Is there a property market bubble in Lisbon?
The rapid rise of the price of real estate in Lisbon has left many wondering whether there is a real estate bubble in Lisbon. However, much of the recent increase has come from the resumption of economic growth after a long period of stagnation.
Housing prices in Portugal did not rise in the mid-90s at the same rate as in other Western European countries and then dropped significantly during the financial crisis.
In the past few years, the Portuguese economy has made a miraculous recovery, largely due to special measures brought in by the Portuguese government, with the Golden Visa program and the non-habitual tax regime being some of the most successful. These incentives have helped to encourage investment in Portugal on a massive scale, and as a result, the country’s economy has been enjoying a period of stable growth.
Why buy a house in Lisbon?
As mentioned, over the past few years, buying property in Lisbon has become hugely popular with investors from all over the world, as well as those who move to the city to make it their home. As the capital city of Portugal, the municipal area is a major tourist hub for the country and also the rest of Europe. Additionally, the picturesque city has a buzzing pulse and rich cultural history.
Here, we’ll delve into some reasons why the bustling Portuguese capital could be the perfect place for you to buy property.
An Investor’s Paradise
The Portuguese economy has experienced many trials and tribulations over the years. However, the real estate market seems to be moving from strength to strength and has experienced tremendous growth in the last few years.
The Lisbon real estate market has benefitted greatly from new investment policies that have transformed the city into an urban paradise, for businesses and residents alike. Foreign investments, urban renewal projects, and the rise of tech, startups, and key businesses in the city have coincided to create an investor’s paradise.
Lisbon has increased its competitiveness with other cities in Europe, including London, with its transformative policies. For example, in investing heavily in startups and attracting entrepreneurs to its shores.
Other examples include Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz opening tech hubs in the city, Websummit, the biggest tech festival in the world relocating to Lisbon in 2016, and countless international companies setting up shop in the capital and other parts of Portugal.
Incentives to attract expats include the Non-Habitural Resicence (NHR) scheme, which, if structured correctly, allows you to live with significant tax benefits for up to ten years.
The Portugal Golden Visa
The Portugal Golden Visa program, introduced in 2012, has fast become one of the most popular residency-by-investment schemes of its kind. With the possibility to acquire citizenship after five years, there are serval options to consider, including purchasing commercial real estate in Lisbon, purchasing residential real estate in interior areas of the country, or making a fund investment.
What to consider when buying real estate in Lisbon
There are many factors to take into account when buying real estate in Lisbon. Location and amenities are particularly important, and you may want to consider whether you want to buy close to:
- Transport links
- Tourist sites
- International transport
Portugal and Lisbon’s main airport has frequent flights to the rest of Europe, and the rest of the world. All low-cost carriers fly to the airport, which is just a short 20-minute car ride from the city center. The airport is also connected to the city via the metro.
Real estate options in Lisbon
Like in any city, there are a few options to consider depending on whether you are looking to buy a family home or make a real estate investment. This will mean choosing between:
- Used residential property
- New residential property
Investors may also want to consider the following options:
- Building for investment
- Commercial property for rental yield
- Land for construction
Is now a good time to invest in real estate in Lisbon?
The Portuguese real estate market, and Lisbon, in particular, is predicted to continue growing at a steady pace over the coming years. This makes buying Lisbon real estate a lucrative opportunity, as investors can be sure of the security of their investment, which can in many cases high returns.
Over the past few years, buying real estate in Lisbon has become hugely popular with investors from all over the world, as well as those who move to the city to make it their home. As the capital city of Portugal, the municipal area is a major tourist hub for the country and also the rest of Europe. Additionally, the picturesque city has a buzzing pulse and rich cultural history.
Portugal real estate buying process
- Once you have agreed on the price of the home you are buying, it is important to find a lawyer. A lawyer can deal with the bureaucratic processes of buying a home and draw up all the necessary contracts.
- Your lawyer will then request all of the necessary checks and documents for the house, before drawing up a preliminary contract to guarantee the sale of the house and agree on the final date of sale.
- The seller and their lawyer will then review the preliminary contract.
- The buyer and seller sign the preliminary contract in the presence of a notary and a deposit is paid.
- Once the transactions have been arranged and any remaining paperwork or action on the house has taken place, the buyer and seller meet again to sign the final act of sale. The new owner then signs the property deeds and receives the keys to the house.
To find out more about the buying process, take a look at our step-by-step guide to buying real estate in Portugal.
We have also recently launched our E-Book, Your Expert Guide to Buying Property in Portugal, which provides an easy six-step overview of the buying process, information on taxes, financing your home, and the top locations in Portugal to consider.
Portugal real estate taxes
The following taxes are required for the purchase of real estate in Portugal.
There are also a number of required documents, such as a NIF (Portuguese tax identification number), and you will also probably find it easier to open a Portuguese bank account.
If you’re considering buying Lisbon real estate, then you are likely wondering what the best neighborhoods in Lisbon are. Lisbon real estate has become more popular over the last ten years both with investors and with expats trading in their lives for a sunnier, and better quality of life. As far as places to live in Lisbon go, prices do have quite a range depending on the area of Lisbon you are interested in. We will take you through the main Lisbon areas and what you can expect to pay for real estate in each of them.
Real estate prices in Bairro Alto
A privileged located in Lisbon, Bairro Alto is one of the most popular places you can choose when buying property as an investor. Bairro Alto is in a central location and as far as Lisbon areas go, it’s in the mid to high range of prices for buying Lisbon real estate. Bairro Alto is a key tourist zone and neighbors Baixa Chiado, a high-end shopping district. This area is known to attract investments in short-term holiday rentals, where you can expect to receive high rental yields.
Property in the Lisbon neighborhood of Bairro Alto (in the Misericórdia neighborhood) costs on average €6,825 per m².
You can see more about this part of the city in our guide to real estate in Baixa, Lisbon.
Real estate prices in Lapa and Santos
Lapa and Santos also offer highly attractive investment opportunities, both in the tourist short-term rental market and in long-term rental possibilities, as the neighborhood has high demand from an affluent local renters’ market too. If you’re thinking of relocating to Lisbon, Lapa and Santos are amongst the best Lisbon areas to live with a family thanks to the parks, cafes, and schools that surround the area.
Property prices in Lapa and Santos (both in the Estrela neighborhood) cost on average €5,670 per m².
Real estate prices in Avenidas Novas
Avenidas Novas is not the main touristic area of town but is still a very popular choice for real estate investment in Lisbon as it is a bustling area where locals, expats, and families live and work in the city. You can expect to rent long-term to students or professionals.
Property costs on average €6,046 per m².
Real estate prices in Intendente and Mouraria
Intendente and Mouraria are some of the most up-and-coming neighborhoods in Lisbon and therefore present an attractive opportunity to investors looking to cash in a return on a sale in a few years’ time. The prices in this area are quite reasonable considering how well located the area is in Lisbon. There is both a short-term rental market for tourists as well as a long-term market for locals and young professionals in this hip part of town.
Average prices in Intendente (in the Arroios neighborhood) are €4,766 per m² and property prices in Mouraria (in the Santa Maria Maior neighborhood) are €6,145 per m².
You can see more about this part of the city in our Intendente real estate guide.
Real estate prices in Campo de Ourique
Campo de Ourique is a sought-after and quiet part of town that presents more opportunities in the long-term rental market. It’s an ideal neighborhood to relocate to with family too, considering the green spaces, the indoor food hall, and plethora of cafes and restaurants.
The average price of property in Campo de Ourique is €5,561 per m².
You can read more about this area in our Campo de Ourique real estate guide.
Real estate prices in Alfama and Graça
Graça and Alfama are the oldest parts of town, situated up high with panoramic views of the city and theTagus river from the famous miradouro look-out points. It’s no wonder that these neighborhoods are the top choice for tourists visiting Lisbon. There are however certain rules in place that have prevented the initiation of new Airbnb contracts in this part of town so, from a purely short-term holiday rental investment standpoint, this might not be the best option.
Average prices for the Alfama (in the Santa Maria Maior neighborhood) are €6,145 per m² whereas property in Graça (in the São Vicente neighborhood) is slightly cheaper at €4,514 per m².
You can read more about this area in our Alfama real estate guide and Graça real estate guide.
Real estate prices in Belém, Ajuda, and Restelo
These parts of town will be better value per square meter, as they aren’t so centrally located in the main touristic hot-spot locations. However, for families from a relocation perspective, these areas have plenty of space and are still very pretty and happening neighborhoods to live in.
In Ajuda, the average price of property is €3,989 per m², while in Belém and Restelo it is a little bit more expensive at €5,395 per m².
Real estate prices in Parque das Nações
Parque das Nações is a newly re-developed quieter part of town that presents interesting opportunities to investors looking to get good value for their money with great growth potential on the investment. There are striking contemporary buildings here and the area lines the waterfront of the Tagus river. It’s also a spacious place to move to with a family, while still being centrally located.
In Parque das Nações the average price of property is €5,965 per m².
With so many great opportunities for investment, the real challenge as a purchaser is narrowing your search.
Note that there are many other prospective areas in the city, that we have not run over in this article. This is simply because there are too many to mention. Each neighborhood will have its unique characteristics and property types.
Real estate alternatives to the center of Lisbon
There are many interesting alternatives to investing in the center of Lisbon, which can make a far better investment depending on your requirements. For example, if you are looking for a beach house, to live in the countryside, or close to the Lisbon coast.
Cascais is a seaside town a short distance from the center of Lisbon, with excellent transport links to the center. It is more family-friendly than the center of the city, with more open space, and also has a number of good international schools.
Setubal is a neighboring city located to the south of Lisbon on the coast. It takes around an hour to drive there from the center, and as a result, is popular with those looking for more inexpensive real estate options.
How can I find real estate to buy in Lisbon?
1 Buyers agents
Using a buyer’s agent to find real estate in Lisbon will help you as an expat to discover a range of new listings and real estate listings specific to your search. A buyer’s agent will also help you know in detail how sound the investment you’re making is as they add localized and unbiased knowledge from the profession.
A buyer’s agent primarily works for you as their client and therefore has the sole purpose of representing your goals in the transaction. They will also have access to real estate listings and new listings that cannot be found elsewhere.
Buying property is always difficult, so it is best to have an expert at hand who can help you throughout the process.
Realtors will also have a range of properties on offer to show you. They can help you find your ideal Lisbon property, but their offers will not cover the whole market like a buyer’s agent will.
A realtor also works primarily for the seller of a property as their client, so they will have the purpose of selling a particular property ahead of your own specific goals and needs. While most will have your best interests at heart, bear this in mind to make sure they are deemed reliable and find recommendations before committing to a realtor. The maximum and minimum prices for services can also vary, so it is invariably difficult to know where to begin the buying process.
You can also see our article on how to find the best properties for sale in Lisbon.
Types of Lisbon property
Lisbon has several different property types, from hip studios, and spacious modern apartments with a private terrace, to four-bedroom homes with a swimming pool. Whether you are looking for new development or an older property, you should be able to find it in the city. Note that a new development may be the safer option and for older properties, make sure that you conduct thorough due diligence checks. You can invest in the following property types.
- Terreno (land)
- Quintas (rustic homes and farms)
- Condos or Condomínios
- City apartments
- Casa Geminada (a semi-detached house)
- Moradia (a classic detached house)
- Luxury homes and apartments, many with a swimming pool, private gym, and security
- You will also find development located along the Lisbon coast, perfect for beach homes
Tips for buying Lisbon real estate
- Buyers agents versus realtors: we recommend using a buyer’s agent for a more targeted search and a more impartial interest representation, alongside having access to new listings
- When buying Lisbon real estate as an investment opportunity make sure you know the market in Lisbon well and where you can yield the highest returns
- If you are looking to purchase property to move with family, make sure you have researched all the areas thoroughly
- Search for the best real estate deals with a trusted real estate professional who will show you a wide range of properties to match your criteria
- Be careful to do your due diligence when buying a property in Lisbon
- Make sure you are making the right offer in the negotiation process and get the right documents in order
- Factor in the level of natural light in the apartment. Some ground-floor apartments can lack on this front. New developments are likely to have better natural light than some older properties.
Get in touch
Goldcrest are industry experts and can assist you in making the best investment property decision for Lisbon real estate. We have deep expertise in the Portuguese real estate market, and access to real estate listings, including new listings, and will always act diligently on your behalf to negotiate the best and guaranteed accurate deal for you, ensuring you have the right property for your needs.
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(Source for prices per sqm of local areas, Confidencial Imobiliário)