The skyline of the city of Lisbon has, since back in 2010 when this photo was taken, been transformed by the number of cranes. Even during the midst of a deep and crippling recession caused by the global crisis, the Lisbon residential market, driven by foreign investment, continued to increase in value.

During the last decade, the residential market has been divided into two distinct groups: individual buyers and investors mainly seeking properties with traditional features in central, historical neighbourhoods, typically as a residence or to operate as a short-term rental investment; or investors funding the redevelopment of apartments or entire buildings which were then sold on at top prices to the foreign buyer market.

The latter group was driven initially by a huge influx of foreign investment under the Golden Visa programme, which saw more than €1.5 billion enter the Lisbon residential market. After the Chinese wave (with significant volume also coming from Brazil, South Africa, Angola and Russia, as well as some from the Middle East), the capital city has also seen a huge influx of French buyers escaping high taxes in France which can be avoided under the NHR programme (read more about this here).

As a result of this demand, developers which had not built anything since 2007, found themselves, from 2014, in a true construction boom that saw many sell millions of Euros of real estate. The approach was generally very similar: take old buildings in need of refurbishment and modernise their interiors.

More recently, modern buildings have started to be built in some city neighbourhoods (those with plots available).

As a result of this demand for, and increase in the price of, central Lisbon real estate, some peripheral areas are not starting to receive attention and inward investment. The fundamental thing to do is to engage with an experienced property sourcing firm who, with market know-how, can knowledgeably guide any potential investors to areas which still exhibit potential for growth.

In the Algarve, the phenomenon has not yet been observed to the same degree, because there is a lack of modern, new product and because the Algarve has not seen the same level of foreign investment from countries such as China. The result is that most refurbishment has been limited to local developers and investors, many of whom have an inside track on opportunities as they arise. We forecast that much of the refurbishment interest will be felt in coastal towns with a mix of authenticity and cosmopolitan flavour.

Crucial to finding and analysing opportunities will be to work with a partner, knowledgeable in the region’s potential growth areas. Talk to us about finding those opportunities which might be just below the radar.