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MARCH 2012 |www.opp.org.uk WORDS | Geoff Hadwick


PORTUGAL REPORT


Developer profi le


OPP SURVEY | 45


Feelgood factor returns T


OPP wrote to more than 20,000 overseas property professionals this month to ask them how they feel about the current state of the Portuguese residential real estate sector, and the immediate outlook for this struggling Eurozone economy. Despite the problems, there is a lot to offer, they say. The mood is defi nitely improving.


he fi rst question we asked our database of agents and developers based in


Portugal, the UK, Northern Europe and Scandinavia was: Are you selling or developing residential property in Portugal at present for sale to overseas buyers and investors? More than 7 out of 10 said


yes, they are currently selling or developing in Portugal today. The market is far from dead.


And we asked for comments too. Here is what our survey respondents volunteered: “Yes, we do, and the outlook for sales in 2012 is positive. We are seeing an increase in demand for information from new and old leads.” “Yes, but sales volumes going down due to banks’ anti-mortgage policies. “Yes, and we will be adding more new property from Portugal in the near future.” “Yes, and we are fi nding volumes up


slightly. Sales will go up this year as prices come down in the Algarve.” “Yes, but sales volumes for Portugal are down. The uncertainty regarding the Euro is an issue, fi nancing is an issue, and general consumer sentiment towards overseas property is less enthusiastic than it used to be … particularly towards lifestyle products.” “Volumes in 2011 went down, but 2012 feels like it could be better … let´s wait and see.” “No, we don’t sell at the moment,


but there are signs of demand coming back.” “Yes, but sales are still going down: This is due to uncertainty over the Euro and a lack of mortgage fi nance.” “Yes, but the market remains static … Madeira is doing well though.” “Yes, and despite a fall in sales volumes over the previous 3 years, we saw sales go up in 2011. So far 2012 has been positive for registrations and viewings but offers are coming in low


and negotiating deals can be a long process. Most buyers think that they should be able to buy BMV by up to 40% - even those buying for their own use. Prices have dropped over the last 12 months and this is attracting buyers back to the market.”


The next question on our list was: What is the typical buyer profi le for clients investing in Portugal today? We also wanted to know how fi rms in Portugal are researching and fi nding clients. Here is what they said: “Most clients in Portugal today are aged 55 - 60. They are couples - usually approaching retirement. There is a growing number buying as holiday buy- to-lets, rather than for personal use.” “Our typical buyer is an ABC


professional, earning £100,000 per annum and above. Women are a large target audience as they will often do the initial property search. They use a combination of the


“Most clients in Portugal today are aged 55-60: couples usally approaching retirement”


internet and exhibitions.” “Age profi le is typically 40 - 60. Couples, own business, fi nd us through international fairs. Some already know the company. Word of mouth is very important here.”


“Most buyers are 55+. Usually, they are looking for a holiday / retirement home. Internet searches.”


“ Our client is usually aged 40 to


60. They are HNWI (high net worth individual) professionals or business owners. They come to us through internet searches or by talking to other real estate agents.” “Age profi le is 50 - 60 years. Family buyers. HNWIs and business executives. Usually planning on (semi-) retiring within the next 5-10 years.”


Q: Are you selling or developing residential property in Portugal at present, for sale to overseas buyers and investors?


No 29% Yes 71%


“We get a lot of late 40’s company directors & civil servants.” “Many prospects are aged 35 - 60, male, self employed. They make contact through our website.” “We deal typically with 3 types of buyer: people wanting no-money-down deal, people who are cash rich and able to work without a bank loan or a mortgage, or the seriously rich such as hedge fund directors.”


“40-55. 60% male. Senior managers and directors. Our buyers are typically researching via online sources but we still fi nd some of our best quality leads come via print media sources such as national press. Word of mouth and holiday experience is probably the key lead-generator however.”


“They are middle-aged. Close to pension age / retirement. Have usually held senior positions - often in their own businesses. They are looking for a holiday home in the sun with intention to stay in the future (after retirement) for about 6 months a year. They come to us through the internet and by word of mouth (via previous clients).” “Retired. couples. They come to us via word of mouth, Internet, publications & exhibitions.”


“Individual investors with the ability to purchase cash (usually one-off properties). Investors looking for land


deals have completely dried up.” “Couples / families. 40 to 65 years. Some are second home types. Some retiring. Mostly already looking in the Algarve.” Why do buyers like Portugal. What attracts them to the country as an investor?


And the comments here were: “People buy here because Portugal is perceived by some to be a much more up-market destination than Spain.” “Portugal’s relaxed, quiet, safe and up-market lifestyle always appeals.” “Because we have a long-established ex-pat community and the right sort of social infrastructure. Portugal appeals to low-key clients for whom privacy and security is a must.”


“Because Portugal is a member of the EU.”


“The high build-quality of our properties and the high level of hospitality.” “Once upon a time, the cost of


living and of the costs of property were good reasons to invest here, but not in today’s market.”


“Because of all our natural beauty, of course!”


And then we moved onto the question: How would you describe the mood and /or the sentiment of the market for international property


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