Almost 40% of the properties purchased by non-residents were worth 500 thousand euros or more. Algarve overtook Lisbon for the first time.
Foreigners in Portugal are buying fewer houses, but they are buying more and more expensive. In 2019, non-residents in Portugal were responsible for 8.5% of the properties transacted and in value the purchase by foreigners secured a share of 13.3%.
After two very strong years in the purchase of real estate by foreigners, the year 2019 brought some cooling. In 2018, the increases over the previous year were 14.5% in number and 19.2% in value; in 2017, the growth had been 22.2% in number and 22.6% in value. In 2019, the number of properties acquired by non-residents even decreased (2%), having increased only 1% in value.
In 2019, the average value of buildings sold to non-residents was 176,429 euros (+3.1% compared to 2018). This figure is 57% higher than the average value of total transactions.
According to the National Statistics Institute (INE), the regional distribution of the number and value of properties acquired by non-residents was different in 2019. The Algarve continued to lead in number, with 26.9% (it had achieved 28.6% in 2018) and once again surpassed the Lisbon Metropolitan Area in terms of the overall value of property acquired by non-residents (a situation which had reversed in 2018), thus representing 37.7% of the value of acquisitions by non-residents. The Lisbon Metropolitan Area had 35.8%, after managing to increase 6.1% in the number of transactions and losing 8.5% in value compared to 2018.
These figures are influenced by the so-called Golden Visas, the name commonly given to Residence Permits in Portugal for Investment Activities, granted to anyone making investments exceeding 500 thousand euros and existing since 2012. According to the INE, almost 40% of the value of acquisitions by non-residents corresponded to properties with a unit value of 500 thousand euros or more. And the average value of real estate acquired by non-residents for a price equal to or greater than 500,000 euros reached 923,016 euros, increasing 3.2% compared to 2018.
In its annual bulletin on the acquisition of real estate by non-residents, the INE notes that in 2019 the proportion of real estate sold to foreigners with a unit value equal to or greater than EUR 500,000 - representing 7.5% of the number of real estate acquired by non-residents and 39.2% of the total value - increased again. This was an increase in 2018 when these sales accounted for 7.2% of the number of transactions and 37.6% in value.
As in the previous year, it was French residents who acquired the most properties in Portugal (18.1% of the total value of properties acquired by non-residents), followed by UK residents (17.3%). Among the main countries of residence of non-resident buyers, China should be highlighted, whose average value of real estate acquired by residents of this country (373,071 euros) was more than double the total average value of real estate sold to residents abroad.
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