London’s got Soho, Lisbon has Príncipe Real. The most LGBTI-friendly district of the Portuguese capital attracts restaurants, shops and entertainment venues as well as residents and investors. From Portuguese nationals to foreign businesspeople, no one is indifferent to the unique characteristics of the rainbow zone.
So, how much does it cost to buy or rent a house in the Príncipe Real area? idealista/news asks the professionals for the opinions, and what the alternative neighbourhoods in Portugal could be.
Real estate prices have risen drastically in this district, just as in other parts of the city. At the moment, and according to JLL's Real Estate Director, Patricia Barão, prices in the so-called ‘rainbow district’ are around "5,500 to 8,000 euro per square metre (which is 500 – 750 euro per square foot), although there are certain places where prices can reach 10,000 euro".
The real estate specialist points out that for the last two years there has been an increase in demand in the area, a scenario that "has had a great influence on prices".
"Every time we go to the Príncipe Real we see a new shop"
The Príncipe Real, in the district of La Merced, is one of the oldest and most famous districts of Lisbon. It is also an obligatory stop for all those who visit the capital. During the day, the restaurants, shops and terraces fill with tourists and those who live there, but at night the lights don't go out: bars and discos bring the LGBTI neighbourhood to life. There, the rainbow never disappears.
Today it is a charming residential area, which is increasingly ‘in’ and this golden dynamic is clear. "Every time we go to the Príncipe Real, we see a new shop, a new restaurant, a renovated building. This clearly shows what is being done well in Lisbon in the field of urban renewal," adds the real estate expert. Patrícia Barão guarantees that any offer of real estate that may come on the market is "easily absorbed".
How much does it cost to rent a house?
According to João Passos, coordinator of the project Lisboa Pride - homes for everyone and a real estate consultant in Remax for 10 years, you can't rent a house in the area for less than 750/800 euro, and "prices can be as high as 1,500/2,000 euro for new projects".
However, he assures us that "there is more opportunity to buy and sell than to rent". The houses to rent "only last a week on the market, if they arrive at all, because there are always lots of people interested, both Portuguese natives and foreigners" and there is little supply, especially since the exponential growth of the of Alojamento Local phenomenon of short-term tourist lets.
Ex-patriates are still a "heavyweight" in the market. What are they looking for in Lisbon? Places that have life, commerce and transport in a city that, despite being "very open and interesting" for this community, still "lacks specific supply" to meet their needs.
The Lisboa Pride project found the same result: the consultant identified a gap in a market where there was demand and decided to fill it. "This came naturally, through friends who were passing me references from acquaintances, relatives and other people who were interested," he adds.
Portuguese and ex-pat customers
Portuguese clients in this community are generally more oriented towards leasing contracts. According to João Passos, "buying a house is expensive, and these are customers who particularly like to live in the city centre, in the most historic areas, where prices have risen a lot".
He also states that, because of these circumstances, there is a lot of demand for larger properties on the part of clients who want to share the space with someone so they can divide costs without giving up a good location, although "in social terms, people in the LGBT community tend to live alone with a partner".
This is why ex-patriates prefer to buy or rent smaller typologies of properties such as T1 or T2 (one- or two-bedroom houses), "which have a lot to do with their lifestyle".
Places in Lisbon where the price haven’t yet reached fever pitch
The rainbow neighbourhood is one of the most sought-after areas to live in, but also one of the most expensive in the capital, as the experts points out. The rent for a house can exceed 2,000 euro a month and the selling price per m2 is often more than 10,000 euro.
Meanwhile, Santa Maria Maior, where Alfama is located, has become another trendy area, and is also out of reach for many buyers in terms of price. Here, the price per m2 is around 5,643 euro, which is about 524 euro per square foot. This means that buying a house of 50 m2/538 sq ft would cost more than 280,000 euro, according to data from idealista. The average rental value is 22.44 euro per m2 (2 euro/sq ft) per month, which is to say that, for a space of the same size in that area you’d pay more than 1,100 euro each month.
This price increase is forcing the LGBTI community to other areas of the city, such as Arroios or Lumiar. Prices in those neighbourhoods, according to the advertisements published on idealista at the time of publication of this article, also rose, but are still lower than in Príncipe Real.
Buying a house in Arroios means paying an average of 4,162 euro per m2 (387 euro per sq ft). The average rental price there is 18.68 euro per m2 (1.75 euro/sq ft) per month, so you can rent a house of the same size as in Santa Maria Maior for about 900 euro per month.
In Lumiar the prices are, for the moment, more affordable. The average price for the purchase of a property in Lumiar is 3,499 euro per m2 (325 euro/sq ft) and the average rent is around 12.57 euro per m2 (1.16 euro/sq ft) per month. This means that renting a 50 m2/538 sq ft house in Lumiar can cost 600 euro a month and you could buy it for around 175,000 euro.