Transnational Real Estate Investment in a Semi-Periphery: Remaking Space in Post-Crisis Lisbon

Authors: Rafaella Lima*, University of Sheffield
Topics: Urban Geography, Economic Geography
Keywords: transnational real estate investment, collective investment vehicles, housing, urban space
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2020
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Colorado, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Majestic Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Lisbon, a city profoundly affected by the 2008 global financial crisis and subsequent austerity measures, has since emerged as a top investment destination for global real estate investors. Academic literature has thus far focused on the impact of tourism in contributing to rising house prices and gentrification, and on the role of individual investors acquiring property through incentive programs like the Golden Visa (Barata-Salgueiro et al., 2018; Cocola-Gant & Gago, 2019; Montezuma & McGarrigle, 2019). However, much less attention has been paid to the role of collective investment vehicles—such as investment funds, private equity funds or real estate investment trusts—in financing and developing residential real estate (Beswick et al., 2016; Janoschka et al., 2019). In recent years, these global financial actors have emerged on the Lisbon housing scene with profound implications for the production of housing in the city. Through the study of selected residential development sites in Lisbon, this project examines how collective investors facilitate the transfer of global capital to a ‘semi-peripheral’ location, unpacking the actors, strategies and policies involved. It also explores the implications of this investment process for housing politics and urban space; for example, as fears of a housing bubble loom, investment strategies have shifted to focus on new-build developments in more peripheral city locations, aimed at the ‘middle class’ and ‘young professionals’ and making use of ‘alternative’ rental schemes such as co-living, for which little legislation exists. Meanwhile, the needs of thousands of people for truly affordable housing continue unaddressed.

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