Authors: Rafaella Lima*, University of Sheffield
Topics: Urban Geography, Economic Geography
Keywords: transnational real estate investment, housing development, investor strategies, southern Europe
Session Type: Paper
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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 for speculation through incentive programs like the Golden Visa. However, less attention has been paid to the recent pattern of large-scale, more ‘risk-averse’ investors and developers entering the Lisbon market to develop new-build projects outside the city centre, often aimed at an elusive ‘Portuguese middle class’. This paper will explore how the scene was set for this evolution--through the discursive construction of Portugal as a ‘safe’ investment and national and local policies to attract development finance--along with the typologies and strategies of these (self-identified) ‘long-term’ investor-developers to guard against risk and maximize returns. This includes how investors contend with the particularities of a ‘less mature’ southern European market; for example, delays in planning permission and legislative uncertainties impact the perceived risk of development projects. The paper will also explore the implications of shifting investor-developer structures for housing production in the city.