A villa in the “Village”

A villa in the “Village”

Photos: Paul Bernhardt

SARAH HOWE looks at trends on the Carvoeiro property scene

June 2002

Reprinted with kind permission from Essential Algarve.

With its beautiful bay, tasteful low-rise development and the soon to be completed motorway link (set to cut the journey time from Faro airport to an agreeable half an hour), it’s no surprise that Carvoeiro  is a sought-after area for foreign property buyers.
Property prices reflect how popular the town is and have seen sustained growth since the first villas were built in the late 60s and 70s. "There are no inexpensive properties left in the area. Nowadays resale prices for a three-bedroom villa with pool tend to start from around 320,000 e and they’re going up and up," said one of the town’s seasoned estate agents. "Last year the average spend was about 240,000-300,000 e. This year the typical spend is more like 330,000-400,000e. "Although property won’t reach the price of houses in Quinta de Lago or Vale do Lobo, large properties in prime locations can now fetch over 1 million euro and I can’t see an end to this upward trend."

Most of the property currently on the market is of either new or recent construction, with very few traditional Portuguese houses or old villas for refurbishment available. But there are lots of urbanisations to choose from offering villas, townhouses and some apartments. A typical town house in one of the area’s many urbanisations with communal pool costs from around 250,000 e. There are various new projects being built on the fringes of the town, and with these it really is a case of you get what you pay for. The better the quality of construction, fixtures and fittings, the more you’ll part with. Another important aspect affecting price is the view from your new home: you can expect to pay more for even a glimpse of the sea.
About 40 per cent of people who buy property in Carvoeiro intend on living there permanently; the other 60 per cent buy as a second home investment and often rent the property out during the peak months for rental income.

Andy Stocker is the general manager of the Carvoeiro Club, the area’s oldest established villa management company. He has seen Carvoeiro grow from a sleepy fishing village to a sophisticated resort and now looks after 450 properties in the area. He told us: "Most of our clients use their villas for just a few weeks a year. The rest of the time they rent them out." 
Rental rates in Carvoeiro have not risen as sharply as property prices in the area – they can’t otherwise holiday makers would simply choose a cheaper destination – but they have been rising steadily by an average 2-3 per cent every year, and that trend looks set to continue.

According to Andy Stocker, the key to buying a successful holiday rental property is to choose one with "reputation, infrastructure and pool". And he believes that holiday makers will pay a premium to rent a house that is part of a complex, or one that is managed by a reputable and responsive agency. 
"People renting a villa want the same sort of service they would expect in a hotel – polite and thorough cleaning and maintenance staff and a prompt response if there is a problem that needs sorting out. If you want a hassle-free rental income it’s worth choosing a reputable villa management agency."
The old adage "location, location, location" applies doubly when you’re trying to attract holiday makers to rent out your property. A house in central Carvoeiro, close enough for a stroll down to the bars in the evening but far enough away from the crowds to enjoy a quiet dip in the pool in the afternoon, is usually far more expensive to rent than one that may be just a 10-minute drive from the town. However, high quality properties on developments offering full services and facilities such as golf can also command rental prices on a similar level to villas closer to the town. 

What’s new on the market?

Besides the wide selection of resale properties available from Carvoeiro’s many estate agents, there are currently some exiting new prospects on the market. Top of the list is Pestana’s Carvoeiro Golf (282 340900) project where development of the properties around the Gramacho course is all but complete, with just 8 plots left for sale. A turn-key project for a three bedroom villa with pool is priced at around 520,000 e. But the big news is that Pestana have finally started to release properties on the magnificent Pinta course. The first phase of 16 two-bedroom apartments with communal pool sold from plan within two weeks of being launched, with prices from 250,000 e. Currently available are the new Golf Fairway Villas which are individual three-bedroom, three-bathroom properties in small clusters with 4 villas sharing a communal pool and priced from 470,000 e.

In the town centre, DSI (282 356196) is a well established local agent linked into the worldwide Dr. Stange International network of agencies with an extensive portfolio of mid and top-end villas for sale. They are also exclusive agents for Pedra Grande which is a private condominium of cluster villas and apartments with either one or two bedrooms. There is a communal pool and the development is just minutes away from the Vale de Milho golf course and Centianes beach. Prices start from just over 137,000 e. Another development offered for sale by DSI is Monte Dourado. Here, in a quiet location just a short walk from the town centre and beach, one, two and three-bedroom apartments are available offering communal pools and tennis on site. Two-bedroom apartments are priced at around 104,000 e.

But what if you simply can’t find a property to meet your requirements? The answer, or course, is to build one yourself and with a good selection of reliable builders to choose from you should have no problem finding a good plot of land and obtaining all the help you need to design and build that perfect villa. 
So whether you’re moving to Carvoeiro or considering buying a holiday rental property, there are some interesting options. 
But one thing is for sure, investing in property in the area makes a good deal of sense, with prices set to continue climbing for the foreseeable future.