Special focus : Real Estate
for Algarve residential properties ,
but he adds that it could also be a huge opportunity for Portugal and Spain ’ s property markets .
Brazilian interest The Portuguese real estate sector is already benefitting from the political and economic crisis in Brazil , according to Vieira
There has been a learning process in recent years and there is now more legislative protection for consumers , and a fear of investing in loans collateralised with residential property .
Fernando Azofra Uría Menéndez de Almeida partner Pedro Ferreirinha . He adds that due to instability in their own country , Brazilians are looking across the Atlantic to Portugal for good real estate investment opportunities . “ You get a lot of Brazilian investors ,” says Ferreirinha . “ The language is quite clearly an aspect – the Brazilians feel very welcome here .
Ana Ferreira da Costa , an associate lawyer at ABBC in Lisbon , says that , while the Portuguese real estate market is now more mature , it is still highly sensitive and heavily influenced by markets in other countries . As an example , she highlights the growth in residential tourism rentals , which , she says , could become problematic as supply diminishes and rents rise .
Stay calm Could the aforementioned proposed property tax put a brake on real estate investment in Portugal ? Pedro Pinto , partner at pbbr in Lisbon , says he does not adhere to the “ catastrophist mood ” that the proposed law has provoked . “ I would say keep calm and carry on ,” he says . Pinto ’ s advice to clients is to avoid the pressure of a heated market and be properly advised on technical , commercial , legal and tax issues . “ The residential rental market still has a long way to grow and uncertainty caused by Brexit may well push UK investors to other places , such as Portugal .”
Portuguese commercial real estate investment on the rise
There has been an unprecedented rise in both transactional and developmental activity in Portugal ’ s commercial real estate sector in the last 18 months . Indeed , 2015 was a record year , with commercial real estate investment totalling over € 1.8bn , according to a report by BNP Paribas . And the demand for Portuguese real estate assets has remained high in 2016 , with foreign investors and funds , in particular , having a strong appetite . This presents a golden opportunity for Portugal ’ s leading law firms , but they must expand to meet client demand , says Pedro Ferreirinha , partner in charge of the real estate and environment practice group at Vieira de Almeida ( VdA ).
“ The challenge in this kind of market – where the pressure is on the demand side – is to have the capacity and the teams in place ,” says Ferreirinha . “ Clients have to move fast on deal opportunities so you need the manpower to respond rapidly and efficiently to that , and that is our main challenge right now .” In order to meet this demand , VdA is recruiting and two associates have arrived in recent months , according to Ferreirinha .
The retail sector accounted for 55 per cent of the total commercial real estate investment in Portugal in 2015 , but there is also growing interest in the residential , office , hotel and leisure sectors . This has been spurred on by foreign take-up of Portugal ’ s ‘ golden visa ’ and non-habitual residents schemes , tax incentives for urban redevelopment projects , as well as by the fact that , with Portuguese banks and companies looking to divest their real estate portfolios , buyers can still find good value . Portugal has also benefited from the political and economic crisis in Brazil , which has led Brazilians across the Atlantic to look for better investment opportunities . “ You get a lot of Brazilian investors ,” says Ferreirinha . “ The language is quite clearly an aspect . The Brazilians feel very welcome here .”
54 • IBERIAN LAWYER • September / October 2016 www . iberianlawyer . com