The real estate market in the western Algarve has been increasingly growing in popularity, with many people, not only from the traditional markets, looking to take advantage of the Algarvean climate, culture and importantly in the Barlavento region, the natural environment. With his years of experience in the industry António Marcela continues to help buyers from all backgrounds to find their perfect home in the area.

For over 25 years António Marcela and his team at Marcela Properties have been providing clients with a service based on their vast knowledge of the local area and high level of professionalism.

“I first began inreal estate in 1984 after leaving the navy,” António Marcela told The Portugal News, “Initially I began working for one of the first English estate agents in Lagos before then going on to set up in partnership to open an agency before having the opportunity to open Marcela Properties in 1995”.

Despite his manyyears in the industry, António Marcela continues to thrive on the relationships he builds with clients: “I enjoy meeting with people, this is a very sociable job and I am able to meet with many different people of all nationalities. I continue to take clients out on viewings and to list properties alongside the rest of the team,” he explained.

With three offices in Lagos, one of which is dedicated to the administration of the company and a further office in both Praia da Luz and Aljezur, the Marcela team is able to cover the entire local area thoroughly, in no small part due to their comprehensive team of staff which currently stands at 23.

While the core business of the company is buying and selling properties, the team also offer holiday letting services, property management and can even help with building projects and renovations: “We like to think of ourselves as a one stop shop for all of our clients,” he said.

Many of the staff who work at Marcela Properties have been with the company for a considerable amount of time, including some who have been there for more than 20 years, no small feat in the sales industry.

“I am a firm believer in staying with staff, in the real estate business it takes years to develop all the skills required for this line of work and my main goal is to always work with very highly qualified staff, passing on my decades of knowledge to ensure a quality service second to none,” said António Marcela.

The western Algarve has long been a favourite with national and international buyers, looking to embrace the lifestyle and culture of this area of the Algarve that differs from other parts of the region, and at Marcela Properties the team are able to facilitate with every aspect of buying or selling a property.

“Because of our years of working in the area we are very comfortable with all of the local authorities here, including the municipalities, the registery offices and the finanças, this allows us to be able to pick up the phone and to have questions answered with ease to help our clients to obtain information.”

Buyers who are perhaps new to Portugal can often feel overwhelmed by bureaucracy and paperwork in the country, particularly when it comes to an important process such as purchasing or selling a property however, this close relationship with the local authorities enables the team to be able ease any client concerned with these issues.

“I tell my team to always put themselves in the shoes of the person who is coming to purchase a property, they will know very little about the process and more often than not we are the first person that they come across and they need to be able to have trust in us.”

This trust is something that has morphed into very longstanding relationships between property owners and Marcela Properties, last year alone 25 percent of the sales were from returning clients, a figure that has been steady for a number of years.

“We have very close relationships with our clients, this has helped our business to become a strong one and while we have many returning clients, we also have a significant number of word of mouth recommendations that come through to us”.

Last year 2020, has clearly reset the clock for many industries but while there were challenges to overcome in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, Marcela Properties is looking positively towards the future, not only for the business itself but for the Barlavento area, Algarve and Portugal as a whole.

“We have been witnessing a change in our international buyers since the last recession,” said António Marcela, “Traditionally we used to have predominantly British buyers with some Irish, German, Dutch and Spanish clients. The introduction after the recession of attractive tax incentives has seen the market open up dramatically and this continues to this day.

“Programmes such as Non HabitualResidency and the Golden Visa, alongside successful outbound marketing of the country, has seen a new buyer coming to the country and last year alone we made sales with 17 or 18 different nationalities including those from the United States, Canada, Brazil and from other European countries outside of the traditional market.”

Interest from the international marketwill continue believes António Marcela, not least also due to the fact that the profile of buyers has also been changing in the local area.

“Previously the western Algarve was aplace that young families would come to buy, and that remains the case, however we are now seeing more retired people choosing to relocate or purchase a property in the area. This has altered the type of property that is being sold as budgets also change”.

“It used to be the case years agothat if a property went on the market for €2 million then this would be a challenge to sell, now we have a number of high end developments locally that are attracting a different type of buyer looking for luxury properties but not in the usual places of the Algarve that buyers would previously tend to search for these properties”.

He added: “While on the south coastof our region we have the higher end properties as we move along through Vila do Bispo, Sagres and up to the west coast of Aljezur, we see people looking to buy properties closer to nature. In this area people are able to enjoy more of an alternative lifestyle and be closer to nature and a rural way of life. These are clients who value seclusion and quietness, factors that an increasing number of people are coming to value.”

The increase in popularity of the localarea has helped to boost the market and this is something that António Marcela sees continuing into the future despite the challenges of Covid-19 on the economy.

“I am definitely positive about the future,” he says, “We started 2020 very strongly and while we took a dip in the spring time, overall our enquiries for the year were on par with 2019 so I believe the market will return to its pre-covid level and will then grow from there”.

“Also the increase in people working fromhome and the knowledge that you can work from anywhere in the world makes Portugal and the Algarve a very interesting prospect for many remote workers and we think that this will also be a factor in the future.”

Whatever the future may hold, for António Marcela, it is most likely to be a bright one: “People will continue to come to Portugal and I am very confident that the market will stay strong, this coming year may be more complicated, but we will come back.”