Record Tourism, Golf And New Residency Laws: 2014 Looking Good For Portugal’s Property Market

Booming tourism, discounted property prices and incentives to attract more foreign buyers have begun injecting confidence back into the Portuguese property market as the last quarter of 2013 gets under way.

The Algarve’s beaches, championship golf courses and welcoming resorts are drawing foreign visitors in numbers similar to the years before the economic downturn. Portugal is welcoming the financial benefit – The Bank of Portugal confirmed in August that revenue generated from tourism in Portugal between January and May this year reached €2.95 billion, representing a 7.9 per cent hike compared to last year and similar to the figure for 2007. And more recently, Portugal’s Economy Minster António Pires de Lima confirmed that July 2013 saw the country receive the highest intake ever of tourist generate revenue, as well as the largest accumulated amount of revenue for the first seven months of the year.

On property prices, the July index from the Portuguese division of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), produced in conjunction with Confidencial Imobiliário (CI), showed that the rate of price falls for property in Portugal has stabilised and the balance of agreed sales in Portugal is also stabilising. RICS also reported that Portugal’s national confidence index – a composite measure based on price and sales expectations – reached its least negative value since September 2010, indicating returning positivity to the market.

As well as beaches, golf remains one of Portugal’s main attractions for property-ownership in the Algarve, where players have a selection of world-class courses on their doorstep. An annual report by international tax consultancy KPMG highlights that Portugal is the second most popular destination in the world for golf tourism, second to Spain but ahead of Scotland, Turkey, Ireland and UAE respectively. Further proof that golf property in Portugal is a sound investment – and can be very rentable – comes in the form of the 2013 Annual Golf Tourism Report by IAGTO, the trade organisation for the global golf tourism industry. IAGTO’s findings show that global golf holiday sales grew by an average of 9.3 per cent year-on-year in 2012.

Another boost for the Portuguese property market has been the introduction of so-called Golden Visa. This allows non-EU citizens to gain residency on condition they purchase Portuguese property to the minimum value of €500,000, invest a minimum of €1,000,000 in shares in Portuguese companies, or create at least 10 jobs in the country. Another new foreigner friendly rule in Portugal is the Non Habitual Resident’s Tax Regime, which benefits foreigners who want to live and work in the country.
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