Updated: July 5, 2024

 

douro river portugal

Portugal is currently a hotspot for international property investors. The country’s mild climate, rich history, and vibrant culture draw many to its shores and the Portuguese market.

This is because the Portuguese real estate market offers good value and a lower cost of living compared to other European Union nations. The country presents attractive returns on investment and a selection of options to obtain residency and even become a Portuguese citizen through Portuguese immigration programs offered by the Portuguese authorities.

This invest in Portugal guide offers insights into Portugal’s property market. We will explore why investors are so interested in the country as well as highlight property values, current rental yields and more.

Why are investors so interested in Portugal?

Investors are particularly drawn to the resilience of the Portuguese market. In recent years, partly due to the Portugal Golden Visa, the country’s dynamic real estate market has garnered increasing attention from foreign investors.

With a residence permit in Portugal you can enjoy being a legal Portuguese resident, travel visa free in the Schengen Area, and live anywhere in Portugal, whether you choose to opt for a beautiful historic townhouse in Porto, a charming beach house by the coast, or even a luxury resort in one of the Algarve’s most sought after postcodes.

The Portuguese real estate market intelligence unit, Confidencial Imobiliario, revealed that the Portuguese real estate market has ended the financial year with a 2.5 percent increase in quarterly sales since the second quarter of 2023. This, in conjunction with the consistent growth in the tourism sector, has seen real estate prices in key Portuguese cities rise steadily over the past few years.

The Portuguese government has been business-friendly, implementing several measures to foster investment and stimulate growth. The Golden Visa program stands out as the most successful, attracting billions of euros in real estate investments (note, however, that the Golden Visa real estate pathway is no longer available to investors). In addition, the government is actively attracting digital nomads to its shores with the introduction of the Digital Nomad Visa in 2022, fostering entrepreneurship and increasing demand for long term rentals across the country.

An Overview of the Portuguese Real Estate Market

porto portugal

Over the past five years, Portugal house prices have seen a sharper increase, driven by growing demand. Factors contributing to this include an influx of expats seeking a better quality of life, a rising number of tourists picking Portugal as their holiday destination of choice, and a boom in the tech scene in Lisbon, Porto, and other key cities.

For example, Web Summit, one of the largest tech festivals in the world, moved to Lisbon in 2016, and this, coupled with government incentives, signals the appeal of Portugal for startups and tech firms. Despite the recent growth in the Portuguese property market, property prices in Lisbon are still generally lower than in other capitals in Western Europe.

Key property trends in Portugal reflect a robust recovery from the recession and financial crisis, with demand surpassing supply, especially in major cities. Investments are evident in the renovation of old buildings, the construction of apartments, and the growth of new hotels, providing ample opportunities for investors.

In 2024, the Portuguese economy is expected to gain momentum, although amidst political and economic uncertainties domestically and globally. While current interest rates are high, they are anticipated to decrease, potentially leading to more favorable market conditions in the coming year.

Average house prices

In Lisbon City, properties had an average asking price of €6,009 per square meter in 2023, while it was €4,061 for the Lisbon Metropolitan Area.

Although Lisbon is a popular choice among investors, the sunny Algarve also presents a lucrative investment opportunity, with a lot of variety on offer across the entire region.

The average asking price (per square meter) for a property in Portimão was €3,119 while property in the Algarve capital of Faro was priced at €3,519 and €4,476 in Lagos, in the Western Algarve. You can also find land for sale in the Algarve that can be more affordable than buying a new place.

The northern Portuguese city of Porto, the second largest city in the country, has enjoyed a tourism boom in recent years and is less expensive than Lisbon. The average asking price for property in Porto City is €4,296, while for the Porto Metropolitan Area, the price is €3,291 per square meter.

Rental yields in Portugal

Low real estate prices and increased tourism income have created the perfect opportunity for property investment in Portugal. In Lisbon City, the average rental yield in 2023 was 5.2 percent (6.7 in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area), while it was 5.6 percent in Porto (6.0 percent in the Porto Metropolitan Area) and 5.6 percent in the Algarve. Overall, the growth in the tourism sector has led to a rise in short-term rentals, which means that real estate returns in Portugal are generally higher than in many other European countries.

Long-term Versus Short-term Rentals in Portugal

Both long and short-term real estate rentals in Portugal provide good returns. There are different advantages to each option, and you should consider carefully which is the best for you.

Long-term real estate rental in Portugal

Let’s go over the benefits and considerations of long-term real estate rental in Portugal.

Advantages

  • Certainty of fixed income: Long-term rental contracts in Portugal last a minimum of 12 months, which means that you are guaranteed rental income.
  • Less damage to property: Tenants who stay for longer in your property tend to result in less damage than short-term tenants. This means lower maintenance costs.
  • Lower management costs: With just one tenant occupying the property for a long period of time, you don’t have to deal with cleaning.

Disadvantages

  • Lower rental yields: The rental yields of short-term lets are far higher than those for a long-term rental.
  • Rent protection legislation: Portugal has stringent protections for tenants, meaning you may find it difficult to remove tenants or raise the price of rent.

Short-term real estate rental in Portugal

You should also understand the benefits and drawbacks of short-term renting.

Upsides

  • Higher rental yield: Short-term rentals in Portugal offer the opportunity for higher returns for investors, particularly with the growing popularity of booking websites such as Airbnb. There are also many property management companies in Portugal that can handle the property on your behalf.
  • Personal use: If you would like to use the property yourself, short-term rentals give you the flexibility to stay when you like.

Downsides

  • More hassle: Short-term rental typically requires more involvement on behalf of the owner. It is also imperative that you find a good management company to handle the property.
  • Short-term rental restrictions: Recent legislation has placed restrictions on short-term rentals in some areas of Lisbon and Porto, so it is therefore important that you check this beforehand if you are looking to buy real estate for this purpose.

Portugal Property Investment: Which area should I invest in? 

The Alojamento Local (AL) License is required for investors looking to rent out their property for short-stay rentals. On 6 October 2023 (Law 56/2023) the Portuguese government its short-term rental market with stricter AL License regulations. Existing licenses require five-year renewals, and limits restrict the number of AL units per building. While displaying a registration number is mandatory, securing a new license itself has become more challenging.

The “Mais Habitação” law suspended new licenses in popular tourist areas that include Lisbon, the Algarve and Porto, making it harder for investors to capitalize on the tourism boom through short-term rentals. There are, however, some exemptions, such as in interior areas and in the autonomous islands of Madeira and the Azores, amongst others. Our comprehensive guide to the Alojamento Local (AL) License offers more information.

Portugal Property Investment: Investing in a Dynamic Market

Buying commercial property for Portugal Golden Visa- An Overview

The property market in Portugal is dynamic and diverse, with many potential locations depending on what you are looking for. The two primary investment areas are well known – Lisbon and the Algarve. However, these days Porto real estate is also firmly in the mix as the vibrant, second largest city in Portugal attracts expats and digital nomads to its shores.

Other regions that have also acquire more investor interest over the past few years include the Silver Coast, the Alentejo, and even the north and center regions of Portugal. These areas attract investors looking for stunning natural landscapes and an authentic Portuguese experience.

Lisbon offers the best of a European capital city, with very appealing property investment opportunities across the city. Lisbon has its own price bracket compared to the rest of the country. However, the capital remains relatively affordable when compared to other European cities.

Neighboring Lisbon, Cascais, and Sintra also provide excellent investment opportunities. Cascais is a popular tourist destination situated in proximity to Lisbon offering the perfect balance of coastal and city life. Considered one of the most romantic cities in Portugal, Sintra is steeped in authentic Portuguese tradition, filled with colorful palaces and extravagant properties offering unique charm.

Portugal’s ultimate tourist and luxury property destination, the Algarve has grown in popularity while Porto attracts visitors and investors with its rich cultural history and beautiful properties for sale at an affordable rate.

Other parts of the country to look out for include the Silver Coast, with Peniche, Ericeira, and Nazaré good options if you are looking for coastal views. For a taste of luxury, Comporta, the Tróla Peninsula, and Melides offer exclusive tranquility. As such, the southwest of Portugal will explode in the next few years. And this is not forgetting the breathtakingly beautiful islands of Madeira and the Azores.

Already very popular locations for good investments, these islands are projected to increase in popularity in the coming years.

You will also find land for sale in Portugal across the country, which can be a more affordable option than buying a new build.

Portugal Property Investment: Is it worth it?

Portugal is the seventh safest country in the world, according to the 2023 Global  Peace Index. Considered a stable country, politically and economically, with a low crime rate, Portugal has many desirable qualities for investors. English is widely spoken by Portuguese citizens and there is a growing expat community in the country.

The government of Portugal has also taken steps over the past years to help promote a thriving real estate market that is attractive to investors.  Portugal offers a diverse range of properties and locations, a growing real estate market, strong rental return on investment, and opportunity for capital appreciation. The table below showcases the rental yields in key regions of Portugal.

Region

Rental Yield Percentage (%)

Lisbon Metropolitan Area

6

Porto Metropolitan Area

6.7

Silver Coast

6.1 to 5.3

Algarve

5.6

Cascais

5.6

Sintra

6.3

Portugal’s Golden Visa Program: Current qualifying investment options

The Silver Coast (Slider)The Portugal Golden Visa program, launched in 2012, has proved to be one of Europe’s most popular residency-by-investment schemes. While real estate is no longer a viable option to secure residency in Portugal, there remain several attractive options on the table for foreign investors.

The Portuguese Golden Visa Program allows investors and their family members to live, work and study in Portugal and provides free movement within Europe’s Schengen Area. The scheme was initially most popular amongst the Chinese and Brazilians. However, since then, the scheme has diversified, and Golden Visa applicants now hail from the world over. In the last few years, the South Africans, Turks, and Americans have been putting the scheme to good use.

The Golden Visa program has proved to be very beneficial to Portugal, with more than €7 billion being invested in Portugal through the scheme since 2012. This indicates the extent to which the Golden Visa has led to an influx of foreign investments in recent times.

While the real estate option was the most popular investment pathway, this route is no longer available. The current investment program options are:

  • Investment fund Subscription: Contribute to a qualified venture capital funds worth at least €500,000
  • Investment or donation in the arts or reconstruction of national heritage with a minimum investment of at least €250,000
  • Scientific Research: Science or Technology research minimum investment of at least €500,000
  • Creation of ten jobs: Creation and maintenance of ten jobs during the required period
  • Share capital and job creation: Incorporation of a company or reinforcement of a company’s share capital, in either case with an investment of €500,000, combined with the creation of five or maintaining ten jobs (five of them permanent)

Our citizenship and residency partner, Global Citizen Solutions, can guide you through the process if you are interested investing in Portugal through the Portuguese Golden Visa Program.

Portuguese Real Estate Investment: Taxes and Fees

Prospective investors interested in making a real estate investment in Portugal will need to acquire a Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF) which is the Portuguese tax number required to open a Portuguese bank account and complete financial transactions in the country.

Expats pay taxes for properties at the exact same rate as you would as a local. Note that if you are purchasing through an offshore company, expect to pay higher rates. Taxes in Portugal can fall at the time of purchase or throughout ownership of the property.

Taxes during the purchase process

  • Property purchase tax (IMT): The (IMT) Imposto Municipal Sobre as Transmissões Onerosas de Imóveis (Municipal Tax on Onerous Transmissions of Real Estate) is a property transfer tax paid when purchasing Portuguese property. The tax must be paid before completing the purchase and ranges from 0 percent to 10 percent. The amount varies depending on the purchase price, the type of property (i.e., rural/urban), the location (continental Portugal, autonomous region), and whether the property is to be the primary or secondary home.
  • Stamp duty: Imposto do Selo (Stamp Tax) is an additional transaction tax that may need to be paid at the time of purchase. Real estate transactions are usually subject to a rate of 0.8 percent.

Taxes after purchasing property

  • Municipal Property Tax (IMI) : The (IMI) Imposto Municipal sobre Imóveis (Municipal Property Tax or Immovable Property Tax) is an annual tax determined by the municipality where your property is located. The amount is usually between 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent for urban properties and 0.8 percent for rural properties. The IMI rate is established annually by the municipality. Note that the IMI is levied on the tax value of the property and not on the price paid for the property.
  • Wealth tax (AIMI): There is a Portuguese Wealth Tax (AIMI) on properties that cost more than €600,000.

The levels of the Wealth Tax are:

  1. 0.7 percent tax on properties valued between €600K and €1 mil.
  2. 1% tax on properties valued between €1 mil and €2 mil.
  3. 1.5% tax on properties valued above €2 mil.

Taxes on rental income

Rental income is generally taxed at a flat tax rate of 28 percent. However, there are possibilities to benefit from reduced rates and even exemptions based on the contract’s specific characteristics. Deductions are available for taxes related to fire insurance, IMI, the property’s energy certificate, and condominium fees.

Additinally, expenses for upkeep and maintenance can be deducted but must be legally proven and cannot be for furniture. Maintenance and conservation expenses conducted on the property 24 months before renting can also be covered. It is essential to provide an invoice to identify the work carried out on the property.

Rental income tax applies to both short-term and long-term leases.

  • Short-term rentals: For short-term rentals, the Alojamento Local (AL) (Local Accommodation) License is required. This allows property owners to rent out their properties. Note that the “Mais Habitação” law suspended new licenses in popular tourist areas that include Lisbon, the Algarve and Porto, making it harder for investors to capitalize on short-term rentals.
  • Long-term rentals: For long-term rentals, you can do this through standard lease agreements without the need for an AL license.

Capital gains tax

When selling property, the eventual capital gain (profit gains from the property sale) may be subject to tax. However, depending on whether you are selling, there are exemptions whether you are selling, to reinvest in your new home – whereby you will have 24 months (about two years) to reinvest. There are also potential discounts if you have had work done on the property. You can learn more in our Capital Gains Tax Portugal guide.

Wrapping Things Up: Key Reasons to Invest in Portugal

living room decorated houseThere are many great reasons to invest in Portuguese property and consider living in the seventh safest country in the world. Key advantages include:

  • No restrictions on foreign property ownership 
  • Investing in a dynamic market with a high return on investment potential   
  • Low cost of living compared with other countries in Western Europe   
  • Perfect climate with incredible summers and mild winters   
  • Top-quality education and healthcare services

If you would like to invest in real estate in Portugal, using a buyer’s agent is the best way to safeguard your interests and secure the best property at the best price.  This is because, while real estate agents should have your best interests at hearts, it is important to remember that they work mainly on behalf of the seller, not the buyer and will secure a higher commission for a higher buy.

On the other hand, a buyer’s agent such as Goldcrest will work solely on your behalf as the buyer. Unlike real estate agents, buyer’s agents search for the best property options that suit your budget and your lifestyle and will negotiate the best price on your behalf.

Goldcrest: How We Can Help You 

Goldcrest is a buyer’s agent that is based in Lisbon. We provide expert, impartial advice on real estate investments and how to buy property in Portugal. From scouting out the perfect property through to property acquisition, we have you covered throughout the process.

If you are looking to purchase property in Portugal, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our team of skilled experts is available to solve all your real estate doubts, helping you with the property search and offering insightful expertise and strategic advice.

Why choose Goldcrest?

  • Local knowledge: With offices located across Portugal, our presence nationwide allows us to assist you personally across the country.
  • Independent service: As an independent buying agent, we do not represent any development or project. Our service is entirely tailored toward each individual client, providing you with everything you need to secure the perfect property at the best possible price. As an impartial advisor on the market, we work solely on behalf of our client and provide a service tailored to your needs and requirements.
  • Streamlined process: Our real estate agents speak English and Portuguese, and our service is completely focused on providing you with a hassle-free buying experience, saving you time.
  • Experienced team: Our expert real estate team has a vast local knowledge of the Portuguese property market. We have cutting-edge technology and metasearch tools at your disposal to provide full market coverage, ensuring the best investment choices and negotiated prices.
  • Network of partners: Lawyers, property management services, builders, architects, designers, and landscape gardeners, again saving you time and hassle by providing you with trusted experts in their field of work.

Frequently asked questions about Portuguese real estate investment

With a buoyant real estate market, Portugal offers attractive investment opportunities. Indeed, with high rental yields, affordable real estate prices, and growing demand, buyers can expect to capitalize on investments as prices continue to increase. Foreign property ownership in Portugal has proved to be popular in Portugal, as it can prove to be an excellent financial investment. Whether you are looking for a holiday or retirement property or seeking to secure a nice profit on your investment, you’ll find plenty of options.

The Portuguese real estate market is diverse and dynamic. The primary areas remain Lisbon, the Algarve, and Porto. However, consider the southwest for some classic luxury, the Silver Coast for nature, and the islands of Madeira and the Azores.

Portugal’s 2023 property market insights by the Portuguese real estate market intelligence unit, Confidencial Imobiliario, revealed that the real estate market ended the financial year with 2.5 percent increase in quarterly sales since the second quarter of 2023.  This positive outcome and an increase in rental yields as well as touristic and expat interest have turned the Portuguese market into a thriving and promising environment for property investments.

Compared to other popular expat destinations in the European Union, Portugal has some of the most affordable property prices on the continent. Naturally property prices in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon and popular upmarket areas like Cascais and the Algarve region fall into the luxury property pricing category, but you can also find more affordable options in regions like Porto and the Silver Coast.

The best investment opportunities in Portugal include property purchases and alternative qualifying investments included in the updated Portuguese Golden Visa investment program options like venture capital, investment funds, and technology-related businesses.

In 2023, the average asking price in Lisbon City was €6,009 per square meter. However, the Portuguese capital has its own price range, and you will find properties elsewhere to be more affordable. For example, the average asking price in Porto City was €4,296.

In many parts of Portugal, property prices are rising. However, experts believe that the real estate market in the country will stabilize in the future.

The cheapest real estate in Portugal can be found in the center or north of the country. Indeed, in the interior of Portugal, you’ll find some very reasonably priced properties. When it comes to affordable coastal properties, Porto de Mós, Cantanhede, and Marina Grande are good options to consider.

Buying a property to rent in Portugal is a good financial investment. For one, there is more demand for accommodation than what is currently available – particularly in Lisbon and Porto. Additionally, rental yields during peak tourism season make property rental in Portugal a viable investment.

There are many areas to secure a strong investment in your Portuguese property, including Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve. Buying to rent short-term and long-term can both be lucrative options. Plus, given the fact that property prices in many parts of Portugal continue to increase, you will likely secure a nice profit should you choose to sell in the future.

Yes, buying property in Portugal is a great investment. Portugal’s real estate market offers a variety of good investment opportunities, whether you want a holiday home, a retirement property, or an investment property to rent out. In fact, the financial returns from short-stay property rentals are particularly profitable in areas popular with tourists and students.

The Portugal Golden Visa Program offers a selection of investment options even though it is no longer possible to invest in real estate or make a capital transfer as investment options following the latest changes to the Golden Visa program. However, making a real estate investment in Portugal is still a lucrative and rewarding opportunity. Investment routes for the Portugal Golden Visa currently include: 

  • Investment fund subscription
  • Investment or donation in the arts or reconstruction of national heritage
  • Scientific Research
  • Creation of ten jobs
  • Share capital and job creation