Overseas roundup – from Portugal and Spain to Montenegro

27 November 2020 | Investment

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, interest in overseas property remains strong, even if international travel and tourism are currently very much in the doldrums.

Here, in this overseas roundup, PIT takes a look at one of Spain’s biggest property companies, new residences in the Algarve and Porto Montenegro’s newest neighbourhood.

PRS a growing trend in Spain

To get an idea of the current state of the property market in Spain, PIT spoke with Jorge Pereda, rental residential director at Spanish property firm Grupo Lar – which has a presence in Spain, Poland, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Perú and nearly 15,000 homes in development.

Who rents the homes in Grupo Lar’s portfolio? Is there a particular dominant nationality?

Grupo Lar has established a JV with Primonial to design and develop a rental residential portfolio of 5,000 units aimed for the middle class across a wide range of the main Spanish cities. All of our projects are conceived to attract long-term clients providing them with a unique offering of common areas in a professionally managed building, at a market price range.

Considering our product will be focused on primary residence across all the targeted cities, we expect the large majority of our tenants to be Spanish. That said, it will not be surprising to see some international clients in locations such as Valencia, Málaga, Barcelona or Alicante.

Why is the PRS one of the biggest property trends in Spain right now?

After the past crisis, a series of factors have changed allowing the PRS to start being a real alternative in Spain.

Firstly, the macroeconomic indicators show a positive trend in creation of new households, with a tenure status quickly growing in the rental sector in the past 10 years, but still far from the European average (23% vs. 33%). Even so, there is still a lack of professional operators, only managing 5% of the total rental market.

Secondly, the lack of bank financing – together with a low savings capacity for the majority of the population – has restricted the chances of buyers who must face the initial 20% upfront payment plus an additional 10% of taxes. This creates an environment in which buying is not an option for a large part of the population.

(Grupo Lar recently made six new additions to its Residential team)

Lastly, the high pressure of institutional investors to deploy capital in a zero-interest environment has lowered return expectations, allowing the PRS sector to grow as an attractive opportunity despite its low yields due to its resilience and scalability.

These three factors combined with a new era where people tend to opt for more flexible and pay-per-use solutions, have brought up the opportunity to develop and professionalise a market that up until now was small and in the hands of private owners.

How has Covid-19 affected Grupo Lar and the Spanish PRS market more widely?

As we are still in the very early stages of our platform, Covid-19 has not altered our plans substantially. We are very positive on the type of product we are designing, and believe that it will be very robust in the long-term.

We have designed a platform under a ‘buy-and-hold’ strategy for the next 10 years, where the most relevant effect of the pandemic is the potential evolution of rents during the next 12-24 months. A negative impact of Covid-19 in the economy can reflect on the rental rates that tenants can bear, but the PRS has proven to be more resilient in previous crises in terms of rents and especially occupancy levels.

Despite all this, we believe we will face an interesting period during the next year where opportunities to invest in both land acquisitions for our own developments and acquisition of turn-key schemes from other developers will arise.

New luxury apartments on offer in the Algarve

Quinta do Lago Real Estate, the sole local agent selling the new luxury apartments at Wyndham Grand Algarve Residences, has reiterated what the residences offer to buyers.

Situated within Quinta do Lago, an exclusive residential resort in the Algarve, and set in the grounds of the five-star Wyndham Grand Algarve Hotel, these one to three-bedroom private residences provide access to the luxury service and full lifestyle available at Quinta do Lago and start from €532,000.

Quinta do Lago’s newest real estate project, and launched in August, Wyndham Grand Algarve Residences is an exclusive collection of 132 private properties comprised of one to three-bedroom apartments.

Overseas roundup – from Portugal and Spain to Montenegro

Designed by London-based company twenty2degrees, each apartment boasts neutral pastel tones, stylish, contemporary furnishings fitted to the highest specifications and fully-equipped modern technology.

Apartments come with a generous patio or terrace, personal parking spaces, storage facilities and ‘hassle-free’ rental opportunities upon request.

The residences, the resort says, provide a unique opportunity for buyers to enjoy everything Quinta do Lago has to offer – and almost from a guest’s viewpoint due to the ‘entirely stress-free ownership experience’.

The luxury development comes fully-equipped with a state-of-the-art gym and spa, an indoor and outdoor pool, two Jacuzzis, meetings, conference and events spaces, a kids club and housekeeping – all available to book through the 24/7 concierge.

Additionally, five restaurants are located within the development, ranging from a pool-side café to a contemporary bar and lounge, a relaxed buffet or a fine dining, al fresco restaurant offering local cuisine.

The residences are situated in the heart of Quinta do Lago resort, ‘a low-rise, low-density and ecologically-driven region’ that has ‘remained consistent with its original masterplan, established almost 50 years ago’.

This, the resort claims, is preserved through careful building restrictions which are limited to just 9% amongst 2,000 acres of ‘superb terrain’ and three renowned golf courses all situated in the protected nature reserve of Ria Formosa.

Along with luxury real estate and golfing – one of Quinta do Lago’s biggest draws – residents will receive exclusive discounts to enjoy The Campus’ sports facilities, which boast state-of-the-art tennis and padel courts, a 25-metre heated pool and scenic off-road cycling tours through the 2,000-acre Ria Formosa national park.

Overseas roundup – from Portugal and Spain to Montenegro

What’s more, residents can enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches, the hot climate and an array of activities on offer all year round.

Sean Moriarty, chief executive at Quinta do Lago, said: “We are thrilled to be appointed the sole local agent on this exciting new project.

Wyndham Grand Algarve Hotel debuted in Portugal earlier this year increasing our resort’s luxury hotel offering, these new apartments are of a similar calibre and enhance our already extensive real estate portfolio. We are experts in selling property in this region and look forward to welcoming our new buyers to Quinta do Lago.”

Wyndham Grand Algarve Residences are available through Quinta do Lago Real Estate, starting at a guide price of €532,00.

Porto Montenegro unveils Boka Place

Boka Place, the ‘much-awaited’ new neighbourhood in Porto Montenegro – the luxury waterfront and yachting marina in the country’s Bay of Kotor – has now opened.

Aimed at the ‘discerning international resident looking for an exceptional Mediterranean lifestyle’, Montenegro’s newest luxury area is described as being a perfect choice for those seeking the comfort and convenience of an urban setting, while also having immediate access to the waterfront.

Overseas roundup – from Portugal and Spain to Montenegro

The new residential offering will be made up of 213 managed and private residences, ranging from studios to three-bedroom duplexes. Boka Place will also be home to the first SIRO 360° Vitality Hub, a new fitness-infused hotel concept, with prices starting from a very reasonable €190,000.

Porto Montenegro opened in 2006, ‘setting a benchmark’ for future developments with one of the largest investments in the country and boasting one of the Adriatic’s most prestigious marinas.

It plays host to some of the world’s largest build superyachts, alongside well-known independent luxury retailers, gourmet and relaxed waterfront dining and a year-round event schedule.

Boka Place will be spread across six buildings and designed around a central square, with a location at the entrance to Porto Montenegro allowing for unrivalled views of the marina.

Buyers of the managed residences will be eligible to participate in Montenegro’s Citizenship by Investment Programme, the country’s proactive scheme to enhance future development.

Overseas roundup – from Portugal and Spain to Montenegro

With a minimum investment of €450,00 and a €100,000 donation to a Montenegrin government development fund, successful applicants can be granted full citizenship within six months from submitting their full application.

The Montenegrin passport enables free movement across 124 countries and the country is in negotiations with the EU about a possible accession to the union by 2025, which would provide even greater benefits.

Porto Montenegro sits only four kilometres away from Tivat Airport, which operates several flights daily to major European cities.

We covered the new neighbourhood in greater detail in this PIT story back in August

This post has originally been featured in Property Investor Today.