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Property in Portugal

Getting to know Portugal

Located at the meeting point between three continents – Europe, Africa and America – Portugal has long been central to important international routes, and so has a long history of foreigners arriving to settle there. In fact, back in the 17th Century, Lisbon was one of the most popular destinations in Europe.

However, in more recent times it has only really been in the last 30 or so years that Portugal has firmly re-established itself as a popular expat destination.

During the mid-1960s there was a significant surge in immigrants from the country’s former mainly African colonies arriving to live in the country. Yet it was Portugal’s accession to the European Union in 1986 that really made it an attractive proposition for European and other non-colonial expats.

By the early noughties, Portugal had established itself as one of the most popular locations in Europe for expats, holidaymakers and overseas property buyers alike.

Then came the financial crash of the late noughties and, suddenly, everything changed.

Like many areas of Southern Europe, Portugal struggled to recover economically from the global financial meltdown and the country’s property market and, indeed, its economy, collapsed. By early 2014, property prices in Portugal were 30 to 40 per cent lower than they had been at the market peak of 2007.

Yet, slowly but surely, Portugal is recovering from those dark days and overseas interest is steadily returning to the country’s property market. Property prices throughout the country are rising once again, and investors are returning in droves to the country. Of course, whether this resurgence will be impacted by the Brexit vote, and a likely decline in interest from British buyers remain to be seen.

Unlike many other European countries, Portugal stopped building during the financial crisis, and although their property market suffered, there has been a dramatic improvement post-recession, with property prices picking up in a number of popular areas over the past few years. 

According to figures compiled by the country’s National Statistics Institute (INE) in March 2017, the average price of a Portuguese property rose 7.1 per cent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2016.  

What’s more, throughout 2016, property sales in Portugal increased firmly across all areas of the country, most notably in Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve. And demand from buyers – both from Portugal and overseas – is expected to increase.

One of the key drivers of this boost to the Portuguese property market has been the introduction of a Golden Visa scheme. This scheme offers residency to non EU-based property purchasers investing in high-end properties. The Golden Visa offers a residency permit for a family, including dependent children, in return for a Portugal property investment of €500,000 or more. The Golden Visa is renewable every two years as long as the visa holder spends two weeks in the country every two years. This popular scheme has helped attract increased levels of investment from overseas buyers, and estate agencies reported sizable increases in sales since the scheme began in 2012. The Golden Visas scheme could become particularly relevant to British purchasers in the years to come, once the UK leave the European Union. 

Young woman tourist enjoying beautiful landscape in Porto city, Portugal Grapes on a vineyardA french castle overlooking the hills

Population in 2016:
Capital City:
Time Zone:
GMT +0
Euro (EUR)
Average national property price:
117,868 Euros*
Highest average property price by region:
Alenteio – 70,953 Euros* 
Average Temperatures:
January 11°C, February 11°C, March 13°C,
April 16°C, May 17°C, June 19°C,
July 22°C, August 22°C, September 20°C
October 17°C, November 14°C, December 11°C

*source: Kyero​ (fourth quarter 2016)

Sea view tax
It is worth noting that from the start of 2017, some foreign buyers looking to purchase a home in Portugal that has unspoilt sea views or faces the sun will be hit with a 20 per cent increase in purchasing tax. However, the new rule will affect only those homes with a value of 250,000 euros – a relatively small fraction of the Portuguese property market.
Fun facts about Portugal
The Portuguese Empire was the first global empire in history and one of the longest-lived colonial powers, lasting for almost six centuries. At its height, it included what are now 53 different countries.
Portugal has had the same defined borders since 1139, making it the oldest nation-state in Europe.
Portuguese is the official language of nine countries: Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Principe, Sao Tome, and Equatorial Guinea. There are estimated to be over 236 million Portuguese speakers worldwide.
Portugal and England have the oldest diplomatic alliance in the world. The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance was signed in 1373 and is in force until this day!
The westernmost point on mainland Europe is found in Portugal - the Cabo da Roca (Cape Roca).
Over half of the world's cork is produced in Portugal.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Portugal was 47.4oC in Amareleja, Alentejo on 1st August 2003. The coldest was -16oC in the mountain village of Penhas da Saúde – one of the country’s only winter resort. This record low has been recorded twice – in January 1945 and February 1954.
The 10.7 mile-long Vasco de Gama bridge in Lisbon is the longest bridge in Europe.

Deciding on your preferred location and property type

With modern resorts, history and a fantastic climate, there is much to entice property buyers to Portugal.
The country is well-known for its high quality of life and, importantly, low cost of living. Figures estimate that the cost of living in Portugal is approximately 31.95 per cent lower than in the UK, while rental costs are almost 50 per cent lower (although, it's important to bear in mind that average salaries are also far lower). Expats and visitors to the country can enjoy a wide range of outdoor leisure pursuits at low costs, so it’s a great way to get out and about and enjoy the sun and sea air.

A map of Portugal

2Map of Spain

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