Located roughly in the centre of the Algarve coastline, Albufeira has long been a popular holiday destination for families, but also a place where wealthy retirees like to buy property and settle into an active retirement. Since Faro International Airport is only about 22 km distance, Albufeira is easily accessible, and there are numerous low-cost airlines that connect the Algarve with the rest of Europe. The town is home to the Algarve's biggest tourist attraction, Zoo Marine, which is part amusement park and part zoo with a focus on conservation work, providing a home to many rare and endangered species.
The former fishing village now boasts around 41,000 permanent residents. Offering several lovely sandy beaches and a surprisingly busy nightlife along the seafront, Albufeira is a great place to relocate or retire to. A spacious marina provides plenty of berths for yachts and several diving schools offer tuition and equipment hire there. Various companies take day visitors on dolphin-watching trips or offer excursions by boat that explore the local coastline with its secluded coves set among eroded ochre rocks. Albufeira, with its white-washed traditional houses and candy-coloured modern apartment blocks, overlooks a sheltered beach, Praia dos Barcos, where colourful fishing boats still go out every day to secure the catch of the day.
Much of the town centre is pedestrianised, including Albufeira's oldest part around Rua da Igreja Velha, where several buildings still have original Moorish arches. You'll find a good selection of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants locally, as well as a lively expat scene.
Central Algarve property tends to be more expensive than property in the less developed western Algarve, but there are still plenty of bargains around. Accommodation is wide ranging in style and there's plenty of choice in terms of properties being advertised. Portugal's residential property market took a terrible hit during the world-wide economic crisis of 2008. As a result, the country had to ask the EU Commission for a bail-out. Although those dark days are now over, there are still quite a few heavily reduced properties available. For EUR 150,000 it is possible to find a detached two-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Albufeira that also boasts its own terrace area with views.
A larger budget of EUR 460,000 to EUR 500,000 buys a luxurious four-bedroom villa in a quiet part of Olhos D'Agua, which is close to Albufeira's main beaches. For EUR 360,000 it is possible to find a two-bedroom, two-bathroom penthouse apartment in Albufeira's marina in a complex that includes individual garages and a swimming pool and where apartments come with central heating as well as air-conditioning in their high spec built.
Generally speaking, buying a one-bedroom apartment in a private condominium on the outskirts of Albufeira starts from around EUR 145,000.
For non-EU citizens it may be possible to obtain a so-called Golden Visa with property purchases or investments of EUR 500,000 or over, which entitles the holder to a residency card.
Owning a Portuguese property comes with a variety of annual taxes, such as Portugal's equivalent of council tax (Immovable Property Tax or IMI). IMI is based on the rateable value of your home (about 70% of the sales price). The rateable value also depends on the locality: for rural properties the tax is a flat 0.8%, but in urban areas the rate varies between 0.3% and 0.8%, depending on when the urban property's taxable value was assessed and where the home is located.
If you own a property with a tax value of EUR 1,000,000 or more, your property will be subject to an additional tax of 1%.
For buyers who need a mortgage to complete their Portuguese property purchase there is also the necessity of obtaining life insurance (seguro de vida). Your existing life insurance policy may not cover you for permanent residency in Portugal and may not be accepted by Portuguese lenders.
There is some good news for retirees though: anyone over the age of 65 can apply to their local Junta de Freguesia (civil parish) for a pensioner card, the Cartão Senior, which entitles you to various discounts, including train travel and reduction on certain entertainments.
Please visit Propertyshowroom's Guide to retiring to Portugal for details on how to transfer your UK pension and what to expect with regard to healthcare and our Guide on how to apply for Non Habitual Residency (NHR) status. NHR can save considerable amounts in tax payments every year. If you're planning to relocate to Albufeira to start a business, please see Starting a Business in Portugal.