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18 Sep 2008

New Portugal Property Investment Opportunities in Porto

porto property portugal

Porto is Portugal’s second largest city and one of its major industrial areas. Famous for its Port wine, successful football team and salted fish, Porto is definitely an area that is full of flavour but may not be an investment opportunity UK investors have considered in the past, so provides an overview of Porto and its culture.

Porto, also Oporto in English, is Portugal's second largest city and capital of the Norte Nuts II region. Located in the estuary of the Douro River in northern Portugal, Porto is considered the economic and cultural heart of the entire area.

The historic centre of Porto, Ribeira, has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is a delightful riverside quarter. The area is a mesh of narrow streets and houses once painted or tiled in colourful facades.

Porto’s most internationally famous product is Port wine, so named after the seaport area of the city, which exported the product to the rest of Europe.

Major Industries

Porto is the most important city in the heavily industrialised northwest, with many of the largest Portuguese corporations headquarters based in the Greater Metropolitan Area of Porto.

The city's former stock exchange (Bolsa do Porto) was transformed into the largest derivatives exchange of Portugal and merged with Lisbon Stock Exchange to create the Bolsa de Valores de Lisboa e Porto.

Porto also hosts a popular Portuguese newspaper, Jornal de Notícias, as well as Porto Editora, which is one of the biggest publishers in Portugal. Its dictionaries are among the most popular references used in the country.

Porto Lifestyle

Porto developed its importance as a commercial port during the roman period but soon fell under Moorish influence before a Christian warlord from Gallaecia was sent to reconquer and secure from the Moors the area from the Minho River to the Douro River, including the city of Portus Cale, later known as Porto and Gaia, from where the name and political entity of Portugal emerged.

Nowadays the Porto area is bustling with the energy of working people during the day and the liveliness of busy "tascas" and restaurants at night, illuminating a medieval waterfront. Porto's atmospheric riverside is sprinkled with old port-wine boats, confined lanes and shadowy archways.

The city was nominated as European City of Culture in 2001 in recognition of its impressive cultural attitude. This in turn fuelled several hugely ambitious projects, from world-class concert halls to a metro system. The area also now hosts some of the best art galleries in the country, as well as a revered book shop called “Lello.”

Being a place of culture, Porto also has several museums, the best known being the National Museum Soares dos Reis (Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis), which is dedicated especially to the Portuguese artistic movements from the 16th to the 20th century.

Like the rest of Portugal food in Porto is a very local affair, with Tripe a particular favourite of the region. In fact locals are fondly known as Tripeiros, or "tripe eaters.” Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá (Gomes de Sá Bacalhau) is a salted codfish, which is a dish born locally but also very popular nationally.

Leading Lights

Although not born in Porto, José Mourinho is a favourite son of the city due to his success there as the manager of the football team, FC Porto. A controversial man, Mourinho took Porto from a troublesome time in 2002, to two national titles, one UEFA Cup triumph and most impressively made unfancied Porto the Champions of Europe in 2004.

His success in Portugal led to a lucrative contact with English club Chelsea, who under his wistful guidance and owner Roman Abramovich’s money, went on to win the Premier League twice and the FA Cup once.

After being released by Chelsea in season 2007-08, Mourinho recently took over the reins at Italian giants, Inter Milan.

Capital Comparison

Porto and Lisbon are Portugal’s two economic power houses. There city rivalry is best reflected through the nation’s obsession with football and the intense competition between the countries premiere clubs, FC Porto and Benfica.

The two cities have a very different style and atmosphere about them. While Lisbon seems more modern, Porto has a ‘faded grandeur’ characteristic that is rarely seen nowadays in Europe.

Porto has the reputation of being a hard working, industrial city, while Lisbon is perceived as a place to relax and party. Indeed there is a Portuguese saying which succinctly sums it up: "Coimbra studies, Braga prays - Lisbon shows off and Porto works.”

Property Insight

After increases in 2002 to 2004, the prices of residential dwellings in Portugal then stagnated, and actually declined during 2007.

The area of Porto is the most expensive for property in the northern region, even though the international market there is still in its infancy stage.

Older property with more character sells at surprisingly high prices, mainly to foreign buyers, whereas the locals tend to be more interested in newer developments.

In addition to its tourism trade, Porto attracts many foreigners for business and educational reasons, making it a good location for rentals on a long term basis.

Dan Johnson, Managing Director, comments “Known for its fine wine, world heritage old town and its faded grandeur, Porto is a place that has much character, tradition and charm… definitely a city that’s worth raising your glass to.”, the leading international property portal, announces a number of new Porto property developments or properties for sale, including:

· Villa Do Conde (2 bed apartments, new ocean front development, from £178,740)
· Alto Do Golf Villas (3 bed villa, private condominium, well golf courses totalling over 100 holes, from £493,610)

News submitted by Jon Moore, The Move Channel

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