Real estate

Real estate in Portugal: how to buy housing and get a residence permit

Buying a residential property is the most popular option of the Portugal Golden Visa Program: it is chosen by 90% of investors.

Learn how to buy an apartment or a villa in Portugal to participate in the investment program and obtain a residence permit.

Residence permit in Portugal for the purchase of housing

Why cosmopolitans buy housing in Portugal 

Buying real estate is a profitable investment and an opportunity to get a residence permit in Portugal. The investor chooses from different options: from modern luxury apartments to old villas.

Buying a residential property is one of the investment options of the Portugal Golden Visa Program. An investor can also choose another option: create a business, transfer capital to a Portuguese bank, invest in scientific or cultural projects, and purchase shares in investment funds.

Premium apartments are easiest to find in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon and its suburbs, Cascais and Estoril. Elite housing is usually located near a transport interchange, within walking distance from parks, squares, or in the city’s historical centre. The house territory is fenced and guarded. Often this is housing in houses after reconstruction.

Elite villas are usually bought in resort towns in the Algarve region, in the south of Portugal: Albufeira, Tavira, Lagos and others. Analysts predict that the cost of these properties will grow by 3-5% per year in the next five years.

Restrictions on the purchase of real estate

From 2022, it is impossible to get a Portugal residence permit to purchase residential property in large and coastal cities like Lisbon, Cascais, Porto and others.

It is allowed to buy property in the interior regions of the country and the autonomous areas like Madeira and the Azores.

Restrictions do not apply to commercial real estate; it can be bought in any region of Portugal.

The minimum investment when buying a property is €280,000. The object can be rented out and sold after five years of ownership.

It is enough for an investor to spend seven days a year in the country to get a residence permit.

According to the National Institute of Statistics, the increase in residential property prices in Portugal for the first quarter of 2021 was 0.5%. This is a good indicator, given the global restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cost of one square meter of housing depends on the location.

CityCost per m²
Lisbon€3,377
Porto€2,142
Funchal€1,724
Amadora€1,667
Coimbra€1,407
Braga€1,032
Vila Nova de Gaia€1,315

In the European housing market, Lisbon became the most sought-after city before the pandemic in 2019. As a result, real estate value increased by 4.5% per year. The market itself has grown by a third compared to 2017. The average annual increase in value in 2019 was 7%.

Apartments for purchase under the Portugal residence permit program

Luxury housing in Portugal

Apartments in a 5-star resort complex managed by Sheraton in Cascais, Lisbon

Apartments in the centre of Lisbon

Apartments in a hotel complex managed by Hyatt

Benefits of a Portugal residence permit by investment in real estate

17,000 people have already taken part in the residence permit by investment program. They can live in Portugal without restrictions, work, study, do business and travel around Europe without visas. 

What attracts investors to the program:

  • the spouse can also obtain a residence permit, children under 26 and parents over 65;
  • one or more apartments or villas can be purchased;
  • Investments are returnable: you can sell the property, return the investment and make a profit after 5 years of ownership;
  • it is not required to pass exams in the knowledge of history and the Portuguese language;
  • you need to spend only 7 days a year in Portugal;
  • you can relax at any time in popular European resorts;
  • you can apply for Portuguese citizenship five years after obtaining a residence permit. You will need to confirm knowledge of the language at the international level A2;
  • If you become a tax resident in Portugal, you can enjoy a special tax regime with reduced rates for 10 years.

On average, it takes between 2 and 6 months for an investor to get a residence permit in Portugal.

2 to 6 months
to obtain a residence permit by investment in Portugal

In five years, the cosmopolitan and his family will be able to apply for second citizenship. After that, you can live in any EU country with a country passport, hold positions in government agencies, and participate in elections.

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Portugal

How to choose a Portuguese property to participate in the investment program

Decide on the region. From 2022, you can choose residential property in the interior regions of the country, the Azores and Madeira, or commercial property in any Portuguese city.

Select property class. An investor can purchase an apartment or a villa of an economy class or a premium segment and real estate on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.  

If the housing requires reconstruction, it will be necessary to deposit €350,000, and modern housing from €500,000. There is a 20% discount for purchasing commercial real estate in regions with low population density: you need to invest in real estate for reconstruction from €280,000 and in a modern one from €400,000.

Assess your chances. Immigrant Invest specialists help investors assess the chances of obtaining a residence permit in the country and prepare documents.

First, the company’s specialists select individual solutions based on the client’s goals. Next, lawyers conduct a preliminary Due Diligence: they analyze the sources of the investor’s income, the presence of negative information in the media, and involvement in criminal organizations.

Lawyers accompany the investor at all stages of submitting documents to the SEF migration service.

After receiving a residence permit card, Immigrant Invest specialists continue to take care of clients and help socialize in a new country: they select schools, kindergartens, language courses, help open an account in a Portuguese bank and apply for citizenship in the country.

Ocean view from Madeira Island

Camara de Lobos, a small town in the southern part of Madeira

Lagoa das Sete Cidades, a twin lake on Sao Miguel Island

Attractions of Cascais

The City Hall and Monument to King Pedro the First in Cascais

How to get a residence permit in Portugal when buying real estate

Buying villas, apartments, and shares in a hotel are the most popular options for participating in the investment program.

The minimum value of the object depends on its characteristics: 

  • €280,000 for commercial property in low-density areas requiring renovation;
  • €350,000 for buildings under renovation built more than 30 years ago. Commercial real estate can be bought in any city, residential — only in the interior regions of Portugal or in the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira;
  • €400,000 for modern commercial real estate in low-density areas;
  • €500,000 for housing in the interior of Portugal, the Azores or Madeira.

From 2022, it is impossible to obtain a residence permit in Portugal to purchase residential property in large and coastal cities popular with tourists like Lisbon, Cascais, Porto and others. 

Immigrant Invest cooperates with 15 leading real estate agencies in Portugal and owns the complete database of residential and commercial properties suitable for investment. Specialists select a portfolio with real estate that meets the client’s wishes and goals.

Our lawyers in Portugal control the legal security of the purchase. They are members of the Ordem dos Advogados legal society and are thoroughly versed in the nuances of Portuguese law.

A lawyer helps obtain a NIF — a tax number, open an account in a Portuguese bank and register a contract to sell real estate in the land registry.

Other investment options under the Golden Visa Program

OptionsMinimum investment amount
Capital investment
Deposit in a Portuguese bank or investment projects€1,500,000
Investment in research and development activities€500,000
Contribution to the restoration and preservation of cultural heritage€250,000 
Investment and venture capital funds€500,000 
Investment in business
Registration of a company in PortugalCreation of 10 or more jobs
Increase in the authorized capital of a Portuguese company€500,000 
+ 5 jobs

Stages of buying property in Portugal

Preparation of documents and Due Diligence. The Immigrant Invest lawyer helps collect a complete package of documents, prepare a translation into Portuguese and certify with an apostille. 

The investor passes a preliminary Due Diligence check providing information about his personality, business and sources of income. This allows you to prepare for the primary inspection, minimizing the risk of failure.  

Submission of documents and choosing a property. The investor goes to Portugal to see the objects. A real estate expert of Immigrant Invest accompanies clients at every stage and helps submit documents. During the trip, you can get acquainted with the country's life, culture, and traditions.

Tax number and bank account. To carry out a real estate transaction, you will need to obtain a NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal) — a taxpayer number. The lawyer will do this on behalf of the investor in the tax authority of the arearnwhere the property is located.

You will need to open a bank account, which will receive money for investment and from which all government fees will be paid. The purchase of real estate is possible only through bank transfer.

Preliminary agreement. After choosing a property for purchase, you need to pay a 10% reservation fee of the property's value. The seller then removes the property from sale. At the same time, the parties conclude a preliminary agreement, which describes the details of the object, the rights and obligations of the parties, the final cost, and the terms of payment.

Deal preparation. A lawyer in Portugal conducts the necessary examinations and checks the documentation set for the object, the absence of encumbrances, utility and tax debts. If defects are found, the seller is obliged to eliminate them within the period specified in the preliminary contract.

Before the transaction, the investor receives the following documents:

  • Passport of the object (Ficha Técnica de Habitação). Asserts ownership. It contains a housing certificate (Licença de Habitação) which certifies that the property complies with building codes. If you purchase a newly built object, all the contractors who carried out the construction will be indicated in the passport. If you find any damage or malfunctions, you can apply with a claim so that they eliminate the shortcomings.
  • Notice from the Land Registry (Centidão de Teor). It contains a plan of the site, object, type and location.
  • Energy Saving Certificate (Certificado Energetico). It determines the compliance of the object with the Portuguese electricity consumption standards.
  • Notice from the tax office (Cade eta Urbana/Rustica Predial). All real estate is registered with the tax authorities. For the authorities to calculate the amount of tax, this document will be required. It indicates the arearnof housing, land, and the presence of additional buildings on it. The same information is contained in the household register (Cade eta Predial).
  • Conclusion of the Portuguese Institute for the Protection of Historical Monuments (IPPAR). If the building is a historical monument, the local municipality issues a document that confirms that it can be sold.

Final deal. Three days before signing the final contract of sale, the stamp duty (Imposto de Selo) and the property transfer tax (Imposto Municipal Sobre as Transaccoes, IMT) must be paid. Do this in the tax authority at the location of the object.

The amount of the stamp duty is 0.8% of the property's value, which is specified in the contract of sale, and the amount of the IMT tax depends on the property's value.

The rate is 6.5% for commercial properties, and for residential properties, it is determined on a progressive scale.

Property valueTax rate
Up to €92,4070%
€92,408 to €126,4032%
€126,404 to €172,3485%
€172,349 to €287,2137%
€287,214 to €574,3238%
€574,324 to €1,000,000 6%
More than €1,000,000 6.5%

The client is accompanied by an Immigrant Invest lawyer to the final transaction. The signing of the contract takes place in Portugal, in the office of a licensed notary. Finally, the money is transferred to a particular escrow account, from which it will go to the buyer. 

The account is opened with a bank that acts as a trustee. Then, cash is credited to the account and debited from it at the right time as a payment for the property's value.

A personal bank receipt for the purchase in the future must be submitted to the migration service as confirmation of the investment.

Registration of the property owner. The new owner is registered with the tax office and the land registry (Conservatoria do Registo Predial). In addition, the owner receives a new registration certificate (Certidão de Teor) and the household register.

You will need to re-conclude all contracts for the provision of utilities. You can leave the old suppliers or choose others.

Frequently asked questions

How much do you need to invest in real estate to get a residence permit in Portugal?

€280,000 is the minimum investment in real estate: that’s the amount of investment in commercial real estate over 30 years old in sparsely populated areas of the country. 

Modern residential and commercial real estate must cost at least €500,000. €350,000 must be invested in real estate older than 30 years.

The Portuguese government plans to attract more investment to the interior regions of the country, so it stopped issuing residence permits for the purchase of residential property in large cities like Lisbon and Porto and popular tourist areas.

What taxes does an investor pay after purchasing property in Portugal?

The amount of taxes on real estate purchases is calculated as a percentage of the transaction amount. In addition, you will need to pay stamp duty and property transfer tax — IMT.

As long as the investor owns the object, there is an obligation to pay property tax. When renting and alienating, tax payments are also accrued.

What else can you invest in under the residence permit program in Portugal?

Capital investment. There are several options:

  • arndeposit in a Portuguese bank or deposits in investment projects in the amount of €1,500,000;
  • investing from €500,000 in research and development;
  • arncontribution from €250,000 to support artistic production, restore and preserve the national cultural heritage;
  • purchase of shares of investment and venture funds in the amount of €500,000 with an ownership period of at least 5 years. At least 60% of the fund’s investments must go to companies headquartered in Portugal.

Business investment. This option is suitable if the investor plans to take the business to the international level. Conditions for the applicant:

  1. Creation of 10 or more jobs.
  2. Investment from €500,000 in the creation or increase of the authorized capital of a company registered in Portugal and the creation of 5 jobs for 3 years.
Why is the purchase of real estate the most popular option for the Portugal residence permit by investment program?

Real estate is a liquid asset. Housing can be rented out and bring passive income and then sold. Prices for properties in Portugal are growing annually by 3—5%. Therefore, after five years, the investor can return the invested money with a profit.

Is it possible to obtain permanent residence or Portugal citizenship by purchasing real estate?

In Portugal, no program allows you to obtain citizenship by investing in the country’s economy. But after 5 years of maintaining a residence permit status, an investor can apply for permanent residence or citizenship.

Real estate in Portugal: how to buy housing and get a residence permit

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