The term “land” and the term “lot” mean two different things in the Algarve and Portugal in general. “Land” would be a piece of land somewhere in the interior of the province of the Algarve, where there is a good amount of space. “Lot” would tend to refer to a smaller piece of land in a subdivision or urbanisation.
There is a huge variation in the prices of land here. Land can start at € 40,000 (US $ 43,800 or £ 29,500) to a couple of million euros depending on where the plot is located and how large it is. At the end of the day, you can calculate what the price per square meter is but people don’t tend to sell their land on a price per square meter basis. The average price per square meter of land could be anything between less than € 100 per square meter (US $ 440,000 per acre or £ 74 per square meter) to € 1,500 per square meter (US $ 6.6 million per acre or £ 1,100 per square meter). That is how broad the range is. Land is sold and bought in the interior and plots would be within what we call urbanizations, which are areas of planned housing development. Just like in the US, the subdivisions are subdivided into smaller plots, which are anywhere between 400 square meters and 2,000 square meters. Those plots would sell for anything between € 100,000 (US $110,000 or £ 74,000) and € 500,000 (US $ 550,000 or £ 370,000).
A property with about 1,000 square meters (about a quarter of an acre) of land would cost around € 350,000 (US $ 275,000 or £ 185,000) if you have a bit of a sea view (up to €750,000 or more if the sea view is spectacular) but if it is just in a residential suburb, it might cost anywhere between € 175,000 (US $ 82,000 or £ 55,000) and € 250,000 (US $ 110,000 or £ 74,000). A lot located around 20 or 30 kilometers away from the ocean that has a ruin on it that needs to be demolished and replaced by a new building would cost around € 50,000 (US $55,000 or £ 37,000).
Not all these properties would be connected to municipal water and other utilities. The more remote properties would be two types: if you are located in a village or town that is close to an urban area, you would either have electricity, sewage, and water already on the piece of land or you would have it at the boundary of your property and you would request for it to be connected. There are properties that are further out, especially in the rural areas, which do not have main sewage so they use septic tanks and they would have boreholes. In Portugal, we use the term “borehole” differently than we use the term “well” in that we refer to a well as a natural structure built some time ago that is basically a hole in the ground that the underground water would fill the well. To build a borehole requires large drilling trucks, which would drill through the sand and rocks underneath in order to find water. Once it finds water, then you would set up the suction mechanism and pump on top of the ground that will suck the water up. Water sources in the Algarve need to be licensed.
In the Algarve, you would always be on the grid in terms of electricity but you may find yourself having to use borehole water in some instances, although it is less common now because the water network in the Algarve is very good.
(Land and house to renovate with water reservoir or borehole and traditional bread oven in Portuguese countryside, pictured.)