Pensioners find a place in the sun
pool, bar, café and all the activities on a pay-as-you-use basis. “There is also a private clinic on-site which operates like a friendly society and is subsidised by the community,” says Gil.
Within an hour of arriving in the warm January sunshine, Adam was surrounded by welcoming residents. A ukulele group was strumming by the pool, some people were playing Scrabble and others dozed under parasols. As he went to practise some tai chi exercises, some residents asked if they could join him. “By Sunday I had 40 people following my moves on the beach,” he says. “It’s a place run by the residents who share their skill sets. I ran a writing workshop when I was there one week. Everyone really looks after the place too; some chaps even put an irrigation system in the garden.”
Sun Park, which is a short walk from the beach, has its own grocery store, and a noticeboard with a list of all the activities. “One woman posted a request for someone to join her for dinner at the local Chinese restaurant and 20 people turned up,” Adam adds. “People come for the ethos: friendliness and a summer camp atmosphere. Some bring their laptops and work here, and never leave.”
Churchill Retirement offers discounted breaks so its property owners can split their retirement between Sun Park and the UK. Other British retirement developers are forming ties with overseas counterparts, too. Girlings, the rental specialist, has partnered with Algarve Senior Living, which offers rental properties in self-contained communities in Lisbon and the Algarve. “Britons are preferring to rent long-term before deciding on where to buy while there is such insecurity over Brexit,” says Luis da Silva, its founder. “The entire Algarve is favoured by Brits, although there is a distinct bias towards the west of Faro.” The standouts for retirees are Lagos, Praia da Luz and Alvor, all of which have “a British expat community of sorts”, and Portimão (home to the UK consulate) for those who prefer bigger cities.
Since Portugal’s 2009 launch of its non-habitual residents scheme, which offers a tax exemption from pensions if you become resident for 10 years, it has attracted a growing number of retired Britons. “Roughly 60,000 British people are currently living in Portugal, and while those relocating for work tend to be in the two main cities, Lisbon and Porto, retirees tend to head for the Algarve,” says Chris White, director at Hamptons International in Portugal.
Monte da Palhagueira was one of the first retirement villages built in the Algarve. The 22-acre development in the hills above Faro has its own church, restaurant and 20-room care home. Formerly a farmhouse and stables, it was converted into 33 bungalows and villas by its British owner 26 years ago. Cliff Richard opened the village and in 2007 radio presenter Chris Evans married his third wife, Natasha Shishmanian, in the church.
Ownership at Palhagueira is by means of a loan and accommodation agreement recognised in the UK and Portugal. Buyers pay a lump sum that is refunded when they leave or die; this eliminates estate agent and legal fees, Portuguese transfer tax, stamp duty and notary fees. A two-bedroom bungalow villa with a sun terrace, garden and garage is available for £220,000.
Spain, France and Florida still top the retirement leaderboard, according to Simon Conn, an overseas mortgage finance specialist, but Thailand and Turkey are rising hotspots, along with Cape Verde and Dubai. “Wherever you go, you do need to be careful if you are buying a repossession or an apartment,” he cautions. “There can be problems with ownership and illegal builds. Check everything with an independent lawyer and watch out for spe- cial clauses.” Conn has found that more retirees are taking small mortgages to fill the shortfall because of currency exchange rates, but there is more flexibility now, with some lenders loaning up to the age of 75.
Sue and Rob Coldray popped over to the Yalikavak peninsula in Turkey for a couple of days “just to look around” and ended up buying a villa with sea views, a pool and four en suite bedrooms in an enclave of 10 new builds. “I can’t believe what we have done,” says Sue, 52, still stunned a week after returning to the UK. Especially since she and Rob, 54, already own a four-
One of 12 eightbedroom villas near Yalikavak, Turkey, main; MontAzure in Phuket, below and top, will be home to Kamala Senior Living village