After some years of pariah status, Lisbon is firmly back on the radar screen of the international investment community.
Indeed, 2015 investment transaction volumes of around €2m were almost double those of the 2007 pre-crisis peak.
This improvement came about as the result of a combination of investor-friendly legislative changes, more available stock at attractive pricing, and the “comfort” factor.
One of the structural reforms imposed by the troika of lenders, in the context of the financial assistance programme to which Portugal was subjected between 2011 and 2014, was a major overhaul of the outdated landlord and tenant legislation.
This eliminated tenants’ virtual perpetual security of tenure, bringing “old rents” in line with market, and allowing the eviction of tenants in the case of major maintenance works.
This in turn resulted in a wave of hyperactivity in the refurbishment of the city centre, which had been neglected by impoverished landlords for decades.
The other driving factor behind the high investment volumes was an increased, if belated, sense of pragmatism among property owners.
The banks badly needed to deleverage in order to shore up their balance sheets, while other property owners realised that clinging on to trophy assets was either uneconomic or plainly foolish. Properties became available in large quantities, attracting hordes of cash-rich buyers from the global marketplace, led by the usual suspects from the US, which was responsible for around 50% of total investment volume, in addition to the traditional European institutions, as well as family offices from the Netherlands, Spain and France, but also from China, Singapore and Brazil.
Last, but not least, over recent years Lisbon has become a vibrant, cosmopolitan and highly liveable city, a very popular weekend break and conference destination and, increasingly, an attractive location for a second or even first home for foreign buyers who value not only the weather but also the safe and friendly environment.
I, for one, after almost 35 years here, still think that this is one of the best cities in which to live.