The pandemic that affects the entire world is triggering several changes in social behaviour. In the real estatemarket, there are also already visible changes, the most evident being the change in the profile of the house sought by investors. In Portugal, property buyers are opting for larger houses, with more green areas, more outdoor enclosures, such as balconies or terraces, and more equipment, such as swimming pools or gymnasiums - or enough space to install them. At stake is the evidence that our home should increasingly be our safe, without this taking away any of the everyday pleasures of life. The increasing demand for teleworking also requires a larger villa or apartment.
LUXIMOS Christie's International Real Estate, which currently has about 50 developments in its portfolio, already has several private condominiums that offer everything from tennis, paddle and golf courses to jogging tracks, so the real estate agency had little resentment, in terms of demand, during the pandemic period. It is precisely the standard of property with which it works, aimed at the medium-high and high segment, both in Porto and the North of Portugal as well as in the Algarve, that makes it possible to conclude that the demand is even higher - and more focused on contact with nature.
Ricardo Costa, CEO of LUXIMOS Christie's explained, in a recent interview, the evolution of this scenario in the various regions of the country where his company operates. In Porto, whose most disputed area to live in and invest in continues to be the west, "facing the sea and the river", it has been noted in recent months "the greatest demand for elegant, larger houses, with large gardens and often swimming pools, to ensure the privacy of families". According to the manager, "families realized that if they had had a house with more space and garden during the period of confinement, the effort of seclusion would have been less". And he adds: "It changed the light inside the house, it changed the setting for meals, it changed the air breathed, it changed the concern with the children and it changed the type of activities that everyone could practice, from children's games to gardening".
Another change is the search for condominiums with few fractions. As an example, Ricardo Costa gives the new condominium AQUARELLE, in Pinhais da Foz, which includes only 14 apartments, all with outdoor access through huge balconies that are attached to the private garden. Another similar example is the luxurious Marechal Saldanha Prestige, built in the noblest area of Foz do Douro, one hundred metres from the beach, and comprising only six extraordinary apartments. Foz, recalls Ricardo Costa, "has always been seen as a reservoir of value and quality of life that has never been damaged.
In the Algarve, the scenario is one of continuity. In other words, "the search for large houses with vast green areas is nothing new", he says. "The region has a very wide range of luxury properties, along the 150-km or so of coast. The terrace, the patio, the balcony or the garden have long been part of the priorities of those investing in the south of the country". So, he stresses, "there was no change in trend". There was perhaps a strengthening of what was already common practice among international clients who represent the overwhelming majority who use LUXIMOS Christie's to buy a house. "The houses surrounded by green spaces, whether it's their own garden or the golf resort with all the amenities, remain the kings of investment".
The speech is again supported by concrete examples. In Lagos, there are two outstanding condominiums: the private condominium Palmares Beach & Golf Resort, specially built for lovers of golf, the beach and the fresh air, offering no less than three golf courses, sea views and a view of the Alvor estuary; and the private condominium designed by the award-winning architect Mário Martins, located between the marina and the historic centre, which offers residents a pool, gym, sauna, gardens, terraces and an unbeatable proximity to the beach.
Thus, when Ricardo Costa, during the interview, was asked about the future of the Algarve, the answer was quick, leaving no room for doubt. "The Algarve is going to come out the winner of this crisis", he assured, "because it's internationally recognized as a family destination, just a few hours from any European capital, and with lower population density than other tourist sites. It continues to provide everything that is good - sun, beaches, golf, nature - and now it's also ranked among the most attractive places to work at a distance, in a family environment, with safety, excellent value for money and an extensive range of international schools". No wonder the unsuspected American magazine "Forbes" has chosen the Algarve as the best destination for foreign retirees to live after the pandemic, justifying the choice with the fact that the region has "the ideal conditions for anyone to achieve happiness".
Faced with a possible slowdown in the economic cycle, Christie's representative in Porto and the Algarve reiterated that "Portugal has all the conditions to maintain the levels of foreign demand and investment". However, he noted, "it is important to maintain programmes aimed at capturing international interest". As for the rest, he concluded, "all investors know that the climate of uncertainty is an excellent time to invest. And this time it's no different."