The capital city is enjoying increasing caché among home buyers.
Long regarded as one of Europe’s best-kept secrets, Lisbon is becoming a favorite among affluent Americans in search of a home abroad.
The Portuguese capital’s soaring popularity stems from a winning combination of architectural and natural beauty (including a stunning coastline); sunny, pleasant climate; friendly, laidback vibe; and reasonable cost of living. Given that L.A. and New York City feature in the top 10 most expensive cities in the world, it’s no surprise that Americans are drawn by the quality of life and comparative value that Portugal offers.
Recent revitalization has transformed once slightly scruffy architectural gems and waterfront stretches
into showplaces and given the city new caché. More and more neighborhoods are gentrifying, expanding the options where one can live or invest. Portugal’s ranking as the third-safest country in the world also adds to its allure for expats in the market for European real estate.
While a number of buyers are relocating to Lisbon full-time, the majority want second homes as a safety net. The neighborhoods that top their wish list are Chiado, known for its stylish shops and cultural offerings; Príncipe Real, favored for its gardens and 19th-century mansions; and the coast of Estoril, just outside the city and close to the beach. Homes in these areas range from €850,000 to €2.5 million euros.
Americans looking to relocate to Lisbon permanently often focus on Cascais, a beach town about a half hour from the capital, where a thriving house market provides the space families need. Here, buyers can expect to pay €1.5 million to €5 million.
Lisbon has a number of highly rated international and multicultural schools, as well as unique offerings such as Kairos Montessori, which has its own seaside farm where children can learn about agriculture and animals.
Another factor drawing home buyers to Portugal is the fiscal benefit of offerings such as the Non-Habitual Residents Program, which provides tax breaks to foreign residents, and Portugal’s Golden Visa. The Golden
Visa is one of the world’s most popular residence-by- investment programs, thanks to its minimal residence requirements.
When buying overseas, it is wise to choose a real estate agency that is used to dealing with international buyers and can recommend the correct professional legal and fiscal guidance. It is also important to be informed of the whole picture. Some agencies will help with the bureaucracy, which can be tedious in Portugal, through their Concierge and Relocation services.
Finally, be wary of golden visa schemes that offer an all-in-one package. Property prices can be inflated to meet the needs of the application, and correct permits aren’t always in place. While Knight Frank is not an immigration consultant, it is a property adviser and can offer guidance through the process. —Oliver Banks, senior negotiator, International Residential Developments for Knight Frank in London