Foreigners in Portugal buy fewer houses, but they buy more and more expensive. In 2019, non-resident citizens in Portugal were responsible for 8.5% of properties traded and in value purchase by foreigners got a share of 13.3%.
After two very strong years in the purchase of real estate by foreigners, the year 2019 has brought a little freshness. In 2018, the increases over the previous year were 14.5% in number and 19.2% in value; in 2017, growth was 22.2% in number and 22.6% in value. In 2019, the number of properties acquired by non-residents actually declined (2%), only increasing by 1% in value.
The number of gold visas climbed in May
In 2019, the average value of buildings sold to non-residents was 176,429 euros (+ 3.1% compared to 2018). This value is 57% higher than the average value of total transactions.
According to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), the regional distribution of the number and value of properties acquired by non-residents was different in 2019. The Algarve continued to dominate in numbers, with 26.9% ( reached 28.6% in 2018) and once again overtook the metropolis of Lisbon in terms of the overall value of goods acquired by non-residents (a situation that was reversed in 2018), thus representing 37.7% of the value of acquisitions by non-residents. The Lisbon Metropolis had 35.8%, after having managed to increase by 6.1% in the number of transactions and to have lost 8.5% in value, compared to 2018.
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These figures are influenced by the so-called “gold visas”, the name commonly given to residence permits in Portugal for investment activities, assigned to those who invest more than 500,000 euros and which has existed since 2012. According to the INE, nearly 40% of the value of acquisitions by non-residents corresponded to buildings with a unit value of 500 thousand euros or more. And the average value of properties acquired by non-residents for a price equal to or greater than 500,000 euros reached 923,016 euros, up 3.2% compared to 2018.
In its annual bulletin on the acquisition of real estate by non-residents, the INE underlines that in 2019 the share of goods sold to foreigners with a unit value equal to or greater than 500 thousand euros has increased again – representing 7.5% of the number of properties acquired by non-residents and 39.2% of the total value. Growth compared to 2018, where these sales represented 7.2% of the number of transactions and 37.6% in value.
As in the previous year, French residents acquired the most properties in Portugal (18.1% of the total value of properties acquired by non-residents), followed by residents of the United Kingdom (17.3 %). Among the main countries of residence of non-resident buyers, it is worth mentioning China, whose average value of properties purchased by residents of this country (373,071 euros) was more than double the total average value of properties sold to residents abroad.