Portugal Professional Views: The world wants Portugal
Nuno Stone (Operations Consultant at Portugal Sotheby’s International Realty), Marcos Drummond Borges (Sales Director at VIC Properties), and Vasco Varão (Real Estate Investment Associate at EQTY CAPITAL) share their professional views on the current desirability of the Portuguese real estate market.
Nuno Stone (Operations Consultant at Portugal Sotheby’s International Realty)
The real estate market is currently very dynamic in Portugal. In 2021, Sotheby’s Realty sales in Portugal increased by 66% versus 2020, and in the first half of 2022, we benefited from an additional 60% growth in sales compared to the first half of 2021. The numbers speak for themselves, and it is important to note that these numbers reflect very few Golden Visa purchases in 2021 and almost none in 2022. Furthermore, the majority of the transactions were equity purchases, as it is uncommon for Sotheby’s clients to leverage their investments through Portuguese banks. More than 50% of our customers are foreigners, and in the last year, we sold properties to more than 30 different nationalities. Besides being one of the safest countries in the world, our foreign customers particularly appreciate the quality of life in Portugal; the attractive cost of living (very good value for money in most of the services), the public and private health systems; the gastronomy; the weather; golf; water sports; and, last but not least, the Portuguese hospitality. Additionally, banks in Portugal, post economic crisis, have fewer loans on their books than the EU average and thus have strong liquidity. The option to finance a purchase is there if needed, but importantly, banks remain prudent, having learnt many lessons in the past. In a nutshell, the country is in vogue for the right reasons and, we believe, will continue to exceed expectations.
Marcos Drummond Borges (Sales Director at VIC Properties)
Despite January 1st's exclusion of direct acquisition in the main property markets in Portugal—Lisbon and Porto—from the eligibility criteria for the Portugal Golden VISA, we, as property developers, are experiencing unprecedented levels of interest from overseas. At our Renzo Piano designed development, Prata Riverside Village, located on Lisbon's upper riverfront, international inquiries and sales have risen over 50% year-on-year – with the USA and Brazil growing fourfold and doubling, for example. Even with locals making up over 55% of buyers, we currently have over 35 different buyer nationalities. Originating from Chile or Canada to Korea, they make up a diverse and global community. One of the residents funnily refers to it as the "United Nations of Prata". Proof that when a world-class product is launched in a world-class capital city with a world-beating lifestyle and investment proposition, the world takes notice and says, "Buy!"
Vasco Varão (Real Estate Investment Associate at EQTY CAPITAL)
Even with the Golden Visa program excluding residential property in primary locations as a qualifying investment, it seems that prime projects at the top end cannot be built fast enough. This shows that the market in this space has strong fundamentals, and the developers we work with highlight that their buyers cover every corner of the globe. The interest in Golden Visa eligible funds is similarly diverse. Investors from Australia to Hong Kong, South Africa to Egypt, and Chile to Mexico are not uncommon. Like the general real estate market, Americans from the east to the west coast cannot get enough of Portugal, and they tend to invest in prime locations. This, along with the fact that they tend to be more experienced with investing in regulated products, explains their natural affinity for funds initiated by EQTY. Furthermore, Golden Visa prospects tend to be risk averse and appreciate the unique ability of the EQTY platform to significantly limit licensing, construction, and sales risk.