António Costa and the temptation of real estate

It is no secret that the prime minister has, over the last few years, enjoyed a remarkable pace of buying and selling homes, but it never fails to make news when António Costa returns to invest in the national real estate market. This week, the weekly Tal&Qual revealed that the PS leader bought, in Benfica, a luxury T1 apartment for 276 thousand euros, in the ‘Fábrica 1921’ development, a project with an “author trait that aims to create spaces for living, playing and to grow, in the typical Lisbon neighborhood of Benfica», as defined by the construction company Teixeira Duarte. The purchase was made in plant, in 2018, and the apartment should be ready by the end of this year.

276,050 euros was the amount paid by António Costa for the apartment in the development built on the premises of the former Fábrica Simões, which Teixeira Duarte bought in 1998, according to the income statement that he himself submitted to the Constitutional Court (TC), under the terms of the law. , on the 25th of May last.

As Tal&Qual also reported, and according to the statement that Nascer do SOL also had access to, António Costa indicated that he paid “as a down payment and beginning of payment [do imóvel] the amount of 248,445 euros, from a previously declared deposit’. A deposit that is referred to in the income statement that the prime minister presented at the TC, in May 2021, and which makes the ‘bridge’ with another episode of the soap opera of buying and selling real estate by the socialist leader: is that this money refers to the 280 thousand euros that Costa received for the sale of the T2 in the basement of the building in Benfica that he bought in 2019. T2 which, inserted in a building almost 50 years old, at the time, cost him 327 thousand euros. After, in 2021, having sold that same apartment, the prime minister went on to live in another rented apartment in the same area of ​​Lisbon, for 1,200 euros per month. In this way, by reinvesting in the purchase of a house, António Costa will have avoided paying capital gains.

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six houses

António Costa is, without a doubt, a strong player in the national real estate market. After all, once this purchase has been completed, the luxury T1 in the ‘Fábrica 1921’ condominium will be the sixth house owned by the prime minister, who owns, among his properties, two inherited: an apartment in Lagoa, in the Algarve, and another in Goa, India. Information initially revealed by the JNin August of this year.

However, business was not always fruitful for Costa. If it is true that the amount collected from the sale of the T2 purchased in 2019 was enough to pay, practically in full, the T1 still under construction, it is also true that this same apartment located in a basement with patio, with 74 square meters, cost 327 thousand euros, which is equivalent to a price of 4,419 euros per square meter of area. A value 33% above the average practiced in that area of ​​the city at that time: 3,320 euros per m2. «The values ​​of residential properties in Benfica vary depending on the area, typology and condition of the property. However, in this area, transactions carried out in the Century 21 Portugal network register an average value between 2800 and 3500 /m2», clarified Ricardo Sousa, CEO of Century 21 Portugal real estate, to Nascer do SOL, in 2019, about this purchase.

At the time, however, this property had a taxable equity value of 60,268.38 euros, which reflects a mismatch between the equity and transaction value, which, by the way, is common.

Before buying this 2 bedroom apartment in Benfica, according to Nascer do SOL in 2019, António Costa sold his house in Fontanelas (with an equity value of 289,120 euros) for 350 thousand euros. The lag was clear, but not necessarily evidence of cases of real estate speculation. «Victim of speculation? He had one of his assets that was much more valued than what it was and then he invested in something that could even be better – it could be smaller, but the location could be better – and he had an enormous added value from the other. There is no penalty here. The money he has, if he doesn’t reinvest it, he has to pay huge capital gains. What he did was that, it’s a mechanism that’s available to anyone. Now, no one is a victim of an asset’s appreciation. If a car in your hand is worth 5000 euros and becomes worth 10000 is it bad for you?”, commented, at the time, to Nascer do SOL, tax inspector Tiago Caiado Guerreiro.

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The sale of the house in Fontanelas, the newspaper found at the time, was made for a value higher than the taxable asset value, but well below that practiced on the market. The house – which had an area of ​​around 320 square meters – was sold at 1,094 euros per square meter, while houses in the same area were being sold at 1,530 euros per square meter. At Sunrise, Ricardo Sousa, CEO of Century 21 Portugal real estate, said that there were houses being sold for 3,000 euros per square meter.

Costa’s response

Upon the sale of the house in Fontanelas, and the purchase of the T2 in the basement with patio in Benfica, the prime minister’s office replied to Nascer do SOL: “Both transactions were mediated by real estate agents, all payments were made by bank check and this change in assets will naturally be communicated to the Constitutional Court within the legally established 60-day period».

In the same answer, he also states that he has the practice of «communicating, on a regular basis, the property data legally required, which has not happened with any bank deposit so far». In conclusion: «We inform you that the Prime Minister has declared to the Constitutional Court what he has to declare and will obviously provide additional information if the TC requests it».


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