Rent property in Portugal: the effects of COVID-19 on rental prices

An analysis carried out by idealista shows how the market is behaving at a national level, with detailed data from each region, district and city.

Rental prices in Portugal in 2021
Rental prices in Portugal in 2021 / Photo by Nienke Burgers on Unsplash
2 March 2021, Redaction

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, how is the rental market in Portugal behaving in terms of prices? At the start of 2021, rental prices in Portugal fell 0.4% in January, settling at 11.2 euros per m2. Regarding the quarterly variation, the decrease was 1.2% in the last quarter of 2020, according to the idealist price index, while sales prices in turn saw increases. In the third and second quarters of last year, rental prices fell 1.6%, and 0.7% respectively, after rising 1.3% in the first quarter. Let's have a look at the full picture of the effects of COVID-19 on rental prices in Portugal.

Rental prices in Portuguese regions in 2021

During the month of January, the prices of houses for rent decreased in the Algarve (1.6%) and in the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon (0.6%), the only regions of the country that saw price reductions. On the other hand, the Portuguese Autonomous Regions that saw the greatest increase in rental prices included the Azores (4.4%) and Madeira (3.4%). This was followed by Portugal's central region (2.9%) and the Alentejo region (2.2%). In the North of Portugal, prices remained practically stable with an increase of 0.2%.

The Lisbon Metropolitan Area, where rental prices stand at 12.8 euros per m2, is the most expensive region, followed by the North (9.3 euros per m2), the Algarve (9 euros per m2), and the Autonomous Region of Madeira (8.3 euros per m2). On the opposite side of the table, the cheapest regions in Portugal for rentals are the central region (6.4 euros per m2), Alentejo (6.5 euros per m2) and the Azores (7.5 euros per m2).

Rental prices in Portuguese districts and islands in 2021

Of the Portuguese districts analysed, the highest price increases for rentals in January took place in Leiria (4.3%), Aveiro (3.8%) and Madeira Island (3.5%). Next on the list were Coimbra (2.8%), Castelo Branco (2.4%), São Miguel Island (2.3%) and Setúbal (0.9%).

In Viseu (-3.2%), Faro (-1.6%), Santarém (-0.8%), Lisbon (-0.5%) and Viana do Castelo (-0.3%) rental prices dropped, while in Porto and Braga prices remained constant, with a residual decrease of -0.1%.

Note that the ranking of the most expensive districts to rent a house in Portugal features Lisbon (13.1 euros/m2) at the top, followed by Porto (9.9 euros/m2), Faro (9 euros/m2), Setúbal (8.5 euros/m2) and Madeira Island (8.3 euros/m2). Renting a property in São Miguel Island costs 7,9 euros/m2 on average, 7,2 euros/m2 in Aveiro, 6,8 euros/m2 in Coimbra and in Braga, 6,2 euros/m2.

The cheapest rental prices in Portuguese districts are found in Viseu (4.8 euros/m2), Santarém (4.9 euros/m2), Castelo Branco (5 euros/m2), Viana do Castelo (5.2 euros/m2) and Leiria (5.8 euros/m2).

District / IslandPrice per m2Monthly variation (%)
Madeira (Island)8.33.5
São Miguel (Island)7.92.3
Viana do Castelo5.2-0.3
Castelo Branco5.02.4

Rental prices in Portuguese cities in 2021

Rent decreased in 3 district capital cities in Portugal, with Viana do Castelo (-5.1%) topping the list. Porto (-0.9%) and Lisbon (-0.4%) followed suit.

On the other hand, prices increased in the cities of Aveiro (7.5%), Ponta Delgada (5.7%), Funchal (5%), Setúbal (3.2%), Leiria (2.7%), Castelo Branco (2.7%), Coimbra (2.5%), Faro (1.4%) and Santarém (1.2%). The least pronounced increases were registered in Braga and Viseu at 0.5% and 0.2% respectively.

Lisbon continues to be the city where it is most expensive to rent a house at 13,7 euros per m2. Porto (10.6 euros/m2) and Funchal (8.7 euros/m2) are in second and third place, respectively. The most economical cities to rent property in Portugal are Castelo Branco (4.4 euros per m2), Viseu (4.8 euros per m2) and Viana do Castelo (5 euros per m2).

Portuguese citiesPrice per m2Monthly variation (%)
Funchal 8.75.0
Ponta Delgada 6.95.7
Viana do Castelo5.0-5.1
Castelo Branco4.42.7

The idealista real estate price index

In order to produce this idealista real estate price index, which can be seen here in full, rental prices (based on built square meters) published by advertisers on idealista are analysed. Atypical property listings and those with out-of-the-market prices are eliminated from the statistics.

The study includes the "single-family dwelling" typology and discards all the property listings in the idealista database and have been without any type of interaction by users for some time. The final result is obtained through the median of all valid listings in each market.

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