Portugal seems to be a "good student" when it comes to managing the pandemic of the new coronavirus. At least this is the "impression" of many real estate market specialists who, despite the uncertain times, believe that the property sector will be able, and better prepared, to recover from the crisis - although with the caveat that everything depends on how long this emergency lasts and how well it outlines. The positive behaviour is, moreover, being beneficial for the maintenance of the attentions of international investors, who continue to keep Portugal's real estate market under the radar, as several players in the sector guarantee.
This was one of the ideas that was transmitted in the webcast "Challenges and Opportunities COVID19" and which included the participation of professionals connected to the real estate market such as consultants, developers, lawyers, among others.
The Portuguese real estate consultants believe that it is important, in spite of everything, to face this unprecedented situation in a "positive way" and "look to the future as a challenge to get out of this situation as soon as possible".
In turn, Nuno Rogeiro, a political analyst, is more cautious and apprehensive about the future. "What worries me is: are we going to return to the economy or are we going to maintain the current public health measures? Without health the economy will suffer, there will be fewer workers, more risk, more difficulties (...) Bad health produces bad economy and vice-versa. How to re-enter a standard economy with all the health guarantees? This is the big question", he says, considering that it is fundamental to define under which conditions companies can work again. The second problem, he says, relates to the IMF's latest growth prospects for the global economy, which "are alarming".
"What is predicted today is a 3% drop in the global economy by 2020. In the 2008 crisis, we saw a global drop of 0.1% ... the difference is abysmal". Still, he stresses the "encouraging outlook" which points to a 5.8% growth of the economy in 2021, noting that "there are many ifs". Despite this, Nuno Rogeiro stresses the "exemplary steps" that Portugal has taken so far, and which could be decisive in the future.
Hugo Santos Ferreira, of APPII, is convinced that real estate will "naturally" show signs of slowing down in the short term, as is already the case in other sectors, stressing, however, the "cautious tranquillity" of investors, who are still interested in investing in Portugal. There is no doubt that companies will be better prepared to "endure" these months of suspension, but everything depends on the future shape of the health crisis.
Golden Visa can help recovery
"Portugal has been exemplary in its reaction to Covid-19," says one developer, adding that in his case, investment, work and recruitment are continuing, and that "a lot is being done. He also says a word about the Golden Visa program, underlining the importance of an instrument that "has lifted us from the rubble" and that could be fundamental to "relieve the fall that we will inevitably feel, as long as stability is restored". "Limiting the Golden Visa is a mistake. Don't think that you make territorial cohesion in this way", he stresses, leaving the note that "a country cannot be managed with this randomness".
For Paulo Barradas of Norfin, "Portugal will continue to compare well with other real state markets. Investors are waiting to know better where to bet and I think with some optimism and luck it may all be faster than we can expect". "Prepare for the worst and hope for the best", that's his advice.
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