The trends in the real estate market are changing. According to the weekly newspaper "Expresso", the sale of beach houses is increasing in the North of Portugal. The trend is signalled by the increase in prices in locations of apartments and villas with sea view. If Costa Nova, Esposende, Apúlia, Póvoa de Varzim and Vila do Conde are among the most sought-after areas, the weather, water quality, safety and proximity to Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport are among the determining criteria for buying a house in these territories. Properties near the beaches in the North of the country are, therefore, the new fashion for Portuguese and foreigners. It is not just a question of trying to make a good investment, but above all of making a definitive choice to enjoy throughout life.
The evolution of a market that no longer concentrates all its desires on the Algarve coast does not surprise Ricardo Costa, CEO of LUXIMOS Christie's International Real Estate, an award-winning real estate consultancy, geared towards the high-end segment, with offices open for almost ten years in Porto and the Algarve. "The North of the country is today a preferred location for those looking for beach houses," assures the administrator, an economist by training. "The good rail connections, the existence of the Porto Metro, the number of cities that allow you to walk or cycle and the good urban planning justify the choices," he says.
This change began to take place during the pandemic - in 2020 and 2021, demand increased for houses with pools and gardens, in areas with lower population density - and accelerated with inflation. Now, clients are looking for beach houses from Setubal to Viana do Castelo and want to be integrated, to do community living. "Esposende, Póvoa de Varzim and Vila do Conde are, therefore, the new destinations", insists Ricardo Costa. These are areas that are sought after by Portuguese, French, North Americans, Nordics and Germans. These are buyers who are looking for "well planned, airy areas, with little high-rise construction and lots of space". Preferably with lots of green areas and close to the sea.
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In this location, prices have doubled in two years, reveals the weekly newspaper, citing data from the "Idealist". In 2020, the price per square metre was €1049. Currently, on the beaches of Apúlia, Fão and Esposende, the square metre has an average value of €2180. And it continues to rise, as is the case in Vila do Conde, where the price per square metre is, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE), €1355. There are even houses where the price increase "exceeds 100%", points out Ricardo Costa, referring to "market values of around €3500 m2". The rise in prices obviously reflects the increase in demand. If the French and Portuguese "are willing to pay between €500 and €600,000, the Americans will pay €1 million or more", reveals the head of LUXIMOS Christie's.
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In Póvoa de Varzim, just ten minutes away from Vila do Conde, LUXIMOS has for sale the Edifício Ribamar, in Avenida dos Banhos, in the first line of beach. In question are apartments with three to four bedrooms, served by the Metro and close to the beach, the Casino, shops and restaurants. There, values vary between €740,000 and €1.25 million. Despite the impact of these sums, Ricardo Costa notes that "95% of clients do not resort to mortgage lending". These are buyers who find real estate "a way of putting their available financial resources to use, who usually pay promptly and who are not looking to invest, but rather to acquire a beach house, seduced by the climate and the security that the country offers".
The current moment, conditioned by the constant increase in the cost of materials, means that these developments are being put up for sale "at an advanced stage of construction". And this condition "is driving the used housing market and directing choices to less central locations, as long as they are near the coast", explains the director of LUXIMOS. Caminha and Viana do Castelo "are districts that have already shown some demand".
The good real estate situation and tourism indicators are also reflected in Alqueva and Alto Douro Wine Region, which have also been chosen by those looking for a second home in Portugal. "In the Douro, there's a lack of property supply and the foreign market is very strong", stresses Ricardo Costa.
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