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Upcoming Neighborhoods: Vila Real de Santo Antonio in the Algarve offers a new luxury development

A hidden Algarve gem with grandiose development plans for the next five years. By Laura Evans13 Dec 2021

Portugal’s Algarve coastline benefits from more than 300 days of sunshine a year, making it a first-rate holiday destination and an appealing place to live or own a second home. The lively and enticing neighborhood of Vila Real de Santo Antonio lies at the far east, a stone’s throw from the border with Spain.
With grand development plans for the coming years, it’s an up-and-coming investment spot to have on your radar. And Monte Rei 17, a contemporary stone and glass new build villa with a pool, is one to watch in 2022. Listed at $3,815,000, the spacious property is surrounded by nature and greenery, and less than 15 minutes from the pale gold sands of Praia Verde. What’s more, Monte Rei Golf is just a 5-minute drive away – set in 1,000 acres and designed by Jack Nicklaus.


Vila Real de Santo Antonio: Portugal’s top golf course and miles of sandy beaches
Vila Real de Santo Antonio is a charming historic town, with unique architecture. Situated alongside the Guadiana River that borders Spain, there’s also close proximity to extensive sandy beaches, while local restaurants, eateries, and bars offer traditional food at sensible prices.
We touched base with Philip Cooper-Smith – Managing Partner of Marquestone International Real Estate and owner of Cooper-Smith Construction, the company behind Monte Rei 17. He knows the area well: “After visiting the Eastern Algarve and exploring Vila Real de Santo Antonio, I was captivated by the unique pace and quality of life, along with the overwhelming friendliness of the local Portuguese people,” says Mr. Cooper-Smith. “I decided there was nowhere more appealing for work and play; hence the construction and real estate companies evolved.


The eastern part of the Algarve features majestic beaches, golf courses, and nature sanctuaries.

Yet this part of the Eastern Algarve remains a well-kept secret, comparatively undeveloped in comparison to the Golden triangle and the Western Algarve. “But it has so much to offer,” says Mr. Cooper-Smith. “The miles and miles of uninterrupted coastline and historic buildings in the interior towns are reminiscent of traditional Portugal. Faro airport is a mere 50-minute drive away, Spain can be accessed by road or boat within minutes, and Seville is close by too.
On top of these attributes, Monte Rei has once again been voted the number 1 golf course in Portugal, and 2022 will see the launch of a second Jack Nicklaus signature 18 holes. “I was so impressed with the exclusivity and fabulous golf and sea views that I decided to acquire several plots for development,” says Mr. Cooper-Smith.


Vila Real de Santo Antonio fronts the Atlantic Ocean to the south, and the Guadiana River to the east, along with its frontier border with the Andalusian municipality of Ayamonte, Spain.

Bolstering that opinion is Dr. Álvaro Araújo, the recently elected Mayor of Vila Real de Santo Antonio. While in office, his aims include improving public spaces and attracting more investors to generate employment, “transforming this little piece of paradise we live in”.
Mr. Araújo is also keen to create a tourist agency, promoting amenities like the Monte Rei golf course and the resort’s Michelin-starred restaurant – Vistas Rui Silvestre.

Exciting future developments
Alongside these positives, house prices are set to increase in the Eastern Algarve, with several factors driving growth. The locality is yet to reach its full promise, reflected by current valuations for both new construction and re-sales. For example, apartments and villas are available at substantially lower levels than comparable properties in the Golden Triangle or Western Algarve.
That situation is set to change over the next three to five years, as savvy clients discover the charms and benefits of turning right as they exit Faro airport. Right now is an excellent time to consider options for both residential and investment opportunities, and get ahead of the curve.


Vila Real de Santo Antonio, marina

Expanding the marina and nautical tourism
“Vila Real de Santo António has enormous potential,” says Mr. Araújo. “We have to do our utmost to promote and enhance resources, in a sustainable way. To help us understand the best way forward, we intend to develop a strategic plan for tourism development and marketing.
“As part of that, we’d like to create an anchor event or festival based on the historic tradition of the fishing harbor and the transformation of the tuna industry. Our proximity to Spain and the traditional trade relationships are a plus factor that can generate further opportunities.”
There are also proposals to plow funds into the marina, incorporating additional berths and attracting a more diverse clientele. “We want to invest in the development of nautical tourism as a way to attract people,” says Mr. Araújo.
“For example, we’ll boost the Nautical Station project, among others. And in the near future, there will be opportunities in the riverfront area that’s currently under Government management. Once that’s a reality, we’ll start to plan, with an extension of the marina part of that.”


Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Marquês de Pombal Square

What does the future hold for Eastern Algarve real estate?
And Mr. Cooper-Smith’s thoughts on the Eastern Algarve’s prospects? “This best-kept secret will unfold rapidly,” he says. “Property prices will see significant increases, and the rental market will be enhanced, making it a favorable investment. The prices in the east aren’t over-inflated, representing a fantastic investment opportunity. What’s more, Pestana and Grand House have recently opened upscale hotels in Vila Real, giving the town an international flavor and a boost to the local economy”.
“But at the same time, local councils mindful of overdevelopment will continue to preserve and restore historic parts of local towns for years to come.”
Mr. Araújo is on board with the latter point: “In our first 100 days of governance, we defined a set of interventions to improve the urban quality of our municipality, including better cleanliness and landscaping, offering a more welcoming image to visitors. We see the north of the town as a development area – it’s important to respect the history and preserve our memories, but never lose focus of the potential.”
Mayor is keen to attract investors like Cooper-Smith. “We’ll do everything possible to ensure entrepreneurs have quick and effective answers to their ambitions”, he says. “We want to be their partner, helping them comply with legal regulations while reducing the bureaucracy that postpones projects and demobilizes investors.”

Monte Rei 17, a contemporary villa for sale near Monte Rei Golf & Country Club

At entry level you’ll find open-plan living with a fully-fitted kitchen, dining area, and lounge, as well as two bedrooms with outside access. Head up to the first floor and discover an enviable master suite complete with an ensuite, plus two additional bedrooms – from all of these, enjoy access to a capacious balcony boasting fantastic views. There’s also a sizeable roof terrace garden with an outdoor kitchen for al fresco dining.

A central lift connects all floors, and the basement has space for a bedroom, a gym, a cinema room, and a second indoor kitchen. Step out to the landscaped garden and be greeted by a heated infinity pool – the focal point of the lush grounds. Surrounding that is an entertaining space with a fire pit, barbeque, and seating. And let’s not forget the glorious vistas to the glistening ocean – what bliss.

Thinking about buying a second home in the Algarve? Take a closer look at Monte Rei 17, or contact Cooper-Smith at +351 308 812 315 for more information.