Foreigners bought 25% of all homes sold in Portugal last year

LISBONPROPERTYFrench and Brazilians head the list of buyers for the 152,000 home purchased in Portugal last year.

Luís Lima, president of APEMIP, the real estate association, said that the increase of 25% to 30% in purchases was a result of foreign buyers who accounting for one in four homes sold.

"Foreigners are already worth 25% of the market, that is, a quarter of the houses were bought by foreigners," with the British putting in a strong performance and Chinese buyers, taking advantage of the golden visa scheme, also helping market volume and pushing up prices.

"It’s higher than we expected and allows us to anticipate that the real estate market will grow again this year," predicts Lima, adding that rise in price per square metre is still affordable for wealthy foreigners who come to Portugal for the quality of life, safety, good weather and prices that are still below those in other countries.

Adding an estimated percentage of private sales that were transacted without the involvement of an estate agent, the overall sale of homes was 215,000 units in 2017 with high prices and lack of supply now affecting the Portuguese middle classes.

Lima noted that, as in any property boom, unlicensed estate agents are popping up everywhere.

Prices in Lisbon, as at the end of last December, averaged €2,796, according to the Housing Price Index measured by Idealista. This is a rise of 36.92% in relation to December 2016 and represents the highest rise in the country but many properties in the capital now are for sale for more than double this average.

It’s not just the Lisbon - in Oporto prices have rocketed 24% in a year and have risen over 18% in the Faro region. Nationally last year, the overall price rise for homes was 25.09%.

Of all nationalities, "Brazilians are the ones who are always OK about paying more," said Lima, adding, "I've been in Rio de Janeiro and they want to leave, they're leaving Brazil."

But foreign middle classes also are moving, "The vast majority of French people who buy a house in Portugal are middle class," said Cecile Gonçalves from Maison au Portugal, adding that "the greatest demand comes from pensioners, who benefit from ten years of tax breaks, or entrepreneurs who want to invest in Portugal. Their preferences are to live in the Algarve, Lisbon and Oporto."

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