Portuguese real estate group promotes €50 mln Lisbon luxury development to local investors

Macau (MNA) – Portuguese real estate group, United Investments Portugal (UIP), held an event on Wednesday to introduce investors to a €50 million (MOP454.4 million/US$56.2 million) apartment hotel project in the Lisbon downtown riverfront.

The event held at L’Arc Hotel was organised in partnership with &Beyond, a local company focused on trading, consultancy and investment and the International Lusophone Markets Business Association (ACIML).

“&Beyond was founded two years ago. We are now introducing this real estate group today and we already had experiences in trading, namely food products […] We try to help Portuguese companies to promote their businesses in Macau and vice-versa,” the company General Manager, Patricia Rato, told MNA.

According to the UIP General Manager of Real Estate, Daniel Correia, the construction of the aparthotel project near the Tejo river in Lisbon will cost some €50 million, with the actual constructions works to be initiated in April and with inauguration ceremony set for December 31, 2020

Lisbon Residences will include 142 luxury apartments, with 97 being apartments for sale and the remaining to be also used as hotel rooms, and with pre-sales having been open for the last three months.

“Owners can use the apartment up to four weeks per year with the apartment being used for touristic purposes in the remaining period. We also provide a 3 per cent minimum return on investment for a 10 year period,” Mr. Correia said.

According to the UIP General Manager the introduction of Portugal’s Golden Visa scheme in 2012 led to a “boost” in interest by Chinese nationals in investing in real estate in the country, with UIP having been present in China since 2013.

The Golden Residence Permit Program enables non-EU citizens to obtain a special residence permit in Portugal in exchange for a 5-year investment in the country.

More than 6,500 foreign investors have benefitted from the scheme until October, 2018, with total investment into Portugal as a direct result of the program having reached about €4 billion according to the Portuguese immigration department.

Chinese nationals have represented the largest contingent of beneficiaries of the scheme, with 3,981 Residence Permits for Investment Activity provided and having contributed 55 per cent of the total amount of investment.

In the six year period 608 gold visas were granted to Brazilian nationals and 265 to South African nationals, the two contingents that came the closest to the Chinese numbers.

One of the requirements for the Golden Visa includes the acquisition of real estate with a value of at least €500,000, with apartments at the Lisboa Residences going from €505,000 for a T0 and go to €2.5 million for a T3 suite with river view.

UIP does not provide assistance services to attain a Golden Visa but refers clients to law firms that assist with the process.

Most of the apartments in the project, even four of the T3 suites, were said to have already been reserved by buyers, with Correia stating it shows that the market is highly receptive to such price tags.

“We have created a large structure in the Asian market, from translators to people staying here permanently in China to assist with real estate owners. Through this we have attempted to attract investment in Portugal,” Correia added.

Mr. Correia also indicated that since he became responsible for the Asian market for UIP in 2017, Macau came up as “good opportunity” and leading to the partnership with &Beyond.

About 15 to 20 per cent of UIP real estate investors were said to come from Asia, with no data provided on the exact number of Chinese nationals.

“Chinese investors normally look for T2 apartments, which are ideal for them since they allow space for family and are at a price range they are willing to pay,” Correia noted.

Chinese buyers were also said to prefer prime areas in Lisbon, near Avenida da Liberdade, Avenida de Roma, Belem and Parque das Nações, but with buyers now also looking for locations in different areas, such as Porto or Algarve.

Part of the IFA Hotels & Resorts (IFA HR) consortium, UIP has been responsible for several resort and luxury residence developments in Portugal, Pine Cliffs Resort and Sheraton Cascais Resort.

“Just in Pine Cliffs we have 40 Chinese families that purchased units for their vacations. They actually come two or three times to Portugal to spend their vacations. The motive is generally a Golden Visa or investment, but it’s easy to fall in love with the country,” he added.

It is also a majority shareholder in a joint venture established with Bespoke Hotels International and Bespoke Hotels Portugal & Spain, to develop and manage luxury properties across Portugal and Spain, under the management of Bespoke Hotels.