The most popular expat locations and nationalities on the Portuguese coast

North Americans, the French and the British are the nationalities that search most in Portugal's coastal areas.

The Algarve remains a popular destination for property searches / Photo by Mélanie Martin on Unsplash
The Algarve remains a popular destination for property searches / Photo by Mélanie Martin on Unsplash
23 September 2020, Redaction

The climate and beauty of the (long) Portuguese coast which is distinguished by its extensive sands and diverse landscape, together with other reasons, continue to attract foreigners to the country, either to buy or rent property in Portugal. Proof of this is that international demand accounts for about a quarter (24%) of the total number of visits to properties located on the Portuguese coast, (76% is of national origin).

The USA currently stands out as the most active country in the search for beach properties in Portugal, with the Azores archipelago and the Western area of mainland Portugal as the preferred destinations. Based on idealista data and with the help of our interactive map, it's time to have a look at the property search trends in Portugal, analysing 422 parishes on the Portuguese coast with one objective: to find out where foreigners most like to buy and rent property in mainland Portugal and on the Portuguese islands.

"Portugal continues to attract a lot of interest from foreigners. The active international demand is evident, even with the limitations imposed by COVID-19, in relation to mobility, and it is very interesting to understand the evolution of international market demand in each parish or neighbourhood of Portugal. At the moment, this information is essential to adjust the strategies of the real estate market, as Portugal continues to be a viable option for many foreign investors", comments Inês Campaniço, head of idealista/data in Portugal.

It is the USA, France and the UK where we saw the greatest demand for Portuguese coastal houses for sale or rent during the month of July. The Americans are, in fact, the nationality that seem most interested in buying a property near the coast, coming out on top in 166 coastal parishes. US buyers are followed by the French, the predominant nationality in 89 parishes, and the British, who carry out the most searches in 64 coastal parishes. Spanish, Brazilians, Germans and Canadians are also among the most interested in investing in beachfront properties in Portugal.

CountryMost searched parishes

Where do foreigners want to buy or rent a house in Portugal?

North Americans take special interest in parishes located in Greater Lisbon and the Western coast, as well as in Sintra or Ericeira, and dominate the demand in the Azores, with a weight of more than 60% in the region.


The French dominate the foreign demand for houses in the Algarve and North Coast region of Portugal. The Germans, in turn, focus their attention on the Alentejo Coast, with the parishes of Vila Nova de Milfontes and São Teotónio being the most popular. The houses for sale or rent in Porto Santo, on the island of Madeira, are also of interest to German buyers, although it is the British who are most looking for homes in this archipelago.


In addition to Madeira, UK buyers focus their attention on the Lisbon region, as well as some southern parishes such as Almancil, Alvor and Mexilhoeira Grande.


Spaniards, on the other hand, focus their property search in areas near the Spain/Portugal border, such as Altura and Vila Real de Santo António, as well as on the Costa Vicentina and in parishes close to the capital, such as Comporta and Alcácer do Sal. Properties located in the northernmost areas of Portugal are also appealing to foreigners from neighbouring Spain, once again close to the border, such as Vila Praia de Ancôra.

As for Brazilians, many of whom are attracted by the golden visa programme, among other attractions of Portugal, their preference tends to be coastal areas of big cities, namely Lisbon, Porto and Aveiro. This is in addition to Cascais, where they represent 29% of international demand. 


The cheapest and most expensive coastal areas to buy property in Portugal

The Lisbon parishes have the most expensive properties, with Misericórdia reaching an average of 6,204 euros/m2 and Parque das Nações at 5,787 euros/m2, in an area where Brazilians are the main foreigners interested in buying. The USA leads the demand in parishes of the capital, namely Estrela, with an average of 5,238 euros/m2. At the top of the parishes with higher prices also appears Sagres, with values of 4,397 euros/m2 - here it is the Spanish who lead the interest. 

On the other hand, we find parishes in the Azores archipelago, such as São Mateus, where houses cost an average of 265 euros/m2 and here it is the Americans who dominate the demand here. In mainland Portugal, the cheapest parishes are Samuel, in Coimbra, with an average value of 362 euros/m2 - more sought after by Spaniards -, and Odeleite, in Faro, with an average value of 483 euros/m2, where the North Americans again dominate the demand. In Aveiro, in the parish of Canelas and Fermelã, we can find properties at 631 euros/m2, and the demand is dominated by the French.

Curiosities of the areas where foreigners are searching for property

After analysing the main nationalities interested in buying or renting property in Portugal, some stood out as being in a minority. For example, the Swiss lead the demand in the parish of Carriço, Pombal, Tocha, in Coimbra, and in Estela, Póvoa do Varzim. Romanians also top the number of searches in Troilhos Grandes, Montijo, as well as in Abrunheira, Montemor-o-Velho. Canada also leads in some parishes of the Azores, for example, Quatro Ribeiras, in Terceira island.


To complete this study, we have taken the IP location from where the visits to idealista listings for sale or rent have been made as a reference. Therefore, it is not exclusively the nationality of the users but the country where the visitor is located. 

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