Portuguese property prices have risen for the first time in four years. 

Portugal ended its bailout scheme last year, as the economy also exited recession. That positive recovery has gradually showed signs of spreading to the housing market, with confidence and sales both improving. Now, property prices in the country have risen for the first time since the bailout, according to the latest survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Confidencial Imobilario.

Real estate values edged up slightly in January 2015, the first rise since 2010, when the RICS/Ci survey began. Values rose in Lisbon and the Algarve, areas where buyer demand has been strongest on TheMoveChannel.com. In Porto, prices stabilised, ending a long period of price declines.

"Prices are expected to continue to rise over the next three months," says the report, although it notes that only a "sustained run of positive data" will confirm a genuine recovery.

Property sales rose in January 2015 for the 12th month in a row. With transactions and prices both up, confidence has also reached a record high.

The figures follow an announcement that the country will look to expand its Golden Visa scheme. The programme, which offers residency to non-EU buyers who spend more than €500,000 on real estate, or create more than 10 jobs through their investment, has significantly fuelled the market in recent months, prompting more than a billion euros of investment. Indeed, demand for Portuguese property reached record highs in the past 12 months, according to TheMoveChannel.com's Top of the Props report, while one in five properties sold in Portugal in 2014 went to an overseas investor, according to the Portuguese real Estate Agents Association.

Now, the scheme will be subject to closer scrutiny, in response to last year's corruption allegations, but will also expand to include other sectors.

"We shall be opening up the range of opportunities for gold visa investors taking into account an economy that is already growing and an investment concept that includes property but also extends beyond this sector to open up the scope for financing other investments in other important sectors of our development," Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas told the press. http://www.theportugalnews.com/news/new-gold-visa-conditions-set-out/34100

RICS Senior Economist Josh Miller welcomed the price rise as an "important milestone".  

"Whether this trend can be sustained depends on the broader economic recovery. We remain optimistic on this front, but considerable risks remain."


Photo: rstml

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