Friday 19 December 2014

Property investors return to Portugal

Henrique Almeida

Published 12/02/2014 | 02:30

Electric city trams operated by Carris Ferro de Lisboa (Carris) pass in front of the Augusta street arch in central Lisbon, Portugal,

Property investors are returning to Portugal, bolstered by signs of an economic recovery and the approaching end of the country's bailout programme, according to broker Cushman and Wakefield.

Spending on commercial real estate tripled to €322m in 2013 compared with a year earlier, Eric van Leuven, managing partner at Cushman and Wakefield in Portugal, said at a press conference in Lisbon yesterday. Home sales in Lisbon increased by 40pc in the first nine months of 2013 from the whole of 2012.

"There is more interest and a greater willingness to invest in real estate in Portugal," Mr van Leuven said.

"There were a lot of people hiding their money under the mattress, waiting for an opportunity."

Last year's total remains low compared with the boom that preceded the financial crisis. Investment in Portuguese commercial real estate was more than €1bn in 2007 and has averaged €600m a year over the past decade.

The country's economy may expand by more than 1pc in 2014 after coming out of the worst recession in at least 25 years in the second quarter of 2013, Economy Minister Antonio Pires de Lima said last month.

Signs that the economy is recovering have played a major role in terms of attracting investors back to the property market, Mr Van Leuven said. He said he's "optimistic" for 2014 because investment in the property market has continued to increase this year.

Portugal is trying to regain full access to debt markets as the €78bn bailout, put in place in 2011 by the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), approaches its end in May. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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