When the pandemic hit Portugal and most of Europe back in March, many were expecting a total meltdown of the property market, especially as far as international buyers are concerned.
But as we write this in June, whenPortugal is slowly emerging from lockdown, the reality is quite different. Here at Fine & Country Algarve we kept very busy during the lockdown.
None of our staff were furloughed and all worked from home with daily online meetings between the team to stay on top of the situation. Very early on we decided not to make any cutbacks in our online marketing, confident that
buyers around the world who were confined to home would have more time than ever to search for their overseas property investment, and we were right. Overall, our sales enquiries from March, April and May were very healthy
compared to other years, in fact in May, we saw a 30% increase in enquiries. And whilst we were unable to carry out physical viewings with many of our clients who were unable to visit, we used virtual viewings and increased the use
of video and 3D viewing technology.
The results are encouraging and there is no doubt that the desire to invest in an Algarve property is as strong as ever. Whilst we are entering a period of recession, the current crises is not expected to impact the Algarve property market anywhere near to the levels of the last financial crises. The reason for this is quite simple; supply and demand. The Algarve does not have an over-supply of real estate and demand remains strong.
What we are seeing is a shift in buyer motivation, from those looking for a holiday home or simply for an investment return, to residential / lifestyle buyers. Portugal, and especially the Algarve, received much praise in the international press during the worst weeks of the pandemic and has emerged as one of the countries that best responded to the spread of the virus. The Algarve is considered to be a safe destination and this, along with our excellent infrastructure, easy access and all the attributes that have always made the region attractive, makes the Algarve very appealing for those looking to relocate from more populous areas. Additionally, many professional people have honed their skills when it comes to working remotely and are asking themselves the question; why not relocate to the Algarve, work from here and enjoy the lifestyle?
We are also seeing an increasing number of buyers approaching us who are looking for distressed sales and expecting price reductions similar to those seen in the last recession. However, we can confidently say that prices have not fallen at all, and given the ongoing supply / demand scenario we are not expecting to see significant price reductions. Naturally, there will be some isolated cases of “fire sales”, perhaps a few more than usual, but for now the worst we are expecting is a cooling of the market in terms of price growth.