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sales in Portugal at present? “Cautious, but also enthusiastic. There are lots of people who want to invest in overseas property in Portugal right now, but they are worried about how and where they do it. They are also very careful about who they buy from.” “Things are: Flat / Apprehensive / Low / Depressed / Reluctant / Challenging / Down / Cautious / Risk- averse / Easily spooked.” “People are getting interested again - they are optimistically cautious with a “wait and see” attitude. A lot of potential buyers are focused on the outcome of the Euro crisis.” “Opportunists are out and about in abundance looking for good real estate. The mood, I would say, is positive. Buyers are well aware of the economic situation the Euro faces, but there are still people who are defi nitely looking to invest.”

“Cautious - ongoing uncertainty in the Eurozone is creating a “wait and see” approach from UK buyers. European buyers seems less concerned however.”

“Scary - fear and insecurity are the keywords. It is a sort of “out of our hands” situation. The market is currently ruled strongly by outside economic factors, and the mood by scaremongering in the media. Any innovation in the market to try to turn it around is a waste of energy in Portugal. The urge to buying a second home is an almost 100% emotional decision and, therefore, during these depressed times, our only client is the decisive buyer.” “Negative in general, due to low volumes and few transactions closing, but in 2012 the sentiment is slightly more positive / optimistic than 2011.” “There are potential buyers out there, but they are typically looking to see

how far prices will fall … or else they are very nervous regarding the Euro.” “The market is there but there is no

confi dence in making an investment overseas.” “We are waiting for the Euro crisis

to be sorted and the Euro to stabilise. The mood is not good, people are waiting for prices to drop even further before investing.” “There is some optimism. We are seeing serious buyers looking for holiday homes coming back into the market. Value seekers, hoping to drive down houses prices even further seem to be everywhere.” “A bit down, and there are no answers for so many questions. The insecurity of many buyers also does not help.”

“I am more confi dent about 2012 due to the increase in demand for information”

“Very weak, and there is a large overhang of residential property in the market - both in Portugal & elsewhere. This means that inventory will only be soaked up slowly before the market moves forward.”

So, it could be worse. But is the market being held back by a lack of incentives? Our next question was: What sort of commission rates do you offer agency partners? Do you offer any other incentives?

Lots of our respondents declined to answer this one, preferring to keep this sort of thing confi dential. Others said that it was impossible to generalise. Here’s what a selection of respondents told us:

2.5% (1 respondent). What attracts them to the country as an investor? % Q: Why do buyers like Portugal?

2% to 3% (1 respondent). 3% (2 respondents). 5% (17 respondents).

15% to 20% of our fees when paid in full (2 respondents).

It varies from 20% to 50% of what I retain from a deal (1 respondent). 30-50% of what is available (8 respondents).

50% of what is available (21 respondents).

“Not really applicable - but typically split commissions 50-50% on a joint deal (1 respondent).”

“One third intro or 50-50 spllt on introductory sale (1 respondent).” “We offer property exchange and a range of high end travel and leisure services to new buyers in partnership with the developers. Everything is negotiable in the current market. (one respondent).”

“Shared commissions? What planet are you on? We can´t offer any incentives as there are none to offer. We only have one incentive - the good weather (one respondent).”

How do people buy? Do they need funding / mortgages – or are they cash buyers? “Mostly cash buyers / 99% cash /

Cash or we don’t bother with them / Most deals are self-financed at the moment. In truth, mortgage deals are hopeless, we only chase cash buyers.” “70% buy in cash, 30% with a mortgage.” “A lot of cash-rich buyers are currently looking at the Algarve.” “It is mainly cash buyers. People looking for fi nance get dismayed by shrinking LTVs, ballooning spreads and interminable approval times.” “With the lack of consumer

fi nancing, people have resorted to buying property with their savings.” “A majority are “cash” buyers -

but that can mean they’ve raised the funds by releasing equity from their home in the UK / home nation as it is easier and cheaper than borrowing funds in Portugal.” “Forget it unless the buyer has 50% of the purchase price in cash.” “Cash buyers only. The days of

people buying a second home with fi nance are gone for the forseeable future.”

The next thing on our mind was: Business confi dence: How do you feel about the next 12 months? |MARCH 2012

OPP editor Geoff Hadwick will be presenting the results of the survey at the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce’s 8th Annual Property Conference this month. The event will take place at The Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel at 354, Queenstown Road, London, SW8 4AE, on Thursday March 29th. Geoff is being joined by a list of distinguished speakers including the Portuguese Secretary of State for Tourism, Cecilia Meireles. Discounts are available for OPP readers. Contact the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in Belgrave Square, London, if you would like to attend. The event is being sponsored by Banco Santander Totta and Banco Espirito Santo.

This surprised us a little, giving a much more balanced – and positive - overview than expected. The views expressed on this one were: “I feel less confi dent, especially if Portugal comes out of the Euro / I am very apprehensive and afraid / The market will go down - due to a lack of faith in the Euro.” “I am more confi dent about 2012 due to the increase in demand for information; also an increase in interest from markets not traditionally attracted to the Silver Coast of Portugal.” “I think 2012 will be a better year

than 2011, provided we get a reprieve from bad news. The underlying attractiveness of Portugal means that many buyers still see it as a good destination. There may need to be a correction on prices.”

“I fully expect market to improve. I am slightly more confi dent about 2012. Structural / large projects (NOT traditional resorts) will need to advance to generate inward investment. Individual residential sales will continue to be fl at.” “I am more confi dent. Sales will be up and prices down. I also believe that fractional sales will start to play a bigger role.”

“The Euro crisis must be sorted and governments revert to sensible monetary management. I am hopeful that 2013 will see growth.” “2012 has had a positive start with client registrations and viewings up - but it’s too early to say how this will convert into sales and therefore income. The sales that have gone through so far have all been at lower prices and there

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