The prices of homes in Portugal soared 6.9% in the first quarter of this year, at a time when the number of homes sold was the highest since 2010, announced the National Statistics Institute (INE).
The real estate sector in Portugal continues to show signs of strong recovery, with home prices and the number of transactions achieving considerable variations.
According to data released Tuesday by the National Statistics Institute, the Housing Price Index (IPHab) recorded in the first quarter 2016, an increase of 6.9% over the same period last year. It represents the highest growth rate since the last quarter of 2013.
Over the last quarter of 2015 prices rose by 1.8% and the average annual growth rate was 4.6%.
Sustaining the rise in house prices is the increased demand in the housing market since the first quarter were traded a total of 29,464 apartments. INE points out that "we must go back to 2010 to find a first quarter with a number of transactions (32,849) Top", and "the total of sold apartments, 23,956 respected the existing housing stock (81.3% of total)."
The number of homes sold in the first quarter represents an annual increase of 14.6%, while a decrease of 1.2% over the last quarter of last year.
Also in the highlight sales goes to the houses second hand, as was an increase of 18.8% on existing housing and a reduction of 0.8% in new housing.
According to INE, the value of households traded in the first quarter 2016 totalised 3.4 billion euros, significantly more than 400 million than in the same period last year. In the last quarter of 2015 the value had reached 3.5 billion euros.
The Lisbon Metropolitan Area and the Northern Region were the regions that accounted for the highest percentages of sales occurred during the first quarter of 2016 (35.5% and 29.6%, respectively). In value terms, the INE indicates that 69.5% of the total traded (65.1% in terms of number of the transactions) have focused on the Lisbon Metropolitan Area and in the North (46.2% and 23 3%, respectively).
Source: Jornal de Negócios (jornaldenegocios.pt)
An international study revealed that Portugal is the fifth safest country in the world and considers Syria a state where peace is threatened.
In the 163 countries analyzed, Portugal is in fifth place, ahead of nations as the Czech Republic, Switzerland or Canada.
Since 2008, Portugal's position alternated between 16 and 15 places, having reached the higher rank in 2013. Last year, the country was in the 15th place of the ranking.
Iceland leads the podium of the world's safest countries, followed by Denmark, Austria and New Zealand.
In the bottom are Middle Eastern states. Syria is the most dangerous, followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
The 2016 Global Peace Index, published by the Institute for Economics and Peace, analyzed 163 countries is based on security levels considering 23 factors, which were grouped into three categories: peace and security levels in society, internal and international conflicts, and the use of military resources.
More than two thousand transactions were made in real estate deals last year in the city center, in a total of 709 million euros.
Property sales in Lisbon Historical Center reached 709 million in 2,199 transactions, according to data revealed by ConfidencialImobiliario.com, an independent magazine focused on the real estate market and professionals.
The net volume includes sales either buildings or fractions, rehabilitated or in rehabilitation in the areas of housing, retail and services, considering the activity in 25 districts that make up the the survey.
Of the total traded value in real estate in 2015 in these 25 districts, the Baixa (downtown) and Chiado are the most dynamic neighbourhoods, concentrating 46% of these transactions, says the same source, adding that the average value of sale of this type of property ranged between 814 euros and 2,793 euros per square meter.
The average selling price of used units was 2,000 euros per square meter, a figure that doubles (4,070 euros) when dealing with stores already rehabilitated. In housing, used units were traded, on average, for 2,513 euros per square meter, while the residential rehabilitated units showed an average sales price of 3,756 euros per square meter.
Source: Confidencial Imobiliário (confidencialimobiliario.com)
The real estate transactions in Portugal are expected to increase in 2016, between 35% and 40%, animated by foreign investment and recovery of the domestic market, according to the Association of Professionals and Real Estate Companies in Portugal (APEMIP).
“If nobody screwes up, the number of transactions in the property market in 2016 will grow between 35% and 40%," said the president of APEMIP, Luís Carvalho Lima in an interview.
The representative of real estate justifies the increase in the number of transactions with the "credibility and security" sector.
"Today, with the uncertainty in the financial sector, the housing market is considered strategic as far as savings are concerned,” he said.
In 2015, the sale of family households in Portugal, grew 27.4% over the previous year.
The president of APEMIP also emphasised the investment from abroad.
"Currently, in Portugal, one in each five transactions in real estate is to a foreign investor," he said, stressing that "the state begins to see the sector as export."
Luís Carvalho Lima praised the recovery of the Golden Visa programme, which in February recorded the highest number of issued Visas (144) since November 2014.
Overall, since the programme was instituted in 2012 till the end of December last year, 2.788 people got their Golden Visa.
The most significant year was 2014, with 1,526 visas granted, but due to excessive delays in the allocation process, that figure fell to 766 last year.
The Golden Visa, which grants residence permit in Portugal and freedom of movement in Shenghen area is granted to non European Union citizens which, among other criteria, can acquire a property of at least 500.000 euros, make a transfer capital of one million euros or create a company with ten jobs.
On September 3, 2015 new criteria was added which increase foreign investment in areas such as urban rehabilitation or science.
According to APEMIP, of 1.6 billion euro investment under the Golden Visa programme, about 1.5 billion were invested in real estate.
After the sharp fall in 2015, the granting of residence permits to foreign investors, better known as golden visas, accelerated again. In the first three months 377 applications had already been dispatched, almost half of the 766 decided throughout the year 2015.
March was the best month of the quarter, with 168 permits, the highest since November 2014, when a corruption scandal broke associated with the approval of such processes, that led to a significant drop of approvals, being 50% lower than in 2014. This delay caused a high pendency, which amounted to more than a thousand at the end of last year.
To address the delays, also explained by changes to the legal framework, the current government created at the beginning of the year, a working group, involving various public services, to accelerate the process. In recent statements, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, said that by early March, 850 processes had had been dispatched.
The results are beginning to be visible. The investment made in the first three months was close to 232 million euros, which also corresponds to half of the € 466 million raised over the last year. The investment attracted from the beginning of the program, at the end of 2012, now totals 1,925 million and should surpass the two billion euros by next month.
Source: Público newspaper (publico.pt)
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