When Chris Garveigh, Managing Director of Chestertons Portugal, first started out in business in the Algarve, it was a very different place from today; Praia da Rocha was only just beginning to be developed and Praia da Luz was no more than a tiny fishing village. As the decades have passed Garveigh and his team have seen the Algarve and Portugal develop into a sought after destination, not only for holiday makers looking to lap up the sunshine and beaches, but also for property buyers seeking a new way of life or to invest in a country with real potential.

His parents first came to the Algarve back in 1963:“They fell in love with the place and basically stayed ever since”, Chris told The Portugal News. His parents had initially been looking at Fiji but then his uncle suggested “The Al-something in southern Portugal” jokes Chris, and the family never looked back.

Seeing the potential of the region the family first began with development before then organically moving into real estate, which Chris has been part of for the past 30 years.

“We began with the development of Luz Bay Club in Praia da Luz in the 1960's and continued with development until the revolution came in 1974,” explained Chris who describes how the business lost 75 – 80 percent of their projects during this period, however they were not deterred by this and returned to the Algarve to pick up where they left off in 1980.

“What had drawn us to the Algarve in the first place was still here after the revolution,” said Chris, “the heart of the Algarve was still here, the people were still here and the easy going way of life continued. There was also the long standing history between Portugal and the UK and the maturity of the Portuguese people was shown quickly in them moving into a democracy.”

Once the political instability of the country has been overcome Chris Garveigh turned his attentions back to development, seeing huge potential in the tourism industry, something that continues to this very day. The business went on to develop Ocean Club Luz with 1,200 units while also combining this development with exploring the commercial market in developing commercial buildings,particularly in Lagos in the western Algarve.

By working across various markets Garveigh and his Portuguese partner were able to tap into both the national and international markets and the increase in demand for both buying and selling properties led to Chris naturally moving into real estate to compliment the developments.

“The real estate side of the business began back in the early 1980’s , this was mainly prompted due to clients approaching us wanting to sell their properties,” said Chris.

“We found that we had many clients first coming to stay in one of our developments on holiday, this often would lead to clients wanting to purchase an apartment in the resort. As people stayed longer then they would look to then buy a larger property or a villa and then would not only need the help of a real estate agent to buy a new property but would also need someone to help them to sell their existing property, this is where we then came in.”

By combining real estate with development the business has been adapted to the changing markets over the years and now Chris Garveigh has moved into a new phase by becoming part of the Chestertons group, with the real estate arm of his business now accounting for 90 percent of the teams work.

Five years ago Chris Garveigh became part of the Chestertons International Group, taking up the franchise for Chesterton’s Portugal with offices in Praia da Luz, Lagos, Aljezur, Quinta do Lago and also in Porto.

Chestertons has a 200 year history and is one of the best known and trusted brands in London real estate, and by partnering with such a renowned brand Chris Garveigh and his team are now able to draw together their years of experience with the brand awareness and expertise also offered by Chestertons International.

“We had been working with Chestertons since the 1980's and 1990's and we were looking for a brand to work with and we felt that both our synergies and track records worked well together”, said Chris.

“Chestertons were looking to expand into Portugal and continue to look to move more aggressively into the international market and we felt that they would be the ideal brand to get behind us, especially as they are so well known”.

With 60 international offices around the globe, working with Chestertons allows Chris and his team to have the backing of their wide knowledge while clients around the world who are looking for property in Portugal can benefit from the knowledge and experience provided here on the ground.

“Chestertons are very dominant online which gives a huge value to the seller or the buyer in the market,” said Chris, while he and his team are able to offer the personal touch the company has become synonymous with.

While the global pandemic has left many industries nervous of the future, for Chris, who has already experienced much over his decades in the business, this is simply another problem to get over.

“We have definitely taken a hit in the western Algarve but in our Quinta do Lago office we have had a very good year, it has also been difficult in Porto where we rely more on walk ins, something that has not been possible all of the time due to the restrictions”.

However Chris remains very confident about the future of the real estate industry and his investment in the O&O offices in Quinta do Lago, bringing the office in line with the Chestertons brand, which took place during lockdown, shows his commitment and confidence in the market.

“I believe that the sun will always rise and that things will get better, after all, we have come through much worse in the past and the long term signs are very good. My father was a Jewish refugee and lost everything and while a war may be simpler in some ways, we will get through this.”

For Chris: “Every generation has a challenge to face and these are challenges we can’t foresee or predict but this is no reason for us to get down.”


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