Made-to-measure dream homes for the Portuguese are hitting the market.

Imagine a brand new flat, with panoramic balconies, a specific area for teleworking and all en-suite bedrooms. Outside the house, but still in the building, a private garden for residents only as well as a multipurpose room that can be a place to celebrate children’s birthdays or a coworking area for those who can’t concentrate on working at home. A dream house adjusted to the pandemic times and that characterises well the new product that is now starting to appear on the market, at prices for the national middle/upper middle class.

 

 

 

At Jardins Efanor, in Matosinhos, the prices of the houses start at 150 thousand euros
Located in Matosinhos, at the epicentre of a series of Sonae projects (such as Norte Shopping or Porto Business School), the Jardins Efanor development has already completed the first building (of several that will be built in a total of 400 houses) with 62 flats and prices starting at 150 thousand euros for studio flats. Around 75% have already been sold, most in the middle of the pandemic.

“We have not felt any negative impact due to the current situation, quite the opposite… Taking into account the project’s characteristics, currently highly valued, such as the 28 m2 balconies or the 28,000 m2 of private green area, we have registered even more demand,” says Sandro Mota Oliveira, CEO of Invest&Co, a company specialised in the management and development of real estate assets and which is doing the coordination of Jardins Efanor, a development of the developer Prédios Privados which acquired the land from Sonae.

With the pace of sales encouraging investment, the company is preparing to launch the second building soon. “We are still defining the typologies but this second building will have 145 more units and we expect to start construction in the middle of this year. We believe that the market will continue to be interested in this type of product”, added the head of Invest&Co, adding that the Portuguese represent 80% of the sales of the first building.

Hotels converted into housing

Less than half an hour away from Matosinhos, more specifically in Gaia, the Fortera group, of Israeli capital, will launch the Skyline, a mixed project that will include a hotel (with more than 200), a residential building with more than 50 units and also an office and commercial area, in a global investment of 80 million to be applied during the next two years. But that’s not all. Still shrouded in secrecy is another mega-project, also in Gaia, aimed at the national market. “We will give more details soon, but this project will have close to 350 flats and is located not far from SkyLine, and it is all aimed at the middle class,” says Elad Dror, Fortera’s CEO, mentioning that the square metre will be sold at approximately 3200 €/m2.

The group has been unstoppable since it arrived in Portugal and in about five years it has already invested about 200 million euros in a dozen projects, all in the north, between Porto, Gaia, Espinho and Braga. In none of them, guarantees Elad Dror, was felt the effect of the pandemic on sales after the deconfinement.

“Most of our projects are not located in historic centres, nor are they aimed at tourists so we didn’t feel that impact. When we decided to invest in Portugal and the North, our strategy was always focused on the medium and local market and not necessarily on investors, although we have some. We didn’t want to specialise in any other market as we know this one very well”, says Fortera’s CEO.

Although more residual, the group did, however, reserve two properties in its investment portfolio, one in Porto and the other in Braga, which, given their central location, were aimed at the hotel market. But the pandemic changed the turns for the time being to that plan given the crisis that is now being experienced in that sector.

“We have a building in Braga, the Convento de Braga, which we bought to create a hotel unit and ended up redesigning – it will be more of a ‘service apartment’ (with 70 units) and less of a hotel. And in Porto we have another project, also with around 70 flats, which was also reconverted at the last minute into a residential unit”, says the Israeli manager.

And just as happened with Fortera, there are more and more developers who are counting the cost of their hotel projects.

“Tourism is going to take a little longer to recover and some developers are asking us for our help to transform their projects into flats to sell or to integrate the ‘Built to Rent’ model, in other words, the investor does not sell but rents all the units of that property and lives off the yields. There are more and more projects of this type appearing”, says Patrícia Barão, from JLL, reminding us of a study recently carried out by the consulting firm and which shows several projects of this type that will place on the rental market approximately 3,000 new homes, at controlled costs, in the next five years.

Imagine a brand new flat, with panoramic balconies, a specific area for teleworking and all en-suite bedrooms. Outside the house, but still in the building, a private garden for residents only as well as a multipurpose room that can be a place to celebrate children’s birthdays or a coworking area for those who can’t concentrate on working at home. A dream house adjusted to the pandemic times and that characterises well the new product that is now starting to appear on the market, at prices for the national middle/upper middle class.