Lisbon is not Portuguese, it is of the world
The economic globalization of the last decades has changed the paradigm of competitiveness, passing the big cities to play a more important role than the countries themselves. Lisbon is nowadays a global city that competes in the international panorama with other big cities, being, however much it costs us, ever less Portuguese and increasingly European, increasingly world-wide.
This movement began with the globalization of goods and services. Since many years ago, it made no sense to go abroad to shop because the shops in London or Paris are the same ones we found in Lisbon (of course there are some differences, but we want to illustrate the idea). Service multinationals also have a physical presence in all major global cities.
Nowadays, we are witnessing the globalization of the movement of people, or relocation, as we wish to designate. The European Union created the free movement of people and goods, but it took time for European citizens to take advantage of internal mobility, such as studying in another city, working for a few years, or even enjoying the advantages of opening a company in a new destination where cheaper talents abound and the weather is better. For a long time, we have been trapped by physical borders, which now makes little sense.
Lisbon, currently plays in this chess, and competes (and collaborates) with other global cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, Milan, London, Amsterdam, Prague, Vienna, Copenhagen, Stockholm, etc … It competes at the level of the attraction of start- ups with its world class hubs , students for its excellent Business Schools , congresses enjoying the excellent infrastructure and hotel capacity, tourism that seeks high-quality cuisine at reasonable prices, great festivals with artists of the foreground, a welcoming city of friendly people, great weather, content, and, of course, competing at the level of real estate investment.
This effect is transforming the center of the city of Lisbon, where foreigners are increasingly and the Portuguese less and less, where they hear more English and other foreign languages than Portuguese. This phenomenon already existed in other global cities, perhaps delayed arriving in Lisbon.
Regardless of any value judgment made on this situation, and it is not our mission to do so here, this is the reality to which we have to adapt and define the best strategies to help our clients achieve the best results.
In light of this new picture, when analyzing the evolution of real estate prices in the center of Lisbon, we have to analyze them comparatively to other global cities and not to the “Portuguese” Lisbon of the past and to the reality of the country.
We can no longer think of a reality dominated by the profile of the Portuguese couple who buy a house to live in the city center. Because, whether you accept it or not, this is no longer the reality, and most likely will never be.
The current reality is that of investment funds that buy assets for rehabilitation and transformation in hotels, offices and residences of premium characteristics to sell to sophisticated clients, who in turn evaluate to invest in a property for rent in Lisbon, Barcelona or Amsterdam. They are foreign customers who want to buy a house in Europe and look at the prohibitive prices of Paris, London or Milan and get a premium quality apartment in Lisbon for a fraction of the price. And they are 2h30 away from these cities with connections by plane at almost every hour. They are the small investors of countries in fragile economic and political situations, such as Turkey, Brazil, South Africa, some Asian countries, etc., who want to have a Plan B that will allow them to take refuge in Europe if the out of control and enjoy the Golden Visa program. It is the retired Europeans from northern Europe, who have discovered the advantages of living in a more pleasant climate, offering excellent health, gastronomy and leisure services, and increasing the liquidity of their reforms thanks to the Non-Habitual Resident status.