Gaia wants to be a «city for the future, humane and sustainable, focused on people’s well-being and on attracting investment», stated António Miguel Castro, Gaiurb’s and Inovagaia’s chairman of the board. Invited speaker at Pequeno-Almoço do Imobiliário (Real Estate Breakfast), organised by Vida Imobiliária and Público newspaper, at The Lodge Hotel, in Vila Nova de Gaia, António Miguel Castro set the city’s goals: «to retain the population and seize talent».
Vila Nova de Gaia has been registering «a population increase in the last few years», which is reflected in the urban expansion, perceptible, immediately, in the increasing number of licensing requests, which did not surpass 620 in 2018, reached 799 in 2019 and, during the pandemic, in 2020, reached 760.
The numbers from Confidencial Imobiliário also show this dynamic. «After the peaks reached in 2019 and 2020, Vila Nova de Gaia’s pipeline continues to grow», commented Ricardo Guimarães, Director of Confidencial Imobiliário. «During the last few years, there was a clear increase in the number of horizontal housing properties. And with the increase in the average price per sqm, which, in 2020, for new construction, was set at 1935 euro/sqm/month».
«The market stopped, but it did not fall»
At the time Ricardo Guimarães also mentioned that, currently, nationwide, «there is an overall feeling of confidence on the market». If «before the pandemic there was an increasing pace of 1.5% per month», during the crisis, the market never stopped increasing, but did it at a slower pace. «The market stopped, but it did not fall», stated Ricardo Guimarães.
New cycle will bring «an opportunity to new geographies»
Porto and Lisbon «continue to increase their value», even if «at a slower pace» than before the pandemic. And that, according to Ricardo Guimarães, seems to bring «an opportunity to new geographies» which have repositioned themselves in this new cycle and which, like Vila Nova de Gaia, have gained the preference of consumers and the interest of real estate investors and developers.
Ricardo Sousa, Century 21 Iberia’s CEO, recognised that «Vila Nova de Gaia’s housing accessibility has very competitive rental and purchasing effort rates», when compared to other locations within the greater Porto area. For Ricardo Sousa «there is an opportunity here», because «45% of Portuguese people are thinking of moving out of their current homes». And this is something both Vila Nova de Gaia’s municipality and real estate investors and developers are aware of.
This is the case of group Fortera, for example, which has been developing projects in Vila Nova de Gaia, namely Skyline, estimated at 100 million euro. Elad Dror, Fortera group’s CEO admitted that «we are seeking to build towards the local market and not towards the tourist market» and that is why Fortera chose the locations of Vila Nova de Gaia, Espinho and Braga. He also highlighted that he found in these municipalities «an open door to investment».
Habitat Invest prepares investment in Gaia
Pedro Vicente, Administrator at Habitat Invest, recognised that «a unique opportunity to attract residents for destinations other than Porto and Lisbon has been open» and that this is a «unique opportunity for Vila Nova de Gaia and other cities to position themselves». So much so that «Habitat Invest started a due diligence process for a large housing investment in Vila Nova de Gaia», stated Pedro Vicente.
About to open a new five star hotel: The Lodge, Álvaro Carvalho, Executive Board Member, Pluris (Douro Azul Group) recognised the interest the city is arousing. With two new hotels from other groups being built on the Cais de Gaia (Gaia Quay) area, Álvaro Carvalho admitted that, for now, no new hotels from the group are expected for that location. He remarked, however, that both the existing hotels and those on the project stage «are never too many» and that they «complement each other». At the moment, the group is requalifying Barca de Alva, a set of houses in Alijó and the conversion of the Tua railway line.
Banks continue to support access to housing
Banks continue to support access to housing through housing credit. «The market’s resilience and the capacity to develop owe much to the financial and banking environment», mentioned at the time José Araújo, in charge of Millennium BCP’s specialised and real estate credit division, remarking the impact the very low tax rates had and the way banks rapidly adjusted to them, allowing access to housing credit to continue during this last year and a half, despite the pandemic. «Banks continue to support access to housing», we need only look at last March, when a new record was set.