Growing Investment In Marina Developments


Marina developments can mean mega revenues these days with a new breed of investor looking for a prominent spot to dock. But where’s the smart money heading? Laura Henderson reports

They say if you need to ask the price of a boat, then a life on the ocean waves is probably not your bag. But as the super-yacht industry boasts record international sales and marinas begin to rival golf resorts, the serious players are grabbing a slice of the best waterfront action. “The luxury market for yachts is booming,” says Engel and Voelkers yachting broker Ben Ridge. “The number of individuals with assets of more than £20m has grown by almost 50% in the last three years and a good many of those are not just investing in a super-yacht, they’re also buying a waterfront pad with a dock to showcase their floating assets.” According to Sandra Kettler of international agents Coldwell Banker however, it’s not all about millionaires on their gin palaces, there are plenty of people tying up their pleasure boats and enjoying the scenery: “While demand for homes with pontoons or access to marina berths is rising, supply is also restrained by growing restrictions on development of canal side residential estates and waterfront marinas. This is adding greater scarcity value to this type of property, so if you’re fortunate enough to find a dockside home you like-stick with it. Growing demand and constrained supply make for a nice little nest egg for the future.”


Blessed with over 150 miles of superb sailing coastline and one of the best charter areas in Europe-Portugal’s gilt-edged Algarve region has built up a serious ‘leisure and pleasure’ reputation over the years, not only for its championship tees and greens, but also as host of several prestigious international sailing regattas including the Algarve International Sailing Tournament held every spring in millionaire’s marina Vilamoura. Shoring up the current boat hub portfolio, Parque Expo, the company responsible for revamping Lisbon’s northeast waterfront into Nation’s Park, has transformed the frontline east of Faro around Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, into a glittering luxury marina complex to accommodate larger yachts and small cruise liners. “The city has been seen as a poor relation to Lisbon in the past,” explains tourism investment consultant Constantino Jordan, “the latter having benefited from regeneration funding from the EU. Now all that is changing. Land prices in the immediate vicinity of the marina are already reflecting future development, a 1,000sqm plot selling for €90,000 five years ago now double the value.”

One of the first frontline residential projects is Marina Village. Situated in the Moorish village of Olhao on the fringes of Ria Formosa and just 12kms from Faro airport, the community boasts 387 contemporary-style apartments with high-spec kitchens, wooden floors and spacious balconies. Residents have the option of leasing a berth at the new marina, with a full complement of on-site facilities including a five-star spa, rooftop swimming pool, and boat shuttle to the surrounding Ria Formosa Islands. Three-bed apartments with Titan Properties start from €250,000.

A see-and-be-seen alternative close to the Portuguese capital Lisbon, the former fishing village turned boating Mecca of Cascais, has become the weekend escape for Lisbon’s well heeled-the town’s ‘good life’ reputation supported by the price tags in its boutiques and the number of stars on its hotel signs.

Real estate next to the town’s 650-berth marina understandably commands a premium. “The town has a vocation for staging major international sailing events such as the ISAF Sailing World Championship,” says Antonio Lopez of Lucas Fox. “Now there’s a quay for mega-yachts and additional moorings, which is only serving to strengthen the resort’s second-home appeal.” Those on the lookout for a ready-to-move-into designer pad can take their pick from the current portfolio of €1m+ frontline stock. Sporting a 150sqm roof terrace overlooking the Bay of Cascais, the agency has a stunning Bauhaus inspired four-bed, three-bath penthouse apartment on the market for €1.2m. Kitted out with the latest ‘smart home’ essentials from electric shutters and demotic controls to a video entry system, the property also sports a steel framed ‘floating’ stairwell leading up to roof level and those panoramic harbour views.



An island that has shunned the holistic temptations on terra firma and set its sights on carving out a niche among the buy-to-sail fraternity, Antigua boasts a rich nautical heritage, and is already a home-from-home for highbrow boats of all shapes, sizes and nationalities, with English Harbour the venue for one of the world’s foremost maritime events, Antigua Sailing Week, as well as the annual Charter Yacht Show. Just 14 miles long, the largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, also offers year-round sailing opportunities. A recession–averse change in tack by government has seen a further release of state-owned land, once rich in sugar and now primed for residential development, but the sailing theme is never far from the property developer drawing board. In a sheltered Atlantic cove on the east of the island, NonSuch Bay, a 40-acre undulating development of beachside apartments, villas and townhouses has an established overseas clientele. Residence designs mix the colonial with the Caribbean, using natural building materials and featuring vast wrap-around decked verandas. Facilities include a restaurant, marina, tennis courts and communal pools. Three-bed re-sale villas are selling for upwards of £1.1m. “Antigua still has room to grow,” says local property agent Lewis James. “There’s great energy to drive foreign investment forward, while at the same time protecting the environment, and there’s no doubt that sailing is proving a major draw with investors, not least because so many of the other island’s have simply reached their peak and got too crowded.”



A rapidly growing niche sector in its residential tourism portfolio – the idyllic Indian Ocean getaway of Mauritius is targeting a HNW property investor base with a growing collection of luxury marina living opportunities that also offer residency status as part of the purchase package. Located close to the fishing village of Tamarin on the island’s west coast and clustered around a stunning yacht basin, West Island Resort’s diverse real estate portfolio spans one and two-bedroom turnkey suites and family homes through to deluxe penthouses and larger double-storey villas, all with direct water access.

The community focal point, the centrally located entertainment hub includes all the leisure and pleasure trimmings residents might expect including a day-spa, gym, pool, restaurant and hair salon, as well as a dedicated marina complex for boating and diving services.

With project construction due to complete by the end of the year, finance to purchase is available through Investec Bank in South Africa as well as via domestic channels with 70% bonds available over an eight year term at 10% interest a year. Adds project spokesperson Ross Alexander: “Owners also have the opportunity of placing their home into the resort’s managed rental pool with a three-four month rental window easily achievable.”

Established in terms of the Mauritian Real Estate Scheme (RES), which allows foreigners to buy freehold property on the island and in turn to obtain residency if they so choose, the resort is already attracting significant buy-in from soon-to-be-retirees. Says Alexander: “Mauritius has a track record of strong capital growth on property investments, with personal and commercial taxation currently capped at just 15%. Choosing a property with marina access offers the potential for a nice little nest egg in the future.”

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