Buying property in Portugal is one of three official routes to get a Golden Visa in Portugal.
With significant changes in the investment immigration scheme through real estate from 2022, the immigration experts at Immigration Explorer navigate you through eligible areas to buy real estate as well as the process of buying a property in Portugal.
Located in the South of Europe and EU-member, Portugal attracts thousands of expats and immigration investors every year. The country’s mild weather, versatile landscape, friendly local and expat community, affordable costs of living, and diverse tax advantages make it easy to fall in love.
Whether you prefer the hustle and bustle of a cosmopolitan city like Lisbon or the laid-back charm of the Algarve area, Portugal welcomes you!
In fact, Portugal is also an attractive place for non-EU citizens to gain residency through investment immigration, the so-called Golden Visa. And you’re in good company! Around 500,000 of Portugal’s 10 million residents are expats.
Golden Visa Updates from 2022
Offering three investment routes, Portugal continues to be popular for investment immigrants. A so-called Portugal Golden Visa (5-year residency permit) can be obtained through
- real estate property investment: from 280,000€
- direct investment in funds: from 250,000€
- the creation of 10 jobs: no minimum investment value
From 1 January 2022, the following changes come into effect.
1. Real Estate Property Investment
Starting from 2022, property purchases in Lisbon and Porto as well as coastal/resort regions (Algarve, Silver Coast, Cascais, etc.) no longer provide a Golden Visa.
Attractive alternatives are Madeira, Chaves, Braga, Aveiro, and Alentejo.
Generally, real estate in Portugal in eligible areas count towards the Portuguese Golden Visa from 500,000€. This amount can be reduced under certain circumstances and with special conditions: Properties in urban regeneration areas are eligible for the Golden Visa from 350,000€. And existing properties requiring renovation in low-density areas are eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa from 280,000€.
2. Direct Investment in Funds
Starting from 2022, the minimum investment amount for transfer of investment funds increases from 1 million € to 1.5 million €.
Likewise, the minimum investment for investment in Venture Capital, research, and businesses with the creation of 5 jobs increases from 350,000 € to 500,000€.
On the other hand, the minimum investment for the preservation and restoration of heritage and culture remains unchanged at 250,000€.
Before we present the different regions in more detail, let’s take a look at the types of apartments and houses there are in Portugal and their specific Portuguese terms.
Homes in Portugal
Whether you rent or buy a house, an apartment, or a holiday home, these are the real estate terms you should be familiar with in Portugal:
Casa or Moradia refers to a typical detached house, often with a backyard and patio. They usually have a stone wall around them and a front gate for security. On the other hand, a Casa Geminada refers to a semi-detached house. In the suburban areas, Quintas are the classic rustic houses or farms.
Condomínios (condos) are individual apartment units with a common area like a pool or landscaped garden. They can be a bit more expensive than regular apartments but typically come with additional amenities like concierge services or security guards.
If you choose to buy land (Terreno) to build your own home, make sure to check with the city hall (Câmara Municipal) if the land is for residential use (as opposed to purely agricultural).
Buying Property in Portugal
The majority of people in Portugal 75%) own a home. If you decide to live in Portugal – whether for work/as an expat, retirement or temporarily to enjoy all the country offers – you get to choose from a variety of diverse and enchanting regions.
Retirees and families generally prefer coastal towns in the Algarve or Cascais, while younger people and professionals often choose the urban areas of Lisbon or Porto.
The advantages of buying a property include access to the Golden Visa (for non-EU citizens), a long-term investment asset, and the opportunity to rent the house or apartment out to generate income.
In fact, property prices in Portugal have slowly but steadily been rising over the last few years. Generally speaking, in the city centers there are typically more apartments for sale, and towards the outskirts and in the surrounding areas, there are more houses and villas for sale.
Non-Eligible Regions for Golden Visa through Real Estate from 2022
From January 2022, buying property in the following attractive regions no longer counts towards the 5-year residency through real estate investment (Golden Visa). Of course, you can still make yourself at home in these regions with a second home.
Located in the central region of Portugal, Lisbon is the capital city and one of the most affordable cities in Europe. It attracts young expats, tech companies, and startups. Trending neighbourhoods are Avenida da Liberdade, Lapa, Campo De Ourique, and Baixa Chiado, while Amadora and Benfica are up-and-coming.
With its iconic cobbled streets, cable cars, and beautiful architecture, Lisbon may seem like the obvious choice for people relocating to Portugal.
On the way from Lisbon to Porto is the so-called Silver Coast, which has pristine beaches and beautiful properties.
This northern region is home to picturesque towns and emerging cities that attract visitors and investors alike. In fact, Porto’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With its beautiful beachfront properties in the Foz Douro neighborhood, the Porto region is popular among American expats. Ribeira is among the most sought-after commercial areas.
Algarve & Coastal Areas
The famous Golden Coast of the Algarve offers a large variety of ocean view villas and apartments between Faro and Sagres. While Vilamoura, Lagos, and Albufeira are places of luxury and high-end homes, more rural areas like Alcoutim and Monchique offer more affordable real estate options as well.
Generally, the Algarve is renowned for its beautiful beaches and golf resorts with sunny warm weather year-round.
Eligible Regions for Golden Visa through Real Estate
Just like before, from January 2022, purchasing a property in the following beautiful regions of Portugal still counts towards the Golden Visa through real estate investment.
This beautiful Portuguese island Madeira is less than a 2-hour flight away from Lisbon. You can either purchase a property there to get your 5-year residency, or set up a company and create jobs to get your Golden Visa in Portugal.
In fact, Madeira-registered companies enjoy tax breaks up to 80% on the municipal property tax and the property transfer tax, as well as regional and municipal surtaxes and other local taxes.
Located in the north of Portugal and only a few kilometers away from Spain, the rural area of Chaves is famous for its many spas and thermal baths.
With its inexpensive property prices, Chaves is an affordable place to buy an apartment or house in Portugal. The several small airports in Chaves and nearby connect you to bigger and more bustling cities in Portugal and Europe.
Braga in the north of Portugal is the country’s third-largest city (after Lisbon and Porto), and the oldest. This elegant city is characterized by cozy cafés and high-end boutiques, historic architecture and sights as well as iconic landmarks. Perhaps surprisingly, Braga has a modern home style and a popular real estate market.
The historic city center (old town) and University area are lively and popular among expats. Those seeking more tranquility and peace will find this on the outskirts of Braga and the nearby towns and villages.
Located in the north, Aveiro is also known as the Venice of Portugal with its beautiful canals, and colorful gondolas (Moliceiros). Despite its cultural richness, tourists tend to oversee Aveiro, which makes it popular among expats. With the city’s recent modernization, Aveiro mainly attracts families and retirees.
Located halfway between Lisbon and Porto, Coimbra offers a low cost and high quality of living. This makes it exceptionally popular among expats and retirees.
Due to the large student population, there is an abundance of apartments available in the city (typically tailored to student needs). Towards the outskirts and the rural surrounding areas, you find houses and properties for sale, often in need of renovation though.
Located in the south of Portugal, the Alentejo region is home to Europe’s finest beaches and the countryside is lovingly called the Provence or Tuscany of Portugal. Picturesque rural scenery with oak forests, wildflower meadows, and small traditional villages welcome those seeking tranquility and peace.
Évora, the capital of the Alentejo region, has a population of just over 50,000 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with several museums and landmarks.
How to Buy Real Estate in Portugal
The real estate market in Portugal is still very affordable compared to other European countries. But it is up-and-coming with steady growth, which makes it an attractive investment market.
Besides, Portuguese banks typically give out inexpensive loans, also to foreigners. However, you may only get up to 80% of the property value as a Portuguese resident and up to 70% as a non-resident.
Buying a property in Portugal is straightforward.
- Get a Portuguese Tax Number (NIF) from your local tax office
- Select your desired property for sale and view it before making a decision
- Request the land registry certificate to check ownership and possible debt on the property
- Negotiate the purchase price
- Consult your bank in case you need a mortgage
- Get the property’s energy certificate
- Make a down payment
- Sign a promissory contract (Contrato-Promessa De Compra e Venda)
- Pay the stamp duty (Imposto de Selo): 0.8% of property value
- Pay the notary and land registry fee (Caderneta Predial): 0.2-1.2% of property value
- Sign and notarize the title deed (Escritura Pública de Compra e Venda)
- Purchase the property
- Pay the property transfer tax (Imposto Municipal Sobre Transmissões)
- Get your keys and enjoy your new home
As a foreigner, you can also buy property in Portugal. However, as a non-EU-citizen, you’ll also need to appoint a tax representative in Portugal.
A real estate agent, appraiser, and lawyer can assist you with this process. Immigration Explorer connects you to bi-lingual experts in their field and assists you with obtaining a Golden Visa in Portugal.
Buying Property in Portugal – The Takeaway
Whether you’re buying property in Portugal for investment immigration or as a holiday home, Immigration Explorer presented the latest checklist for you to navigate the process of property acquisition smoothly.
You are now also aware of the Portugal Golden Visa updates from 2022 and have an overview of the eligible and non-eligible regions in Portugal, where buying an apartment or house can get you a 5-year residency visa as a non-EU citizen.
To start your Golden Visa journey in Portugal or another attractive destination, get in touch with the investment immigration experts at Immigration Explorer. Book your FREE consultation today!