Foreign buyers led the charge for Portuguese real estate in 2014, snapping up one in five properties sold. Prime property markets, particularly in Lisbon have been buoyed further by the success of the country’s Golden Visa scheme which has seen 2,022 visas issued since its launch in 2012, contributing €1.2bn to the economy.
The biggest attractions for foreign buyers have been houses in the coastal resort town of Cascais near Lisbon and the perennially popular Algarve. Buyers have been drawn by the beneficial tax climate in Portugal which is of particularly strong appeal to French buyers anxious to avoid austerity measures at home.
British buyers bought the largest number of homes in Portugal last year snapping up 23,000 properties, followed by Chinese and French buyers, according to the Portuguese Real Estate Agents Association.
The Emerging Trends in Real Estate report published by the Urban Land Institute and Price Waterhouse Coopers places Lisbon ninth on their rankings of attractive cities for investment, up 17 places from just 12 months ago.
Chinese investors were the biggest recipients of golden visas
The significant upward shift in ranking reflects increased foreign interest in Southern Europe, as investors look beyond Spain, traditionally the favourite destination for foreign buyers.
The report indicates a change in dynamic in real estate investment with increased competition for prime assets turning the market on its head: ‘ The food chain in the market has changed with buyers at the bottom and sellers at the top ‘, the report reads.
Chinese investors were the biggest recipients of golden visas and are expected to continue their foray in Portugal’s property markets including buying up land for development.
Lisbon’s retail property sector was a significant beneficiary of investment in 2014 with shopping centres in the city centre of Lisbon and further afield offering good investment prospects. Retail outlets are particularly attractive if they have a broad mix of tenants and are in a good catchment area and can provide very attractive returns.
Despite some controversy surrounding Portugal’s golden visa scheme, property prices made healthy gains in 2014. Portuguese Real Estate Agents Association’s head Luis Lima said: " The property market grew by between 9% and 15% in 2014. If it hadn’t been for the Banco Espirito Santo debacle and the golden visa scandal, it would have been 25% ".
Portugal’s real estate sector has proven to be robust in the face of significant negative influence, a clear indication of its consistent popularity with foreign property investors.
Source:: Property show rooms