Property In Portugal

by : Parag Sheth


Positioned on the Atlantic side of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal is a great historic country of immense diversity. From the culture and prosperity of Lisbon, through the beautiful wine regions and the Sun, sea and sand of the Algarve, Portugal offers something for everyone. Modern marinas and spectacular golf courses mean that here are plenty of activities.

As with all South European countries, the Portuguese are very fond of food, with fish being high on the menu. A particular speciality is grilled sardines, which is a delicious dish. Wine is likewise important with excellent red and white table wines as well as the ubiquitous Port.

It is the most westerly country in Europe and has the same time zone as the United Kingdom and Ireland. The currency is the Euro but prior to 2002 it used the Escudo. The population was estimated to be 10.6 million people as of July 2006 and the predominant religion is Roman Catholic, with 97% of the population describing themselves of this faith.

The language is Portuguese, which is a romance language, similar in structure and spelling to Spanish, but pronunciation and accent are completely different, often bewildering non-speakers.

The current president is Aníbal Cavaco Silva and the Prime Minister is José Sócrates.

Portugal has been a country since the Twelfth Century, A.D. when Count Alfonso pronounced himself King Alfonso of Portugal. Since then Portugal has been through revolutions, civil war, a right-wing dictatorship in the Twentieth Century before settling on a democracy in 1976 and joining the European Union ten years later.

Portuguese explorers roamed the World and claimed many lands for the Portuguese. The most famous and prolific being Vasco de Gama, establishing trade links to India; Pedro Álvares Cabral, claiming Brazil; and Alfonso de Albuquerque who conquered Goa and Malaysia.

After years of economic decline, resulting in the embracing of democracy, Portugal's economy has recovered and it has become a modern European nation. Tourism is a major industry but it is still mostly rural with farming communities and great wine-growing regions.

The Duoro is the region for Portugal's most famous export: Port. Real Port only comes from the Duoro valley and all of the famous names can be found there: Taylor; Graham; Fonseca; Dow; Warre; Sandeman; Croft, as well as many others making this delicious fortified wine. The wine growing regions offer a different kind of holiday destination with beautiful countryside and spectacular scenery, relaxing atmosphere and friendly, knowledgeable locals.

The most well-known and popular tourist location is the Algarve in the South of the country. Famous for sandy beaches, marinas, fishing and golf courses, the Algarve offers a great deal to the sun-seeker and is extremely family-friendly. The hotels in the region are modern and the facilities are of good quality. This region also provides good nightlife and a wide range of restaurants. The area is served by an Airport at the administrative centre, Faro, and the major centres include such resorts as Albufeira and Vilamoura .

The capital of the country is Lisbon, located in its own region in the West of the country. It has a population of 564,000 and the region has approximately 2.7 million inhabitants. The region is the most densely populated in the country and also the wealthiest. As an ancient and important capital city Lisbon is also a great place to visit with many impressive sights, including the imposing Vasco de Gama Bridge, the longest in Europe at over 17 Km.

Property Market

For many inhabitants of countries such as the UK, where the summers can be brief and the winters cold, Portugal holds many attractions. While the whole country is experiencing a buoyant property sector, the south of the country is proving particularly popular. Portugal is a land with has the natural unspoilt beauty of the hills, to the more developed holiday resorts in the south. As with most warm climate countries there is a vast array of properties available, from holiday homes, to town houses and many different sized apartments.

The Portuguese construction sector is one of the most liberal within Europe, with no direct barrier to foreign invest. There are obviously various building and health and safety regulations which need to be respected, but overseas investor are not are not forced to employ a Portuguese partner.

It is highly unlikely that foreign investors will be able to obtain a mortgage in Portugal itself, and finance will need to be arranged in their home states. The purchase process is slightly different in that all buyers must obtain a tax registration from the local authorities and nominate a Portuguese address for documentation purposes. Many of the older developments in the country (often in excess of 20 years) may well be community owned (the equivalent of a Housing Association in the UK) and buyers will be required to buy a share in the development, and abide by the "community" rules.

As many UK citizens have sampled the delights of the Algarve, this is proving to have a longer term lure for many people. Holiday homes are very popular in this area which has a hot climate for over 75% of the year. The Algarve has been popular for many years, and house prices have shown above average growth over the last few years. There are however signs that new "fashionable" areas in the north are receiving significant interest.

It is advisable to check out the administration costs of buying property in Portugal, as legal fees and stamp duty are not the cheapest in Europe. Overall, it looks as thought the property sector may continue a gradual climb in the short to medium term.

Why Invest in Portugal?

There is no doubt that the holiday resorts have been the best selling point for Portugal, with long white sandy beaches, a favourable climate, and miles of coastline. This is proving particularly attractive to many UK citizens, with strong UK ties visible throughout much of southern Portugal.

Unlike many countries who look for foreign investment at any cost, the Portuguese authorities take a strict line about preserving the beautiful rugged landscapes, and property development licences are carefully considered prior to clearance. For those looking to retire to take up more relaxing leisure activities there are vast arrays of golf course, tennis court, swimming pools, and more. Average apartment prices range from £130,000 for a two bedroom apartment, to £170,000 for a three bedroom home.

There is a very strong sale to let market, but this is concentrated on furnished accommodation, general for the short term holiday makers. As more people wake up to the beauty of Portugal, demand continues to grow and the property market is performing well, although like the Algarve there are a number of property "hotspots".


With many parts of Portugal still untouched by the booming property market, there is plenty of potential for capital growth from a modest investment. As the level of interest in the country continues to grow, there is even more good news from the government, who are currently reforming their tax laws to make investment in Portugal even more attractive.

A number of areas have been earmarked as potentially lucrative investment sites, including Almancil, Loue, Carvoeiro and Tavira to name but a few. At a time when the UK property market is riding the crest of a wave, many people are opening up to the idea of reinvesting part of their liquidity overseas.

While the Portuguese economy has had a volatile reputation in the past, the government are beginning to see the fruits of their inward investment with great improvements in the transport network. As with many European countries these days, they are going through the change from a manufacturing economy to a services led economy. Again this is proving successful, and improving the overseas reputation of Portugal.