If we had to choose a word to classify the real estate and construction market over the last three years, we would choose, without hesitation, the word resilience, this is the word, which we believe will continue to mark the following year, 2023.
Although in the last year, the national real estate market has witnessed a very consistent and accelerated recovery, visible and transversal to all segments, it is expected that the pressure caused by the main macroeconomic constraints, inflation and interest rates, aggravated by the conflict in Ukraine will force us to make an extra effort in 2023.
Permanent demand and lack of supply place Portugal among the most attractive markets for investing in logistics, along with countries such as France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
Portugal has proved to be a starting point for serving the Iberian and European markets and, consequently, an increasingly attractive destination for cross-border logistics operators.
The pandemic, at first, and, more recently, the invasion of Ukraine, led to a geostrategic reorganization that resulted in significant impacts on the sector. The most recent events have called into question the entire globalization movement since it was understood that the production and distribution chains could not be dependent on a political decision that would jeopardize the ability of companies to operate and their continuity. This “deglobalization” process resulted, for example, in the relocation of production units to Europe or in the decision of companies to increase their stock levels, two situations with a direct impact on the strong dynamics registered in the Industrial & Logistics sector in these last two years.
After withstanding the pandemic and teleworking, with hybrid models assuming a relevant role, the office market proved very strong and resilient in 2022 and promises to remain robust in 2023.
After two years in which the traditional office model was called into question, the Lisbon market registered a historical result, with approximately 260,000 m2 placed, in a total of 186 operations, thus establishing a record year. In Porto, pre-pandemic levels were surpassed, having, by the end of November 2022, a take-up volume of around 53,000 m2, resulting from the completion of 61 deals. This dynamic thus reinforces the idea that Portugal is one of the most attractive European locations for setting up new companies.
The retail real estate market, perhaps along with the hotel sector, won the award for the most resilient market of the year after having shown itself capable of adapting to the new needs of consumers. After a significant loss of “land” in the pandemic for e-commerce, behold, 2022 presented us with a substantial recovery of high street trade, with demand at the pre-pandemic period’s level. As for retail parks, we are witnessing the enormous success of these spaces, which began in the pandemic period and today means that these projects enjoy a privileged status with operators and investors. Food retail, catering and brands with lower prices were the most active and dynamic on the market, and it is expected that they will become the figures for next year.
The residential market, which is more familiar to most, has seen a significant increase in value in recent years due to inflation and the supply shortage. Never before has so little housing been produced in Portugal, and the numbers give food for thought. In 2002, 125,000 fires were completed, and in 2021, only 20,000, and it is expected that the numbers for 2022 will be even lower. Thus, and due to the geopolitical circumstances we are going through, there is a great fear related to inflation and the increase in interest rates, which will undoubtedly lead to 2023 being marked by uncertainty, some concern and, consequently, by the slowdown of the real estate market. Despite this scenario, a direct and vital impact on prices or a sharp correction is not expected.
Asking for credit will be more difficult, bringing challenges, opportunities, creativity and solutions, so the dynamization of the build-to-rent market and the “alternatives” market (Coliving, Cohousing, Senior Living, Student Housing) will come to assert itself. These housing solutions aim to merge the physical space with the service, offering a different, more versatile experience, meeting the needs of a large part of the young population while being in line with the lifestyle of the new generations. These new ways of working and living have made it possible to place more residential offers on the market at lower costs, therefore more suited to today’s needs.
In the big challenges for 2023, and being something that concerns everyone, we could not fail to highlight the aspects of social responsibility and sustainability, which should continue to play a relevant role in the coming years and represent one of the main concerns of the players, not just in the real estate market, but in the entire business fabric and the whole economy.
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