A home in Cabanas: the bright spot in Portugal’s property market
Ask any house hunter to name Portugal’s bright spot and they’ll say the same thing: the Algarve. But the latest report from the Royal
Institution of Chartered Surveyors says the bright spot is something else entirely: rental property.
The lettings market “continues to benefit from the fallout in sales”, explains RICS, as those unable to purchase their own home rely on
renting accommodation instead. The result is an economic climate that has turned everyone into an unwitting landlord.
Mary Hayes bought her apartment in Cabanas, near Tavira, with no intent of letting it out. But even she is aware of its “excellent rental potential” – not just from the locals but the tourists as well.
“We originally purchased it in 2004 as a holiday home,” she tells me. “As with a lot of people, we’d been looking for years for a place to buy. We read about Cabanas in a rough guide to Portugal so decided to have a holiday in the village to have a look around.”
That taste of the Algarve lifestyle was enough and Mary found herself, like so many before her, drawn to Portugal’s stunning coast.
“As soon as we walked down to the waterfront we were hooked!” Mary laughs. “The village was a little bit scruffy but so typically Portuguese that we decided this was the place.”
I silently bet myself five pounds that they moved to the Algarve within two years.
“We decided to move to the Algarve permanently in August 2006,” she adds.
I smile. Five pounds to me.
She takes me to the first floor apartment.
“Furnishing the flat was a lot of fun,” she continues, showing me through the lounge. I nod. It has a very home-from-home feel, while
the ceramic flooring feels good under your feet. What really impresses, though, is the space. It’s only got one bedroom, she reminds me, but it’s a big bedroom – a couple, or even a very young family, could easily rent the place for a week or two. And, of course, there’s the shared swimming pool (a choice of four, actually) set in well-kept gardens.
“The pool area wasn’t built for the whole of our first year!” reveals Mary. “The builder was someone from Faro who had bought this section of
land with his friend. It was quite a big project for just one guy…”
But even without the pool to hand, Mr. and Mrs. Hayes had no trouble finding another watering hole. “We soon discovered the fabulous Praia
de Cabanas beach is accessible by a 2 minute boat transfer. That became a favourite relaxing place!”
She doesn’t say it, but that proximity to attractions, including the Benamore and Monte Rei golf courses and the Ria Formosa nature reserve, is
precisely what makes her flat such a prime rental property. What once was a “scruffy” village has grown over the years to become a bona fide beach tourism hotspot. At the centre of it all? A stunning new walkway along the waterfront.
“It’s beautiful,” agrees Mary, showing me the sights. “There are more restaurants, bars, mini-markets and banks than there used to be, but Cabanas has never been spoilt because buildings are restricted from being over three floors high, particularly near the waterfront. ”
With British visitors to Portugal rising by 16.1 per cent this year, it won’t be long until more tourists arrive to see the charming view for themselves, I propose.
“The village is only 40 minutes drive from Faro Airport,” she adds, automatically switching into full visitor welcome mode, “and even if
you don’t have a car, there are trains and buses to travel along the Algarve and further afield.”
And so the transformation from holiday home buyer to unwitting landlord is complete.
Nestled on the East coast of the Faro region towards the Spanish border, Mary may not realise it, but her home in Cabanas combines both
bright spots in the Portuguese real estate market: rental property and the Algarve.
I wonder how long it will be until someone else makes the same discovery.
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