Real estate e-report 2015 | Page 5

Special focus: Real estate Pedroso, a partner at Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados in Lisbon. “The vacancy rate in offices is still high, the higher demand last year and this year has not increased the rents – the increase of hotels in Lisbon and Oporto is enormous and there is a risk of the offer being higher than the demand.” Ferreirinha expands on this point, claiming the biggest concern for investors in the retail and office sectors is the performance of the economy and the capacity of tenants to pay their rent. Meanwhile, the main challenge for developers is the optimisation of the “time to market” of their products. In Spain, uncertainty regarding the result of this year’s parliamentary general elections has not helped investor confidence. In addition, anxiety tech logistics spaces. Finally, over the shortage of good assets shopping centres must be and the rising prices of assets is expected to limit opportunities in the market. Most investment funds are “I believe that looking for yielding assets, not competition only prime assets in Madrid and has become tougher in Barcelona, but also assets in the last two secondary locations. years, and Diego Armero clients must Uría Menéndez now find their own niche to be able to still find true “repackaged” in terms of tenants opportunities,” Alcocer adds. and uses.” Gómez has further concerns: The real estate market may “Office occupiers, for instance, now have reached pre-recession demand more efficient spaces levels but – after the painful since many workers work crash in 2008 and the effects remotely, but in turn require on commercial and residential some new common areas for property – lawyers know not to leisure and teamwork. Online take anything for granted. sellers demand new high- “ ” Real estate market boosted by deals in tourism and retail sectors Real estate investors from around the world targeted opportunities in Portugal in the recent months, making this year one of the best for some time, according to Nuno Sá Carvalho, partner responsible for the real estate practice at Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira in Lisbon. “During the current year, very significant real estate transactions were closed in sectors such as tourism, retail and offices,” he says. “Important international players from the real estate and tourism sectors have recently turned their attention to Portugal as they are seeking alternative markets for their investments.” Sá Carvalho says this trend gave rise to “impressive and remarkable changes” in the Portuguese real estate sector including the arrival of a wide range of investors not only in terms of their geographic origin – Europe, the US, Thailand, China, the Middle East, Angola, Mozambique and Brazil – but also in terms of their investment profiles: foreign investment funds, venture capital funds, family offices and individual investors. Sá Carvalho points out that the boom – in part helped by the ‘Golden Visa’ programme and the non-habitual resident tax regime – has revitalised the real estate market and created significant opportunities for law firms. As examples, he cites matters relating to urban leases, licensing, town planning and the rehabilitation of old buildings. “In law firms like ours, the most relevant work normally consists of advice on the sale and purchase of real estate portfolios, the development of real estate projects, and the restructuring of distressed assets as these transactions require specific skills and the involvement of professionals with different areas of expertise,” he explains. However, Sá Carvalho adds that investors’ main challenge now is being able to find new business opportunities, which often involve “going outside of their comfort zone with more aggressive risk profiles. Nuno Sá Carvalho September / October 2015 • IBERIAN LAWYER • 55