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Portugal update: flood of movers, new appointment and attractive investments

With Portugal now included on the government’s ‘green’ list for quarantine-free travel from May 17 (meaning people will no longer need to self-isolate for 10 days on their return to the UK), the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK is predicting a flood of British visitors who are more interested in living there permanently, rather than just taking a holiday.

Christina Hippisley, the Chamber’s general manager, said of the pent-up demand created by the many months of Covid-19 travel restrictions: “Every day we are receiving calls and emails from British residents just waiting to get on a plane to Portugal. The most common enquiries are about what residency options there are in Portugal for Brits now we are no longer part of Europe, followed by questions about how to move their businesses there and work remotely.”

She added: “Portugal appeals to a relatively wealthy demographic. On top of its existing fan base of older, more established retirees and second homeowners, the country’s growing reputation as a tech investment and manufacturing hub is attracting a new breed of younger, working families keen to live there permanently.”


Working and living in Portugal

According to the annual June 2020 report from Portugal’s immigration authorities, British nationals are the single largest group of foreign residents in Portugal. The country’s 2021 census – which, like the UK’s, is currently underway - looks likely to show a large increase in this number, given the twin pressures of Brexit and the pandemic.

In order to cope with the growing interest in Portugal from new audiences, the Chamber says it is ramping up its series of live and virtual ‘Moving to Portugal’ webinars and events over the coming weeks. This will culminate in the next live event, the ‘Moving to Portugal Show and Seminars’, which – circumstances permitting - will take place in London in October 2021.

In the recent past, more than 6,000 people have attended the Chamber’s ‘Moving to Portugal’ events in the UK and Ireland.

Impact of Brexit and Covid

The Chamber recently surveyed its database of visitors to understand how the pandemic and the impact of Brexit has changed expectations. It identified the following major trends.

  • 59% of respondents are looking to move permanently to Portugal, seeking a healthier, less stressful lifestyle as the pandemic hopefully recedes

  • 63% want information on tax planning, pensions, and Portugal’s healthcare system before leaving the UK

  • 57% are planning to move within 12-24 months

  • 37% of respondents are interested in moving their business to Portugal or starting a new business there

Although ‘a new breed of business mover’ is keen on Portugal, the traditional second home-owner market has not disappeared. If anything, the Chamber says, this demand is also increasing.

The survey found that 28% were considering purchasing a second home in Portugal, with 37% already being frequent visitors to Portugal. Meanwhile, 69% said they are looking to spend between €250,000 and €1 million on a property.

The Algarve still tops the list of preferred areas, followed closely by Lisbon and, perhaps more surprisingly, the centre of Portugal, which tends to be much more rural. This could have been influenced by Covid and the greater desire for space, privacy, a closeness to nature and tranquillity.

This rising demand is backed up by recent data from Rightmove Overseas, which showed a 28% year-on-year growth in searches for property in Portugal.

Why is Portugal still so popular?

The Chamber says Portugal’s appeal is well known to the Brits – even more so now so many are ‘seeking a healthy wellness-filled lifestyle in the sunshine, away from the twin pressures of Brexit and the pandemic – with the additional benefit of working remotely from home’.

The Algarve, in particular, has long been popular among British buyers and investors, especially those looking to live active outdoors lifestyles. The region recently maintained all its 91 Blue Flag beaches for 2021.

In normal times, Faro airport operates many flights to many destinations, while the region is famed for its golf courses and leisure opportunities.

The Golden Triangle is the Algarve’s most prestigious area for luxury resorts and high-end living, but the region is also home to numerous towns and cities with their own distinct characters, from historic Silves and cosmopolitan Lagos to the working fishing towns of Portimao and Olhao and the traditional charm of Loule.

“If you are planning on moving to Portugal, you are following a well-trodden path, which means that there are clear processes in place for how to achieve what you need to,” Hippisley added.

New director at Algarve resort 

The Wyndham Grand Algarve has announced the appointment of Ana Damásio as director of real estate for Wyndham Grand Algarve Residences, a selection of luxury private residences at the newly refurbished five-star resort opening on May 28 2021. 

The Wyndham Grand Algarve sits right at the heart of the luxurious Quinta do Lago resort, an ‘award-winning golf, leisure and lifestyle estate’ in the heart of the Algarve and a key part of the Golden Triangle. 

Wyndham Grand Algarve Residences claim to offer ‘unrivalled luxury hotel living, a long-term investment opportunity and guaranteed rental income’. The team behind it say it also provides one of the most desirable real estate opportunities for second home buyers in Europe and an attractive purchase proposition for couples, families and sports enthusiasts alike.

Damásio will bring to the role an ‘innate understanding’ and ‘ten years of in-depth knowledge of the luxury real estate market’, as well as fluency in several languages and ‘exceptional local knowledge’, most recently at Sotheby’s International Realty in Lisbon.

In her new position, she will direct and drive the sales and marketing operation for Wyndham Grand Algarve Residences, working directly with prospective owners and valued agency partners in the Algarve.

The all-suite Wyndham Grand Algarve resort has been reimagined to provide five-star living with ‘premium amenities, stylish interiors and the most attentive service’.

Each of the 132 one, two or three-bedroom suites aims to offer a relaxed living area with essential kitchen facilities. There is also ‘a sun-drenched balcony or terrace’ providing extensive views ‘across the lush gardens’. 

The hotel is walking distance from Quinta do Lago beach and lake, where people can relax on the sand or take part in windsurfing, kayaking and scuba diving. The area is also well-known for its celebrated golf courses. 

For those wishing to be at one with nature, the resort includes hiking and cycling trails within the 2,000 acres of natural beauty that forms Ria Formosa Natural Park right on its doorstep. In addition, The Campus sports complex nearby has a range of high-tech facilities for sports enthusiasts, from tennis and padel courts to training fields, a high-performance gym, group fitness classes and an aquatic centre.

“We welcome Ana to our team and look forward to showcasing the exceptional facilities available to owners at the fully transformed resort, from varied dining options, the state-of-the-art spa and gym to the stunning outdoor pool and gardens, plus of course the wonderful attention to detail and service offered,” Maarten de Boer, general manager of Wyndham Grand Algarve, said.

Luxury residences at the Wyndham Grand Algarve, Quinta Do Lago start from a reasonably affordable €498,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, with service charges covered by the ‘Management Fee’, which is a percentage share of annual rental income. 

For more information on Wyndham Grand Algarve Residences, you can contact Ana Damásio on +351 913 339 076 and adamasio@wyndhamgrandalgarve.com.

Portugal: the land of attractive real-estate investments

According to global real estate marketplace Wealth Migrate, Portugal remains an enticing option for European investment, as investors look to minimise risks and maximise returns when investing in real estate. 

“Of late, investors seem to be favouring offshore real estate assets, especially when looking for options to relocate as some countries allow a residency option,” the firm said.

It claimed that sunny weather, a bustling property market and a business-friendly government give investors lots of reasons to cast their eyes towards Portugal. 

Portugal also has one of the world's most successful Golden Visa programmes, for those wanting to obtain European citizenship as their ultimate goal, although investors do need to invest a minimum of €350,000 or €500,000 in the country’s real estate to secure this benefit.

Three reasons why you should invest in Portugal

Below, Wealth Migrate outlines the three top reasons why investors should consider Portugal.

High demand

Strict planning permissions apply to Portuguese properties to ensure conservation of the natural environment and to limit the number of new properties that can be built, keeping the demand high for family residential properties.

Low crime and politically stable 

Portugal is politically stable and has a low crime rate. In fact, 2020’s Global Peace Index rated it the top third safest country in the world.

Strong yields 

The booming property market is a strong factor for real estate investment. In November 2020, Lisbon’s property prices rose by 5.83%, with average rentals yielding from 5.4% to 6.2%. Due to the warm climate and scenic geography of Portugal, rental properties remain in high demand for short- and long-term periods.

Wealth Migrate also argues that Portugal’s property market is quite affordable when looking to invest in Europe, especially in comparison to properties in France, Spain and the UK.

“Not only will you be able to ensure you gain value from your investment ─ from tax advantages to safety and a strong property market, investing in real estate Portugal is a wise choice,” the firm concludes.

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    I was surprised to see no mention of Madeira in this article. Madeira is currently booming, with an influx of digital nomads, retirees, and long-term emigres seeking Portuguese citizenship (especially Brits in the wake of Brexit). Many of them came to escape pandemic restrictions and ended up buying property here. Madeira is especially relevant to the upcoming changes to the Golden Visa program.
    When Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve are taken off the Golden Visa real estate investment list in 2022, Madeira is set to be one of the most in-demand of the remaining destinations.


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