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Summer tourist influx sees winter property viewings increase

Algarve-based real estate agent Infinito Real says that the surge in tourists over the summer is now having a positive effect on the Algarve property market with the number of bookings to view properties three times more than November last year and the number of clients booked to visit in December up ten-fold.  

This has left Managing Director, Stephen Anderson, having to increase staff levels to cope with the extra demand.

October and November are historically busy months with bookings usually made by tourists returning to the cold climates of their home countries after their summer break and contemplating purchasing a second home in the sun.

“What’s unusual this year is that booking levels are such that we are busy right through December, even over Christmas, which is traditionally quiet within any property market.  In the last month, I have had to take on four new members of staff,” said Stephen Anderson.

Despite reports suggesting a significant rise in the number of tourists visiting Portugal over the summer versus the previous year, it was not anticipated that interest in property would rise significantly due to economic circumstances.

Stephen Anderson said: “In contrast to previous years, bookings are predominantly investor orientated rather than the usual holiday home enquiries. It would seem that, aside from the typical investor, other visiting tourists are starting to realise the rental potential over here and considering buy-to-let over other forms of investment.”

According to Infinito Real, it is the cheaper properties sitting at around £100,000-£150,000 mark which are attracting most interest rather than the £200,000 plus properties of previous years.

“There has also been a few exceptionally cheap repossessions from the banks offering 90% mortgages with a 1% spread which have been snapped up within hours, and buyers don’t appear overly fussy about the location provided the price is right and the rental income is achievable,” said Stephen.

Some savvy investors have also been attracted by the availability of high interest saving accounts only available through the banks if taking out a mortgage.

Stephen said: “Cash investors are seeing fantastic value in taking out a small mortgage on their purchase, which is easily accessible due to the low loan to value required, and then taking advantage of opening a savings account offering 5% interest per year gross which is guaranteed up to £50,000 per person, something which is rarely available anywhere else.

“The success of these bookings over the next month will be influential for the forthcoming year and should start to give us a good indication of what we can expect from the market in 2012.”