Real Estate Agencies and Developers Optimistic For First Time Since Pandemic’s Beginning
The expectations of developers and real estate agents regarding future sales and prices in the residential market are once again positive, after a year of the pandemic, according to the Portuguese Housing Market Survey (PHMS) for March. The survey is conducted monthly by RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Confidencial Imobiliário, polling the main players in Portugal’s residential property market. The PHMS Confidence Index returned to positive territory for the first time since February of last year. The index projects market operators’ expectations of future housing sales activity and prices. In March 2021, the index reached 6 points, compared to -68 points during the beginning of the outbreak in March 2020. The Portuguese Housing Market Survey is a monthly survey conducted in partnership between Confidencial Imobiliário and RICS. Its objective is to provide the Portuguese residential market with an index of Confidence and Expectations, filling the current gap in the sector’s statistical coverage. The survey is based on a panel of real estate development and brokerage companies and covers the metropolitan regions of Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve. Ricardo Guimarães, director of Confidencial Imobiliário, states that “Until now, despite the residential market’s resilience, operators’ confidence has remained in negative territory, which is natural during a time of great uncertainty …”, adding that “The fact that the agents are only now becoming optimistic as to future trends in sales and prices results not only from the good news regarding increasing control of the pandemic but also from a certain acceptance of the evidence that the market is effectively resilient. The suspicions regarding the resilience of the market were dissipated by the successive positive results of the activity and, from a certain point in time, a pessimistic perspective no longer made sense.” Simon Rubinsohn, Chief Economist at RICS, adds that “With the gradual easing of containment restrictions across the country, the recovery of the Portuguese economy should gather momentum for the rest of the year. Of course, this will depend on the success in controlling the pandemic, and the risks remain strong. Still, at least for now, respondents to the latest PHMS are much more optimistic about the short-term outlook for activity in the residential market. The March survey shows that short-term sales expectations have improved markedly, with the net balance of responses rising from -11% in February to +22% in March. The figure is the strongest reading in the series since 2018, with sales volumes anticipated to rise over the next 3 months for all regions. In terms of house prices, expectations for the next 12 months moved into positive territory for the first time since July last year, reaching a net balance of +16%. Confidencial Imobiliário is an independent market intelligence unit, aimed at satisfying the information needs of real estate market operators in making investment decisions. It specialises in the production and dissemination of market analysis indicators, having created tailored indexes and databases on sales and rentals of residential units, broken down by area. RICS is a global professional body whose mission is to promote and apply the highest professional qualifications and standards in the development and management of land, property, construction and infrastructure. The insignia ensures that standards are consistently met, bringing confidence to the markets in which it operates.