On the 26th and 27th of September, the Hotel Palácio Estoril hosted the most important Iberian real estate investment forum. The newly created SIGI (Portuguese REITs) was one of the highlights of the event, an instrument which may work as the doorway for the big global investors to enter the Portuguese market, as believed by 63% of the real estate operators present at the Portugal Real Estate Summit.
63% of respondents gave this answer in one of the interactive real time surveys carried out during the conference and 24% consider SIGI will be chosen method for real estate investment in Portugal. The remaining 13% recognize this vehicle will have a very limited impact in the long term.
In five years, the SIGI- Sociedades de Investimento e Gestão Imobiliária (Real Estate Investment and Management Societies), the so-called Portuguese REITs, will mostly work as an alternative vehicle for the big investors to allocate capital to the Portuguese real estate market. This was one of the main conclusions of this real estate investment forum.
Dominique Moerenhout, EPRO’s CEO, considered, during his intervention on the first day of the summit, that «the introduction of a REIT regime in Portugal is a great opportunity for the sector», particularly at a time «when the outlook of real estate investors is changing significantly and these types of vehicles are great doorways for non-specialised investors». The expert defends that there is a growing importance of generic investors (i.e. non-specialised) within real estate in Europe, remarking that «we already have insurance companies larger than pension funds, and that will change the real estate investment game».
Filipa Franco, Listing Director at Euronext Lisbon, believes that the first SIGI will appear within five to six months, that is, during the first quarter of 2020, «now that the companies have seen the legal regime has stabilized and been approved, after having passed a very important test at the Parliament».
On the investors’ side, Alexandre Fernandes, Director of Asset Management Europe at Sonae Sierra, considerers that «the introduction of a SIGI regime in Portugal is very advantageous for investors, especially those who develop a pan-European investment strategy since it provides greater transparency and easy access to the market». David Brush, Merlin Properties’ CIO, which operates one of the largest SOCIMIs (Spanish REITs) in Spain, states that «having these REIT regimes (Spain and Portugal) be so consistent with each other is a great achievement and it should be a goal because it is very advantageous».
Miguel Ferre, Vice-President, Global Corporation Center at IE-Instituto de Empresa was one of the great promoters for the creation of a REIT regime in Spain and he agrees that «creating a REIT, whether in Spain or in Portugal, is a positive move», remarking that «it always involves a standstill» which «should never take too long».