It's been two weeks since the Portuguese government decided to take steps towards gradual deconfinement. Now we ask ourselves: "What now?"
Have we been able to resume real estate activity after two months of confinement? What will the visits to the properties be like without the usual client proximity? How are the deadlines for the construction works that had to stop? What are the consequences for those who have already paid a reservation or want to buy? To answer all these questions and many others, we shall try to make a small snapshot of our experience of the last fortnight at Casaiberia.
We cannot say that we have already reached pre-COVID19 figures, but we can say that the demand has not slowed down.
There is a lot of uncertainty in the market and these are, in a way, the most influential factors in the coming weeks for prices and real estate activity.
On the one hand, it is buyers waiting for bargains to come back to the market, and sellers wanting to keep the price announced earlier this year, when the Portuguese real estate market was on its way to reaching a new record for real estate transactions in the first quarter of the year. On the other hand, we now have a greater offer of new developments to be marketed in the Portuguese market, aimed at the medium and high range of purchasing clients. At the same time, a wave of old bad loans in the market is emerging, coming from the capital funds ventures that bought these portfolios in 2018 and 2019 in large quantities from the Portuguese banks. To add to this we have the health crisis that has changed a lot, but we hope to have not changed everything for the bad, but also some good.
International and domestic demand for property in Portugal has not slowed down, as we have had much more demand in 2020 than in previous years. This is also due to the confinement of people and their interest in changing location, life and property.
It has already been written in several national and international articles that teleworking will revolutionise the way people view their property in the future, and this will certainly cause many transactions in that direction, as we experienced in recent weeks.
Visits to properties are also changing, and as such we are betting on the virtual visit to make a better selection for the client and limit visits to those properties of interest. We will invest in the promotion of the property with 360o images and virtual visits. In the long term we believe that the response of customers will be faster with regard to the final decision, because at this stage we are already experiencing a more objective attitude of the client that we believe will remain in the future.
Most of the works have maintained their deadlines, we have no indication from our partners up-to-date that there may be delays in the construction works. However, and knowing that we are still facing a health crisis, everything can change in the event of a new wave of the outbreak.
To sum up our experience of the last 10 weeks: Casaibéria will continue to invest in the digitalization of its services to the client, in the training of its largest capital - its employees - all over the country. The same people who did an excellent job during this period, and managed to increase the offer of Casaibéria by 162 properties during the time that the country was brought to an halt. On March 16th, 2020 with 440 properties published on our website, we all started working from home, and on May 30th we have 602 properties on our website. This is called "strength, courage, dedication, will to win, 24/7 service to your customers, and identity". Thank you all who are a part of this achievement.
Text: Paulo Lopes