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The Portuguese Real Estate Market in May

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Activity in Portugal’s corporate real estate market picked up somewhat in May from last month’s low, though remaining subdued. A primary focus of investment activity centred on the hospitality sector, a show of faith in the post-pandemic world, even if negotiations had all begun before the world shut itself indoors. The biggest deal of the month, however, saw France’s Cofidis take over a major office complex in Lisbon for nearly fifty million euros.

As can be expected, while the beginning of the year saw considerable growth in the residential development market, including both new homes and the redevelopment of existing homes, activity fell off in the second half of March and has stayed quiet since. Data regarding that month noted a dramatic fall in municipal licensing for new projects, and construction costs duly moderated. Housing sales fell by 2.1% and 0.9% year-on-year in Metropolitan Lisbon and the Algarve, respectively. The Portuguese regions of the Centre (-3.7%) and the North (-3.3%) also saw falling sales.

Partly to combat the softness in the market, the Lisbon City Council announced that it would implement a measure to simplify the process to obtain urban licensing for real estate projects. The municipal government will approximately double the number of engineers and architects working with inspections to speed up permitting times, while also focusing on the digitalisation of the entire process.

Hospitality

Details Hotels & Resorts took control of the Vale da Lapa tourist resort in Carvoeiro, Algarve, which had been shut down by its previous owner. Vale da Lapa is Details’ sixth asset in its portfolio. The Vale da Lapa, a five-star facility, consists of 71 two-bedroom duplexes and twelve three-bedroom villas with private pools. Founded in 2009, the Details Hotels & Resorts Group has five other units in the Algarve: Aqua Pedra dos Bicos, California, Topaz Mar, Velamar and Jardins do Vale d’El Rei.

In a significant transaction, DER Touristik Hotels & Resorts finalised its acquisition of the Galo Resort, in Caniço, on the southeast corner of Madeira. The resort complex, which consists of three hotels, will operate under the name Sentido Galo Resort. Germany’s DER Touristik owns roughly 80 other hotels all over the world, through leasing agreements or franchising. Galo Resort includes the Galomar, Galosol and Alpino Atlântico hotels, with a total of 231 rooms, in a total area of 13,596 square meters.

Offices

The largest transaction of the month saw the French company Cofidis buy Natura Towers, an office complex located in Telheiras, Lisbon, in a sale conducted within MSF Ativos Imobiliários’s insolvency proceedings. The firm went bankrupt with debts of 56.3 million euros, much of it to CGD. Cofidis, which specialises in consumer credit, paid 46.5 million euros for the asset, where it will install its new Portuguese headquarters. The move, however, has been temporarily postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The firm began operating in Portugal 24 years ago and has more than 600,000 clients in the country. The Natura Towers consist of two, eight-floor office towers with a surface area of more than 12,000 square metres. The sale of the asset attracted five bidders, including Värde Partners.

JLL’s Office Agency wrapped up the sale of a building located at rua do Proletariado 1, in Carnaxide to the JOYN Group for 4.5 million euros. The building will now be the company’s new headquarters. JOYN will lease 1,700 m2 of office space. The building itself has a total of 5,300 m2, with two floors of offices (approx. 3,200 m2 ) and one 2,100-m2 storey for storage. The renamed Joyn HQ building will also have ten electric vehicle charging stations, solar power and LED lighting. The company is investing in an innovative concept, based on the idea that companies should share common spaces, leveraging the existing space as much as possible. Therefore, any firms that move in will share a reception and waiting room, four meeting rooms, a 400 m² pantry/dining room, a small auditorium and a mini-exercise area with the Joyn Group. JLL represented the previous, unnamed owner, and will now also market the additional offices.

Land

VIC Properties finalised its acquisition of the Herdade do Pinheirinho, in Grândola, from Novo Banco. The developer is looking to build 700 flats and villas on the 200-hectare plot, in a total investment of nearly 500 million euros. Herdade do Pinheirinho is in Melides, roughly an hour and a half from central Lisbon. The first phase of construction will include a hotel, 450 villas and 250 flats. The site has an existing golf course already in operation and direct access to the beach

Industrial & Logistics

The Entreposto Group sold a light industrial asset to an unnamed Portuguese investment fund for an undisclosed amount. The real estate consultancy CBRE, which acted on behalf of the seller, announced the sale. Located in the Feijó Industrial Park in Setúbal, Greater Lisbon’s main automotive area, the asset is approximately 5,100 square meters in size. The Entreposto Group sold the property in a 15-year sale & leaseback operation.

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