Portugal v Cyprus – which makes the best second home location?
- Portugal’s Algarve is Europe’s cheapest beach resort (Post Office)
- Cyprus offers summer average of 26°C (Holiday Weather)
- Properties in both locations offer excellent value for British buyers (Ideal Homes International)
With more than 300 days of sunshine per year, stunning beaches and a wealth of good value luxury property, Portugal and Cyprus have a great deal in common. So which makes for the better second home location?
According to the Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer 2015, Portugal’s Algarve is Europe’s cheapest beach resort. In terms of overall holiday cost, Portugal took the number two spot in this year’s survey, while Cyprus was in ninth place. But while cost of living is an important consideration for second home owners, a host of other factors also come into play.
Portugal enjoys extremely easy access from the UK, with a host of budget airlines (including easyJet, Tap, Monarch, Ryanair and Flybe) offering regular, year-round flights of around two and a half to three hours in duration. Budget airlines also fly to Cyprus throughout the year, with a flight time of roughly four and a half hours.
Climate-wise, both Portugal and Cyprus have long, hot summers. According to Holiday Weather, Cyprus’ popular city of Paphos averages 26°C in August and 13°C in January and February. Portugal’s Algarve averages 24°C in July and August, with a low of 12°C in January. So Cyprus just takes the lead when it comes to climate – an important consideration for weather-obsessed Brits.
Portugal has the advantage when it comes to a supply of clean, family-friendly beaches, netting 299 Blue Flags during the last round of awards, compared to just 57 in Cyprus. However, Cyprus may just have the edge when it comes to sea temperatures. Both countries are blessed with powdery sand and remarkably un-crowded coastal spots, even in the height of summer (if you know where to go). Yet Cyprus’ Mediterranean waters enjoy an average sea temperate of 27.8°C in August (Paphos area), while Portugal’s Atlantic temperature averages just 20.8°C – a big difference for those who enjoy splashing around in the waves.
Both Cyprus and Portugal also offer tax incentives to foreigners who may be considering buying property or moving there, which are an important consideration for those looking at a second home as a potential retirement option. Portugal’s non-habitual residents regime can offer tax-free living for up to ten years for those claiming pensions from overseas, as well as for certain other types of income.
Meanwhile Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades this summer announced a 50% cut in property transfer fees as part of a raft of measures designed to attract high net worth foreigners to his country’s shores.
Both countries also offer a citizenship-by-investment (golden visa) programme, allowing wealthy foreigners essentially to buy the right to residency and to travel freely within the Schengen Area. Cypriot citizenship can be obtained for a €300,000 real estate purchase. Portugal requires an investment of €350,000 to €500,000, depending on the location of the property being purchased. Both programmes have been influential in attracting Chinese, Russian and Middle Eastern buyers.
When it comes to properties, both countries have a lot to offer. Chris White, Founding Director of boutique estate agency Ideal Homes International, which sells homes in both countries, comments,
“Second homes in Cyprus and Portugal represent incredibly good value compared to house prices in the UK. The exchange rate has made a difference in recent years as well. This time in 2010 the pound was worth €1.16. Now, it’s up to €1.35. That makes a big difference when it comes to what you can get for your money property-wise.”
By way of comparison, €150,000 is enough for a two bedroom townhouse in a gated condominium with adult and children’s pools in Branqueira in Portugal’s Algarve. Over in Paphos, the same money is sufficient for a modern, two bedroom townhouse with veranda, roof terrace and shared pool. Both are fantastic value for those buying with sterling.
With so much to offer, the two countries are neck and neck when it comes to offering the ideal location for a second home. Really it comes down to personal preference and circumstances. Keen surfers might prefer to opt for the heavy rollers of the western shores of the Algarve. Windsurfers may prefer to head to Cyprus. As Chris White concludes,
“Whether Portugal or Cyprus is your personal favourite, both provide a wonderful, sun-kissed location for a second home and offer great value for money when it comes to buying property there.”