Foreign investment in Portuguese properties has perked up, helping the recovery of the Portuguese real estate sector in recent years. And the figures leave no room for doubt: in the five years between 2012 and 2017, ex-patriates bought 70,700 homes in Portugal, spending a whopping total of 11.1 billion euro.
According to the accounts of the Portuguese Association for Construction Companies, Public Works and Services (Associação das Empresas de Construção, Obras Públicas e Serviços or AECOPS), non-residents of Portugal invested about 800 million euro in real estate in the Portuguese market in 2012. This investment had more than tripled by 2017, reaching 2.8 billion euro.
The data show that 2014 was the year in which the weight of real estate transactions by non-Portuguese residents was highest, making up 15.7% of the total number of property transactions. Since then, it has dropped slightly to 11.5% in 2017. A "significant part of these acquisitions" in 2014 was for real estate with a value of more than 500 thousand euro, representing almost 44% of the purchases. This figure also decreased, though, with properties exceeding this value in 2017 representing 36.3% of the acquisitions.
The Algarve continues to be the most popular region for foreign investors. 43% of real estate acquisitions by ex-pats were in the Algarve in 2017, followed by Lisbon and Alentejo (37%) and Norte/Centro (17%). It’s also worth pointing out that almost half of the total amount traded by non-residents in this five-year period was accounted for by acquisitions made by residents of the United Kingdom (18.3%), France (17.9%) and China (12.7%), with the latter taking advantage of the Golden Visa scheme to gain Portuguese citizenship through investment in real estate.