UNUnited Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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Roundtable in Portugal examines policy reforms to boost the real-estate sector

Geneva, 31 January 2011 --


Real estate and property markets underpin our national economies. They are the principal destination of a household’s savings and the most solid component of a country’s capital stock. For many UNECE member States with economies in transition, improving their legal and institutional frameworks for the real estate sector is an urgent priority. But the issue is also being seriously discussed in the countries of Western Europe worst hit by the economic downturn.

As part of its initiatives to promote sound regulations for the real estate sector, UNECE held a roundtable in Lisbon on 27 January. The event was jointly organized by the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI), the Portuguese Real Estate Agents and Professionals Association (APEMIP) and the UNECE Real Estate Market Advisory Group. 

Participants examined the relevance for Portugal of a recent UNECE publication aimed at authorities engaged in regulatory reforms, Policy Framework for Sustainable Real Estate Markets: Principles and Guidance for the Development of a Country’s Real Estate Sector.

Speakers included Mr. Paulo Campos, Secretary of State for Public Construction and Communications of Portugal and Mr. João Tiago Silveira, Secretary of State for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of Portugal. They said that market actors were confident and optimistic and that the real estate sector was showing resilience despite the current adverse economic and financial conditions. However, Portugal needed to create incentives for rehabilitating old building units and simplify the rules for leasing property.

Government officials, representatives of professional associations, the private sector and academics also participated in the roundtable. Speakers discussed how the principles contained in the Policy Framework publication might be applied to Portugal’s present challenges:

  • The need for appropriate spatial planning regulations on land use to prevent speculation on the value of land.
  • The need to streamline the registration of real estate transactions and mortgages through e-Government reforms.
  • The need to increase the size of the rental sector so as to provide more affordable housing for vulnerable populations.
  • The need to promote increased foreign investment to spur economic growth.  

One of the conclusions of the discussions was that multi-stakeholder involvement would be fundamental to ensuring further policy change. The UNECE Real Estate Market Advisory Group offered to support continued consultations among international experts and national authorities to help implement legislative reforms on the above challenges.

As a follow-up to the roundtable, Portuguese officials will be invited to report on planned reforms in these areas at a REM Advisory Group sponsored side event during the annual meeting of Marché international des professionnels de l’immobilier (MIPIM) to be held in Cannes, France, on 10 March.

Download the publication Policy Framework for Sustainable Real Estate Markets:  Principles and Guidance for the Development of a Country’s Real Estate Sector, http://unece.org/hlm/documents/Publications/policy.framework.e.pdf

For further information, please contact:

Ariel Ivanier
UNECE Economic Affairs Officer
Phone: +41 (0) 22 917 1357
E-mail: ariel.ivanier@unece.org
Website: http://www.unece.org/hlm/welcome.html

Ref: ECE/TRADE/11/P01