· Economy&Business · · T. Maria Amélia Pires · P. Daniel Camacho

Paulo Abrantes

«Foreign investment will continue»

Photo session at Pestana Palácio do Freixo

More than 30 years ago, when he decided to pursue the areas of management and developing people, launching new projects and leading teams already captivated him. He founded DECISÕES E SOLUÇÕES about 15 years ago, and since then the group has journeyed along the road to success, always based on sustained growth. Asked about the real estate market, Paulo Abrantes says that the climate is still favourable, adding that there is still a great demand for real estate. In the group that he leads, if 2018 was already a very positive year, he believes that this year will also be one of great growth. Paulo Abrantes envisages that by 2020 DECISÕES E SOLUÇÕES will have 400 branches in Portugal.

Do you believe that real estate growth will continue in the near future?
I think it will, given that the climate is very favourable. If on the one hand demand for real estate continues to increase and supply is now tending to accompany this demand, on the other hand we find that bank lending has highly favourable conditions. As a result, we can estimate that, with these levels of demand, the real estate market will certainly continue to boom in the near future. In our case, the DECISÕES E SOLUÇÕES Group enjoyed sustained growth in 2018, which was around 48% in relation to the previous year. This year, we believe that we will enjoy major growth similar to as in previous years.

Has investment been in new properties or in renovations?
In the recent past, the portfolio of real estate on offer at DECISÕES E SOLUÇÕES has been fed mostly by used properties, due to the stagnation of construction. Today we already have new properties on offer, many still under construction. Urban rehabilitation is being felt mainly in urban centres, which have many properties in advanced state of decline, highly desirable to investors that convert them into updated solutions. In addition, DECISÕES E SOLUÇÕES has always offered its customers the possibility to build their own homes.

Much has been said lately about real estate speculation. Myth or reality?
Of course, in markets where there is a temporary lag between demand and supply levels, the prices made available to buyers tend to increase. In fact this trend is more clearly demonstrated in major cities. Today we can certainly already observe market behaviours whereby supply is trying to tackle this asymmetry, so the market will tend to find its own balance.

Investment by foreigners represents what percentage of total sales?
For some years now, Portugal has been a very popular country for foreign investors. It should be noted that in 2017 this share was around 25% and in the year 2018 the figures point to about 20%, or about 35,000 houses. If at first glance there seems to have been a slowdown, we can see that this is not the case, because these numbers are fundamentally due to the increase of the internal market. Initially demand for real estate by non-residents was mainly based in the Algarve region, before later extending to the major cities of Lisbon and Oporto and today this demand has spread to other regions.

What type of customer are you looking for?
DECISÕES E SOLUÇÕES mainly offers an advisory service in the real estate solution most appropriate to the profile of its clients and supervision in all the areas that this process involves. Our client is looking for a consultant who advises him and who, in a way, takes care of everything. Not only do we take care of finding the houses that people need, but we also deal with loans, insurance, and works, if such services are requested. Nowadays, we have clients interested not only in residential solutions, but also in all other segments. In addition to this, DECISÕES E SOLUÇÕES is highly sought after by clients looking for more customised solutions, especially when looking for a house from scratch. If a client wants to build his own house, we try to find solutions that include the finding the land, designing the architecture projects and of all the specialities and we also deal with the construction. Basically, we work to a very client-focused service. 
«My main achievement is my two children, but I am also very proud of the DECISÕES E SOLUÇÕES Group»
Do you plan to open more agencies?
The DS Group currently has more than 200 agencies nationwide. Last year we opened close to 80 agencies and this year we want to open another 100. Our aim is to have 500 agencies in Portugal, across the DECISÕES E SOLUÇÕES, DS SEGUROS and DS CRÉDITO networks.

Is the luxury real estate segment currently as dynamic as the rest?
The luxury segment has always been highly in demand in our country. That does not mean that it involves a high number of transactions, but is mainly based on the high value that each transaction implies. In this market segment we can feel that foreign investment has contributed a lot to this, led by the French, Brazilians, Spanish and even Italians.

In this high-end segment, which are the most sought-after areas of the country?
In this segment there is a high demand for residential properties, buildings, villas and luxury apartments, which are located mainly in the Algarve region, which occupies top spot, followed by Greater Lisbon and Oporto.

What goals have you set for the future of the group?
The goal is to continue to grow in agencies, employees, customers and turnover, in all of the company’s areas of operation. The plan is one of sustained growth, as we have done over the last 15 years, providing excellent service to our customers.

What Paulo Abrantes’ personal accomplishments?
I have already achieved many, but I still have many dreams that I hope make true. My main accomplishment is without a doubt my two children, but I am also very proud of the DECISÕES E SOLUÇÕES Group, which currently has 210 agencies in Portugal, around 1600 employees and more than 300,000 customers nationwide.

Dreams?
I have already made some come true, but I still have many that I hope to achieve.

What was your favourite trip to date?
I really enjoyed a trip to Patagonia and a safari I did in South Africa.

Dream trip?
Being able to travel around the world for a month or two.

Your favourite restaurant?
It’s really hard for me to choose just one. There are several that I have already tried that are very good, but there are many more that I also want to try out.

What makes you happy?
Living in peace, being healthy, feeling useful, being able to help others and achieve my dreams.

And what is simplicity for you?
It is giving value to the simple things of life.

What is Paulo Abrantes like with his family?
I am myself, relaxed, authentic and I like everyone to be okay around me.

Are you demanding?
I make a lot of demands on myself and I’m also demanding with those around me. On a professional level, I hope that the people who work with me have a great sense of responsibility and are also demanding with themselves. In terms of family, I like my children to be good students, to have goals and to strive to achieve all their dreams, while at the same time always keeping in mind the desire to help others.

What has changed in your life in since turning 50?
You don’t change much from one day to the next, but I hope to make the most of the next 50 years.

Do you consider yourself irreverent?
I consider myself a perfectly normal person, but with an obligation to do more and better.

What does success mean to you?
For me a successful person is someone who has the privilege of be able to help others to have a slightly better life.

Say three words that define you?
Responsibility, optimism and determination.

Maria Amélia Pires
T. Maria Amélia Pires
P. Daniel Camacho