Portugal Real Estate Investment to Double, Cushman Says

Investment in Portuguese commercial real estate may more than double this year as investors return to the southern European country after it completed its emergency-aid program, according to Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

Spending on commercial properties in Portugal is forecast to rise to as much as 800 million euros ($1.09 billion) this year from 322 million euros in 2013, said Luis Rocha Antunes, head of the firm’s capital markets group in Lisbon.

“There are big funds looking at commercial real estate in Portugal,” Antunes said in an interview yesterday. “Investor appetite for Portugal is clearly on the rise.”

Portugal last month followed Ireland in completing its three-year bailout program without the safety net of a precautionary credit line. Global Asset Capital, Deka Group and Merlin Properties SA are among investors buying or looking to purchase commercial property in the country.

Global Asset Capital, a Palo Alto, California-based private-equity firm bought four buildings in the center of Lisbon earlier this week from Portuguese power company EDP-Energias de Portugal. Both companies declined to comment on the sale price. CBRE Group Inc., which advised on the deal, said in a statement yesterday that it was the decade’s biggest real estate transaction in Lisbon’s central business district.

Merlin Properties, a Spanish real estate investment trust, plans to raise about 1.5 billion euros through an initial public offering to invest in commercial properties in Spain. The company said it may also buy buildings in Portugal.

Deka, Germany’s biggest manager of real estate mutual funds, said in April it was interested in acquiring more office properties in Lisbon after buying a building, rented to postal service CTT-Correios de Portugal, for 43 million euros.

While the country has emerged from its longest recession in at least 25 years, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho’s government must trim spending this year and next to meet deficit targets.

“Portugal is on the map again for property investors,” Antunes said. “The economic indicators are positive and investor sentiment is improving.”

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