Many people used online shopping as their preferred method of escape during lockdown. Desk drawer organizers were popular, as were items to bring balcony gardens back to life, and things aimed at facilitating a “hands-off” approach to entertaining children, but a surprising number of people were shopping for a new house entirely, and they clicked the “buy now” button at alarming rates.
According to the independent real estate advisory company Kleya’s recent article, in the first quarter of 2021 during Portugal’s second lockdown, approximately 49,600 houses were sold — a 57% increase from the 31,600 units sold during the first lockdown (in the second quarter of 2020.)
Based on the the information reported by real estate agents on the SIR Residential Information System, three regions enjoyed similar quarterly booms of 6% in home sales: Metropolitan Lisboa, with 3,820 sold properties, Porto with 2,250, and in the Algarve with a whopping 43,530. Kleya reports that “Compared to the previous lockdown period, sales increased by 47% in the Lisbon Metropolitan area, 46% in the Porto Metropolitan area, and 76% in the Algarve.”
Rebecca Nixon, Property Sales Consultant at Vendici Properties, home of the hardest-working Real Estate Agents in The Central Algarve, confirmed that she has never been busier in the company’s six years of existence, and she points to the Vendici’s strong structure, personalized approach, and EU legislation compliance as one of the driving factors. “We recruited 3 new staff members during a pandemic. Entering into unchartered times, we just put our heads down and went for it.”
So why and how did the jump in sales come to pass?
Nixon believes that the final sales figures are coming in high for a number of reasons. As the company works mainly with people in the UK and Ireland, Nixon mentioned the obvious reason first: people were stuck in small cold spaces looking at the same four walls craving larger floor plans and warmer weather. With properties in places like Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo, it was not difficult to show the buyers exactly what they were looking for from the start. Nixon said, “Coupled with the negative interest rates to invest in an asset and get a rental income out of it, the attractive NHR programs, and the golden visa opportunity that will end for the coastal areas in the Algarve in January 2022, it made people decide to finally go and fulfill their dreams.”
Vendici Properties was ahead of the curve when it came to their online presence thanks in part to Nixon’s background in IT, so their 3D walkthroughs had already been put into practice once lockdown went into effect. In fact, Nixon herself was in Ireland for the first lockdown, showing houses in the Algarve the whole time. “I could navigate someone in London through a house in Portugal while sitting at home in Ireland. We also have a sales and administration team on-site so there was nothing the client wouldn’t know about the property before buying it. One client told me, ‘This is the biggest bit of online shopping I’ve done in a while!’”
Kleya reports that the selling price during 2021’s first quarter in Lisbon averaged €2,8K/m2, while Porto and the Algarve sat at €1,6K/m2 and €1,8K/m2 respectively, and growing. According to the article, Lisbon’s selling price per meter is projected to reach an average price of € 3,656/m2 and in Porto of € 2,318 / m2, but there is no timeframe mentioned and no source quoted to back up these numbers.
So, what's in your shopping cart?
Following the end of the panel discussions at the IPBN’s third-annual Sustainability Conference at the CCIP in Lisbon, the IPBN has organized an exclusive tour of the Hub Criativo do Beato (HCB) in Lisbon and a tour of the Ombria Resort in the Algarve the following week.
The IPBN Algarve committee, in partnership with the University of Algarve (UAlg), the Algarve STP, and NEST Tourism Innovation Center Portugal, recently hosted the well-attended event, "Scaling-up for Tourism: Opportunities for Innovation in Tourism and the Challenges to Adapt to Transformation."