Last week the KW Portugal (Keller Williams) delivered the awards for the performance of more than 2000 real estate consultants in the Mainland and Islands. I was awarded the Double Platinum award and the distinction of Real Estate Consultant Nº1 in the Top National Individual of Keller Williams Portugal with regard to the accumulated turnover during the year 2020, among more than 2,000 consultants!
Although not a total surprise, as I have accumulated this distinction since 2017 on an ongoing basis, the past year was a test year that allowed me to reinforce the conviction that this surprising journey over the last 5 years was not the result of chance.
As the Portuguese say, the future belongs to God! But, what this year full of difficulties proved to me was that, if we maintain a dedicated and demanding attitude working on behalf of our clients, betting on the excellence of every detail, and with a well-planned medium / long term strategy, God will shape us a little bit of that future :)
This distinction is the result of an alignment of good stars: Keller Wiliams, the largest real estate network in the world (already has more than 184,000 professionals, in more than 50 countries worldwide), the KW Sol Market Center (the largest Oeiras real estate agency) and obviously all my colleagues.
Of course, I could not fail to mention the importance that my buying and selling customers had for this extraordinary performance. It never hurts to mention that, in order to be successful in this activity, the selection of properties and clients is a key element. And during this year that has now ended, I have not lacked villas, apartments and plots of land with above average quality and fantastic customers!
2020, A YEAR FULL OF CHALLENGES FOR REAL ESTATE ACTIVITY
But not everything was easy in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic brought new challenges and added difficulties. I ended the year with the award of a Double Platinum and the small distance from the Triple Platinum that I obtained in 2019. This does not mean that I have performed fewer transactions and turnover. Many of the deeds that were scheduled for 2019 had to be postponed, due to delays in the issue of the respective use licenses, by the municipal services. Had it not been for these obstacles and 2020 would have been my record year!
The challenges I faced were many. These remain the most important:
- the aforementioned difficulty in obtaining the necessary documentation for real estate mediation and the execution of deeds for the purchase and sale of real estate;
- delays in starting works on new projects due to the context and restrictions in force, as well as delays in the construction of works currently underway;
- change in the type of properties most sought after: more land and houses and fewer apartments;
- increased difficulties in conducting visits, in order to respect the safety and health of my clients, as well as the rules recommended by DGS;
- Reinforcement of the digital marketing channel at the expense of traditional marketing, penalizing billboards and other face-to-face campaigns;
- Proprietary customers who have given up selling the property, either due to the devaluation observed in some segments of the real estate market, or due to fears in the face of the economic crisis ahead;
- Foreign buyer customers who, despite not having lost interest in residing in Portugal, are waiting for bettertimes, waiting for the pandemic to slow and air travel to resume in full.
And 2021? PALPITES, DIVINATIONS AND FUTOROLOGY
It is during these special moments that each real estate consultant is put to the test: either he comes out reinforced and guarantees success for the next years, or his weaknesses are more exposed .
What I predict for 2021 is obviously conditioned by the evolution of the pandemic and the success of the vaccination process. But there are lines of conductors that I think have come to stay:
Portugal is a country more vulnerable to economic crises and a great dependence on the outside and the global economy. The growth in tourism seen in recent years has not improved this outlook. Hence, as long as foreign tourism does not resume in force, we will continue to work in a "water bath" and with great unpredictability.
After 4/5 years of continued price growth in Lisbon and Porto, in 2021 we will continue to see divergent phenomena in this area. Prices in the resale market for apartments, and for some homes with some age, will continue the downward correction path. While prices for houses located in areas of strong demand (Oeiras is one of them) as well as for new construction will not go down and will continue to grow, albeit more smoothly.
Digital came to mediation in force and is here to stay. Non-face-to-face fundraising and mediation, virtual visits and online contracts are the trends that are here to stay.
Digital marketing. That has been one of my biggest bets. Nothing new! Although the trend towards greater diversification of digital channels brings new challenges. It is essential to measure the ROI (Return on Investment) of each channel.
Social networks and advertising investment in this type of channel will continue to gain weight in real estate marketing, as the new video tools enable an increasingly easy and quality integration.
New dynamics are driving real estate activity in Covid times and should continue to support new businesses in the near future:
- Foreigners who came to live in Portugal and who, in an adaptation phase, chose to rent a house, are now buying customers. Brazilians, French, English and other European countries have compensated, to a small extent, the falls registered in the international investment market.
- Many families are buying larger houses with leisure spaces and gardens , many of them motivated by the confinement environment and others due to the need for an office space in order to respond to telework.
- Large houses and many of them in the luxury sector are entering the selling market, as their owners, at some age and without children living together, intend to downsize by moving to smaller houses , taking advantage of the fact that prices have not yet fallen sharply.
- Due to the climate of instability and scarcity of affordable rents in the rental market, many parents are helping their children to buy a home , taking advantage of the offer of credit with exceptionally low interest rates.
- Due to the depressed business environment, low interest rates and the predictable economic crisis, many investors are investing in the acquisition of real estate, as this remains the safest and most profitable investment . Others intend to buy houses to enter the rental market , thereby obtaining an additional source of income.
- As for Visa Gold, it is still unknown as to how it will operate in the transition phase, from 1 July 2021 until the end of 2022. One thing is certain, Lisbon and Porto will gradually leave the radar of international investment in what this modality.
The bet that real estate mediation is making on new digital platforms and virtual visit tools is helping to avoid major breakdowns and generating new alternatives to traditional purchasing, with emphasis on international buyers, who more easily adhere to this "new normal" ".
All of these dynamics, associated with the environment of low interest rates on housing loans, should continue to support the housing market, preventing the impact of the pandemic from being as resounding as that seen in other sectors.
In 2020 I did well, in 2021 I am sure that I will do everything to not disappoint all those who believed in me over these 5 years!
I am very proud of this award and confident in the future!