The homes with the most-wanted views in the Algarve
Some say that, when buying a house, a sea view is only important at two moments: when buying and when selling.
For the less pragmatic, living in a property with the ocean on the horizon is a dream come true, filled with shades of blue and sea-scented mornings. Whether or not you enjoy having the sea at your doorstep, the Algarve is one of the country’s most sought-after regions for its beautiful sea views, thanks to its privileged location and vast coastline.
But, as the coast became covered in concrete and, consequently, limitations were imposed to protect the coastline, sea-view property values increased. “There are always hidden areas with little construction along the Algarve coast, but with restricted building regulations they become very difficult, if not impossible, to find,” says Catarina Carvalho, marketing consultant at estate agency One Select Properties in Quinta do Lago.
That is why Villa Bella, located on the Vale do Lobo luxury resort, is one of the most exclusive properties in the agency’s portfolio. Described as “one of a kind on the Algarve coast,” this five-bedroom, four-bathroom villa has a construction area of 254sqm and is for sale for €4.5 million. “What makes this house stand out is the extraordinary, tranquil atmosphere you feel when looking out to the ocean; it is almost like your own private view. The specific area of the beach accessible from the property is also extremely private, without any bars, restaurants or even parking around,” Catarina explains.
The consultant assures that ocean views are alluring for any client, but what really sets buyers apart is their budget. Properties such as Villa Bella are wanted by wealthy buyers who “seek a very unique lifestyle they cannot find in other houses,” Catarina says, regardless of nationality or age. “Ocean views have an extreme effect on the price; on average, almost 50% to 60% of the value is determined by the sea view,” she assures.
Margarida Hilgers, sales consultant at Casas do Barlavento estate agency based in Lagos, Alvor and Aljezur, will not disclose figures, but agrees: “It is always difficult to say [how much these properties are worth] but, if they have a nice view, they are always more likely to have a higher price.” She adds that the allure of ocean-view properties is timeless since they are always in demand, regardless of the state of the market. “It always depends on the property itself and its location,” she sums up. Location is exactly what makes one of the properties represented by Casas do Barlavento stand out: “Besides being a popular area, Porto Dona Maria [resort located between Luz and Burgau] has the advantage of being very quiet, and, in the case of this particular property, there is nothing built in front or next to it.”
If the location is ideal, the property itself also presents a strong case to buyers – with four bedrooms, a construction area of 380sqm and a refreshing infinity pool, the house was built in 2003 and renovated in 2009. What is unlikely to require any remodelling is its panoramic view to the sea and Praia da Luz bay, dotted with palm trees on the horizon, adding a tropical touch to a house with traditional architecture. At €1.3 million, who exactly can afford it? “Usually clients looking for a special holiday house for the family, businessmen or even [former businessmen] who sold their companies and want to enjoy their free time a bit more. They mostly seek a holiday home. We have had Swedish, British and French clients 50 years old and over mostly,” Margarida explains.
For Kimberley Tucker, client liaison manager at estate agency QP Savills (with offices in Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo), ocean-view properties “attract a larger diversity of nationalities, mostly Portuguese, French, Dutch, Belgians and even Americans.” As in the western Algarve, most of these buyers are seeking a holiday home, although Tucker points out that, thanks to the Non Habitual Resident scheme, the number of foreigners looking for a permanent home is increasing.
These future owners look for exclusive and original houses, such as the one QP Savills has in its portfolio in Tavira. With five suites, an amazing plot of over 66,000sqm, architecture worthy of a luxury eco-resort (including a feature rooftop pool) and the absolutely stunning view towards Ria Formosa stretching out to the sea are the icing on the cake of a truly unique property. “It probably is one of the most private properties on the coast and, therefore, it is extremely peaceful. It also has a unique design, which incorporates elements from several countries/ continents,” Kimberley says. The cost of such exclusiveness is €6 million. “We have seen figures double or triple when excellent ocean views are involved, however, the property itself and the surrounding area also have a significant impact on the price and desirability.”
Alda Filipe, real estate and marketing director at the Vale do Lobo luxury resort, agrees: “Villas with front-row sea views have a superior value than those with more distant views, however, the exact value of an ocean view is impossible to define, especially considering resort buyers do not buy the property alone, they also benefit from what it has to offer,” she says. Giving an example of one of the properties currently for sale in Vale do Lobo – a spacious, modern five-bedroom house with a 652sqm built area and clear sea views priced at €8 million – Alda explains how the value of an ocean view can be converted into numbers in the Algarve resort: “This particular property costs around €12,260 per square metre, but other beachfront properties in Vale do Lobo can reach €17,000 per square metre,” she reveals.
An example of how an ocean view (as well as location) can affect the price of a property is the beautiful countryside house in the appealing Santa Bárbara de Nexe village, which features in the portfolio of A1 Algarve Real Estate in Almancil. Its five bedrooms, indoor and outdoor pools, Turkish bath, quality finishes and a plot of almost 3,000sqm would have a higher price near the coastline, but, in the idyllic inland Algarve with views towards green hills and the sea on the horizon, it costs a respectable €2.95 million. “The villa was extremely well built and there were no expenses spared for materials and technical gear, since the owners built houses for 25 years in the Algarve,” says Agnieszka Kijonka, the agency’s CEO.
Listing some of the aspects that can affect the value of an ocean view, Agnieszka explains that all it takes is a motorway or electric cables in the way to lower the value. “Unsurprisingly, the most sought-after areas are the most expensive. It is difficult to evaluate a view, but generally we can say a water view adds 25% to 40%, which reflects the high prices in prime locations such as Vale do Lobo, Quinta do Lago, Coelha and Luz beaches.”
Besides the higher price tag, one of the advantages of sea-view properties is their stability as an investment: “There is always a lot of demand for this type of property and, even though prices fluctuate a bit, they vary a lot less than the residential sector of the market,” assures Gonçalo Miguel, estate agent at Engel & Völkers in Portimão. Noticing an increase in demand for this type of property for tourist rentals, he acquired an unusual apartment in the region: a three-bedroom penthouse in a 16-apartment development, with panoramic views of the sea, Portimão Marina, Ferragudo, Portimão and the Arade River, only 50 metres away from the beach and with a pool and two garage spaces. The price is €975,000. “There are not so many quality, ocean-view properties near big cities, such as Faro and Portimão. In these areas, finding apartments with a view is more common than houses, but they only show up in the market sporadically since most owners prefer to keep them, often to rent.”
In Carvoeiro, Zoie Hawker, managing partner at Fine & Country Carvoeiro, says this trend is reversing since around 60% look for a permanent home but with a sea view. “I would estimate that at least 80% of our clients here in Carvoeiro would like a sea view and expect it within their budget, but this is not always possible. Even a partial sea view, when a property is set back from the coast, comes at a cost, but frontline villas can easily be worth double the price of good-quality properties located close to the ocean but not on the cliff tops,” she says. A good example of that is the three-bedroom house with heated pool located in the Vale da Lapa residential area, near Carvoeiro, that the agency has for sale at €2.5 million.
According to Zoie, another tendency is a market with an increasing number of ocean-view properties for resale, since there are no more plots with a view available in Carvoeiro: “In the not too distant future, we do expect to see some ocean-front properties that were built here in the ‘70s and ‘80s being demolished and replaced with contemporary style villas. We have seen this happen in Quinta do Lago and considering the increasing number of buyers looking for contemporary architecture, this will be a natural progression for the Carvoeiro market.”