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Sun Takes A Shine To Majestic Madeira

June 3, 2009Article by Ray Withers

Madeira is the largest of a small group of islands in the North Atlantic, about 360 miles off the coast of Morocco and north of the Canary Islands.The capital is Funchal, where about half of the population of 240,000 live.The islands were first charted in Roman times, but then forgotten until repopulated by the Portuguese in the 15th century.


The smaller island of Porto Santo, to the north of Madeira is a popular holiday destination with a 9.5 kilometre beach stretching most of one side of the island.Porto Santo is also known as the marital home of Christopher Columbus.Besides the beach, golf is a major attraction.Madeira has few beaches and is a mountainous island with steep cliffs around the coast.The north of the island is thickly forested and is a world heritage site.Madeira is traditionally a destination for British retirees in the winter or ex-pats. Part of this is due to the island’s ties with Gibraltar, because many British citizens were evacuated there during the Second World War and stayed on.

Madeira basks in a subtropical climate that fluctuates very little throughout the year – stuck in the 16 -22C temperature band.


As expected many flights from Europe are via Portugal, but increasingly, budget airlines are flying in from UK regional airports for low-ticket prices.


Madeira real estate is tightly controlled by planning authorities, who are restricting building to minimise oversupply.No high-rise developments are allowed to preserve the island’s historic character.Many resort developments accommodate timeshares – but more and more individual estate properties are under construction for private purchase. These range from apartments to luxury villas. Many properties are built on the mountainside around Funchal and have stunning sea and mountain views.As Madeira is a tourist destination, many properties are let for holidays and command a high occupancy all year round.

Expect to pay from £100,00 up for a city centre apartment or small villa. The top price bracket is as high as you want to go!Most developments on the island are within 45 minutes or so from Funchal since the local authority invested in a motorway.

Madeira property investors should remember that as part of Portugal, Madeira has the same rights of ownership for EU citizens and is in the Euro currency zone.An annual property tax of 0.7% is levied on assessed value of property and transfer tax is 8 to 10%.Portuguese is Madeira’s first language, but English is widely spoken.


Ray Withers

Ray has over 17 years’ experience in the international property market and bought his own first international property investment back in 2002. Aside from running Property Frontiers, Ray has been involved in residential, hotel, student and commercial property investment and development in both the UK and overseas and co-wrote "Where to Buy Property Abroad - An Investor's Guide". As Founder and Trustee of the Frontiers Foundation, Ray is directly involved with many of its projects to ensure they have a direct and tangible impact in individual communities across the globe. He is passionate about property, travelling, scouting out new opportunities and finding time to spend with his young family.
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