Bell-Meyer brings with her over 10 years’ experience working with chambers of commerce and economic development initiatives.
Five Reasons to Invest in Portugal’s Real Estate Market
3,367 miles is the distance between New York City and Lisbon, Portugal’s capital and biggest city with a population of a little over 500,000 inhabitants. A seven-hour direct flight connects both cities on opposite sides of the Atlantic and is an “open door” to a new way of living. Once known as “Europe’s Best Kept Secret,” Portugal has seen it’s foreign population increase by double digits in the last few years. In fact, more than 480,000 foreigners that represent less than 15% of Portugal population have chosen Portugal to live. In this article, I will detail the top five reasons that moved many to this calm place in a distant corner of Europe.
1. Nice Weather—Lisbon has more than 2,800 yearly hours of sunshine and an average air temperature of 71ºF. The temperate climate features some hot air coming from South (Morocco) and East (Spain) and some cold air coming from the Atlantic Ocean. So the weather during most part of the year is great and suitable for outdoor activities such as golf, horse riding or the beach. For this reason Portugal has always been a choice for retired British nationals that live in the Algarve region most part of the year. However, in recent years more and more European nationalities have discovered Portugal as their place to live most of the year, among them are French, Dutch, Germans and Swedish just to name a few. On living in Portugal they manage to spend more time outdoors and get all the Vitamin D they can to keep them healthy and happy all year around.
2. Low Cost of Living—Let’s say you usually pay $5 for a coffee in the U.S. In Portugal you pay less than 1 EUR. Portugal is one of Europe’s cheapest countries and you can confirm it by using the cost of a typical dinner cost as a reference: what costs you $57 per person in New York City; in Lisbon you will pay no more than 35 EUR. And don’t think you won’t get the same level of service, but with an ad-on of tasty and local cuisine part of the Mediterranean diet cuisine based on olive oil and veggies. Your money will definitely provide you more in Portugal, more quality and more quantity. Portugal ranks below the Euro Zone cost of living by 17% and a recent study that considers the cost of rent, groceries, restaurants and shopping shows the U.S. with an index of 71.92% and Portugal with 52.88%. Definitely your money has more value here than in the U.S.
3. Healthcare and Education Free of Charge—Portugal has a National Health Service (SNS) free of charge for all citizens and foreigners with a residence permit. This public service works properly, but you should consider some delays on non-urgent procedures. Before you have your SNS ID, you are required to have 90 days of health insurance. Portugal also has several high quality privately-owned hospitals around the country that offer all kinds of health care for those who can afford it or have health insurance that covers most of the expenses. Education, free of charge is also provided by the state to all residents and is mandatory for all below 17 years old. This includes all different education levels ending at a University degree. In areas such as Porto, Lisbon and Algarve, there are options for several private International Schools with English, German and French as their main language.
4. Attractive Tax Regime—Portugal still has a very interesting program that attracts international buyers. The so-called Golden VISA allows free access to Euro-Zone 26 countries and a 20% reduced tax income. In order to obtain it you have several options but the most common one is to buy a 500,000 EUR property in Portugal. In 2020. the U.S. represented 6% of the nationalities that had obtained the Golden VISA. However, if you work in a “valuable occupation” you can also apply for a permit that requires you to stay in Portugal a minimum of 183 days a year and offers you a reduced income tax. I am pretty sure the tax regime was not the reason, but Lisbon has had several A-list celebrities buying properties and living in Portugal. Until recently the one and only Madonna lived with her family in a Lisbon palace, enjoying the quiet life and planning her latest album during more than two years with her kids attending an International School and Soccer Academy. Still living in the country and property owners, apart from those we are not aware of, are designer Philippe Starck, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, shoe maker Christian Louboutin, actress Monica Bellucci and actor Michael Fassbender.
5. Opportunity for Investment— If I got your attention, it means you are interested in doing business with Portugal Realtors. So, I left the best for the end. Portugal offers a highly interesting potential for real estate business. The country offers a great range of options on investments. In the North of Portugal you have old Manor Houses with vineyards surrounded by a river or mountains. If you prefer beach style you have the best in Europe from the surfing world record waves in Nazaré, to urban and nature beaches in Costa da Caparica, to Algarve beaches or to some secret places that look like the Hamptons, but are affordable for some. Alentejo offers an endless landscape surrounded by nature. And let’s not forget Azores and Madeira Island that preserve nature in a very relaxed way. New developments are taking place in urban areas but rehabilitation still is something very interesting to invest in as there is a lack of properties to rent. Logistics also attracts international investors. As for prices, Greater Lisbon Area averages 2.552€ a square meter and in Porto Greater Area the figure is below 2.000€. But, if you narrow down to Lisbon, you should expect prices for prime locations to range from 4.000€ to 25.000€ (this last one was the price soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo paid for one of the most luxurious penthouse in the city with two floors and a pool on the terrace). Super exclusive products are coming to the market. Lisbon and Portugal are still an affordable real estate destination either to buy or to invest.
Portugal has a growing community of more than 80 International Realtor members that adhere to the NAR Code of Ethics and offer you the same standards as the U.S. Certified International Properties Specialists (CIPS) designations are also present in Portugal making business more secure for all sides.
These are the facts about Portugal Real Estate and why so many are attracted to it. But, be advised that after your first trip to Portugal I am pretty sure you will develop a great feeling for the country, it’s people and food.