alternative Assets News: Portuguese Real Estate Intelligence

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.
The Portuguese Real Estate Market in April
April appeared again almost like a breath of fresh air, as the real estate sector continued to perform relatively well despite the pandemic. Proof of the continued resilience came in the form of the news, halfway through April, of the increase in investments in the golden visa programme in the first quarter of 2021. Based on statistics from SEF - Foreigners and Borders Service, the investment captured through golden visas grew to 125 million euros, an increase of 4.5% compared to the same period of 2020. The Portuguese government announced an investment of €3.5 billion to build a giant data centre in Sines. The investment comes from Start Campus, a company owned by US-based Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP (Davidson Kempner) and the British firm Pioneer Point Partners. With construction due to start in 2022, involving 900 people in the first phase and up to 2,700 in total, Sines 4.0 is expected to open the first of the five projected buildings by the end of 2023. With total planned investments planned for Portugal of 20 million euros, Kempen and the pension fund PostNL made their first investment, buying 190 hectares in the Aljustrel area through a fund focusing on sustainable farmland. Kempen Capital Management, in cooperation with Stichting Pensioenfonds PostNL, inaugurated the SDG Farmland Fund. The new investment solution enables professional investors to focus on global investments in farmland while providing a significant and concrete contribution to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The new investment is a clear sign of the desire on the part of international investors for acquiring rural properties in Portugal for good returns, showing an increasing interest in agriculture. Residential The month had barely begun when news of Nova Vaga’s €28 million investment in a plot of land on Avenida da Boavista in Porto was reported. The asset is located at Rua Fernando Pessoa and Rua Azevedo Coutinho, which has 3,380 square meters of land area and an above-ground construction capacity of more than 13,000 square meters. The asset is located in the CBD of Porto, very close to Torre Burgo and the Bessa Hotel. Meanwhile, Millennium BCP concluded the sale of 60,000 square metres of land in Miraflores. The sale comprised 11 plots of land in the Parque dos Cisnes development in Miraflores, municipality of Oeiras. The land will be for residential use, though the sale price and the buyer’s name were not disclosed. MVGM Portugal signed a new residential management contract for up to 300 homes. The new lease management contract for an international investor with an office in Lisbon provides for an investment in Portugal of between 25 and 30 million euros this year. MVGM Portugal stated that the investor is focusing on the Greater Lisbon residential market, focusing on the areas around the city. Nexity’s new real estate project, Turquesa, will go up in the Dafundo area, in the municipality of Oeiras, in a 26-million-euro investment. The project will combine proximity to the city centre with the tranquillity of living close to nature in what will be Nexity’s second residential project. Turquesa will have a gross construction area of 6,576 m2 and 61 flats ranging from studios to four-bedroom apartments. The Portuguese group JOM, which owns a chain of furniture and home shops, is moving ahead with the construction of two buildings in Asprela, Porto, in a 20-million-euro investment in the rental market. One hundred sixty studios are already under construction, next to the Asprela university campus in Porto. Olimpo Studios should be concluded in April 2023. April was almost over when it became known that Millennium BCP had put 111 hectares of land in Amadora up for sale. The property is set to be the site of a new urban project in the city. The 111 hectares of land located in the centre of Amadora, of which 38 hectares are urban freehold, may allow for approximately 250,000m2 of above-ground construction. The asset is located close to the centre of the city of Amadora and follows along the parish of Mina from the railway line to the neighbourhood of Moinhos da Funcheira. Offices Novo Banco will sell the building it currently occupies in Lisbon and move to Tagus Park in Oeiras. The bank led by António Ramalho maintains the plans to sell the current structure it occupies on Avenida da Liberdade but has given up on building a new headquarters in Amoreiras. As an alternative, the bank plans to move to Tagus Park, where it already has over 500 employees. The move to Tagus Park is still expected to take some time as the space that Novo Banco currently has in Oeiras will have to be enlarged. The group specialising in technical textiles, Endutex, acquired the Rialto building in Porto. The deal’s value was not disclosed, but the property will continue to be used as offices. Endutex bought the asset that was once the head office of the insurance company AXA (now Ageas) and home to one of the most iconic cafés in Porto. The building will undergo a major renovation, receive anchor shops and new tenants. The Rialto building has eight floors, a shop, an overstorey, a basement and a gross construction area of 6,688 m2. Retail and Logistics Also at the beginning of April, Firmo, an iconic company from Porto, a leader in the sale of school, stationery and office supplies, acquired Staples’ shops in Portugal. After it was reported in March that fund manager Cerberus intended to sell Staples’ business in Portugal, Firmo was announced as the buyer. The sale price is still unknown. Meanwhile, the Spanish chain Mercadona announced that it intends to open nine more stores in Portugal in 2021, in a 150-million-euro investment. The company will invest 150 million euros and recruit 500 people to continue its expansion in Portugal. Also in the north of the country, Borgwarner announced a 25-million-euro investment in a new factory in Viana do Castelo. The new factory, which will be built in the Parque Empresarial de Lanheses, will have 17,000 square metres and start production in 2023, creating 300 jobs. After the Borgwarner group selected Portugal as a base for its expansion in Europef electrification, this will be the American multinational’s third investment in the municipality. Hotels and Resorts Reify is building the UMAY Boutique Resort in Melides. Umay is a sustainable boutique resort immersed in the idyllic natural landscape of Melides on the Alentejo coast. The project is distinguished for its eco-conscious architecture, occupying a total of 20 hectares. UMAY Boutique Resort will be an international reference and, therefore, will boast an unequalled level of quality, requiring a solid, structured and integrated development process. April was just beginning when the 3HB Hotels Group announced it would open a five-star hotel in Faro. The first five-star hotel in Faro will open in June, set within a 2.500 square metre area in the centre of Faro. 3HB Faro is the result of the refurbishment of two buildings, one of which is centuries old, in an investment by the hotel group 3HB Hotels. The 3HB Faro is the fifth hotel that the 3HB Hotels group owns in the Algarve. The value of the deal was not disclosed.
€3.5-Billion Investment to Create Huge Data Centre in Sines
26 April 2021 Start Campus, a company owned by the North American Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP (Davidson Kempner) and the British Pioneer Point Partners, will build the data centre. With construction expected to begin in 2022, involving 900 people in the first phase and up to 2,700 in total, Sines 4.0 is due to open the first of the five planned buildings by the end of 2023, reports Jornal de Negócios. In a statement sent to Lusa, the Anglo-American company noted  "at least five major advantages" that make Sines a "unique location with the potential to become one of Europe's leading data centre campuses": energy, scale, connectivity, cooling and marine topography. The group highlighted the availability of low-cost energy from renewable sources through very good connectivity with the national grid and easy access to competitive green energy, including solar, wind and (in the future) hydrogen. Original Story: Jornal de Negócios Translation: Richard D. K. Turner