Brexit Means Profit for Britons Selling Portugal Property
Just weeks after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, Peter Thompson, a British healthcare consultant, sold one of his two homes in the fishing town of Tavira in Portugal’s Algarve region, capitalizing on the plunge in the pound against the euro.
Thompson and his wife, who spend half the year in the British northwest county of Cumbria and the other half in Portugal, had bought their second property in the Algarve at the end of 2015 from another Briton who sold his home at a discount after the U.K. announced it would hold a referendum on its EU membership. When Thompson, 59, and his wife sold their property, they were able to take advantage of a drop of more than 10 percent in the value of the pound against the euro.
“We didn’t want to have two homes in Portugal,” Thompson said in a phone interview from Cumbria. “Our timing to sell was almost perfect because it allowed us to take advantage of a weaker pound.”
The pound’s post-Brexit-vote drop has triggered a flurry of real estate deals in Portugal as British second-home owners sell properties -- sometimes at a discount -- and still make a profit, according to investors and real estate brokers. Nowhere has this trend been more evident than in southern Portugal’s Algarve, a long-favored destination for British nationals, where demand from French property investors is now on the rise.
“British property buyer numbers began to fall after the sterling fell following the Brexit vote,” said Zoe Hawker, head of Fine & Country Algarve, a real estate broker with about 900 listings. “The flip side was very good because the French are coming in with stronger euros and buying from agents like us who happen to have large portfolios from British sellers.”
The pound has fallen about 12 percent against the euro since the vote. Before the referendum, British nationals made up 80 percent of all of Fine & Country Algarve’s buyers. Today, they account for only about 40 percent of the clients looking to buy, said Hawker.
With Portugal’s home prices on the rise, the euro’s strength against the pound is seen as another incentive to sell. Portugal’s existing home prices rose 9.1 percent in the third quarter of 2016 from a year earlier, the biggest increase since at least 2009, the National Statistics Institute said in December.
“Both buyers and vendors have tried, quite understandably, to take advantage of the fluctuating currencies, and for the most part this has worked well for the market,” said Alison Buechner Hojbjerg, a director at Quinta Properties real estate agency, which sells luxury villas in the upmarket resorts of Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo in the Algarve. “Many vendors are sterling-based and consequently were prepared to accept lower euro offers which resulted in some great deals for both parties.”
And while the sun, sand and golf are expected to continue to attract British second-home buyers to Portugal, the French last year overtook U.K. nationals as the biggest foreign property buyers in the country, accounting for about one out of every four real estate purchases, according to Portugal’s Real Estate Professionals and Brokers Association.
“Some U.K. nationals who bought Portuguese real estate decades ago and waited for the market to recover have now decided to sell for a profit,” said Luis Lima, head of APEMIP. “It’s an intelligent move. I’m sure the British will continue to invest in Portugal.”
Home prices in the Algarve are expected to rise about 5 percent this year, according to Robert Bijker, head of Land & Houses Algarve real estate broker. A two-bedroom penthouse apartment in a condominium with swimming pool in Tavira carries a price tag of 255,000 euros ($270,000) at his agency. That’s about the same as a similar apartment in Spain’s Costa del Sol resort of Puerto Banus, according to the website of property broker Marbella Estates. Both regions have long been magnets for British second-home buyers.
“The Algarve is still seen as a safer bet for foreigners because it didn’t go through a construction boom and bust and a massive price overshoot that took place in Spain,” said Bijker.
Health consultant Thompson, for instance, has no intention of selling his remaining home in Portugal even if the U.K. decides to formally withdraw from the EU by triggering the so-called Article 50.
“We like the climate, the relaxed way of life and the coffee mentality of Portugal too much to even consider selling our second home here," he said.
Novas regras para as escrituras de imóveis em vigor a partir de novembro
A partir de meados de novembro, as escrituras de compra e venda de imóveis passarão a identificar todos os meios de pagamento através das quais os prédios são transacionados. Uma medida que visa permitir às autoridades seguir o rasto ao dinheiro envolvendo transações de imóveis e reduzir os riscos de negócios simulados.
As novas regras foram publicadas esta segunda-feira (21 de agosto) em Diário da República, no diploma que cria o Registo Central do Beneficiário Efetivo (RCBE), e concretizam-se através de alterações ao Código do Registo Predial e ao Código do Notariado, escreve o Jornal de Negócios.
Com estas alterações, se um prédio for comprado através de cheque, por exemplo, será preciso indicar o seu número e o banco. E no caso de se tratar de uma transferência bancária terão de ser identificados o banco e o número da conta. Tudo elementos que não constam atualmente das escrituras. De referir que, no caso de pagamentos em dinheiro, terá ainda de ser indicada a moeda usada na transação, mas este será um meio limitado por via de uma outra proposta que limita o dinheiro vivo a 3.000 euros.
As regras entram em vigor daqui a 90 dias, em meados de novembro, a mesma altura em que é suposto avançarem as novas obrigações declarativas que conduzirão à constituição de uma base de dados com todos os beneficiários efetivos. Trata-se de outro instrumento que pretende reduzir a opacidade nos negócios e que trará obrigações acrescidas aos operadores económicos, refere a publicação.
NALLE: Local Lodging Association launched
NALLE, the National Association of Local Lodging Establishments, had its formal launch at a recent seminar in Faro hosted by Safe Communities Portugal. Addressing Local Lodging, eight high-ranking officials from different branches of government made presentations in English in order to reach out to over 300 owners, operators and agents in attendance.
Entitled “Local Lodging as an asset to the Algarve tourist industry”, the conference addressed broad-reaching subjects to clarify new Local Lodging legislation and its simplified requirements.
In addition to introducing the newly formed association, NALLE’s president, Dennis Swing Greene, distributed the recently published “NALLE Local Lodging Handbook” to present a sound factual base in an area fraught with misinformation and confusion. This handbook is available in print or in PDF and is included with Association membership.
NALLE has as its mission to provide essential information and support to its members regarding Local Lodging in Portugal; enhance security for holidaymakers; strengthen compliance in Local Lodging operations; and provide a collective voice, representing all of those engaged in the activity of Local Lodging in Portugal.
To become a member or obtain more information about NALLE, please consult the association’s website: www.nalle.pt.