Buying property in Lisbon

Buying property in Lisbon
Updated 2019-04-23 07:52

So, you are finally in Lisbon! You have a flat, a job, and your life is moving forward quickly. Well done! Here are a few tips to help you adjust to the Portuguese lifestyle, and avoid any predictable faux pas. You're welcome!

Buying in Lisbon

As a hot destination for expats all over the world, Lisbon has seen the housing market consistently blossom for the past six years. As a result of that demand, along with other government incentives such as the Golden Visa, home prices are the highest ever: a 25% rise since 2013. In central Lisbon -- we are talking neighbourhoods like Baixa, Bairro Alto, Chiado and Rossio -- property prices have risen 30% between 2016 and 2018 only!

That said, the prices per square meter in the Portuguese capital are still not amongst the highest compared to other capitals in Europe: EUR 2,581 in Lisbon comparing to GBP 11,800 in London, making it an excellent investment should any expats decide to stay in the city for longer, calling it permanently home.

What to expect

If houses and gardens are what you look for, it is worth looking at properties outside the Lisbon metropolitan area because the Portuguese capital city, due to its history and geography, it's mostly composed of flats. Refurbished old buildings with traditional Portuguese tiles are common in the city, as the ubiquitous balcony with the picturesque drying line -- however, half of the buildings are old enough to not have a lift, so be prepared to get a daily work out with the stairs. New buildings are not as common in the area surrounding the city centre, being reserved for suburbs and upcoming developing neighbourhoods such as Sete Rios and Benfica.

The sight of an old, collapsing building abandoned between financial crises is quite common in different neighbourhoods in Lisbon. Not surprisingly, many foreign constructors are buying and renovating those places, which provides another stellar opportunity for expats who are looking to customise and buy a piece of brand new property -- not the majority of places available in the city. It is quite usual to find flats in a less than pristine condition, on offer for a smaller price, intended for the buyer to be able to remodel it completely.

Older buildings in the historic neighbourhood often do not come with a garage or parking space, and those qualities are often considered premium by real estate agents.


A T0 (studio flat) in Lisbon will start at around EUR 100.000 in upcoming neighbourhoods such as Marvila and Misericórdia. In the city centre, that price can triple. The average price for a T2 or T3 (two or three bedrooms) in areas like Anjos, Arroios and Intendente -- about 15 min from the city centre by public transport -- can go for around EUR 450.000, depending on the area of the flat. Premium apartments and restored villas are also available, with prices ranging from EUR 1.5 million to 11 million.

Real estate agencies

There are countless real estate agencies in Lisbon that can support expats when finding their new home: Remax, Era, and Idealista being a few of them. Facebook Marketplace is also a good place to find independent sellers as long as you're mindful.

Most real estate agencies will speak English and can assist you throughout the buying process as well.

Golden Visa

Foreign buyers from outside the Schengen area can benefit from the Golden Visa by the acquisition of real estate of EUR 500.000 or more (or by acquisition of a real estate asset with construction dating back more than 30 years, or located in urban regeneration areas, for refurbishing, for a total value equal to or above EUR 350.000), which garantees the buyer a residency permit. Some real estate agents are specialised in foreign buyers and will support expat throughout the application process, HomeLovers being one of them.

Useful links:

Golden Visa

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