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Property investments and retirement: Top European destinations revealed

13 Sep 2019

Many South Africans are pondering some big questions around retirement, like how much you will need and where you want to retire to. It’s a good idea to consider your retirement plans when you’re buying an investment property, be it locally or abroad.

The Algarve in Portugal has been named as the best city to retire to for the fourth year in a row.

International property specialist and owner of Hurst & Wills, Lisa Bathurst, says there are many merits to either retiring in South Africa or choosing a European retirement hotspot. “South Africa has a fantastic lifestyle element, especially around golf and wine, making it a good option for retirees,” says Bathurst.

Find retirement property for sale in South Africa

“However, my advice would be to get some offshore assets to hedge your ZAR retirement. Some entry-level investments in the UK could build a nice nest egg in British pounds that can be transferred back to SA anytime, handed to the next generation or divested as required for larger-sum payouts. For example, you could purchase a couple of student units for just R1.5 million that will yield 7.5% guaranteed for five years and is completely hands-off. They can be sold anytime, but you have the security of a strong currency asset just in case,” she says.

Also read: You can invest in lucrative property in the UK from R1.2m

“Portugal is my number one recommendation for South African’s wanting to retire aboard,” says Bathurst. “This is because of the relatively low cost of living, its Golden Visa programme and the non-habitual tax regime with its tax incentives. Like South Africa, Portugal also has a world-class lifestyle, with excellent golf, superb food, wine culture and good summer weather.”

Also read: Your guide to finding the best property investment in Europe

The Algarve in Portugal has been named as the best city to retire to for the fourth year in a row. “The Algarve is a great place to retire as it is safe, has terrific year-round weather - they claim 3 000 hours of sunshine annually,” says Bathurst. “Portugal’s cost of living is the lowest in Western Europe, meaning a retired couple could live on the Algarve coast on as little as $1 700 a month. Property prices in this area went up by 9% last year,” she says.

Other good areas to consider in Portugal are the Silver Coast, known for its beaches, good food and friendly people, or the beautiful walled city of Evora. Evora, situated in the vineyards in the Alentejo wine region, has some excellent property opportunities from about R4 million. It also falls within the low-density rehabilitation criteria for Golden Visa, which means there are Golden Visa opportunities from only €280 000, says Bathurst.

Dublin: Ireland is another great option for retirees.

“Ireland is another popular option, it has great scenery, friendly locals and it’s very safe. The property rental rates compared to property prices are currently compelling, especially in more rural areas,” she says. “There is also great public transport, which is free for senior citizens, and residents aged over the age of 70 qualify for national healthcare benefits.”

Also read: Revealed: Top international property investment hotspots

“Panama is another good option thanks to its dollar economy and GDP of over 6%. It is also very safe and has a relatively low cost of living with good retirement and tax incentives,” says Bathurst. “Then there is Mauritius, a favourite for South Africans as it is so close to home. Mauritius offers a laidback lifestyle and good tax benefits,” she says.

Golf estates in SA versus Portugal

Golf estates in Portugal offer residents idyllic, sun-filled living.

Golf estates, with their scenic settings, social aspects and shared amenities, are an easy lifestyle choice. South Africa and Portugal have some excellent golf estate options for retirees.

In South Africa, Fancourt in George, with its spa, restaurants and proximity to the ocean, has property options from R5 million. In Zimbali in KwaZulu-Natal, with its famed Tom Wieskopf golf course and abundant flora and fauna near the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, homes start at R13.5 million. Pearl Valley offers a Jack Nicklaus golf course, amidst the wine estates in the Drakenstein and Simonsberg mountains, with properties are priced from R8.2 million.

In Portugal, the exclusive Praia Del Rey Golf & Beach Resort is home to miles of golden beaches, a world-class golf course and long days of plentiful sunshine. Set along the pristine shores of Portugal’s Silver Coast, the resort offers a host of spectacular villas, holiday residences and the luxury accommodation of the 5-star Marriott Hotel, priced from R4 million.

Quinta Do Lago’s excellent course, with some long par 4s, has hosted the Portuguese Open several times, and boasts a stunning location on Portugal’s Algarve coast. The properties vary from apartments and townhouses to multimillion-dollar mansions. There are shops, restaurants, hotels and a world-class beach. Prices start from R8 million.

The Monte Rei exclusive golf and country club, with award-winning 1 000 acres of unspoilt countryside overlooking the Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, is consistently ranked as the best course in Portugal. The resort features restaurants, proximity to the warm Mediterranean and first-class hospitality. Property is priced from R12.5 million.

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