More tall buildings in the Algarve

By: Caroline Cunha

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DESPITE THE Algarve seeing an overall fall in the amount of new construction, statistics released last week show the trend is to build taller properties.

In 2006, a total of around 3,500 buildings were licensed in the Algarve and, in the same year, building work was concluded on around 2,000 properties.

This data, revealed last week by the Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE), the national statistics institute, represents a decrease of 13 and 26.5 per cent respectively in relation to the previous year.

However, despite the number of licences issued and new constructions falling in number in the Algarve, specialists at INE point out the fact that “78 per cent of the total number of buildings being licensed in the Algarve are apartments blocks”, which shows that “the trend is to build in height”.

The institute emphasises that, in the Algarve region, “it is well-known that great importance is placed on the ratio between the licensed area, the number of buildings and the total number of homes which can be offered, which is, in turn, having the effect of more units being built within each building and the apartments being smaller.”

The trend appears to be for buildings to be higher and less spacious.  The Resident contacted Nuno Grade, president of nature conservation group, Quercus for his view on the trend.


“What is worse, to densely occupy the ground level with houses or offer the same number of homes in big towers? It is difficult to choose. The problem of the Algarve is that we should build more hotels and less apartments,” he said.

“It is more profitable for tourism if we have good hotels instead of apartments, which are often occupied for just one or two months a year. Higher buildings will have more impact on the landscape, that is true, but it depends on the architect’s design if people will say these buildings are attractive or not.”

Gonçalo Gomes, vice-president of the Liga para a Protecção da Natureza (LPN) do Algarve, the nature protection league, said he was “quite worried” about the trend of constructing multilevel apartment buildings, which is spreading across the region, particularly in coastal towns.

“The Algarve could seriously compromise the landscape which characterizes the region if this pattern continues,” he said.

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