House hunting in Portugal: a villa nestled in a garden outside Lisbon
A low four bedroom bungalow in Portugal
4.3 MILLION DOLLARS (3.9 MILLION EUROS)
This four bedroom lodge with a straw-thatched roof is nestled among umbrella pines and centuries-old olive trees just a few kilometers from a 40-mile stretch of Atlantic Ocean beaches in Comporta, a coastal area in the south-central region of Alentejo in Portugal, about an hour south of Lisbon.
The contemporary 2,842 square foot version of a traditional Comporta country villa was built in 2019 on a 0.44 acre plot. Sunsets, nearby rice paddies and farms in the flat countryside are visible from a rooftop terrace, said Luiz Felipe Maia, founder and director of Maia Properties International, which owns the listing.
From a single gabled carport made from varnished Portuguese oak branches, steps lead past a boomerang-shaped swimming pool, wooden deck and garden. At the entrance, half-timbered glass doors slide on each side, revealing a living room with a vaulted ceiling with exposed beams. Microcement floors run through the main areas. A fireplace is framed by display cases and glass doors open onto terraces topped by a pergola for indoor and outdoor living and dining.
The kitchen, open to the living room, has a central island with bush-hammered stone counters, a sink and a hob. Cabinets are Portuguese Riga pine and appliances are Miele. Next to the kitchen is a powder room with an artistic vessel sink and a utility room.
The three bedroom suites are also on the main level. The primary, with a double bed and a double wardrobe, opens onto a terrace. The second bedroom has wardrobe doors fashioned from branches and also opens onto a terrace. The third suite has direct access to a back porch.
A loft with trapezoidal windows serves as a boudoir and overlooks the living room. On the other side of the landing, the fourth bedroom, equipped with four single beds, is attic with exposed beams and matching trapezoidal windows.
Outside, the landscaped sandy courtyard leads to an expansive wooden deck adjoining the boomerang pool, with bucolic views over the infinity edge. A small thatched-roof pool house has an outdoor shower. The garden has been designed to preserve native species, with more than 10 types of lavender, 14 century-old olive trees and 50 other local species.
The villa is a 15 minute walk from Carvalhal beach and 20 minutes from Pego beach. Shops and restaurants are also within walking distance. Surfing, kitesurfing and horse riding are popular activities in the area. Lisbon and Humberto Delgado Airport are just over an hour away.
With its dunes, pine forests, rice paddies and ocean beaches, the Comporta region – which stretches south along Portugal’s west coast to Melides – has been compared to the Hamptons, a place to disconnect in “barefoot luxury,” Mr. Maia said.
Over the past decade, artists, designers, entertainers, and other affluent buyers have moved into the low-key area, often buying land, hiring architects, and building their own homes. “Ninety percent of listings are off-market,” Maia said. (Connoisseurs include shoe designer Christian Louboutin, who is building a hotel in Melides, at the southern end of Comporta; Jason Martin, the British abstract painter; and interior designers Philippe Starck and Jacques Grange.)
Prices for high-end properties range from 1.5 million to 8 million euros ($1.65 million to $8.8 million), averaging about $927 per square foot. “Sales were up 40% last year and prices were up 10-16%,” Maia said, based on his company’s data.
This is partly due to a limited inventory. Strict environmental laws prohibit the construction of homes within 2km of the area’s 40km of unspoilt beaches, said Vitor Paiva, Engel & Völkers Comporta’s licensed partner.
Among the most exclusive areas is Brejos da Carregueira de Baixo, with asking prices starting around 4 million euros ($4.4 million). Residents are given “access to rice paddies and, in turn, deserted beaches on the other side of the sand dunes,” said Alex Koch of Gooreynd, a partner at Knight Frank.
In recent years, spurred by lifestyle changes due to the pandemic, developers have planned and built resort communities with golf courses, restaurants and other amenities. “Slowly it is changing from an agricultural area to a luxury real estate area,” Mr. Paiva said. “In the next five to ten years, we will have hundreds of vacation homes all over this region.”
AT Spatia Comporta domains, 10 of the 38 houses are sold and five are earmarked for two- to four-bedroom villas on land between 2.5 and 15 acres, said Mr Koch of Gooreynd. Prices for the remaining houses range from 1.5 to 2.6 million euros ($1.66 to 2.9 million). Sister property Spatia ComportaAll 27 homes are sold, with two resales, Maia said. Among the amenities included at both properties is hotel/concierge service, with an annual condo fee of $6,085. A free shuttle takes residents to a members-only beach club near Praia do Pinheirnho.
Buyers of new developments in the area tend to be “not retired but 35 to 50 years old, with families”, Mr Paiva said, and are looking to buy homes that will be finished in a year or two. “because of the simplicity of the process”, instead of buying land, hiring an architect and getting approvals.
Other projects in development include Muda, Dunas and Torre, all from Vanguard Properties, a Lisbon-based Portuguese developer.
The 50 12-acre farms are sold at Muda Reserve, a residential development set to begin construction this spring on 175 villas with private pools, starting at 1.25 million euros ($1.385 million). The result is “for those who appreciate the peace of the countryside with the sea nearby,” said Duarte Zoio, corporate communications manager for Vanguard Properties. The development will also include children’s areas, a restaurant, a bar, a church, a coworking space and a convenience store.
At Dunas and Torre – mixed-use developments with residential condominiums, hotels, wellness, dining and sports facilities and services – construction is due to begin later this year on 245 villas spread over Toweris 900 acres. AT dunas, with 2,500 acres, up to 750 villas will be built on lots of 0.61 acre to 1.5 acre. Prices in both range from 1.5 million to 15 million euros ($1.65 million to $16.5 million), Zoio said.
While the majority of Comporta’s listings are for villas or building plots, “there are a few apartments planned for the future, with prices expected to start from around 350,000 euros,” or $388,000, said Mr Koch from Gooreynd, noting that he expects prices to rise. increase by 10 to 15% over the next five years. “The area is seeing incredible infrastructure investment with schools, hotels and golf courses being planned.”
Although plans for new developments abound, “the authorities are committed to protecting the authentic ecological atmosphere of the area with its low density and traditional styles,” said Mr Koch of Gooreynd. “The original style of the one-story fishing lodge is retained, but now uses some of the world’s innovative designers to create a haven of luxury.”
However, many small planned developments may not materialize in the short term, said Ronald Wayne, managing director of Living Portugal Property, “due to the sharp increase in the prices of materials and labour. All new applications for ‘tourist resort’ type development have been put on hold by local authorities and, if enacted, cannot be reconsidered for 10 years under current legislation.
Who buys in Portugal
Agents reported that many international buyers came from Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Britain, Brazil, Canada and the United States.
Maia said buyers are attracted by tax incentives and Portugal’s Golden Visa program, which grants residency in return for an investment of 280,000 euros ($308,000).
There are no restrictions on foreign buyers in Portugal.
Getting a local mortgage can be easier than bringing in capital from outside Portugal, Mr Paiva said. All banks give 50%, and some go up to 80% of the value of the property.
Buyers pay a transactional or acquisition tax of 6% if the property costs less than 1 million euros; above 1 million euros the tax is 7.5%, Maia said.
Stamp duty is 0.8%; court costs are approximately 1% for the lawyer and 1,300 euros ($1,430) for the notary.
Languages and Currency
Portuguese; euro (1 euro = $1.11)
Taxes and fees
The annual property taxes on the Comporta house are approximately $1,663 (1,500 euros).
Luiz Felipe Maia, Maia International Properties Ltd, 011-351-913-777-197; maiaip.com