International Real Estate: House Hunting in … Lisbon


Another building on the property has a three-car garage and three small apartments that may be used for guests or rented out, Ms. Penim said.

The nearby Belém neighborhood, at the mouth of the Tagus River, is known for its landmark buildings, museums and parks. Among the more notable are two Unesco World Heritage sites: the Jerónimos monastery and Belém Tower, a defensive structure built in the 16th century to help guard the harbor. Popular with tourists, Belém also has an array of riverfront restaurants and bars.

MARKET OVERVIEW

A city with a population of a little more than 500,000, Lisbon is the heart of a much larger metropolitan area with a population of around 2.8 million. The city’s residential market has largely recovered from the global financial crisis. Sales volume in 2016 was up 15 percent over the prior year, putting the market back on par with its pre-crisis pace in 2010, said Gustavo Soares, a managing director for Portugal Sotheby’s International. “Portugal, because of the weather, the hospitality of the people, the security, is attracting more and more people from other countries,” he said. “And we have lower prices compared to other European countries.”

The most sought-after neighborhoods of Lisbon are in the historic city center, where older buildings are being renovated to meet buyer demand. Although prices are rising, they are still 40 to 50 percent below prices in European capitals like Paris or London, making the city increasingly attractive to international buyers, Mr. Soares said. An updated three-bedroom home of 1,600 to 2,100 square feet in the city center typically goes for 800,000 to 1.5 million euros (or $844,000 to $1.6 million), he said. In the greater Lisbon area, wealthy foreign buyers are also buying property in Cascais and Estoril, suburban beach towns west of Lisbon.

Portugal has two programs aimed at attracting foreign professionals and investors. The Non-Habitual Resident Program grants part-time residents from outside Portugal “a tax holiday on international income for 10 years,” said João Caiado Guerreiro, a partner at an international law firm based in Lisbon. “A lot of Europeans are coming for that reason.”

The Golden Visa program is designed for foreign buyers outside the European Union. The program grants a residency permit to foreigners who buy property in Portugal for at least 500,000 euros, or properties that are more than 30 years old or in designated urban renovation areas, for at least 350,000 euros. Buyers must keep the residence for at least five years, but don’t have to live there.

WHO BUYS IN LISBON

Most foreign buyers are from Europe, especially Britain, France, Germany and Italy, Mr. Guerreiro said.

Last month, the Portuguese Real Estate Professionals and Brokers Association reported that more than 4,000 foreigners had been granted residency permits under the Golden Visa program since its start in 2012. Chinese buyers received 75 percent of the visas, with the remainder going to Brazilians, Lebanese, Russians and South Africans.

BUYING BASICS

There are no restrictions on foreign buyers in Portugal. The purchase process is quite straightforward, and Portuguese buyers often don’t hire a lawyer, Mr. Guerreiro said. Title information is readily accessible through an online public land registry, and title insurance is not required.

The down payment is usually 10 to 15 percent. Buyers should estimate about 7 percent for transaction costs, including transfer tax, stamp duty and legal fees.

Mortgages are not difficult for foreigners to obtain, Mr. Soares said. Banks will typically lend up to 60 percent of the purchase amount.

WEBSITES

Turismo de Portugal site: visitportugal.com

Visit Belém: visitbelem.pt

Jerónimos monastery: mosteirojeronimos.pt/en/

LANGUAGES AND CURRENCY

Portuguese; euro (1 euro = $1.06)

TAXES AND FEES

The annual property tax on this home is about 2,000 euros, or $2,123.

CONTACT

Paula Penim, Portugal Sotheby’s International Realty, Oeiras Restelo office, 011-351-917-722-178; sothebysrealtypt.com

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