Jobs in property skyrocket 80% in four years
The number of people working in Portugal’s real estate market shot up 80% over the past four years.
The property market currently employs 50,000 people, 22,000 more than in 2015, the year in which the Portuguese property market began to recover thanks to the Golden Visa and Non-Habitual Residents programmes.
However, real estate professionals are warning that with record prices being charged for houses and apartments, the trend will turn sooner rather than later.
Over the past four years, the number of people employed in Portugal’s real estate sector increased by around 80% according to numbers published by the Portuguese Association of Estate Agents and Real Estate Professionals (APEMIP).
At the end of 2018 there were around 50,000 people employed in the sector, 22,000 more than in 2018 and around a half are working as estate agents the association estimates.
The data gathered by the Institute of Employment and Professional Training (IEPF) said that the real estate sector is now today the most active one when it comes to job creation in Portugal.
In July, job centres registered 2,252 job vacancies in the property sector and allied services, 21% of all job vacancies in the services sector in the country. Compared with previous month (June) the increase was 11% while in one year the number of job vacancies grew 2.2%.
Luís Lima says he is not surprised by the numbers: “It recent years it looks like the entire Portuguese nation turned into estate agents with many people who worked in other areas now involved in this one.”
Lima adds that the sector is now “almost fully up to capacity in terms of employment”, particularly in areas linked to construction, the statistics for which are also gathered by APEMIP.
“These are, of course, direct jobs since the sector has also created many indirect jobs” stresses Luís Lima who points out that: “for every one euro invested in real estate, there are four more invested in related service areas.”
As to the number of estate agents registered in Portugal, last year 6,300 had licences, 72% more than in 2014.
“Tourism and real estate are this country’s gold and oil and the two sectors are interlinked. They have been the drivers of the economy for a variety of reasons and job creation has been one of the most important,” says Lima.
In 2018 total investment in real estate was over €30 million which means that over the past two or three years the amount of money generated by the two sectors almost covers the amount lent to Portugal by the IMF/EU/ECB ‘Troika’ in 2011.
Nevertheless, Luís Lima views the “almost full employment” figures with some caution and warns that the situation could change in the not to distant future.
“Lots of estate agencies have opened up over the past few years and I have always argued that the sector needs to have some regulation and control because there are some companies that are presenting themselves as consultancies and these are not registered estate agents and therefore represent unfair competition.”
Furthermore, he stresses that there is a lack of product in the market “at a price which the Portuguese can afford,” meaning that the market risks having more people trying to sell property than there is actually product in the market for them to sell. “I don’t think there will be enough room for so many estate agents,” he said.
And the problem could start to affect the sector from next year because of this “lack of homes in the sector”.
“In the upper and luxury segments there will be sufficient offer over the next two to three years because that is where the new build is happening. In the first time buyer and mid-range market the situation is the opposite — a lot of demand and not enough product,” Luís Lima concludes.