Portuguese government targets foreign buyers with new site
By Danny Bance

Portuguese government targets foreign buyers with new site

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The Portuguese government is doing all it can to entice foreign property buyers into the country, launching a new site to make the whole process easier. Key figures from the country's tourism industry gathered at the Ambassador of Portugal's palatial home in Belgrave Square to see a new guide launched that helps people interested in Portuguese property, A Place in the Sun reported.

Alvara Santos Pereiram, minister of economy, told attendees: "Our aims are to increase our standing from 18th in World Tourism terms; to decrease the seasonality of tourism; to sustain airlift; support other businesses (golf, restaurants etc); and to increase house sales in Portugal."

There may be some that will be sceptical about the viability of Mr Pereiram's vision, however, with Spain also targeting foreign buyers. Overseas investors have always been interested in Portugal's competitor and the country has long been popular among those looking for holiday let opportunities and second homes. Tourism is strong and, combined with speculation over a Spanish residency scheme for non-European buyers, it is unsurprising that many worry about Portugal's ability to compete.

However, the president of the Portuguese Resorts Association, Diogo Gasper, believes this is unfounded. "We have 40 times less unsold housing stock than Spain: 5,000 compared with 200,000," he highlighted to the news portal.

Nonetheless, the country is still in need of more investment in the property market and the country's falling house prices cannot be ignored. According to the Global Property Guide, Portugal's "dire economic situation" isn't helping matters either, and the sector can't help but react to worsening conditions. During the year end to May 2012, the average property price fell to €1,047 per square metre - a drop of 8.9 per cent. Figures from Statistics Portugal revealed that, when adjusted for inflation, prices actually dropped by 11.3 per cent. Some of the worst reductions were noted in the Greater Metropolitan Area of Porto (7.7 per cent when adjusted for inflation), while the cost of flats plummeted significantly faster than homes.
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