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Who Buys More Properties in Portugal?

The value of property transactions in Portugal increased in 2019 compared to the previous year of 2018. The number of properties sold to non-residents fell by 2.0%, but 1.0% of the practised values increased. Part of these transactions was due to non-habitual residents, who despite buying less, spent more.


Photo by Flarius – Pixabay


Transactions in Numbers


Last year 230,776 properties were transacted amounting to 25,955 million euros. Of the total number of properties traded, 19,520 were acquired by non-residents. Non-habitual residents closed 2019 with 8.5 per cent of homes sold, representing an average of 176.4 thousand euros per property, about 3% more than in 2018.


The Algarve is at the top of the list of preferred geographical areas for buying a house. Last year, there was a change in the choice of the geographical area within our country, happening in the Lisbon metropolitan area in 2018.


The French are still the ones who buy most in Portugal, but the Chinese spend the most. Last year the French bought 18.1% of all properties sold. This growing demand started in 2016 and has been increasing. The United Kingdom, as usual, is the second-largest homebuyer in Portugal, accounting for 17.3% of the total. In this list follows Brazil, Germany and finally China, which have been losing their place in the lists of non-resident buyers in the country. Since 2017, Brazil has been climbing its position in this list and is now in third place (see the complete list through INE, in Excel folder, figure 7).




Property value


The transaction value of 500 thousand euros or more per property has again increased among non-habitual residents. It was from 2013 onwards, that these values gained proportion after Portugal allowed those who wanted to invest in the country to reside, mentioning the well-known Gold Visas. The following year, in 2014, the highest percentages of properties sold to non-residents were mainly to those under this government measure.


At the level of houses transacted with a value equal to or greater than EUR 500,000, the United Kingdom comes first, followed by Brazil and France in second and third place respectively.



Geographic Areas


The Portuguese coast and islands are the most sought-after areas for foreigners to buy homes in the present year of 2020. The nationalities that most seek their dream home by the extensive sands and the turquoise sea, are the USA, France and the United Kingdom.


Buyers from the US are mainly looking for houses in the metropolitan Lisbon area, Sintra and Ericeira area. This demand also extends to the islands, with main focus on the Azores archipelago.


The French prefer the Algarve to live in, as well as the northern coast. As usual, the British are looking for a home in the Algarve, especially in the parishes of Almancil, Alvor and Mexilhoeira Grande. On the island of Madeira, the British and Germans dominate the search.

(consult the study by Idealista)




The year 2019 was exceptional concerning the average of property transactions, both by foreigners and Portuguese. Expectations for 2020 were high, but in the face of the health crisis, the annual targets for housing changed drastically.   Despite this obstacle, the real estate sector is optimistic about the final values for 2020.


If you want to sell your house, know that it is still a good time to do so (know everything here). Casas do Barlavento is happy to help you in this task, easing and speeding up the whole selling process.