Nuno Durão is Managing Partner at Fine & Country Portugal, an agency focused on the Portuguese luxury residential market and who have just won the award from ‘Best Real Estate Agency Europe’.
In this interview, Nuno gives us insights into the real estate market and how to succeed in it.
Fine & Country Portugal cater largely to international clientele and help to promote the Portuguese government’s schemes for foreign property investment.
How has the Portuguese luxury property market evolved over the past ten years?
Portugal never used to be a place where the international market came looking for property. However, the real estate market is always being influenced by the yields that it offers. A change like the one we’re seeing right now never only has just one factor but a sum of factors that together have an impact.
In 2012, in the middle of the financial crisis, the Portuguese government created two laws with the aim of attracting investment: the Golden Visa and the Non-Habitual Residents Tax Regime. These two factors, together with instability in Arab countries, a lack of security in some European countries, the rise in taxes, in France for example, and the drop in prices of flights mainly due to the boom in low-cost deals, turned Portugal into Europe’s most attractive destination.
The fact that it is not too close but not too far, its central location, the peace and tranquility, how well everyone speaks other languages, the weather and the food all put Portugal in a good position. Not to mention, the introduction of tourist accommodation through new platforms like Airbnb have made rents shoot up.
More demand, less supply and better yields have all made the prime location market rise from €3,000 per square meter to €10,000 per square meter, making for urban renewal and transforming Lisbon and Porto into even bigger tourist attractions.
What do you expect for the luxury property market in 2019?
Portugal, and in particular Lisbon and Porto, are still the only urban centres in Europe that have access to beaches and have preserved their old-fashioned charm while still being modern and peaceful. This is why tourism will keep growing, possibly even through the new airport that is planned to be developed in Lisbon.
The fact that internationally-known names like Madonna, Eric Cantona, Phillip Stark and Michael Fassbender have chosen to settle down here will continue to influence the international market, as well as social media and other factors.
Given that Portugal is quite a small country, there’s every reason to believe that demand will increase while relative supply will be scarce. That’s why it’s to be expected that the market will see greater growth, especially because Lisbon and Porto are still two of the cheapest cities in Europe.
Fine & Country Portugal has just been awarded ’Best Real Estate Agency Europe’ at the 2018-19 International Property Awards and ‘Best Overseas Operator’ at January’s Fine & Country gala dinner.
As Managing Partner, what would you attribute these successes to?
For a Portuguese company to receive international attention and awards, it needs to be extremely hardworking and professional in everything it does. To be specialised in clients with different origins, languages and cultures you must be enthusiastic and attentive to the potential buyer.
The dedication that Fine & Country Portugal has put in to this has been huge. A unique portfolio, specialised in privileged locations, but most of all, the number of international clients that we bring to Portugal, all make Fine & Country the agency with the most international sales in this country.
Our choice of properties in our portfolio, and our ability to reach every corner of the world, understanding and attending to all different cultures and needs, has been the key to our success.
What is the general profile of your international clientele? Do you have a ‘typical’ customer?
The profile of our clients is extremely varied, from what they’re looking for to why, and this is decisive in how we choose properties to put in our portfolio. One client may want a residence visa for tax reasons, others may be looking for permanent or second residence, or their children have come to study, or they’re purely looking to invest. All of these reasons require different properties and different locations.
But it can be said that international clients do have one thing in common: they should choose a property that is ‘net’, which means that should they want to resell for any reason, they can sell quickly even if the price isn’t ideal. This only happens in privileged locations.
What do you use CASAFARI for? How has it transformed the way you and your team work?
CASAFARI is an indispensable information tool. Nowadays, knowing what’s new on the market, what has been sold and what has changed in price is crucial and this is information that gives an enormous sense of trust and peace of mind to the buyer. Before CASAFARI, research was almost impossible and a lot less trustworthy.
What advice would you give to agents wanting to enter the luxury real estate industry?
Real estate has two elements: sourcing properties and finding clients for these properties. A good portfolio is something that takes a lot of time and effort, but looking for potential buyers on the luxury market depends more on our own network, which is why it’s simpler and less costly.
The best advice I can give is to focus on the buyer: look for them in every corner of the globe, and trust Fine & Country’s property portfolio and professionalism to make the sale. It is much more profitable to find clients and share them with Fine & Country Portugal than make and plan the sale structure and portfolio alone; this is something that Fine & Country has always done and still does very well.
There are many countries – the United States, for example – where the deal is almost always shared – one has clients, the other has properties. Our door is always open in Cascais, Estoril, Chiado, Lapa, Marquês de Pombal, Porto or Comporta.
More on the blog: A How-To Guide to CASAFARI