that is receiving rave reviews.

Oceânico's marketing manager Nikki Chamberlain says British buyers can get round the mismatch between the euro and pound. "We have introduced a fixed sterling price list with £1 equal to €1.35. This will remain in place until the euro market rate is more favourable to British purchasers."

Experts suggesting the way to combat the current uneasy market via a "flight to quality" might recommend taking wing to The Keys, an upper-scale scheme on the last plot of land at Quinta do Lago, a golf complex built in the early 1970s and owned by Irish telecoms entrepreneur Denis O'Brien. Hollywood-inspired homes developed by E3 Property do not come cheap, priced from £1.286million, but a good payment plan might be better than slashing prices. "You put 20 per cent down at The Keys and pay the balance on completion," says Julian Cunningham, of Knight Frank International.

Each home will have two pools - one in the garden and a second on the rooftop - technology to boost security and conserve energy, and access to Quinta do Lago's two golf courses (and a third on its way), sommelier and cellar consultation, maid and butler services.

At the other end of the scale, Vilamoura, a modern, purpose-built resort, will always attract buyers keen on easy access to five golf courses, the biggest marina in Portugal, beaches, a casino and tennis. A two-bedroom resale house through Algarve Property World costs £277,000, while a two-bedroom apartment at new scheme The Residences (through agent Richard Neubersch) will set you back about £40,000 more.

Buying on a resort is a good way to ease your way in, says Mary Mangan. "You don't have to worry about maintenance and when you have lived there for a while, you can step out into the unknown."

Mangan's first purchase was at Vale do Lobo, the original 45-year-old Algarve resort, only 20 minutes from Faro airport. To date, 1,500 homes have been built next to a two-kilometre stretch of beach and two championship golf courses. Another 500 homes, ranging from apartments and linked villas (a version of semi-detached) to custom-built villas, are planned.

Another one to watch is the fishing village of Ferragudo, with its cobbled streets, 17th-century fort and coved beaches, just 35 minutes from Faro. An autodrome opens in November, with go-karting, motorbike and car racing - which could be noisy, but will attract visitors.

Property consultant Andy Burridge says Ferragudo is mainly a Portugese market, so foreigners buying here could get a good deal. "A three-bedroom cottage costs £140,000, and you should be able to pick up a three-bedroom townhouse with pool for £317,000 maximum," he says.

Winkworth International is selling 40 two- and three-bedroom flats at Vila Castelo Parque at Ferragudo. A three-bedroom apartment by the sea with private Jacuzzi costs £440,200.

Resale homes can make sense for those not insistent on a shiny new property. Often, spending a few thousand pounds on a refurb is better value. Golden Tree Real Estate is selling a three-bedroom apartment with plunge pool opposite the tennis centre for £521,508.

Also check out the town of Loulé, with its ruins of a 12th-century castle and a poets' cafe. "A renovated one-bedroom house costs £95,000 and a three-bedroom flat £159,000, ideal for couples and families coming out here to live and work," says Fiona Lang, of Richard Neubersch.

# Contact Winkworth International 00 351 916 128 624; Oceânico 0871 990 3388; E3 Property's The Keys, Knight Frank International 020 7861 1097; Algarve Property World 00 351 289 585 776; Richard Neubersch 00 351 289 390350; Vale do Lobo 00 351 289 353 102; Golden Tree Real Estate 00 351 289 392 123

Western Algarve

Groups of guys on bargain golfing holidays in the central Algarve might not be everyone's glass of vinho verde, which is why more people are pushing out to the wild and windy western coastline, which is reminiscent of the uplands of Exmoor - but with sunshine.

Estate agents insist the Madeleine McCann kidnapping in the former fishing village of Praia da Luz and the drowning of three British holidaymakers caught in cross-currents on Praia do Tonel beach last year have not affected trade. "Obviously, people comment that this is the area where it happened, but once people come here and see how family-oriented it is they know it is a safe place," says Liz Hollen, of Winkworth International in Lagos.

Agent Luis Ledo, of Casas do Barlavento, says values are standing still here while people wait for positive signs in the market. "It is a good time to buy if you have cash, because you can negotiate 5-10 per cent off the price."

Ledo recommends several good deals, including three remaining apartments at Foz da Ria. "You pay a 20 per cent deposit with a promissory contract, have immediate access to the property and don't need to complete until a year after signing. Rents are guaranteed at 3.5 per cent for the first two years and there are no condominium (maintenance) fees, utility bills or rates to pay for the first year."

Retired England footballer Tony Dorigo points out that the western Algarve is good value, with the 170 villas and townhouses he is marketing at Vale da Lapa Parque, near Carvoeiro, starting from £372,000. Look out for extras, he suggests: "We have a tie-up with the tennis club and Pestana Golf."

Buying a resale home on a resort could make sense, too. You get what you see -no nasty off-plan surprises - and you can move in right away.

"Most people don't want to wait two years before their home is built," says Dave Westmorland of Resort Resales Algarve. "The better properties generally are resales, because a resort starts with facilities near the centre and works its way out in a spiral."

Developers push up prices in each phase, too, so there is a definite price advantage in resale property. "You get a return on your investment immediately if you want to let it out," Westmorland adds.

# Contact Casas do Barlavento 00 351 282 780 870; Vale da Lapa Parque through Global Referral Systems 0870 2113033; Resort Resales Algarve 00 351 282 771133

Eastern Algarve

There many places trying to lay claim to the moniker "traditional Portugal", but Tavira is one of the most typical Portuguese cities with origins dating back to about 2000BC. Near the Ria Formosa National Park, a sanctuary for birds and wildlife in a very rural and under-developed part of the country, a new two-bedroom apartment in the city itself costs just over £100,000, while a renovated two-storey, four-bedroom mill-house with pool, 10 minutes from Barril beach costs £740,000 through Villas Luz.

Monte Rei Golf & Country Club is leading the way in this quiet, green region near the Spanish border, with its Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, El Bulli-trained Jaime Perez's Vistas restaurant and high-end homes from £714,000.

There is a good deal of choice of styles, says commercial director Mario Condeco. "You can buy a turnkey house or build your own using your architect or ours.

"Another plus is Nicklaus is investing his own money in 30 plots for the first time on a development where he has designed a course," adds Condeco.

# Contact Villas Luz 00 351 919 054 792; Monte Rei through Knight Frank International 020 7629 8171

Silver Coast

With its unspoilt Atlantic coastline, surfing and golf, the Silver Coast - home to Lisbonite weekenders - is becoming the new Algarve.

Hamptons International is marketing 80 eco villas with wind turbines, solar panels and infinity pools at Peralta Beach Club & Spa, with prices from £800,000 - less than half the cost of equivalent homes on the Algarve.

"Some of the golf complexes can be a bit soulless, but Vasco Vieira, who was the chief architect at Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura, is creating high-quality homes," says Philip Mason, of Hamptons International.

The 230-hectare resort Praia D'El Rey, with 18-hole golf course, five-star Marriott hotel, spa, health club and tennis centre, offers three-bedroom apartments from £208,000, three- and four-bedroom homes overlooking the fifth fairway from £418,000, and a four-bedroom designer villa for up to £756,000.

# Contact Hamptons International 020 7758 8447; Praia D'El Rey Golf & Beach Resort 0800 977 7001

Blue Coast

Troiaresort on the Blue Coast, a half-hour south of Lisbon and the river Tagus, is tipped to draw in purchasers who want some Roman history dished up alongside golf, tennis, riding and boating.

"Owners are able to visit Roman ruins and learn about the local history, which is being preserved so it can be enjoyed by many generations to come," says Charles Roberts, of IRG Portugal, the company marketing Troiaresort.

Prices are as attractive as chronicling the past, with a studio on the beach at Troiaresort starting at £206,245 and one-bedroom marina apartment from £230,080. Off resort, an old unconverted terrace in a village costs as little as £35,000 and a farmhouse with a pool £264,000.

# Contact Troiaresort through IRG Portugal, affiliate of Christie's Great Estates 00 351 21 464 3322

They did it their way

Peter and Doreen Norman from Devon bought a plot in 2005 through Casas do Barlavento, at Vale de Telha, near Aljezur on the west coast. They paid £84,000 for the land and spent £224,000 on building a four-bedroom villa with pool. Agent Luis Ledo estimates that the villa would now be worth more than £320,000.

"It was difficult getting everything approved by the council, which is good in a way," says Peter, a 60-year-old retired customs officer. "Aljezur has halted construction projects, due to limited infrastructure. You need to cope with a good deal of bureaucracy."

# Contact Casas do Barlavento 00 351 282 780 870

The ins and outs of buying and getting there

• Total living area is stated in square metres (metros quadrados) and number of bedrooms (quartos).

• Beware of "black money" -under-declaring prices to cut down notary fees and taxes. It is a dodgy business and there might be capital gains implications when you sell on.

• Hire an independent English-speaking lawyer.

• Property transfer tax (IMT) replaced SISA tax in 2004. For a second home, you pay 1 per cent of the value for a home up to £70,554, 2 per cent up to £96,518, and 6 per cent over £420,665.

• Stamp Duty is 0.8 per cent.

• Legal fees are 1-1.5 per cent of the purchase price.

• IVA (or VAT) is 21 per cent.

• Property tax (IMI) is payable annually, assessed by the local authority and might be up to 0.72 per cent of the value.

• The annual maintenance fee (a condominium) for upkeep of communal areas varies depending on services. Maintenance fees are not cheap - about £1,600 for a studio apartment, up to £3,600 for a three-bedroom villa.

• EasyJet flies to Faro from all corners of the UK and into Lisbon from Liverpool, Bristol and London. Ryanair has a limited service to Faro. British Airways operates regular flights from Heathrow. Flybe offers flights from Exeter to Faro, Jet2 from Leeds and Mytravelite from Birmingham.

Source :

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sábado, 18 de outubro de 2008

New Year renting in ALgarve

The end of 2008 is coming and now is time to plan early that special occasion.

So why not to try something different and come to Lagos in Algarve were you can enjoy several local gastronomy in restaurants with New Year special programs and then the firework in the river front of Lagos old town.

Afterwards you can relax in one of our apartments just near the event and enjoy some peace or maybe the rest of the night in a private party.

On the first morning of the New Year it is tradition to take the first sea bath of the year and what better place then the sunny blue beaches of the Algarve.

Just check some of our offers,

  1. A very nice studio apartment in a private condominium in Dona Ana, Lagos.
    This apartment has one double bed and a sofa bed in the living area, a small kitchenette and a bathroom.
    The apartment offers fantastic sea views from the terrace . With access to the superb pool and the beach of of Dona Ana.
    This excellent apartment is 15 minutes walk into the town.
  2. For details and reservation click here

  3. A spacious studio apartment situated just 5mins walk to the glorious beach of Dona Ana and, a short stroll to the historic town of Lagos with its modern marina, shops, bars and restaurants.
    This property offers a shared pool and garden area which is for the exclusive use of residents of this small private development.For details and reservation click here

  4. A lovely 2-bed apartment conveniently located a short drive from the town centre, with its modern marina, shops, bars and restaurants and the stunning beach of Meia Praia.
    This very nice ground floor apartment is in a quite area of a residential block with pleasant views to a small mature garden. On the door step is a local restaurant serving traditional dishes of the day.
    For details and reservation click here

  5. A spacious and luxuriously equipped modern 2nd floor apartment with lift in a purpose built block next to the new olympic sized swimming pool close to the marina.
    Balconies front and back so that you can enjoy relaxing in the sun (or the shade depending on the time of day!) The block is next to the new olympic swimming pool and gym, so if you're feeling energetic, fitness nirvana is but a step away. The historic old town is a 20 minute walk up the picturesque Avenida des Descobrementos alongside the harbour.
    For details and reservation click here

  6. This apartment is situated in the Lagos Marina, which offers a variety of shops, cafes and restaurants. A short walk over the footbridge and you are in the centre of the historic town of Lagos with its cobbled sidewalks and colourful market square, and which also offers a large variety of restaurants, bars, cafés, shopping and markets.
    The golden sandy beach of Meia Praia is only a 5 to 10 minute walk, where there are a variety of water sports activities available. Palmares Golf course, Boavista and Penina Golf Course are a 5 to 20 minute drive away.
    For details and reservation click here

  7. A beautiful brand new two bed apartment situated on the very popular Lagos Marina. Close to the historic town of Lagos with its colourful markets and cobbled sidewalks and the stunning beach of Meia Praia. There are many golf courses in the area, the closest being Palmares, Boavista and Penina.
    This stylish apartment has been furnished to a very high standard and the owners have put a lot of thought into its design to ensure you have a more than relaxing holiday with all your home comforts provided.
    For details and reservation click here
Justo go to our website to check a lot more offers !!

quarta-feira, 8 de outubro de 2008

New Water Front in Lagos, Algarve Portugal

“Work on the main Avenida in Lagos has now started and for many residents and tourists alike this will cause quite some inconvenience for the next year with the main car park closed. But bear with us!

The council have recognized for some time the popularity of the historic city and its vibrant shopping streets and been working on a solution to the parking issue.

Now work has started. The project (see website) is to last for more than 14 months and will see the creation of a large underground car park. Along the river front now in place of the old car park will be water features and park areas, to enhance the enjoyment of Lagos and provide much more space for visitors to relax and enjoy the welcome that Lagos always has on offer”.
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