The prominence of foreigners in the Portuguese real estate market is increasing. Non-resident citizens not only buy more houses, but also pay more for them. Last year, foreigners were responsible for the purchase of 8.2% of all properties sold in Portugal, paying an average of more than 171,000 euros for each property, 58% more than the average value of real estate transactions in the country (around 108,000 euros).
According to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE), last year 242,000 homes were sold in Portugal, for a total negotiated value that exceeded 26,000 million euros. Nearly 20,000 of these properties were purchased by non-residents, for a total value of 3,400 million euros, equivalent to 8.2% of the total value of the commercialised properties and 13% of the total value of sales in that period.
The French were the ones who bought the most properties in the country (19.7% of the total value), followed by the British (16.9%) and Brazilians (8.3%). Despite this, the statistics office document highlights the high average value (297,000 euros) of the properties sold to the Chinese, almost six times higher than the market as a whole (53,000 euros). Effectively, citizens residing in China are only responsible for 5.1% of real estate transactions with foreigners, but they are the ones that invest the most in per capita terms.
The number of homes sold to non-residents for a value equal to or greater than 500,000 euros has also increased, which represents 7.2% of the number of homes purchased by foreigners. A scenario that is still largely driven by the gold visa program.
"Essentially, as of 2013, the number and value of properties acquired by non-residents with a value equal to or greater than 500,000 euros was the one that grew the most in Portugal, more than double in number and almost double in value in comparison with 2012. In 2014, this growth was accentuated, mainly in value, representing these properties almost half of the total value of the properties acquired by non-residents in that year. It should be noted that it was during these years that residence permits in Portugal for investment activities - ARI, commonly known as gold visas - were initiated in effective terms," states the report.