Please tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
P.P.Property is owned by two British expatriates; Sarah Keogh and Paul Stubbs, they are registered estate agents in Portugal (Imobiliaria). The company is now 5 years old and is growing strongly. The company has property for sale throughout Portugal, however their primary focus is between Lisbon and Coimbra, which cover the Silver Coast and Central Portugal regions.
The main districts covered are Santarem, Leiria, Castelo Branco and Coimbra. P.P. Property have branches in Ferreira do Zezere, Ansiao and two teams of agents in Caldas do Rainha on the Silver Coast and Santarem. Central Portugal and the Silver Coast is often referred to as the ‘real Portugal’, this of course refers to the old Portugal and in many ways it is stuck in a bit of a time warp.Family values are still very important here and they still dance and drink in ways that most of Europe stopped doing when men still wore tights. Admittedly they only do this once a year at their local fete, but it is an all night affair and most of the inhabitants of the said village or town get involved including the children.
However while you are looking at the old lady on her horse and trap cantering down the road, a sideways glance at the side of the road assures you that fibre optic internet is available almost everywhere in Portugal. So be assured that Portugal really does offer the best of both worlds.
What has the property market been like this year?
2013 has been the busiest year for 5 years in terms of both property viewings and sales, we are also seeing a resurgence in high end property sales. We have made more sales over €500,000 than any other year.
The bulk of the the property buyers have been British, Dutch, Norwegian, German, French and Swiss, although we are seeing an increase in interest from Asians and North Americans. The golden residence permit program has seen a huge response from China and already in excess of €150,000,000, worth of property has been purchased through this scheme.
The domestic market is still very depressed however and we see no significant change until the middle of next year. At this point we anticipate a slow return to health of the jobs market and bank liquidity, both essential for a healthy domestic property market.
What do you expect to happen to the market in 2014? Are there any "hotspots" to look out for?
2014 will in our opinion see an upswing in overseas demand and the return of the domestic market, we also anticipate a rise in property prices. We think a potential property hotspot is the Silver Coast within 45 minutes of the Airport. We are already seeing strong interest in this area and are looking to strengthen our team. Another potential hotspot is the area south of Lisbon and we are actively looking to place a team there.
What are the major challenges faced by expats looking to buy?
Expatriates buying a property in Portugal have few challenges, the biggest being one of too much choice. There is a huge variety and quantity of properties on the market in Portugal and many people find it a little overwhelming. Mortgage availability can be one stumbling block in the rural areas, as Portuguese banks are for some reason best known to themselves, reluctant to lend money for rural property. The banks feel they would have difficulty in reselling the property afterwards and providing evidence to the contrary does not seem to sway their opinion.
What advice would you give to expats going through the buying process?
The best advice I can give to expatriates looking to buy a property in Portugal, is to come and look with an open mind. Although you should do your research at home, be aware that most people change their criteria once they have spent some time here. The biggest change is how much land you want; we have a number of expatiates now looking to downsize as they have discovered that land = work. Lots of work.
Make sure that your budget takes into consideration the work that has to be done on the property and that the local council will permit that work to be carried out.
Make sure that the people you buy the house through are accountable, if they are not registered estate agents they are not.
If you are buying a land plot make sure that there is a current viability document, or of course full planning permission, do not assume, or be persuaded that it is automatically renewable; it is not.
Unless you have a very good reason for absolute privacy, do not be shy of having neighbours. Integrating with your local community is one of the pleasures of moving to Portugal and the stories we hear from expatiates regarding the friendliness and of friendships forged between expatiates and their neighbours are seemingly without end.
Can you be contacted for further information?
We are always available to answer questions about moving to Portugal, the buying process and of course on specific properties. We also offer a property finding service if we do not have what you want on our books.
Our website is http://www.perfectportugalproperty.co.uk
Email: paul at perfectportugalproperty dot co dot uk
Tel: 00351 912 497 202
Office: 00351 236 656 024