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Seize the golden opportunity in Portuguese real estate

Article - October 19, 2020

With the Portuguese real estate sector enjoying stable and continuous growth, experts say now is the ideal moment to take advantage of the country’s generous Golden Visa program. And Portugal Homes – with its ample experience, unrivalled services and dynamic team of knowledgeable professionals – can serve as the ideal partner for investors seeking decent returns on the best that Lisbon and Portugal has to offer.


Portugal’s year-round sunshine, high-quality of life and the exceptional value of property prices have made the country a top-choice destination for ex-pats looking to invest in luxury real estate – be it as a pure investment, as a temporary residence or a place to retire.

With incredible beaches, beautiful towns and cities, rich culture and incredible cuisine, Portugal has long been a tourist haven. But factors such as the world-class education and health systems, coupled with a favorable tax regime and low cost of living, ensure it is also one the world’s best places to live for expats.

Its stunning capital Lisbon, for example, not only boasts one of the best climates in continental Europe and blue-flag beaches on its doorstep, but also a great transportation system, affordable properties, top universities and a reputation as one of the world’s trendiest and most eco-friendly cities – which has fast become a global tech and innovation hub drawing creative young professionals from across the world.

House prices in Lisbon remain one of the lowest amongst western European capitals – with the price per square meter at €4,498 – compare that with London (€13,075), Paris (€12,159), Rome (€6,756), Vienna (€7,396), Berlin (€5,692) or Madrid (€5,021).

Golden Visa Program

It’s no wonder then that each year a growing number of ex-pats have come from across the world to take advantage of Portugal’s generous Golden Visa program, which allows non-EU citizens to gain a residency permit in exchange for a six-year real estate investment.

The Portuguese Golden Visa is one of the most popular citizenship-by-investment programs both in Europe and the world. Those who gain access to Portugal's Golden Visa are required to spend just 14 days per year in Portugal to maintain their residency, while keeping all the benefits that come with being an EU resident, including visa-free unlimited travel in the 26 Schengen countries of the European Union; and the option to live and work in Portugal.  

The Program also allows family members to join the Golden Visa holder in Portugal. And after five years in the Golden Visa Program, both the visa holder and his/her family members will be eligible for permanent residency or Portuguese citizenship.

Demand for Portugal’s Golden Visa has remained high since its launch in 2002, with the country even witnessing a recent spike in applicants during the current pandemic. In fact, in May of 2020 alone, Golden Visa investments reached €146.2 million, an increase of 192% compared to May 2019.  

Of the total Portugal Golden Visa applicants in May 2020, 45% came from China, 20% from Brazil, 12% from the United States (the highest-ever number to date), 12% from India and 11% from Turkey. While the habitual €500,000 property investment option remains the preferred choice, this year, 31% of investors have opted for alternative investments such as the Portugal Golden Visa for €350k, and venture capital, two subgroups that have been witnessing a surge of late.

Experts say now is the moment to invest

There are two main reasons why now is the ideal moment to invest in Portugal through the Golden Visa Program. First is the fact that the Program may unfortunately not be around forever, as the government have made moves to suspend it for property investment. Although the decision to implement a suspension from 2021 has been postponed due to the pandemic. That said, experts say investors should move quickly to take advantage of the Program while it still exists.

Secondly, for overseas property investors concerned with immediate profit, rental income, housing appreciation and other economic factors, Portugal (and particularly the urban centers of Lisbon and Porto) is enjoying a booming real estate market that industry insiders say will remain high in 2020 and beyond, despite the pandemic.

With the Portuguese economy showing signs of continuous and stable growth, investor confidence is running high. Many investors are aware there are still several types of real estate investments available in sectors such as hotels, residential and retail. Adding to this, Lisbon has an advantage of much lower occupation costs when compared with other European cities, while the tourist boom in recent years has enabled the Portuguese capital to offer some of the best returns on investment in Europe right now.

In 2019, Lisbon was ranked by accounting firm PWC as the best city for real estate investment and development prospects in Europe, with property prices in the metropolitan area of the capital up by about 8% in 2018, and rental yields ranging from 5.5% to 6%. Moreover, Lisbon is amongst the only four cities (along with Monaco, Vienna and Shanghai) that will experience growth over the price level in the segment of luxury real estate in 2020.

So whether investors are considering buying real estate in Portugal as an investment, or looking for a place to live, work or retire – now is the ideal moment to take advantage of the nation’s Golden Visa program. And with ample experience, unrivalled services and a dynamic and international team of industry professionals, Portugal Homes can serve as the ideal partner for those seeking the best investment opportunities that Lisbon and Portugal has to offer.

Portugal Homes: quality recognized internationally

Founded by David Poston and Gary Harland, who together have 30 years of combined experience in the Portuguese real estate industry, Portugal Homes offers carefully thought tailored services for worldwide clients and investors interested in the growing Portuguese market.

From Portugal Home’s establishment, Poston and Harland strove to build a world-class team of experienced and knowledgeable professionals, who work with some of the country’s most established and reputable property developers.

Thanks to this vast experience, Portugal Homes is perfectly positioned to guide investors through the best and most suitable investment choices, offering investment advice which will deliver the desired yields and returns for their international clients.

Co-founders of Portugal Homes: Gary Harland & David Poston

“During the past four years I have been working a lot with investors and I have been heavily involved with the Golden Visa and Non-Habitual Residency processes on behalf of our clients. One thing I believe that makes a successful company is staff and we focus a lot of our time on making sure all our staff are fully trained in their department to offer you the best experience possible,” says David Poston, who worked as a regional manager for one of the world’s biggest agencies before spotting the opportunity to set up Portugal Homes.

“With the research and knowledge we have gained as a company I believe we are in the best position to advise you on the current market and foreign investor trends. We can advise you on square-meter pricing in all the major neighborhoods in downtown Lisbon and surrounding areas and our stature with developers allows us to be at the forefront of all new properties released,” explains Gary Harland, whose 15-year experience in international property sales spans markets such as Dubai, Berlin, Cyprus, as well as Portugal.

Company culture and team dynamics

Several factors ensure that Portugal Homes stands out from its competitors. Firstly is a focus on human capital development and team dynamics. The three women who serve as the face of the brand, Andreia Leite, Verónica Rosa and Mariana Vieira, pass on the company’s hardworking and creative spirit to team members, who throughout their time at Portugal Homes have the opportunity for personal and professional development, while striving to work to the highest standards in the business.

Such standards have been recognized internationally by the International Property Awards, where Portugal Homes has won awards two years a row – most recently scooping the award for ‘Best Real Estate Agency Website’ in 2019.

Secondly, with the majority of its clients coming from overseas, the company’s culture is another important asset. Portugal Home has built a carefully-selected international team, from English to Mandarin and Russian speakers, and the multi-cultural work environment has led to the creation of many groundbreaking ideas, initiatives, and concepts, such as the Lusíadas 75 development.

All teams and departments at Portugal Homes exchange information on a daily basis. Doing so helps staff members to work better and deliver a complete service to clients. And as business has grown, so has the team, which is now comprised of 40-plus members who help overseas clients feel more at home as they go through the purchasing process.

After-Sales service; travelling to meet clients

A unique After-Sales service is another main differentiating factor of Portugal Homes, which is solely committed to satisfying clients' needs both during and after the purchase. Its dedicated in-house team specializes in offering bespoke services such as fiscal representation, legal advice, property management, building project management, condominium representation, concierge services, furniture services and Golden Visa renovation.

“Although many companies claim to help after you have purchased, the reality is that they don't have the time or capacity for this,” says David Poston. “With this in mind, we have created an unrivalled service that can help with every step of the process, from connecting your utilities, applying for your rental license or simply booking your airport transfers and waiting in for your furniture delivery.”

Yet another distinguishing factor of Portugal Homes when compared with other real estate companies in Portugal is its commitment to meeting clients overseas. Since the company started, over 2,000 meetings been conducted in 22 cities across the world – with David Poston and  Gary Harland having most recently held private meetings with investors and clients in Asia (China, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea), the Middle East (the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey), South Africa and Hong Kong.

Flagship projects: Lusíadas 75 and Rosa 121

Following a bumper year of growth in 2019, during which its team grew from 18 to more than 40 members, Portugal Homes has taken a big leap forward with the launch of its new offices in the Algarve and Hong Kong (with Istanbul soon to follow), while another key milestone has been the establishment of its Project Development & Construction department.

The Project Development & Construction department development is overseeing two of the company’s exclusive flagship developments, Lusíadas 75 and Rosa 121 – two projects situated in Lisbon’s trendiest neighborhoods that have brought new lease of life to sites that had been left in ruin.

Situated in the historic Bairro Alto, a central district known for its bohemian ambiance, restaurants, bars, traditional commerce and stunning city views, Rosa 121 offers 10 unique units – 2 shops and 8 furnished studio apartments of between 35 m2 and 71 m2. The units, designed by KLIK Architects, boast modern and elegant characteristics, with special attention paid to the quality of the finishing materials and construction. Investors in this project are eligible for the 350k Golden Visa and will enjoy decent investment returns and guaranteed yield.

Some 3.5km away from Rosa 121 is Lusíadas 75, a riverside development located in Alcântara, one of the up-and-coming areas in Lisbon best known for its trendy LX Factory, traditional shops and restaurants, which will soon be home to the new €100-million CUF Hospital.

Designed considering every detail, focusing on comfort, elegance and quality of the materials, Lusíadas 75 features 6 floors with a total of 15 units – 1 shop, 3 studios, 6 one-bedroom apartments and 5 two-bedroom apartments – and boasts a garden, exclusive parking, a gym and unique river views from the third floor upwards. Again, investors in this project can bank on sound investment returns and eligibility for the 350k Golden Visa.