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MARCH 2012 |

are sensible/realistic vendors out there - it would be nice if more followed suit. I feel vaguely optimistic about 2012.” “I feel that the next couple of months will actually get better, because there are no new properties coming to the market. People have to hurry to get the ones that are left and a good price.” “The same unless there are further shocks from Eurozone.” And then we came to our fi nal question. What would you do if you ran the country? It is a thorny issue, of course, and we put it like this: How does Portugal compare to other core markets like France, Spain, USA, Italy and Greece? How could Portugal improve its image to attract more buyers?

There was no shortage of suggestions on this one. Here is what the market told us:

“Portugal needs to get real about values being much lower now. We have been very slow to adjust prices downwards. There is huge scope for more auctions for UK buyers, in my opinion.” “Obviously Portugal’s economy and its national debt are issues. However, we don’t have a worse perception than Spain, Greece or Italy at the moment.” “Portugal is the best place to invest now: we have low prices and improving economic confi dence. Portugal can offer lower rates and easier credit to international buyers.” “Portugal is similar to Greece. The indigenous people are poor, the cuisine here is uninspiring and there are far too many British bars, cafes, and Union Jacks.”

“Portugal compares favourably to other European markets in terms of value for money, potential for capital growth, quality of the facilities offered, cost of living and security … and very favourably when it comes to proximity. Portugal is doing well in sorting out its public debt and defi cit issues. We need to create an image of stability.” “Our key advantage today is

price. Portugal has to start selling itself better.” “The Algarve is in a different league to any of the countries you mention. The Algarve is full of seriously wealthy people.” “We really must reduce our levels of bureaucracy, support inward investors and create sustainable value.” “Our proximity to the UK, our


history as a holiday destination and our underlying infrastructure all make Portugal an attractive proposition. However, The Algarve in particular has become very expensive in recent years for activities such as eating out, so I would imagine any attempt to reduce living costs would be benefi cial.” “The USA too far away for north European buyers. The French only speak French. Spain has too many ghost cities and criminals. Greece is a no-go zone. Italy is our main competitor.” “For me, Portugal compares well in

some aspects: cost of living, cuisine, friendly and hospitable people, and good weather. We offer an all-round better experience than Spain, France and (to an extent) the USA. We are less attractive in terms of price. France does well out of leasebacks and its proximity to the UK and the North European market.”

“The trick is for Portugal to position itself strategically as a value for money

“The government needs to offer some worthwhile incentives to overseas buyers”

(not cheap) quality destination. We have hundreds of ideas for better institutional or government marketing. Values such as €/m2 (rather than simply price) are an effective tool when persuading people to invest in Portugal rather than California or Florida. We need to open up new markets such as Poland. The Algarve is the California of Europe - let’s create a cool image. We need to rekindle the UK market and push Portugal as a multi-generational holiday destination - somewhere children have great memories, parents relax and feel safe, and grandparents can have extended stays and eventually retire. If three generations can use a house, it’s worth buying! We should have a strong push on educating the market on the benefi ts of fractional, especially since Portuguese legislation allows co-deeded properties. Let’s substitute key personnel at government agencies who have little or no international experience, who lack on understanding of how competitors (globally) position their offerings and who have no commercial acumen to propose effective marketing and sales campaigns for the country. My list

Developer profi le

OPP SURVEY | 47 Do they need funding / mortgages - or are they cash buyers?

Loan% Cash%

Q: How do people buy?

could go on and on, need I say more?” “In the UK, Portugal has a very good and very strong image due to its low density developments, especially when compared with Spain. France is, with a doubt, a competitor, and Italy and Greece are not yet real estate / golfi ng destinations. The US is great but the traveling time is a disincentive for many Europeans.” “Tourism in Portugal is a major

earner, so the government has to create incentives for people to either visit or purchase property within their jurisdiction.”

“Portugal remains one of the top

European destinations when it comes to second home ownership. It benefi ts from superb resort infrastructures. However Portugal needs to keep quality levels high. Our fi nancial crisis needs to end and we need stability … if not, buyers will desert the country for a while.”

“Less bureaucracy, and a better image - The Portuguese Government

must invest in more advertising. Promote us as a great destination. Equally, the government needs to offer some worthwhile incentives to overseas buyers - like Spain does.” “Portugal’s purchase taxes are more expensive than the other countries. We should reduce the purchase taxes, and create more direct fl ights from all over Europe to Faro.” “The eurozone is in a mess and any buyer outside it will think carefully before increasing his or her euro exposure.”

“Portugal needs to bite the economic bullet and overcome years of political complacency.” “We need to fi ght harder, be louder and promote our residential tourism sector far more aggressively.” “I could write am essay on this: Unworkable taxes, crazy parking charges, cost of golf, huge police presence, aggressive bureaucracy.” “Let’s sell ourselves more positively.”

Companies taking part

Here is a selection of some of the companies that took part in the OPP / Portuguese Chanber of Commerce Survey 2012:

David Lloyd Signature Homes / Hercesa Imobiliaria Portugal S.A. / CSF

Property / Quintas de Obidos Country Club / Dunas Douradas Beach Club / Caixa Geral de Depositos / Comfort Properties / Mercator lda / Sun & Shine Real Estate ( trading name ) / Select Resorts / Abloom Properties / Russell and Decoz / Hemnet / Lumina / PO Holdings / AlmaVerde Village & Spa / Monte Rei Golf & Country Club / Madeira Property Centre / Interval International / Martínez Echevarría Law Offices / Portugal Property Collection / Surveyors Portugal / Terra Cativa “ERA Grândola” / Leisure Real Estate Con- sultancy / Girasol / Vernon Real Estate / Development Management / Global Management Platform / Newlyn Portugal / Cenario Atlantico / Overseas Mortgage Broker Ltd.

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