The four most important questions about investing in real estate in Portugal.
Why should foreign investors make real estate investments in Portugal?
Portugal offers extremely attractive conditions for international investors. It is a safe country with a low cost of living, excellent public and private health services and a fantastic public and private education system, including a wide range of schools, international educational institutions and universities that are among some of the best in the world. Portugal offers an ARI Investment Visa program that puts it on the map for international investors. For those who decide to obtain residence by investment and wish to make the permanent move over here, Portugal is an excellent country to live in for the whole family.
What are the advantages of investing in Portugal?
Our country still offers many business opportunities compared to other countries, as it is a still growing market with low population density and great potential for the next 20 years. The digital infrastructure, the adaptability of the Portuguese and attractive tax arrangements for foreigners all add value and help attract foreign real estate investment. Given the low required investment value within the real estate sector compared to other countries with similar schemes, this investment route still promises high returns over the coming years, and will naturally continue to attract a large number of investors.
What will the outcome of the change to the Golden Visa (ARI) be, if you try to channel real estate investment inland for reasons of political ideology?
In my opinion, it will be a disaster because it affects freedom of investment for those who come to Portugal and, thus, who want to invest in Portugal. This visa program has rejuvenated our two largest cities, Lisbon and Porto. Many of us have forgotten what Lisbon and Porto were like 10 years ago: there were streets in the centre where people didn’t dare go at night, because there were so many dilapidated buildings inhabited by people who had no other place to live.
The ARI program, better known as the Golden Visa, enabled Lisbon and Porto to renew and modernize themselves, with the money from foreign investment. In addition, it became a huge marketing machine for Portugal, and attracted many international investors who may not have considered investing in Portugal otherwise. The level of safety, social and economic stability and opportunity has increased dramatically since the introduction of this program.
Has the Portuguese real estate market suffered from the restrictions of the pandemic?
Since 2020, the travel restrictions for foreign customers have limited the possibility of visiting properties in person and, as a result, made the purchase of such investment properties more difficult.
Technology such as video visits (Teams, Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, Facetime), 360º photography, 3D images and video conferencing have helped us navigate some of the limitations faced. Above all, the confidence and trust our investors have in our company, as they’ve watched us continue to sell real estate despite these testing times, has allowed more remote sales to take place.
It is however necessary to see things as they are: the flow of sales and customers has decreased, but the investment value per unit has increased. The pandemic has brought about big changes in the needs of customers and has also altered the way in which these customers make decisions. Decisions are often being taken faster and there is more reliance on images, videos and lots of detailed information about the property and location, as it has been far more difficult to travel to visit properties, and the visits to Portugal by international clients have often come with more time restraints.
Portugal is one of the most attractive countries to invest in real estate. It provides investors with security, good access to public services and a strong education system. The exceptional hospitality and adaptability of the Portuguese, the space available for the development of new economic ideas and businesses, combined with one of the world's best digital infrastructures are some of the many reasons Portugal is such an attractive prospect for foreign investors.
There are still an abundance of excellent opportunities for real estate investment in Portugal and the market hasn’t been affected by the same level of inflation seen in other similar countries. The quality of life and cost of living are excellent compared to many other countries, but Portugal stands out the most as a host country and takes pride in warmly welcoming those who visit, or who wish to call this country home.
Author: Paulo Lopes - Casaiberia