· · T. Editorial Team · P. Nuno Almendra

Miguel Poisson

«Real estate remains the sector to find refuge in for most investors»

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Portugal is well positioned when it comes to being able to attract foreign investors to the luxury real estate sector. At least, that’s the conviction of the CEO of Portugal Sotheby’s Realty, one of the companies with the country’s largest portfolio within the premium segment. In an interview with V&G he explainshow the pandemic has intensified the demand for homes that serve as work space and that also offer a comfortable leisure area. Second homes are also more appealing today. All with the help of the climate, the food and tax benefits. Although interest rates are expected to rise in the short term, the market has never been so buoyant. 
How do you justify the fact that the luxury real estate sector is booming more and more despite the fact that the world economy has suffered greatly in the last two years? 
Portugal is gaining «market share» from other countries with regard to its ability to attract foreigners who want to invest and/or live in Portugal. The security factor is still extremely important, in addition to all the other characteristics that we are well aware of and that are indeed valued by anyone investing in Portugal (tax benefits, climate, infrastructures, food, etc.). The fact that interest rates are low, even though increases are expected in the future, continues to make real estate the sector with the best return on investment, while keeping risk levels under control. Real estate remains the sector to find refuge in for most investors. 
How would you characterise the real estate market in Portugal and in the world today? 
There are two main ideas to bear in mind. Firstly, the pandemic has made«home»an even more central part of people’s lives. There is demand for more indoor space (also to work better from home) and a desire for more outdoor space (for leisure). There is also an increase in demand for 2nd homes, especially country or beach homes.  
The second idea is that: low interest rates continue to tempt investors into buying property, including large investment funds that are investing (particularly in the housing sector) in the purchase of property in major European cities because they enjoy significant annual returns through the rental of these assets (and capital gains on resale because the price trend has been upwards and nothing indicates that this will be reversed in the short term). 

«The pandemic has made«home»an even more central part of people’s lives»  

Portugal is in the sights of foreign investors. Could this market be exhausted in the short or medium term due to a lack of luxury real estate? 
Quite the contrary. The demand for more luxury leads to more investment being made in the construction of luxury real estate. In other words, strong demand attracts investment, which then leads to more supply in the market. It is a dynamic process. Take the case of Lisbon, which today has many more luxury developments than it had 10 years ago. And why is that? Because in the last few years the demand for luxury real estate (especially from foreigners) has led to differentiated investments tailored to anexacting demand being made, which was not so common.There is, on the other hand, a demand for special products with a lot of history (palaces and stately homes), attracting a specific section of foreign investors who have the financial power to fully renovate them (large-scale investments) and which make our real estate stock richer and better preserved. Sotheby’s Realty, which operates in the luxury segment, is very much involved with this reality because it probably has the country’s largest portfolio of truly luxury properties. 
The sector is increasingly competitive due to high demand. You need to be innovative and have a good strategy to set yourself apart from the competition. Is that what you did, for example, in the partnership with Volup? What other examples can you give us? 
The players in the real estate sector are very different from those that existed 15 or 20 years ago. They have better training and have integrated a strong technological component into their work model, which allows them to provide a better service to the end client. Obviously,you always need to go the extra mile and partnerships like the one we have with Volup, with Corte Inglês (through training workshops) and with many more renowned partners, help us to position the brand in the right way and in the client segment we would like to reach. 

«We are very attentive to the issue of sustainability, which has become a very much present requirement in demand» 
Where is Sotheby’s Realty Portugal focusing its efforts this year? 
This year we will focus very strongly on developments and we have created an innovative department that will work centrally and very closely with some developers with whom we will be able to share all the specifics of the demand that may exist at any given moment in the market. We will work in a more integrated way to enable the creation of projects that fully meet clients’ highest demands. We are in the field every day in contact with clients who have very exacting and sophisticated requirements, and we have the obligation to help format the supply as best as possible, so that each development stands out from the others and can be sold more quickly. We are taking business opportunities to various developers (land, buildings to be renovated, etc.) and, at this very moment, we are starting a journey together to create a «joint» project, which we have helped to develop and enrich, which we understand better and which, consequently, we will sell better. We are very attentive to the issue of sustainability, which has become a very much present requirement in demand, both from foreign and Portuguese buyers, who are beginning to look at sustainability, not as a fashion issue, but as a fundamental issue in their lives and in the lives of their children. 
At a time of growth in the sector and when you are committed to expanding, social responsibility has not been forgotten, as can be seen by the recent membership to a donation platform for Ukraine. How much money have you managed to raise so far? 
So far, we have raised $360,325 [€342,530]. 

Editorial Team
T. Editorial Team
P. Nuno Almendra
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