Text by QP Savills
After so much uncertainty property has become an increasingly important asset class and sanctuary. QP SAVILLS reports on an interesting and unprecedented 18 months of activity.
There is a palpable energy in the air here in the beautiful Algarve. The welcome return of visitors and the anticipation of the summer ahead are evidenced all around us. Local businesses have been preparing for this moment and are reopening with renewed vigour and eagerness. At QP SAVILLS, we are delighted to see travellers returning.
Despite the global turmoil of 2020 and 2021, and the terrible losses suffered by so many, the property market has responded unexpectedly. As our homes have become more important than ever, the global pandemic made us re-evaluate how and where we live. There is evidence to indicate that many of our buyers have the flexibility to work remotely. Since the onset of the Pandemic, this feature of working life has become more normalised and is demonstrated as we see continued increases in property transactions in spite of lock-downs and changes to travel criterion. Throughout the last year and during this year, QP SAVILLS has seen direct enquiries for property rising significantly. We have witnessed a doubling in our website enquiries since the beginning of the year up to 1 May 2021 compared to the same period last year and active property search leads are up 63%. In recent weeks, levels of enquiry have accounted for part of this increase as countries exit lockdowns and restrictions.
QP SAVILLS is the market-leading luxury property real estate agent in the Algarve, with offices in Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo, Loulé and at the W Residences Algarve, where we are local exclusive agents and backed up by SAVILLS International. A benefit all our clients enjoy. We have the largest luxury property portfolio in Portugal. Our unrivalled insight backed by detailed research and expert local knowledge provides our clients with a truly bespoke service. Our excellence is marked by our success. Last year was our second consecutive most successful year to date. This year to date, we are also recording higher sales than during the same period last year, testament to our magnificent homes and the trust our clients have in us. Without a doubt, with SAVILLS we offer our vendors the most proactive and effective marketing proposition.
The appeal of Portugal as the location for a new home goes further. The 300 days of annual sunshine and sandy beaches are not the only attractions! The local landscape has changed somewhat in the last 25 years. Where it was once rustic and bumpy there is now excellent and sympathetically designed infrastructure, whilst the original Portuguese charm has remained. High-speed Internet is the norm. The natural reserves that Portugal has to offer make it a clean and sustainable environment to live in. The excellent transport links to the rest of the world make the Algarve highly accessible and represent another important attraction. There is a selection of international schools offering relocating families a choice of excellent education and facilities. The Portuguese are welcoming and proud of their country, its history and its evolution and they warmly welcome those who understand everything it has to offer.
The Portugal Golden Visa programme has proven to be the most popular scheme in Europe with investors attracted to its flexibility and benefits. The investor programme was launched in 2012 and has been actively promoted internationally. At the end of February 2021, the total investment generated by the Golden Visa Programme reached €5.72 billion, of which €5.17 billion went directly into the Portuguese real estate market. The Non-Habitual Resident scheme (NHR) is also continuing in popularity. We estimate that up to 50% of our buyers take advantage of this scheme and the combination of both of these programmes are adding to the rise in demand for property.
As a result of these many reasons to come to Portugal, we saw something quite different happening this past winter. As soon as it was permitted by the Government, our sales team was on the road again, phones in hand, showing properties over FaceTime. A gadget called a gimble never saw so much action! We were able to assist these buyers with their research even though they were not here in person. We supply full information, which includes a comprehensive list of running costs and comparable properties as well as potential rental returns making for an easy buying process and swift decision making for individual purchasers. Such is the level of confidence in the quality of the product here and in our QP SAVILLS team, many investors have been comfortable completing purchases remotely.
This growing property demand has not gone unnoticed by investors and developers who come to us for our in-depth market expertise and consultancy. We act as consultants and assist developers in refining their plans and devising their marketing strategies. We are recognised for having a long and deep understanding of the local luxury market. As Exclusive Agents of the W Residences Algarve, we have sold over 70% of the Residences in under two years. Together with SAVILLS International, we were involved from the very beginning of the project, consulting on typology, facilities and services as well as a comprehensive marketing and sales strategy.
Our experience coupled with access to the SAVILLS global network gives us a leading edge to support the successful delivery of developers’ projects. There is considerable appetite for these opportunities from those seeking to invest as well as from people looking to establish a residence here or a holiday home. The combination of these three categories of buyers has added to the intensity of demand in the region and is creating significant competition amongst buyers.
We are delighted to announce that our latest An Eye for Property Guides have arrived and comprise a spectacular selection of beautiful properties for you to choose from our portfolio. We have included articles about the buying process, legislation, visa options and helpful information and guidance on the area and property ownership in Portugal. Our guides cover Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and the Algarve and this year in addition, we have a separate Loulé edition covering our country properties. The Guides can be downloaded from our website. Or even better, come and collect a copy from any of our offices! It would be lovely to see you!
Consistent with our deep understanding of the region, QP SAVILLS established our Loulé office in 2019 to address the significant increasing interest from buyers and developers alike, in the countryside surrounding and above Almancil and further along the coastline. The demand amongst these buyers seduced by the ability to purchase or indeed build on big plots with captivating views down to the ocean continues. Property values in Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo have continued to rise and as we predicted, more and more people are interested in looking further afield to try and find better value per square metre. The team in our Loulé office is organically grown and is an integral part of the QP SAVILLS team. Kim, our manager worked in our Quinta do Lago office and Miguel was based at our W office. Tuna joined soon after the office opened and we now also have Schiwa and Alexandra as the office goes from strength to strength. The Loulé office in the heart of this region has meant that our finger is on the pulse. We know what is coming to the market earlier and can value that stock accurately giving confidence to our clients and buyers and expediting sales.
QP SAVILLS currently has a team of 25 and we continue to grow the company. A further three salespeople have joined our Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo offices. Josh Roberts and Taira Rafiq both from the UK and settled in Portugal, one and five years ago have joined the team. Gui (Guilherme) Murta who is from the Alentejo region has also recently joined our sales team. Gui is very familiar with this area having spent annual holidays here in the Algarve. Lisa Channing has joined as Marketing Manager. Lisa, who is Irish has been visiting the Algarve for 25 years and last year moved from the Cotswolds in the UK to live in Portugal. QP SAVILLS continues to grow and meet the increasing demand for property here in the most beautiful part of Europe!
At QP SAVILLS we love what we do! We would like nothing better than to help you enjoy your property dealings here in the Algarve — whether selling or buying your home. We are a local company with over 22 years of experience in the luxury property sector and as chosen SAVILLS associates, can give you the best service with a truly global reach. We look forward to continued successful relationships and to forging new ones.