Sep 22, 2022
By Dadinha Forte Silva

Comporta and Melides, the hidden gems in Portugal

On this coast with extensive beaches and protected dunes, where you can still build without seeing the house next door, residents and investors from all over the world, who due to their financial capacity could buy a house in any location, love the possibility of being able to walk freely through the streets without anyone bothering them. At Comporta, you can experience the much-desired "slow-living". (...) Melides, in turn, was compared to 1950s Saint Tropez by the New York Times in 2021.

Porta da Frente | Christie’s started by operating in the real estate market of Cascais and Lisbon, later in Oeiras and, more recently, in Comporta. How do you explain this evolution?

It was in 1995 that Porta da Frente opened its doors and presented itself for the first time to the market with an ambitious project prepared to lead, based on the provision of a real estate service of excellence. The idea of the need for specialization in a single market led to the choice of Cascais to implement and start our development in the medium/high and high segment. This is a premium market with national and international prestige, where we have positioned ourselves to this day as the main mediator in the segment.

Later, we expanded towards the Portuguese capital. Also in Lisbon, where we are currently one of the two main players, we managed to make a difference, as we led the change in customer service, through a personalized and proximity service.

The desire to work in a close and personalized way led us to open our third office, in Oeiras, despite having previously worked in this geographic area.

In 2022, after going through 2 years of a pandemic with the best results ever, we wanted to continue to grow and set out to open 2 new offices: one in Parque das Nações and another in Comporta. As 26 years ago, when we opened our first office in Cascais, our pioneering DNA will continue to lead us in our constant search for new markets and regions.

What makes Portugal, and more specifically, Comporta, so attractive to foreign clients/investors? And what are the main countries of origin of these customers and investors?

Alentejo is a region of small traditional villages, vast plains, and untouched nature. On this coast with extensive beaches and protected dunes, where you can still build without seeing the house next door, residents and investors from all over the world, who due to their financial capacity could buy a house in any location, love the possibility of being able to walk freely through the streets without anyone bothering them. At Comporta, you can experience the much-desired "slow-living".

Despite the fact that several projects are about to be launched and many others are already being marketed, there is great concern with the outdoor and private spaces of each property, which greatly delights those who buy them. The Alentejo people, on the other hand, are warm and friendly people like few others, with a very rich culture and a gastronomy of "eating and crying for more". The climate is also another very attractive factor for Portugal, and more particularly for the Alentejo region, with heat from April to October.

And this southern oasis has not gone unnoticed by the international media: in 2019, Forbes did a report on "Alentejo, the hidden gem, as the new place to go in Portugal". Melides, in turn, was compared to 1950s Saint Tropez by the New York Times in 2021.

At Porta da Frente | Christie's, we have a very strong international focus, with more than 65% of deals closed with foreigners and more than 35 buying nationalities. Currently, we have a very high demand from French, English, American, and Spanish clients.

What attracts clients and investors to Portugal, especially high-net-worth individuals?

Portugal has entered the radar of foreigners and will never leave. The country offers a series of advantages and conditions far superior to any European country, and with a lower cost of living.

We offer the perfect balance between modernity and tradition. In the greater Lisbon region, which follows the river and then the sea, you can find all the amenities you would expect from a capital city—museums, concert halls, restaurants, shops, and an international airport. And, just a few kilometers away, you can live a completely different lifestyle in Oeiras and Cascais, next to the beach and sea.

Access to transport, ease of doing business with English or French-speaking residents, and opportunities for education, work, and culture are the main reasons why foreigners like the cities around Portugal, along with the practice of sports, from surf to golf.

And because health is the most precious asset of all, another of the priorities of those who come to the country is also the health system. Countries like the United States have an exclusively private health service with very high prices, making medical care very expensive.

Clients with high wealth normally seek privacy, quality of construction and security. And Portugal offers all this at very competitive prices. We are one of the safest countries in the world, with new construction and high quality renovations, where you can walk freely throughout the country at anytime.

How do you see the residential market currently in Portugal? Any market bubbles in sight?

2022 has been a very positive and dynamic year, with a sharp growth of 65% (in sales and leases) compared to last year, where sales have a special focus. This data shows us that, despite the war and a post-pandemic period, real estate is the safest and most profitable investment.

Demand has continued to be strong, both from Portuguese and other nationalities, with an emphasis on the North American market, in addition to those who have sought us out the most in recent years, such as Brazilians and French. We have seen the integration of complete families, as well as retirees, and more recently, customers with the profile of digital nomads.

We are confident and optimistic for the second half of 2022, and we believe that the market will remain dynamic and in high demand. Proof of this confidence in the market and in our capacity is the opening of two physical stores next month.

Dadinha Forte Silva
Commercial Director at Porta da Frente | Christie's