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Looking back on the bailout – Portugal’s economic progress through the eyes of a leading housing expert

Looking back on the bailout – Portugal’s economic progress through the eyes of a leading housing expert

As embarrassing moments go, having to approach the rest of the world cap in hand for a bailout for your country is pretty much up there with the worst of them. Portugal was one of several countries to have to do so during the financial crisis that swept across much of the world from 2007/08 onwards, but today things are looking rather different in the Iberian country, as local housing expert Chris White, founding director of boutique estate agency Ideal Homes Portugal, reveals,

“Obviously Portugal has gone through some tough times, but the country has worked hard to put the bailout money to good use and has turned its fortunes around over the past four to five years. It has been a struggle at times, with austerity measures impacting deeply on the people’s psyche as well as their pockets, but the results of that effort are now beginning to become clear.”

Certainly the International Monetary Fund (IMF) seems to agree. It has just improved its forecast for Portugal’s economy from 1.2% in 2015 and 1.3% in 2016 to 1.6% and 1.5% respectively. Portugal’s minister of state and finance, Maria Luis Albuquerque, is also feeling positive, reporting recently on the improvement to the country’s prospects over the past year and the success of the bailout,

“When we look at the core of the program and the objectives that the program had, we can say it has been successful.”

 

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is being even more bullish in its forecasts for Portugal’s growing economy, projecting gross domestic product growth of “close to 2% in 2016.”

 

The numbers look good, but what does all this mean to the average working family in Portugal?

“Unemployment is still fairly high,” continues Chris White of Ideal Homes Portugal, “but the huge spike in employment that the summer season brings – particularly in regions like the Algarve – should mean it ends the year lower than it started. Certainly in terms of the housing market we can feel the quiet new confidence that the country is emanating. Property transactions are on the up and though buyers are more cautious than they used to be the market is definitely reviving nicely.”

 

Demand from overseas buyers is supporting the newly flourishing market, with British and Irish buyers keen to pick up their piece of Portugal before prices go up much further. Already, many of the bargains that have typified the market over the past couple of years have been snapped up, though there are still some excellent deals to be made if you know where to look. A one bedroom apartment in Vilamoura, complete with communal pool and gardens, for example, can be picked up for just €90,000.

Ideal Homes Portugal Apartment

Of course, Portugal has much more to offer than just budget apartments and bargains can still be found on more expensive properties. In the ‘golden triangle,’ close to Vale do Lobo, a luxurious five bedroom villa with pool can be bought for just €785,000 – a €115,000 reduction on the original asking price.

Ideal Homes Portugal Villas

“Prices are on the up,” confirms Chris White. “You can tell that the toughest economic times are beginning to fade out of sight in Portugal’s rear view mirror and the overseas input into the property market is helping to generate a new confidence here. It’s definitely good to be looking back on the bailout rather than living through it!”

 

For further details call Ideal Homes Portugal on 0800 133 7644 or +351 289 513 434, email enquiries@idealhomesportugal.com or visit www.idealhomesportugal.com.

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