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The search continues

By Stephen Anderson  

After the usual start to the year, we have seen a large number of returning clients still in search of their dream home in the sun.

As time moves on, the bargains of the last few years are slowly but surely drying up, and now the market appears more stable, the opportunities to grab those large discounts will eventually be gone. This, although not to everyone, is good news: a more stable market, a less “risky” place to buy and a more stabilised pricing structure throughout the Algarve.  

The greatest gift the crisis has given the Algarve is just that – prices have been re-aligned. The times of just plucking a figure out of the air and saying “that’s the price, take it or leave it” are well and truly gone. To sell now, the price must be right or the property simply remains unsold.  

This new chapter in Algarve property sales is quite new for a lot of the locals whom have never really had the same experience as much of the UK and Ireland, where negotiation was a pivotal factor in buying a property.  But slowly they are becoming more accustomed to it and indeed some are embracing it, and unfortunately for us and our buyers they are quite good at it also!

One trend that has appeared is the search for something new. If you’ve looked at property here over the last year or so, you would have undoubtedly seen the same properties advertised by different agents, and they’re still available when you come back, maybe a little lower in price but still not a property that appeals.  

There has even been a number of clients looking to buy “off plan” property again, which was always quite rare here in the Algarve, and many people were turned off of this way of buying through disaster stories from other countries.  

It is a sign that people are gaining more and more trust in the Algarve, as a strong area to invest in property. In fact, there has been a lot of publicity lately promoting the region as a luxury and high end area to invest in, and while this is true, it is certainly comparable with its neighbouring countries, when we look at the average size and price per square metre of properties.  

Price is important when comparing property to property, but the key word here is “comparable”.  Even when we compare property in the top areas in Europe, the Algarve can trump most places, with the attractive levels of finance available and also the sheer quality of property on offer.  

Our apartments are the same size as most countries’ detached villas, something that amazes clients time after time. I have lost count of the number of clients we’ve seen who have ruled out apartments as too small, only to be overwhelmed by the size and space they have here. Not to mention the low density build that is now synonymous with the Algarve.

As we continue to see where the crisis takes us, the challenge is to make sure that there is a well informed party on both the buyer and sellers’ side. No one wants to pay too much and no one wants to sell for too little. There is a coming together now, and as this year continues, there will be some new and exciting projects coming to the Algarve, which have not been seen for a while and is a positive step forward.

Stephen Anderson is the Managing Director of Infinito Real Lda and has a broad knowledge of the real estate industry in Portugal. Having held senior positions in a number of companies around the world, he now lives in Portugal with his family. Stephen can be contacted on telephone/fax +351 289 313 325. For more information about Infinito Real, please visit www.infinitoreal.com