Choosing to live in Portugal

by Mary Mangan [email protected]

Mary Mangan is the Managing Director of Winkworth Real Estate Portugal. The company has properties for sale on the Algarve and on the Silver Coast.

Despite all of the doom and gloom that we are bombarded with by the media every day, it’s been notable that a significant number of property transactions have actually taken place in Portugal this year to overseas buyers and this trend continues in May.  

Buyers have grown tired of putting their lives on hold waiting for things to improve and are instead going ahead and making changes to positively impact on their own lives.  

The investments of the past few years in the development of the tourism infrastructure in Portugal, including award winning golf course resorts, marinas, blue flag beaches and shopping centres, combined with our wonderful climate, have resulted in Portugal becoming one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe. However, one of the key themes we have been hearing from our buyers since late last year is that they are buying now as part of a plan to relocate to Portugal for all, or for a significant part, of the year and are not purchasing just for holidays.

One of the biggest concerns I hear from our buyers, particularly those in their 40s and 50s with children, is the struggle with work/life balance. The challenge of commuting to work in most Northern European cities with long tedious traffic jams, combined with the cost of childcare, means that life from Monday to Friday is a constant challenge and it’s only at the weekends that couples get to spend time with their children and extended families.  I know a number of ex-pats who have decided that this is simply no way to live their lives and use the excellent telecommunications infrastructure to work from Portugal, and then commute by air to the office abroad as required.  

There is an excellent educational system here both public and private with international schools in most of the popular locations, turning out students with a high level of academic qualifications each year who go on to pursue their ambitions locally or abroad.  

Similarly, we have a number of buyers who have already retired, or are planning for retirement, and are simply fed up with the dreary weather in Northern Europe and want to spend time enjoying their hobbies instead of being indoors throughout the long winter months. These people are very mobile and will spend time in Portugal and pop back frequently to their ‘home country’ to visit family and friends.

Our health infrastructure, again with both public and private components, can be positively compared with any European country and gives peace of mind particularly to permanent overseas residents.

The number of flights into Portugal from overseas destinations has increased considerably with some 64 destinations now being serviced from Faro airport.

One of the most attractive features of living here is the lifestyle. There are few traffic jams. Generally speaking, properties are located in peaceful tranquil locations with little in the way of loud noise or disturbance.  

We have restaurants that can be enjoyed from as little as €7.50 for a ‘prato do dia’ lunch per person to Michelin starred restaurants where the finest cuisine can be appreciated. There are many cultural events and festivals to be appreciated and enjoyed throughout the year and the outdoor living experienced here is second to none.

As a result, we are seeing more villa sales as a proportion of overall sales in the marketplace, with buyers looking forward to spending more time in a property themselves. The most popular purchases remain good quality villas with those enjoying a frontline location and benefiting from stunning sea views at the forefront.  

As an example, this month, a four bedroom villa on a hilltop location in Lagos with excellent sea views has been sold for €1,500,000 to a retired couple planning to relocate and spend most of the year in Portugal. In Carvoeiro, a lovely family home, close to the town and all of its amenities has sold for €740,000 and will become a permanent home for a couple and their two children who will attend the local international school.