In 2019 foreign property investment in Portugal was worth 5.6 billion euros and 18% of those purchasers were from the UK.
The attractions of Portugal are becoming increasingly well-known: it’s a short hop from the UK, it’s the third safest country in the world, the Algarve has just been voted the world’s top beach destination, the south of the country enjoys around 300 days of sunshine per year…
There’s a long list of incentives, but a foreign property purchase is always more complex than purchasing in your home country, so here are some important points to consider before you make that purchase.
If you are intending to live abroad for an extended period it’s important that you have a good idea of what your living costs are likely to be. When it comes to Portugal, the news is all good because Portugal has the lowest cost of living in Europe and is 30% cheaper than the UK. If you live in the south, the warm winters will also mean that you won’t be paying anything like the heating bills that you would in the UK.
A key incentive for buying property abroad is the affordability of the housing and despite year-on-year increases in the price of Portuguese property, they remain amongst the cheapest in Europe. Lisbon is the most expensive area of the country, with an average house price of 562,598 euros, according to the Imovirtual platform, however in Guarda, the country’s highest town, the average house price is just 118,263 euros.
How do you intend to use the property?
The answer to this question will help you decide on the type of property that you buy and its location. If you intend the property as a holiday home, then you will only be able to use the property for two, three- month periods during the year. You should choose a property which is suitable as a ‘lock up and leave’, not an older property with a large garden. You will also want your property to be within a reasonable distance of one of the three international airports. If you buy a property worth more than 500,000 euros, you will be eligible for the ‘Golden Visa’ scheme, which will entitle you to residency rights.
As you would expect, the more remote parts of the country are the cheapest. Northern and central Portugal can experience cold winters and the summer heat in central Portugal is intense. If you are able to do so, renting a property in your intended area of purchase, is a good way to get a sense of what living there might be like.
In Lisbon and the Algarve, you will find plenty of people who speak English and there is a well-established English-speaking community. The further afield that you go, the fewer people you will find who speak your language. Learning the language of the country to which you are moving will help you to integrate and give you a much richer appreciation of the local culture.