As the worldwide property slump continues to worsen in many areas of the globe there is a feeling that the ever popular Algarve area of Portugal may well have found a unique way to beat the blues. Despite many projects being cancelled around the world the investment and interest in the Algarve area is still relatively high and prices, although they have fallen over the last 12 months, are holding up better the vast majority of international property markets.
So what is the secret to the Algarve?
The Algarve had always been a very popular property hotspot with many foreign investors but the UK has more than its fair share of investors in the region. It had been thought that with the ongoing credit crunch and recession in the UK many investors would be happy to sit on the sidelines ahead of a recovery probably next year or 2010. However, it appears that property prices in the region, while depressed in line with the rest of the world, have held up a lot better than many people had thought.
The beauty of the Algarve is the fact that even though areas of the region has been popular for over 20 years there are still up and coming new locations which have remained relatively untouched for sometime. Ongoing investment in the region is set to increase the capacity for visitors from overseas as well as introduce a new array of tourist attractions.
The Seve Ballesteros golf course
A new Seve Ballesteros designed course has just opened up in the resort of Qunto da Vale and is already attracting the attention of golf fanatics in the region. Golf has always been a special attraction of the Algarve as the number of golf courses in and around the region is literally second to none. The new Ballesteros golf course is a top of the range development which will test golfers across a variety of skills and ensure they use every club in the bag!
Those who have checked out Portugal over last few years will be well aware of a very strong golfing enthusiast holiday sector which has grown up over the last 20 years. By investing into this particular niche market time and time again, the tourist industry has continued to grow in and around the region when others have struggled. This is not to say that the Algarve is immune from the property slowdown, just that the extra string to the area’s bow has shielded property prices a little from the devastation felt in some markets.
Further transport links help the Algarve
It has been revealed that Ryanair, the budget airline based in the UK, is set to introduce three further routes to the Algarve from their Glasgow, Liverpool and East Midlands airport bases. This is on top of the current links from Stansted, Shannon and Dublin airports adding to a very extensive transport network.
This seems to go against the grain of the moment where we have seen more and more budget airlines reduce transport links in order to retain cash and preserve their security for the future. The fact that the Algarve is set to receive more flights and more passengers in the current depressed environment is a reflection of the underlying strength of the region and the fact that there is still great demand from tourists and property investors. This is a vital element of any property market and the fact it is being serviced by the budget airlines is an added bonus. The new flight routes will be landing in Faro airport which is located within the Algarve region.
New F1 standard racing circuit opens
The opening of a state-of-the-art F1 racing facility in the Algarve on 2 November has caught the attention of the leading Formula One teams and drivers. McLaren have already confirmed they will be attending a test drive at the new Autodromo Internacional Algarve track scheduled for the 15th to 17th December. The event is sure to catch the headlines of the worldwide press as new Formula One driving champion Lewis Hamilton will be in attendance.
The Portuguese government and the local Algarve authorities have been very active in their pursuit of the Formula One teams and there is constant chatter of the track bidding for an official F1 race in the not too distant future. The track itself has every single mod con you could think of in the racing world with a track and high-tech watering system which can simulate both dry and wet weather driving. It seems that this facility and the location of the track has also attracted the attention of the Ferrari team who may also join in the test driving in December.
The heady mix of racing, golf and cheap travel to the Algarve should also see a significant rise in interest as and when the worldwide economy picks up.
The Algarve continues to reinvent itself
The beauty of the Algarve does not only take in the scenery, the climate and culture but the fact that the area has time and time again been able to reinvent itself and retain the old backbone of golf, tourists and the massive demand for second homes in the region. The fact the local authorities have positioned the area to take advantage of an eventual increase in demand for overseas property, as and when the local and international economies pick up, shows very interesting foresight.
It would be foolish to suggest that the Algarve is totally immune from the trend in worldwide property markets but the facts are that new and exciting ventures and an increased transport network will bring in new visitors and potential new investors that will help to support the market.
The Algarve has been written off as yesterday’s property hotspot on a number of occasions but the local and national authorities keep on reinventing the area and increasing the pool of potential visitors and investors who inject new investment into the local economy and property market.