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There has been a significant pick up in buyer interest in the property market in Portugal which is expected to translate into an increase in sales over the coming months, according to the latest real estate index.

The survey published by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and independent data provider Confidencial Imobiliário, also shows that lettings activity was relatively flat in January.

But the in the sales market, volumes remained broadly stable and a sharp increase in new buyer inquiries has pushed the sales expectations series for the coming three months, up to it’s highest level since the survey was launched in 2010.

The national confidence index, which is a composite of the sales and price expectations series, increased to +16 from +6, the best reading since the survey began and marks the third successive month in which a positive value has been posted.

But the report points out that the pick up in buyer interest and confidence has yet to feed through into prices. Indeed, prices are still falling, albeit at a moderating pace, and are expected to continue to do so in the near future.

In the lettings sector, tenant demand rose marginally whilst landlord instructions fell for the fourth straight month. Rents continue to decline, with little respite expected in the short term. Furthermore, future lettings activity is only anticipated to rise modestly.

At a regional level, new buyer enquires increased substantially across all three areas covered in the survey of Lisbon, the Algarve and Porto.

Looking ahead, sales are expected to grow materially throughout each region and the report says that the broad based tone to the data suggests this improvement is more likely to be sustained.

CI Spokesman, Ricardo Guimaraes, said that there is now a more positive outlook in the market which is being driven by a combination of two important factors. ‘First, the obvious reduction in house prices has led to potential buyers seeking opportunistic bargains. Second, the slightly more upbeat economic news of late is improving both households’ and investors’ confidence,’ he explained.

‘At the moment, agents are anticipating whether or not this will have an impact on credit availability from banks,’ he added.

RICS senior economist, Josh Miller, pointed out that the January results show buyer interest returning to the market while sales are expected to pick up in the months ahead.
 
‘For the moment however, there is little sign of this filtering through into prices. The recent GDP figures also portray an upbeat message although the recovery still has a way to go until it is firmly entrenched,’ he added.

This article was republished with permission from Property Wire.