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Residential property prices in Portugal are expected to rise modestly over the first few months of 2015 after eight months of stability as housing market activity levels continue to rise. There is a strengthening in sales market confidence, with forward looking indicators showing rising optimism, according to the latest RICS/Ci Portuguese Housing Market Survey. In the lettings sector, sustained growth in occupier demand, coupled with a contraction in new landlord instructions, is helping to stabilise rents and rent expectations, it also shows. In the sales market, new buyer enquiries continued to rise, extending the run of uninterrupted demand growth stretching back almost a year and a half. Meanwhile agreed sales increased for the 12 month in a row in December. ‘Significantly, sales expectations are the most buoyant in four years and this sustained recovery in activity appears to have stabilised house prices, which have now remained more or less unchanged for the past eight months,’ the index report shows. ‘Crucially, prices are now expected to rise marginally. Although this is a positive development, we would warn against reading too much into this at the current juncture, given the still challenging economic backdrop,’ it adds. As a result of this improvement in sentiment, the national confidence index, a composite indicator of price and sales expectations, increased to +27, a new high for the series. In the lettings sector, occupier demand continues to rise at a steady pace and this is being accompanied by a significant fall in new landlord instructions. As a result, although still in decline, rents are falling at the slowest pace on record. Furthermore, rent expectations are pointing to a relatively stable trend over the next three months. According to CI spokesman, Ricardo Guimaraes, it is interesting to note that in some markets several real estate agents mention that there is a relative lack of housing available for sale. ‘At the same time, there has been a clear increase in demand. Naturally, this demand is oriented towards the most central locations and main cities,’ he explained. RICS senior economist, Josh Miller, believes that the bottom of the home price market has been reached and the lettings sector is not far behind. ‘Whether the market can transition from a broadly stable picture, to a genuine recovery very much depends on if the economic recovery can be sustained. On this front, things look promising but we are not out of the woods just yet,’ he said. Continue reading →
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