So, you’re looking to buy property in Portugal, or are you at least exploring this as a viable option? The real estate market in the country, particularly in the capital city of Lisbon, has been moving from strength to strength. However, while this is a time of great excitement, buying your dream home or perfect investment property to rent out and gain rental income from, one of the key obstacles that you’ll face is financing the property. You’ll be pleased to know that it is fairly straightforward to take out a mortgage in Portugal, and you’ll typically have no restrictions in purchasing property here as an international buyer.
Portugal is an excellent country to invest in, do business in, or live in. For people looking to buy real estate in Portugal, they can rest assured that getting a mortgage in Portugal is easy and straightforward.
This article covers how to get a mortgage in Portugal and what to look out for when applying for a mortgage. We aim to arm you with everything you need to be aware of when financing your property in Portugal.
We’ll delve into the following:
- Should you buy property in Portugal?
- Benefits of getting a mortgage in Portugal
- Useful terminology and acronyms
- What types of mortgages are available in Portugal?
- How do mortgages in Portgual work?
- Practical information on mortgages in Portugal
- Plus much more
Should you buy property in Portugal?
So, first things first, should you buy property in Portugal? Before wondering about which mortgage is the right one for you or how to get a mortgage in Portugal, consider whether you should buy property here. What does the real estate market offer? And is Portugal the right place for you?
Portugal is blessed with a high quality of life, a low cost of living, and sublime weather. With an excellent healthcare and education system, friendly locals, the favorable Non-Habitual Residence (NHR) tax scheme, and a vibrant culture, Portugal has lots to offer. Whether you are moving with a family, retiring, or simply looking for a lovely Mediterranean corner of the world to call home, then yes, Portugal is likely a great option to consider.
If you are interested in buying a property in Portugal, you’ll be able to benefit from low mortgage rates and also the Portugal Golden Visa program.
Property prices in Portugal have recovered significantly over the last few years and, despite a slight dip during the COVID-19 pandemic, is on the rise once again. Since 2017, real estate prices have outstripped the prices that were seen before the 2008 financial crisis, and the property market has become one of the most sought-after in Europe.
At present, Portugal’s highly skilled talent, booming tourism industry, world-class infrastructure, business-friendly environment, and easy access to markets are among several factors that contributed to a continuous and steady flow of investments into different economic sectors in these past few years.
Benefits of Getting a Mortgage in Portugal
Portugal prides itself on the way it welcomes visitors and investors and you’ll be able to easily find many options to secure housing loans from various banks, with the help of an experienced mortgage broker. All the conditions for getting a mortgage loan are in place to achieve your dream of owning a property in Portugal.
A mortgage is the most common way to finance your property purchase in Portugal. Some benefits of getting a mortgage in Portugal are:
- There is increased interest from Portuguese lenders in assisting foreigners with lending solutions
- The Portuguese mortgage lender will carry out legal checks
- The lender will arrange for a valuation to take place
- There are low mortgage rates in Portugal
- Both residents and non-residents can apply for a mortgage from Portuguese banks
- In Portugal, properties purchased on credit can be rented out without restrictions, therefore reducing risks
Useful Terminology and Acronyms
Here are some useful terms and acronyms so that you are well-versed in understanding the basics of mortgages in Portugal.
TAN – Taxa anual nominal. The TAN is commonly known in English as the Annual Percentage Rate (APR). The variable TAN is the sum of the spread and the indexing rate, which is usually Euribor for 12 months.
Euribor – The Euro Interbank Offered Rate is a daily reference rate based on the average interest rates at which EU banks offer to lend to other banks in the euro wholesale money market (also known as the interbank market). You can see the 12-month Euribor Rate online.
TAEG – Taxa annual de encargos efetiva global is the sum of TAN and other costs from the lender, such as origination fees, required insurance, and so on. This rate is used to effectively compare similar mortgage loan options from different banks.
What types of mortgages are available in Portugal?
Fixed-rate mortgages allow customers to opt for a 1-15 year fixed rate product that then reverts to variable installment repayments.
Mortgages in Portugal typically reach up to 70 percent for non-residents, so customers should budget to have around 30 percent of the purchase price within easy reach, plus the cost of taxes and fees on top of this. The monthly payments on a variable-rate mortgage fluctuate depending on the indexer (Euribor). Over the repayment period, the monthly payments on variable-rate mortgages are usually revised. Also, you will be charged 0.5 percent on the repaid capital if you decide on early repayment.
Mortgages in Portugal for retirees
As a retiree in Portugal, you can get a mortgage in Portugal, provided you have a regular pension income. Note that while banks do offer mortgages to retirees, most banks will not offer a mortgage to individuals who are over 70 years old. Some, however, will extend this limit to 80.
Mortgages in Portugal for businesses
If the property you intend to buy is for commercial use, then the maximum mortgage is usually 50 percent of the purchase price (or, if lower, the valuation as stated in the valuation report.
How much do I need to deposit?
- Residents should know that the minimum deposit is usually between 20-30 percent of the purchase price.
- Financing institutions provide between 60 and 70 percent of the valuation price for non-residents.
How do mortgages in Portugal work?
The application process begins with an initial approach to the bank or mortgage broker. Having an experienced mortgage broker on your side will make the process much simpler to get the best deal for your situation. A no-obligation estimate or preliminary analysis follows.
A six-step process is then developed:
- Mortgage quote
- Application forms delivery
- Mortgage offer
- Valuation report
- Completion arrangements
- Payment (all the associated mortgage-related fees, tax office fees, and taxes) and signing (property deeds and mortgage deeds)
Mortgage-related fees can include property and mortgage deeds registration, mortgage arrangement and administration, non-refundable commitment fee, survey and appraisal, and legal fees.
Work out the mortgage rates
The cost of the mortgage loan depends on the applicant’s financial status. The mortgage lender will measure your ability to maintain the loan. The spread or interest loans that the bank charges are a measure of the bank’s valuation of risk.
In Portugal, the interest rate charged is generally Euribor, plus the spread. This adds to the spread charged by the banks, which is usually three to five percent.
Mortgage agents will often approach various Portuguese banks. The goal is to secure the most competitive rates for you. Portuguese banks offer foreigners mortgages, with a Loan-to-Value ratio (LTV) of 60-70 percent.
How to pick the right Portuguese bank for your mortgage
Many people will focus on the pricing of a mortgage facility. Yet, there are other important factors to consider:
- Some banks have a mandatory life insurance obligation that adds to the cost of a mortgage. It is usually best to avoid it for many non-residents
- Some mortgage lenders may have more competitive interest rates, but a cap on how much you can borrow
- Some banks may offer variable-rate mortgages only, not fixed-rate products
- There are many ways that a bank will analyze your affordability for a given loan amount
- Some banks will emphasize certain types of income streams more than others
- Some banks may not consider renting
- Some will respond differently to income value
This illustrates that some profiles are better suited than others for certain banks when it comes to getting formal mortgage approval.
The important factor is to make sure that your information is carefully examined and that, whenever possible, you are given several suggestions that may work for you.
Documents you must provide to get a Portuguese mortgage
If you are going to apply for a mortgage in Portugal, you have to submit the following documents:
- Copy of passport
- Portuguese tax number
- Proof of income
- Bank account statements
- A recent utility bill
- Recent mortgage statements
- Proof of any savings or investment income accounts
- Bank reference letters
- Property details – buying commitment or sales contract
These documents vary depending on your employment status. You should include the length of time that you have been in the company/employed/self-employed and demonstrate your gross annual salary.
- Last year’s tax returns
- Salary income, as shown through the past three months’ payslips
- Reference letter from employer
If self-employed (hold a 20 percent or more share in a limited company):
- Last year’s income tax return
- Last three months of business bank statements
- Three years of company profit & loss and balance sheet
- Confirmation of pension income for the last three months
- Copy of tenancy agreement for rental properties
- The last three months of bank statements showing rent received
- Copy of investment certificates
Please note that the bank may request more documents.