Lisbon to be Europe's next cycling city

08 September

To help achieve the commitment of reducing carbon emissions by 26% by 2030, the Portuguese Government is completely revitalising Lisbon’s cycling infrastructure. By 2018 the city’s cycling network will have increased by 250% and this summer sees the test phase launch of a new cycle-sharing network. In response to this change in mobility infrastructure across the city, real estate developers are now supporting with the own initiatives.

“By European standards, Lisbon is a small capital; with an urban area half the size of London and a third of Paris,” comments Carlota Pelikan, Lisbon Adviser at Athena Advisers. “The real estate market isn’t the only sector where this size difference intensifies change. Increases in population and tourism coupled with limited parking meant that Lisbon needed to shift its approach to mobility. These new initiatives will dramatically change how people move around here.”

Cycle sharing - to compete with London & Paris

Lisbon's transport authority (EMEL) has just launched the summer test-phase of the ‘Gira - Bicicletas de Lisboa’ shared bicycle scheme, which will bring 1,410 bicycles to the city, of which about 60% will be electrically assisted. The full operation will be running by the end of the summer. The cycle network expansion programme across the city will support this initiative, increasing the network from around 60km to 210km by 2018 (+250%).

“For every thousand people who exchange the car for the bicycle there will be 5 kilometres less of traffic in the city. We all win." commented the President of the CML (Camara Municipal de Lisboa) recently.

Real estate developers supporting Lisbon’s cycling expansion in Lisbon’s ‘up & coming’ district

In response to this change in approach to citywide mobility, real estate developers are supporting the various cycling expansion programmes with their own tangible initiatives. Athena Advisers, the new-build and renovated property company working with one of Lisbon’s top property developers, has just launched Largo 57, a city centre redevelopment project in the Intendente district with a sustainable focus.

Each of the collection of 51 one to two-bedroom apartments, ranging in price from €260,000 to €560,000, comes complete with a city bicycle, as well as secure bicycle storage, in place of the traditional car garage.

“Any way which helps the city reduce traffic is a great idea,” continues Pelikan. “The Lisbon Government is keen to replicate the success of London’s Santander Cycles scheme, which had a record 10.3m in hires last year. Encouraging new residents to cycle instead of drive on a daily basis will undoubtedly make a positive impact on the city. These apartments also have a great location in a new area that’s very popular with investors.”

Intendente, Lisbon’s hottest property investment area

On one of these new cycle lines is an area of central Lisbon that's quickly becoming the city's new investment hotspot. Conveniently located between Avenida da Liberdade, Lisbon’s brand-filled arterial spine and 10 minutes’ walk from touristic Baixa, Intendente has property prices that are substantially cheaper than the better-known areas just around it.

“At around €4,000 per square metre, Intendente offers serious value for money in an area that neighbours Lisbon’s more famous districts, where prices for similar properties easily reach up to €8,000 to €9,000 per square metre,” comments Lloyd Hughes, Communications Director at Athena Advisers. “It’s becoming popular with the younger crowd, creatives and artists, which is feeding the long and short-term rental markets. New hotels are opening up too, but there is still significant room for price growth, very much in line with what central Lisbon as a whole has seen over the past few years.”

Lisbon as a city is emerging as one of the most popular tourist and property investment locations in Europe, with wealthy investors drawn to its new quality housing stock, affordable prices and flexible investment immigration policies. Old period buildings are being carefully regenerated across the city to a standard synonymous with an increasingly demanding international tourism market. According to Confedencial Imobiliaro, an independent property price statistic organisation based in Lisbon, property prices in Lisbon are up by over 40% in the historic centre since 2014.

Data from Airbnb and Athena Advisers shows that property occupancy rates are high. Overall, the highest annual revenue generated through renting a home on Airbnb reached €52,452 for a two-bedroom apartment and €77,096 for a four-bedroom apartment. Rental yields for properties in Lisbon are around at 5-6%.

Set to complete in December 2018, prices for the apartments at Largo 57 range from €260,000 - €560,000.

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