Accommodation in Porto

Accommodation in Porto
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Updated 2021-09-22 11:49

Porto is Portugal's second-largest city, after the capital city of Lisbon. The city is home to over 215,000 within the city and 1.7 million within the wider Porto region. Porto is also a popular tourist destination attracting visitors with its culture, history, food and wine and a scenic waterfront.

Apartment hunting in Porto can take some effort — and you should be prepared to invest quite a bit of time until you find your perfect home. Plus, because of its rise in popularity as a tourist hotspot, property prices in the city are rising. So, unfortunately, finding accommodation, especially on a short-term basis, can be challenging.

To save some money and to have more accommodation options, it is best to venture past the city centre. Make sure to check out our guide to neighborhoods in Porto. The article about buying property in Porto will also give you some relevant information about price per square meter since these values will also impact renting prices.

Rent or buy in Porto?

Whether you decide to rent or buy in Porto will be guided by lots of different factors: from the length of your stay to the size of your budget. Both options offer specific benefits — as well as challenges. This is why it is absolutely essential to do proper research before making your decision.

Renting in Porto allows for more flexibility. You will have the option to switch apartments, move to Lisbon or another city — and leaving Portugal will also be much easier with no strings attached. On the other hand, renting options in Porto are rather limited. The city's rise in popularity among tourists has caused a rise in prices and a general shortage of short term rental options — especially during the peak season.

Buying property in Porto can be a viable option if you are planning a future in this city — or if you are treating this as an investment opportunity. Property prices in Porto are some of the highest in Portugal — however, they are still relatively low by European standards. As Porto is a popular tourist destination, you will be able to rent out purchased property at a rather high yield.

Overall, purchasing property in Portugal may also open up more residency options and offer a number of tax benefits — depending on the amount you invest.

Buying property in Portugal may also qualify you for the Golden Visa Scheme. To apply for the Golden Visa via property purchase, you will need to:

  • Buy a real estate property valued at €500,000 or above OR
  • Purchase a real estate property valued at at least €350,000 with the purpose of refurbishing it (there are also specific requirements regarding the age and location of the property)

Getting residency through purchase of property will also qualify you for the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime. The program is designed to offer foreign investors reduced tax rates — as well as full tax exemptions.

Important: 

The Portuguese government has recently signed a clause that excludes investments in Lisbon and Porto from the Golden Visa Scheme. When the clause comes into effect, purchasing property in Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve region will no longer allow you to apply for the Golden Visa. The deadline to exclude the above regions from the Golden Visa Scheme has recently been extended to January 22.

Best neighborhoods to live in in Porto

There are a number of neighborhoods in Porto that are particularly popular with expats.

The Downtown District, or Baixa, is Porto's historical and spiritual core. Once a rundown area of the city, it is now a thriving neighborhood where bohemian entertainment peeks at every corner. Baixa would be a great option for young professionals looking for an active lifestyle

Foz do Douro is an upscale seaside neighbourhood that not every renter will be able to afford. You will be paying for a high standard of living and a gentle sea breeze waking you up in the morning. The neighborhood is popular with families and is a great place for a relaxing stroll.

Matosinhos is a beach-front neighborhood with a well-developed infrastructure. It may be a bit far from the city centre — but it's nothing to worry about thanks to the metro line that will take you downtown in under 30 minutes. In recent years, the neighborhood has been growing in popularity and rent prices are on a steady rise.

Vila Nova de Gaia is a far-off neighborhood on the other side of the river Duro and can be considered a commuter town. Most people living here work in Porto and commute back after work.

Boavista is located northwest of the downtown area and is one of the busiest districts in Porto. This is primarily a business district but there are a few residential streets. The neighborhood is very well connected to the rest of Porto.

How to find a place to rent in Porto?

The best place to start your apartment hunt in Porto is by checking online. Most big rental agencies in the city will post available listings on the internet and you will have full access to all the properties available in the city. If you are looking for a short-term rental, you can always check AirBnb — but do keep in mind that prices for short-term rentals here can be quite high.

Major online rental sites in Porto are Sapo, OLX and Idealista. If you are searching for a place when already in Porto, you can contact real estate agencies directly. You can explain to the real estate agent what type of accommodation you are looking for and what your budget is and then go over the available options that they offer to you. Keep in mind that if you do decide to work with a real estate agent, you will need to pay agent fees.

Accommodation in Porto will typically come partially furnished and equipped. In the city centre, you will find a lot of traditional housing, which may require renovation and not have the most modern amenities. With that, in newer areas, you will find contemporary newly built apartment blocks. While older homes can have a rustic charm, they are more likely to come with maintenance issues. If you do notice issues like these, make sure to go over them with your landlord and negotiate the needed repairs.

Rent prices in Porto

The average rental price for apartments in Porto is between 600 EUR and 1,000 EUR — depending on the type of accommodation and where in the city you decide to live.

You will generally be able to move into a one-bedroom apartment close to the city centre for around 600-700 EUR. If you are looking for more space and want a place with a terrace, get ready to pay 800 EUR per month or more.

Note that rent prices in Porto are on the rise. Make sure to check the most up-to-date rental prices via a real estate agency when planning your moving budget.

Additional costs to budget for include electricity, gas, internet, and cable/television, as these costs are usually covered by the tenant. However, some private landlords might include these in the rent, so don't forget to ask.

Signing a lease in Porto

To rent a property in Porto, you will need to sign a lease agreement — contrato de arrendamento in Portuguese.

Typically, this is a standard rent contract that includes basic information about the tenant and landlord, rent terms and dates, rent amount and when it is due and so on. The lease also includes a list of items that come included with the property: furniture, appliances, etc. You will then be responsible to leave the property in the condition that it was rented to you — with allowance for some regular wear and tear, of course.

Note that in order to sign the lease in Porto, you will need to have a Portuguese fiscal number (numero fiscal de contribuinte). This is a tax identification number and you can easily get it from

your local tax office in Porto. Your landlord may also ask you to provide additional documentation: a credit check, an employment contract, references and more.

If you want to move out of your rented apartment before the lease expires, you will need to notify your landlord in advance. Typically, you should notify them about your departure about 60 days in advance. Your landlord also has the right to serve you with a notice if they want you to move out before your lease ends. In this case, they may offer you financial compensation or help you find a similar property to relocate to.

At the end of your lease, the landlord will check the property to make sure everything is in place and that there is no major damage. If everything is okay, your deposit will be returned in full. Note that if you do have a deposit disagreement with your landlord, you will need to go through the Civil Court to have it resolved.

When signing the lease, make sure to exercise due diligence:

  • If the contract is drafted in Portuguese, have it officially translated into English (or another language) to make sure there are no misunderstandings.
  • If your landlord doesn't speak English and you don't speak Portuguese, consider having an interpreter present when you sign the lease so that you can ask questions and make sure you understand the conditions of the lease.
  • Before signing the lease, check if your landlord has a legal rental license granted by the local council.

Buying property in Porto

If you plan to stay in Porto for the long term or are looking for investment opportunities in the city, you may want to consider purchasing a property. With property prices on the rise, purchasing property in the city can be a good investment opportunity and a source of extra income if you choose to rent the property out. Additionally, purchasing property in Portugal property of a certain amount (generally, over 500, 000 EUR) qualifies you for the Golden Visa scheme. As an investor in Portugal, you will also be able to enjoy a number of tax benefits under the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime.

Important:

The Portuguese government has recently signed a clause that excludes investments in Lisbon and Porto from the Golden Visa Scheme. When the clause comes into effect, purchasing property in Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve region will no longer allow you to apply for the Golden Visa. The deadline to exclude the above regions from the Golden Visa Scheme has recently been extended to January 2022.

Note that property prices in Portugal continue to rise. According to a report by PwC (auditing and assurance services), the prices for real estate in Portugal show an average annual increase of 7%. While the property market was affected by the COVID—19 pandemic in 2020 with a slight drop in activity, the prices continued to rise through the first quarter of 2021.

The process of buying property in Porto can be rather complicated — especially if you purchase real estate in the city centre. Make sure to do property research and consult with a real estate agent and a solicitor before making a decision.

It may also be helpful to look through the Expat forum for more hands-on advice on renting and buying property in Lisbon.

Useful links: 

Renting options in Lisbon

Buying property in Porto

Buying property in Lisbon

Accommodation in Portugal

National Rental Counter (Balcao Nacional do Arrendamento)

Porto Neighbourhood Guide  

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