Real estate

How to obtain the Portugal Golden Visa by buying real estate

How to invest €280,000 in Portuguese real estate and obtain a residence permit to live there, do business, and travel?

Foreigners can buy a property in Portugal under the investment residency program and get a Golden Visa. You can purchase new residential or commercial real estate for €500,000. But if you choose a property as a part of a rehabilitation project, the price will be lower and amount to €350,000. Another option is to buy a property in a sparsely populated area; then, the investment price will drop to €280,000.

Keep reading to find out where you can buy a property in Portugal to get a residence permit and how to make a deal.

Obtaining residency in Portugal by buying real estate

What is the Portugal Golden Visa?

Portugal's Golden Visa is a popular program that allows foreigners to obtain a residence permit to live, work, and study there. 

The program was launched in 2012; more than 25,000 foreigners have received Golden Visas since then. 

Buying a property in Portugal is one of the available options for obtaining a residence permit. Portugal also offers six other options for investing and obtaining resident status. 

Investment options under the Portugal Golden Visa Program

Support cultural projects
Buying real estate
Purchase of investment fund units
Investing in business activities
Investing in research activities
Capital transfer to Portugal bank
Create 10+ jobs
Opening a company

649 investors were granted a residence permit in Portugal from January to June 2022. 735 members of their families received Golden Visas, too. The total number of participants in the first half of 2022 increased by 21% compared to the same period in 2021.

What types of property to buy under the Portugal Golden Visa Program

Purchasing apartments, villas, and shares in a hotel are the most popular options for participating in the investment program. But not all types of property are now available for obtaining a visa. 

Residential real estate. Buying a residential property to obtain a Portugal Golden Visa is not allowed in large and coastal cities like Porto, Lisbon, Cascais, and others. However, Portugal's interior regions and autonomous areas like the Azores or Madeira are allowed for purchase. 

Commercial property. There are no limits on buying commercial real estate in Portugal. Commercial real estate is primarily a tourist or a hotel, although it can be something else, such as an office space or a store. 

How to get residency in Portugal by buying real estate
Map of Portuguese cities where investors can and cannot buy residential property under the residency program in 2022

Average property prices in Portugal

Real estate prices in the 2nd quarter of 2022 hit a new record, increasing by 13.2% year-on-year. The average cost of housing per m2 is €2,393.

The average cost
of housing per m2

The price boom was more noticeable in existing dwellings, increasing by 14.7% compared to new housing, where prices increased by 8.4%. According to the National Institute of Statistics, 58% of all transactions were made in the North and the Lisbon Metropolitan Area. 

In August 2022, prices for real estate purchases increased in 17 regional capitals. Higher price growth was observed in the following regions:

  • Guarda +9.2%; 
  • Braga +3.7%; 
  • Aveiro +3.7%.

The most expensive properties are in Lisbon and Porto — €5,004 and €3,108 per square metre, respectively.

Average house prices depending on Portugal cities

The most expensive citiesThe cheapest cities
CityPrice per m2CityPrice per m2
Lisbon€5,004Portalegre €644
Porto €3,108Guarda €776
Funchal€2,532Castelo Branco€783
Faro €2,420Bragança€829
Aveiro €2,370Beja €838
Setúbal €2,065Santarém €917
Évora €1,809Vila Real€1,085
Coimbra €1,611Leiria €1,273
Braga €1,519Viseu €1,275
Ponta Delgada€1,497
Viana do Castelo€1,383

Rising house prices in the Azores. This is an autonomous region of Portugal with nine islands. The most significant increase in house prices occurred on Terceira Island by 8.1%, the Island of San Jorge by 7.2%, and Vila Real by 7.1%.

Conditions of buying property under the residency program

The Portuguese Government has determined the minimum purchase price for various real estate types. The minimum cost of a property for participation in the program is €280,000. However, for this amount, foreigners can buy only property in a sparsely populated area and for renovation. 

Minimum purchase price depending on the property characteristics

The property is located in a sparsely populated area and is for renovation
The property was built more than 30 years ago or located in designated restoration areas
The property was built less than 30 years ago in a sparsely populated area
New residential or commercial real estate

Family members can participate with the investor. A spouse, children under the age of 26, parents of both spouses, and siblings younger than 26 can obtain a residence permit with an investor. They can get a residency in Portugal with the principal applicant or afterwards.

Renovation is on investors' or a developer's duty. If investors buy an entire building, for example, a villa, they take over all the restoration work and pay for it. If foreigners buy an apartment in a hotel complex or a share in a real estate project, it means that developers will arrange rehabilitation.

Properties to buy under the Portugal Golden Visa Program

Apartments for sale in Porto, Portugal

This project is eligible to participate in the residence program. There you can find a commercial development near the ocean. The price per m2 is €2,632

Apartments for sale in a luxury resort of Cascais, Portugal

A five-star resort with affordable apartments to buy. The price starts from €600,000

Apartments in a hotel for sale in Portugal

This project is managed by Hyatt, one of the largest hotel brands. Foreigners can purchase apartments near the centre of Lisbon, Portugal’s capital. The price starts from €770,000

How to buy real estate in Portugal 

Foreigners have every chance to get a residence permit by buying real estate. On average, the general process of obtaining a residence permit for an investor in Portugal takes 2 to 6 months. There are seven steps you can take to get ownership.  

Select a property
Prepare the documents
Get a tax number
Pay reservation fees
Get ready for a deal
Pay duty and taxes
Register in the Tax office and the Land Registry

Select a property. First, choose a region and a property. Take into account the restrictions on residential real estate in large and coastal cities. Think about the real estate class: economy or the premium segment.

Prepare the documents. Collect a document package, translate copies to Portugal, and certify with an apostille. Immigrant Invest lawyers help at any stage of buying real estate to participate in the investment program. Investors can pass a preliminary Due Diligence check by providing information about their sources of income and identity. This minimises the risk of failure during the initial assessment.

Get a tax number. Foreigners must get a NIF, Número de Identificação Fiscal, a taxpayer number to conduct a property transaction.

Pay reservation fees. You must pay a 10% reservation fee for the property's value. When this fee is paid, the seller withdraws the property from sale. At the same time, both parties conclude a preliminary agreement, which describes the object's details, the rights and obligations, and payment terms.

Get ready for a deal. A lawyer in Portugal checks the documentation set for real estate, the absence of encumbrances, tax debts, and utility. If defects are found, the seller must eliminate them within the period specified in the preliminary contract.

Pay duty and taxes. Three days before signing the final contract of sale, investors must pay the stamp duty, which is Imposto de Selo, and the property transfer tax, which is Imposto Municipal Sobre as Transaccoes, IMT.

The amount of stamp duty is 0.8% of the property's value, specified in the contract of sale.

The amount of the IMT tax depends on the property's value and has the following rates:

  • 0% to 6% progressive rates for residential real estate;
  • 5% when buying a rural property;
  • 6.5% for commercial properties.

When all fees are paid, you make a transaction. Cash is credited to the account and debited at the right time as payment for the property's value. You must submit a personal bank receipt for the purchase to the migration service as proof of investment.

Register in the Tax office and the Land Registry. At this step, the new owner must be registered with the Tax office and the Land Registry (Conservatoria do Registo Predial).

The owner also receives a new registration certificate (Certidão de Teor) and the household register. You should re-conclude all contracts for the provision of utilities: leave the old suppliers or choose new ones.

Then you can apply for a residence permit. When you get a residency, you have to renew your permit card every two years.

Benefits of buying property in Portugal

Obtaining a residence permit is undoubtedly one of the most significant advantages of participating in this investment program. But you can also find other benefits.

Good rental income and the ability to sell a property. Investors can rent the property out and receive an average yield of 5%. After five years, foreigners have the ability to obtain a permanent residency and sell the property, returning most of the money.

After 5 years
Investors can sell the property

Tax benefits for new residents. If you live in Portugal for more than 183 days a year, you become a tax resident. You can get non-resident status, giving you tax benefits for 10 years. For example, there is no tax on income received abroad. 

Prospects for obtaining citizenship. After five years of obtaining a residence permit, foreigners can get a permanent one. After another five years, they can apply for citizenship. To get a Portugal passport, they must pass a language proficiency test at the A2 level.

Frequently asked questions

Can you get residency in Portugal if you buy a property?

Yes, foreigners can get a residence permit by buying real estate. This opportunity is provided within the residence program, according to which foreigners receive a Golden Visa. The investor’s family members can also participate in the program and obtain a residence permit. The minimum investment in real estate is €280,000.

Is Portugal a good place to buy a property?

Yes, Portugal is a worthy place to buy real estate. This country has a high quality of life but low housing prices. Portugal is a popular destination among tourists, so you can rent your property profitably and get an average yield of 5%. This country has a mild and comfortable climate and many resorts for recreation.

Where in Portugal can I buy property for a Golden Visa?

Buying a residential property to obtain a Portugal golden visa is not allowed in large coastal cities like Porto, Lisbon, Cascais, and others. However, Portugal’s interior regions and autonomous areas like the Azores or Madeira are allowed for purchase. There are no limits on buying commercial real estate in Portugal. 

What is the minimum investment for a Golden Visa in Portugal?

The minimum investment in real estate for participation in the program is €280,000. However, foreigners can only buy property in a sparsely populated area and for renovation for this amount.

Other options for buying property for a Golden Visa in Portugal:

  1. Invest €350,000+ in the property built more than 30 years ago or located in designated restoration areas.
  2. Invest €400,000+ in the property built less than 30 years ago in a sparsely populated place.
  3. Invest  €500,000+ in new residential or commercial real estate.
Can I get a Portugal Golden Visa with a mortgage?

No, the Portuguese Government requires applicants to bring a minimum amount of investment into the country. However, anything that exceeds the required amount can be borrowed from a Portuguese bank. They can take out a loan on purchase in another country.

Can you buy a property in Portugal without a Golden Visa?

Yes, foreigners can buy property in Portugal without a Golden Visa. However, in this case, you will not get a residence permit. To purchase a property, you must obtain a fiscal number (Numero de Contribute).

How to obtain the Portugal Golden Visa by buying real estate