Accommodation in Porto

Accommodation in Porto
Updated 2023-11-12 07:09

Considered Portugal's second-largest city, after the capital of Lisbon, Porto is home to over 230.000 people within the city and 1.7 million within its wider metropolitan region. Furthermore, with its growing popularity as a tourist destination, 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.

Because of the rise in popularity as a tourist hotspot, along with a digital nomad visa that provides tax breaks to its recipients, property prices in the city are rising. Though not yet to the level of Lisbon, finding accommodation in Porto, 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 center. Make sure to check out our guide to neighborhoods in Porto. Our article about buying property in Porto will also give you some relevant information about the price per square meter since these values will also impact renting prices.

Rent or buy property in Porto?

Whether you decide to rent or buy property in Porto will be guided by lots of different factors, from the length of your stay to 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 and 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, and prices have been on the rise, with new leasing contracts signed in the first quarter of 2023 showing that rent prices have gone up 23% since the same period of 2022, reaching an average of 1,064€/month. This is a tremendous challenge for a city where the average wage stands at around 1,200€/month (before taxes).

On the other hand, buying property in Porto can be a viable option if you are planning a future in the city. While many foreign investors used to buy 500,000€ worth of property in order to get access to the Golden Visa Scheme, allowing them to live legally in the country and apply for citizenship after 5 years, the government has suspended the program in Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve. Furthermore, new legislation to tackle speculation and high prices has deemed it illegal to open up new Air Bnb's in Lisbon and Porto, so you won't be able to rent your property to tourists (legally) if you're away from the city.

Regarding property prices, and though Porto boasts some of the highest in Portugal, they are still relatively tame by Western standards. Be that as it may, and according to the local real-estate website Idealista, property prices in Porto have risen 6% since 2022, currently sitting at 2,500€ per square meter. Naturally, prices are way higher in the city center, where the price per square meter reached a staggering 3,865€ (going up 7% from 2022) in July 2023.

The process of buying property in Porto is rather straightforward — but can also be complicated if you are not familiar with how things work and do not speak the language. It is, thus, strongly advised to rely on a real estate agency and a legal consultant. Some of the biggest real estate agencies in Porto are Remax, ERA, Century 21 and IMO, among others.

Whether you choose to buy or rent accommodation in Porto, it's absolutely essential that you invest a generous amount of time into doing market research. Navigating the real estate market in a foreign country can be an overwhelming process — and it's important to come prepared. It may also be helpful to look through the Expat forum for more hands-on advice on renting and buying property in Porto.

Neighborhoods in Porto

There are several neighborhoods in Porto that are particularly popular among expats. The Downtown District, or Baixa, is Porto's historical and spiritual core. Once a rundown area of the city and an infamous no-go zone after dark during the 90s and early 2000s, it is now a thriving district where bohemian entertainment peeks at every corner. Baixa – which is composed of the neighborhoods of Cedofeita, Santo Ildefonso, , Miragaia, São Nicolau and Vitória – would be a great option for young professionals looking for an active lifestyle, although rent prices are higher here (starting at 1,200€ for a tiny 1BD) than anywhere else in the city.

Because of the former's unsavory reputation, the seaside district of Foz do Douro has long been the place where upscale families used to live, standing as one of Porto's poshest areas. Because of its popularity and shortage of rentals, not every tenant can afford to live here. Plus, most places available for rent are tiny 60-square-meter apartments, which go for no less than 1,000€/month. A little further west, Matosinhos is another seaside neighborhood that has grown into a pretty expensive area. Not as associated with “old money” as Foz do Douro, Matosinhos is the district where the middle and upper-middle class used to move to 20/30 years ago, showcasing a well-developed infrastructure. Nowadays, it is one of the best and most expensive places to live in the city, with rent prices hitting a 25% increase from 2022 (13.40€ per square meter per month).

To cap off our section of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Porto, Boavista is the city's unofficial business district, though there are plenty of residential blocks. The neighborhood is very well connected to the rest of the city and, much like Foz do Douro, is an area where upscale families are used to buying and investing in property. As for rent prices, you can expect to spend at least 1,000€/month for a studio or a tiny 1BD apartment.

A little further away from the downtown area, on the opposite side of the Douro River, Vila Nova de Gaia is basically a completely different city composed of dozens of different municipalities. To this day, it stands as one of the country's finest examples of a dormitory town, with most people working in Porto and commuting back after work. Because of that, rent prices have always been lower on this side of the river, although VNG doesn't offer the same excitement as Porto when it comes to infrastructure, bars, restaurants, cafes and things to do. Even so, rent prices are no longer as low as they used to be, with 1BD apartments in Gaia's most popular towns, such as Mafamude, Canidelo or São Pedro da Afurada, available for 700€-900€.

Finally, it's worth pointing out that the cheapest rent prices in Porto can be found in the suburbs. In places like Valongo, Gondomar or Rio Tinto, you can still find decent apartments for around 600€, though these are getting more and more difficult to find as time goes by. However, there's not much going on in these districts, and aside from certain areas of Gondomar, which are actually served by the metro, having to rely heavily on public transportation to get to the city center will quickly drain your energy.

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